When You Can’t See God’s Hand…

Trust His Heart.

We have these words etched into our living room wall.

{Okay, so they’re stuck up there in vinyl. But let’s pretend they’re etched. It sounds considerably more dramatic…}

It became our mantra during an intense year of hurdle-jumping.

Between the loss of my hubby’s dream job, the loss of a living space of our own, thousands of dollars in ruined belongings {compliments of a leaky storage unit}, and the near loss of our newborn son, we became quite skilled in the fine art of “clinging”.

We felt we had no choice but to cling to our God, and what we knew of His character, during this identity-shaking, heart-breaking season. Sure, we camped out in ‘angry’ and ‘resentful’ for a while, but didn’t find our stay to be very comfortable or satisfying.

So we chose to fix our gaze heavenward, to trust His heart towards us, and to lean into His extravagant grace amidst the turbulence.

You would think, due to my aversion to discomfort, that one couldn’t pay me enough to relive last year, but truth be told…I would. Not because it was fun. But because I treasure the softening and strengthening that took place in the depths of my heart through the struggle.

We tasted a sweet intimacy with our Savior that we had not experienced before.

It is so easy to desire the polished end result without wanting to endure the discomfort and stretching of the process.

So we are learning to not despise the process, but to embrace it {uncomfortable as it may be at times}.

We aren’t promised smooth sailing, beloved. Quite the contrary; we are guaranteed a bumpy ride…
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” {Isaiah 43:2}.

Not “if”.

But “when”.

There’s an old story of a famous sculptor who was asked how he turned a massive block of marble into an exquisite horse. He replied, “It’s easy…I see the horse…then take my hammer and chisel and simply chip away everything that isn’t horse”.

God is in the process of sculpting us into His image, chipping away everything that doesn’t look like Jesus. And that takes time. Lots and lots of time. And a chisel that quite often resembles our spouse, our kids, our job, and much of the adversity we encounter along the way.

He patiently, tenderly chips away.

Think: Joseph {of multicolored dream-coat fame}. God gave him big dreams at 17. But he was 30 before he stood before Pharaoh as a royal official. It took 13 long, hard years of sculpting and intentional clinging.

You see, God allows in His wisdom what he could easily prevent in His power.

Joseph’s dream-giving God had not abandoned him. He was working intently behind the scenes, chipping and molding, equipping him for the history-altering events that ensued; forging Joseph’s character and integrity, developing his leadership skills, and training him in Egypt’s financial and agricultural systems.

It’s a good thing mighty Joe “clung”.  These were all pretty vital attributes for a man who would ultimately rescue the whole world from famine.

As you press in and press on in your journey, you too will be faced with opportunities to cling or clamor.

As we move further into this new year, cling tightly to the Master sculptor as he molds you into the masterpiece He’s destined you to be.

It’s gonna be good, sister…so trust His heart, hold onto your {marble} horse and get ready for the ride of your life!

 

By Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

Again, Lord?

A few weeks ago my health took a momentary downward turn—fatigue and pain reared their ugly heads again. Even though I know the disease will wax and wane, I was most surprised by the fear that accompanied it.

Didn’t I already deal with this, God? Haven’t I already faced my fears of living with a chronic illness?

I guess not, because panic and doubt wormed their way into my thoughts. What Ifs popped up repeatedly as I considered the possibility of the disease returning full force.

But, almost as suddenly as those anxious thoughts appeared, I remembered the work of Christ:
Through this illness, the very thing I fear, God has done an amazing work in my life. He stripped me of the things that distracted me from Christ—now trash in a landfill.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him. Philippians 2:7-9

 

Why am I afraid of this pruning process?

Ultimately it only serves to enhance my dependence on Jesus Christ. I must admit I struggle to join the Apostle Paul in prayer:

I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 2:10-11

Does anyone want to share in Christ’s sufferings?

Of course not, because that involves pain. But, it’s that very discomfort that reveals our desperate state. Without Christ, our troubles broadcast our need for a Savior. With Christ, our struggles confirm we can’t go at it alone.

I need Him. You need Him, too.

I guess there’s still a lot of rubbish that needs to be thrown out.

God’s Got It Covered

Today’s post isn’t original. That is,  I am not the author of it. In fact, I got it as one of those “pass-it-on” emails that we get too many of, you know the sort.  Thing is, the content was so refreshingly insightful that it truly deserves to be shared. Thus, my decision to post it here.

Besides, I like to be reminded that I am fully covered in Christ. My past, my present, my future–don’t you?  The fact is, if we could fully trust God to meet our needs in every situation, wouldn’t it follow that many of our worries and fears would simply fade?  So here’s another look at Psalm 23–but a different VIEW.  As you read it, consider how God has got us covered–completely!

The Lord is my Shepherd
That’s Relationship.

I shall not want
That’s Supply.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
That’s Rest.

He leadeth me beside the still waters
That’s Refreshment.

He restoreth my soul
That’s Healing.

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
That’s Guidance.

For His name sake
That’s Purpose.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
That’s Testing.

I will fear no evil
That’s Protection.

For Thou art with me
That’s Faithfulness.

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me
That’s Discipline.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies
That’s Hope!

Thou annointest my head with oil
That’s Consecration!

My cup runneth over
That’s Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
That’s Blessing.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
That’s Security.

Forever
That’s Eternity!

So, what problem are you facing today? Give it to God. He’s got it covered.