Posts Tagged ‘trusting God’
Nearly ten years ago, after a horrific accident that took months of recovery and left slight permanent damage, I wrote an email to myself that contained a daily spiritual post. That was years before I started My Faith Zone and began sharing those messages with others. Between then and now, I’ve had computer crashes where I’ve lost everything and my multiple backups corrupted or failed. So I’ve lost a lot of my earlier material.
But today I opened my computer to start the day, and glanced down the left at the folders. And there I saw this post. I have no idea what glitch spared it or put it in a folder, for that matter, but I took it as a sign to share it.
EMBRACE THE SPIRIT
In reading, the verse resonating with me this morning is: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” —2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
So today, the verse I’m going to repeat throughout the day is: “You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.” —Deuteronomy 3:22 NKJV)
Why is this resonating so strongly right now?
Seeking. I’m not sure, but maybe because reaching my goal took two decades. I sabotaged myself by letting fear and doubt rule me. God doesn’t work in that environment–it shows an absence of trust in Him and in faith. But I didn’t see that, so everything that could go wrong did. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault. It was mine. I was undisciplined, long on letting fear and doubt rule and short on trust and faith in Him. I missed that then, though I see it clearly now.
Not that there weren’t signs. There were plenty of them. I was just too busy to notice or worse, I noticed and ignored them.
I suppose the strongest signal–one I actually stopped long enough to really note and thought, “Mmm, this is important. I need to pay attention to this” was after Mom died and right before the fall. What I remember most about that time was despair. I was so weary of grief and feeling bad all the time and of struggling. Everything seemed to be a struggle. I stood at the breaking point, ready to give up. Not on life, but on me.
And then things got worse.
That’s always the way it happens. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and maybe it does. Grieving and despairing, I got distracted and fell down an entire flight of stairs, slammed into a wall at the bottom and hit so hard it threw me back against the stairs and I cracked my head. I thought I was going to die, and I could have. Hubby was stunned I was alive and by the look on his face, I knew I was in real trouble.
I hurt everywhere at one time. He called out to God. I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. My entire right side, my neck and back was on fire. Horrific pain. All of my muscles in severe spasm. I felt a rubber band type snap in my chest—a rib breaking. I lay there in a heap thinking, Breathe. You’ve got to breathe. It was awful. I’ve had surgeries that didn’t hurt as much or as intensely.
At the hospital, the problems that loomed huge earlier faded under the fear of fighting for my life, and I began praying for healing.
Fear and doubt came roaring in, insisting I would not be healed, I would die. From the level of pain they might have been right, but this time I refused to listen. For maybe the first time, I banished fear and doubt, defied boundaries and limitations imposed by reason and emotion, and I surrendered in total faith to God.
The ER doctor reviewed the x-rays. The good news, he said, was nothing had been broken. I asked if he was sure—I’d felt that rib break. He checked again and said there was a break in my rib, but it was an old one that had already healed.
I hadn’t had a broken rib before, and now I had a healed one. I also had separated the muscles from the chest wall and wrecked my right arm, wrist, hand, knee and foot. It was a miserable few months, but I went through them knowing that rib had been healed, and in His time, in His way, the rest of me would be too.
That recovery wasn’t easy, it wasn’t a snap. It was a process. But He carried me through it and fear and doubt lost its command over me. I learned to trust God. Regardless of the outcome, if my trust is in Him, the results will be of His choosing.
I learned that there are no limits for those who reject fear and doubt and trust in God. It is as is written in Matthew 19: 25-27: “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
So today I remind myself and ask us both–you and me: When trouble comes, as it will, do I turn to God first, or as a last resort? Do I let fear and doubt rule me, or do I deliberately trust God?
I wish I could say that I do not fear or doubt. But I’m human, flawed to the core, and I do at times fear and doubt. But now I’m aware. I know that fear and doubt can be tools to help us and not just ones that sabotage or hold us back. And I know that telling the difference in healthy fear or doubt and unhealthy fear or doubt can be hard. That is, hard for me.
But I also know now that if I turn whatever it is over to God and trust Him, I’m in safe hands. He always knows the difference and always acts for our greater good.
Before the White Rose isn’t free at Kindle anymore, but Amazon does have it discounted.
Amazon also has discounted both the paper and Kindle editions of Beyond the Misty Shore. I don’t know for how long. But one is discounted 29% and the other 35%. This was a pleasant surprise to me, and I hope it will be to you, too.
New Interview on Family Fiction.
WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
Called to Serve? Bottom Line: Trust God
©2011, Vicki Hinze
Many believers feel called to serve and answer that call only to then feel displaced among others in their field or area of expertise. They have no qualms with others in their sphere also called to serve. They have close friends and wonderful relationships with many in that sphere. But still they feel they don’t quite fit. Or, more specifically, that their contributions—the means through which they serve—don’t quite fit.
Some don’t feel embraced by the community they seek to serve. Some love but feel slightly out of step with the community. And some feel their service fits the mold or established template . . . and yet it doesn’t.
