“He set out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8
Before my mom went into a nursing home, my siblings and I were doing our best to care for her in her own home. Each day one or more of us would stop by to make or take her a meal, straighten the house, give her a shower and sometimes take her out for a ride. One of my sisters said she would say to mom, “let’s go on an adventure” — mom would smile and her eyes would light up. She loved to get out and just ride around. She didn’t worry because she trusted her daughter to bring her back safely. Bev said they would explore the country roads nearby, just getting on one and following it to see where it went. Sometimes they came back out in a familiar location, other times they’d just have to backtrack in order to get home.
Well, our congregation is about to go on an adventure. The Fanning the Flame program was approved at our voters’ meeting by an approximately 2-1 majority. Now the hard work and anxiety really start. We’re setting out on a journey, and we don’t even have the map! We know we want to end up as a healthier church body, but we’re not sure what that means or will look like. We don’t know exactly what it will require. We may end up with a totally unexpected result. We must trust the process and trust God.
P.S. I read from two different devotionals today and the theme in each was going out in trust. This is probably not a coincidence. The first scripture is at the beginning of this article. The second is below:
Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’ ‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. Matthew 14:28-29
Pray with us friends and readers as we step out onto the water!
Did you know that simplicity is a spiritual discipline? Not something we think about much, is it? I’m currently reading a book, Awake My Soul by Timothy Jones and I just finished a chapter titled, “The Soul and the Simple Life.” He says that learning to live simply will allow us to be freer and less anxious, but it requires radical trust. Here’s a quote:
“When I follow God, generosity becomes an option. Knowing that today will provide the daily bread I need allows me not to exhaust myself in storing up what I think in my worst moments I will need. I leave the issue in hand far bigger–infinitely so– than mine.”
I admit this is not easy for me. I like to be prepared for the worst (or at least fool myself into believing I’m prepared). However, Jones is right. It can be exhausting trying to imagine and provide for every potential problem; it’s probably not even possible. How much easier to simply (no pun intended) trust God and do our best day by day. I try to work on that, but often fail. Here are some words of advice on simplification from Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline.
First, buy things for their usefulness rather than their status ….Stop trying to impress people with your clothes and impress them with your life. ..
Second, reject anything that is producing an addiction in you. Learn to distinguish between a real psychological need, like cheerful surroundings, and an addiction. …(he says if you find you cannot live without something such as particular foods or technology get rid of it).
Third, develop a habit of giving things away. If you find that you are becoming attached to some possession, consider giving it to someone who needs it.
Sounds pretty scary and drastic doesn’t it. What it boils down to is stop worrying about how to impress others, avoid the things that tend to control you, and be generous. I know even I can take baby steps in trying to do this. What about you? Can you simplify your life so that it becomes more satisfying?
We sang this hymn at the ordination service at the recent church conference my husband and I attended in Minnesota. It reminded me that all our time belongs to God, and the way we spend it should reflect that.
We all have times when you feel like God has abandoned you, and you pray and pray and you wonder if He’s even listening. I’ve had plenty of these times in my life.
Usually, I can look back and wonder how I got through such bad times. At one point in my life I’d lost my job; we lost our home and had to move to a small apartment that my brother-in-law owned. I had lost my mom several years before and as this was going on, my father died. A very dark time in my life. I felt like I’d been abandoned.
But I wasn’t trusting the Lord then. I started to trust, slowly. Looking back, this was a good thing because life for me got tougher. I learned to trust Jesus more. As time went on my faith just got stronger. My situation never got easier; I was just able to lean on the arms of the Lord and that was a comfort.
We want to make the hurting times go away. We pray for God to just come in and change everything. I’ve found out that it doesn’t happen that way. If you have faith, the one that changes is you.
Of course, I have a song; Even If by MercyMe. This song speaks volumes about trusting the Lord.