Thoughts, Truth

What You Really Need

About thirteen years ago I was a 22 year-old single woman working in a back office department at a major bank in downtown Seattle. There were many things in life that I was believing for—a husband, a home, and children to name a few. Some people have dreams of a certain profession but for me, nothing I could imagine ever felt more satisfying than first and foremost being a wife and a mom. And I had seen in my mind’s eye how I thought that would happen.

I don’t know where this saying comes from or who said it but I have heard that “if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” That is so true. I had my future all laid out. At the time I was good friends with a family that had a son my age. His family loved me and we got along well. I had made it up in my mind, not even really having romantic feelings for this young man, that this is what God had in store for me. He was a Christian, I was a Christian. I loved his sisters as my own. I could make this work.

At the time, I was living in Tacoma and commuted to Seattle. I had to catch my bus by 6:00am to make it to work by 8:00am. So I used those two hours for my devotions and prayer time. There was one particular day of devotions that I will never forget. The weekend before, I had spent some time at my friends’ house and the son and I were sitting at the table in the dining room talking. When the dad left the room he dimmed the lights on us. (Smooth, very smooth…)  I rationalized the situation. I settled it in my mind. But that day on the bus God took over. I was beginning to read in the book of Acts. When I got to Acts 3 it hit me like a lightning bolt. The passage begins with Peter and John going to the temple for prayer. As they walked they approached a man who had been lame since birth. As they passed him, he asked them for money. They didn’t have any to give him, instead they told him to “rise up and walk.” And he was healed from that very hour.

As I read that, God spoke to me so clearly. “Ask me for what you want, but don’t be surprised when I give you what you really need.” The lame man thought he knew what he needed—money. But God knew what he really needed—healing, provision. You can make all the plans you want for your life. But ultimately, God has the best plan for you. You can follow your own plan and it will probably be alright but it won’t be His best. I think about what I would have missed if I had followed my own will. I am so grateful I listened to His voice and followed His leading. He truly knows what we really need.

Thoughts, Truth

Unstoppable

We had a special speaker in church last Sunday. He spoke on being unstoppable. The things that stop us and the things that urge us to press forward. After the events of the last month I feel pretty unstoppable. But I have been stopped before. By tiny, seemingly insignificant things.

The children of Israel. God rescued them from Egypt in an unmistakable and spectacular fashion. They experienced what I would think was the biggest mass healing ever as they partook of the atonement. And then they plundered their captors as they left. He provided an escape through the Red Sea. Through it! Not around it. One thing the speaker at church said stuck with me. He said, “The Spirit of God wants to lead us through, not around our trials.”

Through it, not around. There is growth in adversity, if its handled right. Once the Israelites were through the brunt of their trial…that’s when the whining and complaining began. They had experienced God’s deliverance. They had experienced God’s miraculous provision through the water from the rock, the manna, and the quail. They had experienced God’s guidance through the pillars of smoke and fire. He was with them through it all. What more did they want? As the whining reached its crescendo. They camped in the middle of the wilderness. Stopped by their own selfishness and disobedience. Stopped where God never intended them to be. God intended to guide them straight through to the other side. Instead they chose to wander, around the mountain they went.

We need to trust Him. He promised in His word that “He would never leave us or forsake us” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). “All His promises are Yes and Amen unto the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Louie Giglio preached a message that I love, “How Great is Our God.” If you’ve never watched it, do yourself a favor and do so. In it he talks about the bigness of our God and how small we are by comparison. And if we are small. Our problems must be teensy! Towards the end he talks about how people assume that we will always wake up to rosy circumstances. Does that happen…always? No. Can God do it? Yes. Absolutely. But if God wouldn’t deliver Jesus from carrying His cross, what makes us think He will do that for us. In the Word he tells us to “pick up our cross and follow Him.” (Matthew 16:24) Paul said that, “He died daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). What God did promise us is that as we walk though the trials and tribulations of life He will be there right in the middle of it with us. And as we walk our weakness will be transformed into His strength. Our doubt will be transformed to faith. Our defeat will be transformed into victory. Keep walking, be unstoppable!

But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)