Their reactions to this sense of belonging but not belonging, or of being on the fringe, vary. But it’s typical for these servants to suffer bouts of insecurity, of feeling as if they’re failing—not just those they intend to serve, but failing their Lord, which is far more disturbing to them—and their esteem and sense of worth feels hammered.
This leads to servants questioning themselves about their path. Well, first to doubting it. Had they interpreted their calling correctly? Are they doing what they’re supposed to be doing? The way they’re supposed to be doing it? Is the rough road they are on a sign that they goofed and they’re not on the right path at all?
All these things and more in which the servant feels a sincere lack of certainty seep in and take hold, and before the servant knows it, seeds of fear and doubt sprout and grow into full-fledge mounds.
That really clutters up their thoughts and that clutter feeds the uncertainty until the mound becomes a mountain.
Here’s the thing. All that clutter and scrub brush grows like crazy and wraps like vines on a tree until the trunk of the tree is obscured. That trunk is truth. The truth founded in faith.
Evil wears many faces and uses many methods to counter good. We all know it, but we also need to remember it. Evil also attacks us where we’re most vulnerable, and how much more vulnerable can a believer be than in a profound desire not to fail God? So the more we fear and doubt, the more power we give to evil and, boy, will he use it against us.
There’s a key reason this is so. Evil has a strategy. If we’re tied up in knots and consumed by fear and doubt, we’re playing pretzel, and when we’re busy being a pretzel, we’re not busy serving. Evil wins. If good isn’t there to counter it, evil wins by default.
But servants aren’t doomed to be pretzels or helpless victims in this unless they fail to recognize, acknowledge and address what is happening. If servants do those things, they recognize that they can counter.
A mustard seed’s worth of courage—that’s all it takes to turn things around.
Courage for what?
To pick up a machete.
A machete. Huh?
When you pick up a machete and cut through the vines concealing and choking the trunk, you remove that which binds the trunk. When the trunk is unbound and exposed, the truth is unbound and exposed. You can see the truth because it’s revealed.
When the truth is revealed, what happens? Clarity.
A few points I think are noteworthy:
- 1. Picking up that machete is trusting God. He knows you. He knows your heart and everything else about you. Nothing is hidden. And He chose you for service. Imperfect, flawed, scarred, battered and/or soul-weary, He chose you. If you’re on the fringe, He knows it. If you or your service doesn’t quite fit an established mold, He knows that, too. If you are walking in faith, in His path and will and not your own, being where you are, doing what you’re doing might not be comfortable, but it’s not a mistake. Bottom line: Trust God.
- 2. If you aren’t on the right path, or you’re not sure you’re on the right path, ask Him to make that clear. Ask Him for signs you can’t miss or misinterpret and believe you’ll receive them. Ask for guidance to the right path and believe you’ll get it. Here’s a tip: You will. It’s blatantly stated, not up for debate, and couldn’t be more clear than it is in Matthew 21: 21-23: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Either you believe in His Word or you don’t. Bottom line: Trust God.
- 3. Evil loses its power. It can’t trick, deceive, clutter or muddle your mind. It can’t stand up to truth. God promised to be with you always. He promised never to leave or forsake you. If anyone’s not been home or been left in the hall, it isn’t you. You left Him. So reconnect. Evil will flee. Bottom line: Trust God.
- 4. With a clear mind, you reassess and grasp this gem of truth: There are no molds. There are man-defined similarities, traditions, general commonalities and preferences, but God made each of us universal (in spirit) and unique as individuals. That’s an important distinction. The Word tells us we are fashioned by His hand. We are as He made us, with the gifts and abilities He gave us. We choose whether or not to use them and whether or not we use them as He wishes or we wish, but they’re there. So if we’ve chosen His wishes, we’re following His will, and we still feel we must be like others or fit some other mold, isn’t that a backhanded way of saying God messed up? And isn’t that insulting Him and expressing a lack of gratitude and a lack of faith? Isn’t that counter to the bottom line, which is: Trust God.
You know, I’m a simple woman and not some highly skilled theologian. But that doesn’t mean my purpose is less valuable or less valued than anyone else’s. Neither is yours. God infuses us all and uses us all in ways of His choosing. We sometimes get so mired down in minutia that we forget that.
We can get too mired down to notice or recall or discover many facets that truth reveals. That’s worth remembering, too. Not just on the “God giving to us” end, but on the “us giving to God” end. He doesn’t need us. He wants us. He respects our free will and delights in our desire to connect with Him and serve Him, and in our willingness to serve Him by serving others. That’s significant because we’re all different. Why is that so significant?
Because being different, we see and react to different things in different ways. God made us so. That means human beings aren’t one-size fits all. We need different approaches, different methods and different means. Something that touches one person will not touch another. Something that touches that second person won’t touch a third.
God comes to each of us in ways we understand. As different people who are in different places with different attitudes and different perspectives standing on different rungs of our own personal spiritual ladders, doesn’t it make sense that He would call servants capable of touching those He wants touched in ways they understand and grasp what He wants understood and grasped?
And doesn’t it make sense that He’d match servants and serving?
