Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18, 2013

Deuteronomy 8:18
But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the power to get wealth, so that he might confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors as he is doing today.

Life was rolling along well.  I seemed to have found my purpose and my niche.  I was content; happy even.  I knew what I was supposed to be doing and enjoying it.  Smooth sailing!

But, with any smooth road, one tends to not pay close attention to it.  Then comes the unexpected curve.  You're hurtling right for it!  Your focus restored, the curve survived, all you can think is, "Oh, God!"  Just as you regain your composure, you come around the bend to find a boulder in the middle of the road!  You slam the on the brakes, barely averting another accident.

"What's next?"  you think.  What's gone wrong?  How did this happen?  Life was good . . .

A portion of Deuteronomy 8:18 states:  It is God who gives you the power to . . .  This reminded me of a line from Griefshare which has played over and over in my mind as I've faced various life challenges recently.  In the "Top Twenty Lessons in Grief," Number 19 is entitled "Life Was Always Out of Control."  I hear it as God saying to me, "You never were in control anyway."

A couple of months ago, my husband's company announced that his job was being relocated to another city.  This was news we neither wanted to hear nor expected.  We had been able to avoid a move for a few years as various opportunities arose.  We would weigh them, but always decided to stay put.  But this time, we had less of an option for staying and more of an incentive to go.  Even knowing this, the decision was still difficult.  

Many people's first response to me was, "I guess you are meant to go to Texas."  But, I had a hard time with that idea.  I felt there were so many things God had me doing right now that should keep me here.  So, I gave some pause to the idea of where God is leading me.  Truthfully, I received no clear answer.  But, what I did know from previous experience and from the Israelites' experience was this:  God will go with me wherever I go and He will have a plan for me any place that I am.  Now, I also know from past experience that, if it is something I'm not supposed to do, God will put up a road block or two to let me know I'm going the wrong way.  I can take great comfort in this passage from Deuteronomy: " God . . . who led you through the great and terrible wilderness."

But, wait!  It says a great and terrible wilderness!  I don't want to go there!  Can't I stay here?  Well, Texas may not be a wilderness, much less a terrible wilderness, but still, I don't want to leave.  

Ah!  But, read carefully - "God who led you . . ."  Okay, I need to let God lead.  Because, we can trust that He knows where we are to go even when we don't.  And, though I might not understand why I am going, or even if a 'why' exists, I can trust that God will lead me; I just need to focus on Him.  Follow Him.  Trust in Him.

Trust is the key element to faith.  You can't really know the trust until you step out in faith, so that step must come first.  Fortunately, we don't have to do this blindly.  The Israelites provide us with many examples of God's faithfulness to His people until we can learn and experience this trust for ourselves.  One day you wake up and realize that God was with you even when you didn't think He was.  The trust becomes easier as you step forward in faith.  There is nothing like the feeling of God catching you as you stumble along in the great unknown, feeling His mighty, steadying hand on yours.

There has been another unexpected benefit in this struggle of "here" versus "there."  The whole mess has opened doors for me to boldly share my faith.  The opportunity is present for others to see how I handle this and other challenges in my life.  To see if I really believe what I say I believe.  Can I live up to the test?

I find that most people believe there is a God.  However, the real challenge comes in convincing them there is a personal God who truly cares about their day to day lives.  A God who desires a personal, loving relationship.  A God they can trust and follow even when they don't understand.  When nothing makes sense.  And, this relationship is not limited to a chosen few.  It is for each and every one of us.

In light of my recent turmoil which I've detailed here, another idea from Griefshare hit me:  God can take anything in your life, no matter how ugly it is, put it on His anvil of grace, and shape it (beat it if necessary) into something beautiful.  This move thing is only a little bit ugly, but it is ugly to us at this time.  However, because God took all the ugliness of a childhood filled with grief that culminated with my mother's death when I was 22, and turned it into something beautiful once I gave it to Him fully, I know that he can make something beautiful out of this move, too.

In that horrible journey through the wilderness, God proved his faithfulness to the Israelites, releasing them from slavery, saving them from dangers, and providing for their needs.  Were they always grateful?  In a word, no.  However, in time, they did learn and understand God's faithfulness.  They recounted this relationship from one generation to the next.  And, we have these stories in our Bible so that, through His word, we, too, can be assured of God's faithfulness.

I leave you with one more thought from Griefshare to ponder:  Life can be awful, but God is always good.

~Becky Black

Deuteronomy 8:11-20
Psalms 41, 52 or 44
Hebrews 2:11-18
John 2:1-12

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