How’s life? What determines peace and happiness, circumstances or…..?
I’m getting a nudge that someone needs encouragement – to know that God is faithful; that he can be trusted if we just stay close and refuse to allow our circumstances to have the last word. On Monday Sheryl and I had the joy of sharing a meal at home with Carmen, my daughter, and Tory and Diana – Sheryl’s son and his girlfriend. Diana was understandably anxious to find a job after four years qualifying and for the first time in her life not having anything to do in September. So it wasn’t a stretch for me to ask God to provide a job for her as we said grace before our meal.
On Tuesday Diana called Sheryl and was very excited because she’d found out there was a last minute vacancy for a full-time teacher in the small school in Bamfield. Yesterday she was handed two boxes, the keys to an empty house, and is now frantically preparing for the most mind-blowing break and adventure as head teacher and administrator down the inlet in Fred’s old pastures. “John prayed for God to find me a job!” Diana exclaimed over the phone to Sheryl. I love that! When God blesses beyond our wildest dreams just because he can and that’s his nature, believe it or not:-).
“Then why doesn’t he do something for me?” some of us retort with weariness and tired unbelief. That’s certainly what I’d have said some years back when I was neck-deep in despair and angrily trying to work out my life ‘doing it my way’. It was an exhausted ‘me’ who finally began to yield and admit once again that I can’t do ‘life’ on my own with any sense of fulfilment or satisfaction. My best efforts left me empty inside and my worst moments filled me with anger and blame. That’s when I heard the whisper reminding me of my true identity, “You’ve forgotten who you are. You’re my beloved son, with identity and value, there’s a future waiting for you if you’ll step into it… all I have is yours.” I felt power rising on the inside of me and in my mind’s eye my circumstances receded as I grew in assurance and stature and in Nelson Mandela’s words, began the long walk into freedom.
Nothing magically fell into place the next day. It was more akin to a long hike through valleys and over mountains. The unknown journey was one step at a time across a wide variety of terrain. Sometimes it was beating through the thick underbrush of a dark valley and on other days there were inspiring views from the tops of mountains. As I walked I noticed my muscles growing again and I was becoming more easily able to endure the uphill climbs and even enjoy challenges that would previously have led me back into despair. The secret was that I knew I wasn’t walking alone; my trust in God my Father’s presence and provision blossomed and was constantly reaffirmed. There were for sure moments of terror and doubt, but joy came in the morning and more often than not music and song were on my lips. I was learning to live and walk from a place of victory, provision, and assurance. Above all a renewed identity rooted in God’s love and favor rested upon me all the time no matter what my circumstances were.
Today I feel like a veteran, a seasoned fighter, one who is supremely confident in the faithfulness, integrity, and purposes of Jesus. I want to serve him and through him enable others experience his reality and know the same affirmation he’s poured over me despite my rebellion at times. I walk in the footsteps of Abraham….By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).
It’s all about the company we keep, I wouldn’t leave home without Jesus… because as long as he knows where we’re going I’m ok. He’s far more secure than American Express or Mastercard – Jesus’ authority, resources, and reliability are out of this world; he’s never lost or overwhelmed!