We question, and that’s a good thing so long as it is constructive. But when we fret and worry and fear and doubt, that ceases to be good, it becomes destructive and that destroys momentum.
I look back over this post and realize that it’s been a circuitous route leading back to a place that could have made this a two-word post.
But I hope that there’s been value in the journey and that whatever fears and doubts you’ve been experiencing, it’s helped bring a little clarity or triggered something in you that brings you clarity. I hope that when you reach the bottom line, it’ll be the simple and elegant bottom line:
WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
God moves in mysterious ways. Some we understand, some we don’t.
We all have those, “I don’t understand,” times. We all wish we didn’t. But if we refer back to the Bible, we know that these are either times of development or opportunities to expand our judgment and/or our faith.
Sometimes what we discover is that certain events in our lives conspire, and we end up in a position where we’re experiencing a little of both. During these times, I’m not sure a deeper understanding would actually make the journey any easier. I think it may be a blessing, a huge blessing, that when we’re in the pit, instead we lean solely on faith.
Interestingly enough, I received a note via e-mail a few days ago that said, “These are the times that try women’s souls.” On reading it, I remember nodding and thinking this is not news. And yet on deeper reflection, I found it reassuring. Why?
Because for it to become universal enough to warrant such an e-mail, it had to have happened to many. It had to apply to many. And it meant that many had gotten through those times that try women’s souls or the email wouldn’t still be circulating. Well, if they can do it–get through it–then the rest of us can, too.
There was no understanding of a specific situation, no message that offered any explanation for the events occurring in any one life, or any insight into how to deal with any specific challenge. What there was, was a simple message that others have been in soul-trying positions and had found constructive solutions and gotten out of them or the message would never have been sent because it wouldn’t have resonated with anyone so they wouldn’t have bothered. At least, that’s what I took away from that message. And that is, after all, what matters. What we take away from messages or signs or insights we receive.
In times that try women’s souls, we often ask God for a sign, for guidance, for direction as well as for strength, wisdom, and help. When we do, we hope for a miraculous result. And often we do get results we consider miraculous. But sometimes the results manifest in an unexpected way that we consider odd or bizarre–anything but miraculous, and yet even in those times, when we look back on them, we see that things worked out well. Not as we expected, but well, and often better than we expected.
At still other trying times, rather than a full-blown solution to a problem, we receive a subtle message that God is with us and will help us get through the problem. No solution, but a shoulder tap that we’re not walking the walk all alone. He’s there with us for us to rely on, to lean on, to be carried when we can’t take the weight on our own feet anymore.
I read somewhere some time ago, that when we pray sometimes God says yes, sometimes he says no. True, that. But the whole truth is broader. Sometimes God answers in other ways, saying be patient, wait, or not yet. Saying, “Here’s truth, but don’t act on it. Just know, be still and trust me. Saying, “Hold on, beloved, I’m here. Always, I’m here.”
God offers us not always what we want but always what we most need. He offers reassurance, comfort and peace simply by letting us know he’s aware of what is going on in our lives. Fully informed of our struggles and crises and of our joys, too. That awareness doesn’t give us any better understanding of our current situation, or offer us concrete solutions to the challenges we face, but we do know that God is not oblivious to what is happening. And that is a powerful reassurance. It brings to our awareness that there is purpose in what is happening.
Often knowing knowing that there is a reason for what is happening that is bigger than us, even if we don’t know exactly what that reason is, well, it makes what is happening more significant, less destructive, and changes our mindset from one of suffering to willing endurance. God uses us for the greater good in such ways. He puts us in positions to gain wisdom in such ways.
Willing endurance, as challenging as it can be, expresses great faith in God and his wisdom. Perhaps that’s the purpose, at least one important purpose, that explains why we don’t always have a complete understanding of what is happening. I expect if we did, there are many things that we currently do and attempt to do that we would avoid doing. Maybe in not doing those things we would never realize our full potential. Maybe we would never experience the level of spiritual development we do develop because we’re ignorant, lacking that full understanding. And maybe with full understanding, we would not feel as reliant on God. That would be a tragedy. It would weaken our relationships with him and deny us from ever experiencing that connectedness to him we are privileged to know.
I think understanding comes to us in the manner and at the level that is best for us in specific situations. It fluctuates. In some cases, we have deep understanding; in others a surface level grasp, or whatever level in between best serves us in that given situation. We understand what is best for us to understand in his wisdom, which far exceeds our own. Our understanding, at its perfect level, gives us what we need to make judgment calls, decisions, and to decide paths that direct our lives, but stops short of running so deep that it becomes an obstacle between us and God. And maybe that is evidence that his truly is the greatest of all understanding.
None of us like stumbling around in dark hallways. None of us like groping in the darkness. Being caught in horrific challenges not of our own making. But maybe our greatest understanding is in knowing that in stumbling or running, in dark hallways or pits, when groping or stretching, we are never alone. In faith, we understand that he is with us, and that while our comprehension is limited, his is boundless.
Our limited understanding carries the gift of reliance on his unlimited understanding. That gift strengthens our bond, and assures us that through him we have the understanding we need in any given situation.
And that, I understand…