Wisdom for Wives

"Be diligent to know the state of your flocks …"

Help My Unbelief

I believe in God.  I do.  On an intellectual level, the vastness, complexity, and sheer unfathomable-ness (I know that’s not a word 😉 ) of the universe point me to an intelligent Designer.  Then there are all the prophecies that were written centuries before Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled them in the flesh.  In my own life, there have been the answered prayers, the clear sense of His leading and guiding at times, and circumstance-surpassing peace when I needed it most.

But still, I doubt.  Is all of this God stuff and church stuff really real?  The questions come every once in a while.  Maybe more than once in a while.  But God always finds a way to remind me that He’s real.  It’s not always in something “big” like an incredibly gorgeous night sky, or something big-to-me like my marriage.  He shows Himself in small things, too.

Two weekends ago, I was in Pennsylvania in the idyllic foothills of the Alleghany mountains (the beauty of which is another testament to our majestic Creator) for my church’s women’s retreat.

White Sulfur Springs Conference Center, Manns Choice, PA

White Sulfur Springs Conference Center, Manns Choice, PA

During a time of prayer on the second day of the retreat, I pictured myself clinging tightly—much too tightly—to people and things that are important to me.  Out of love, sure. But also out of fear of letting go. Seconds later, one of the worship leaders shared a prayer that, in a room full of women, felt directed right at me. “Disturb us, O Lord” she prayed, “when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the water of life. Having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity …”

OK, God! OK!!!! After I screamed internally, the worship leader shared encouragement for those who don’t quite feel ready to pray the whole prayer.  😄

I could dismiss it as no big deal.  I know for a fact that the prayer ministered to other women in the room.  But I had just prayed about holding on too tightly to my abundance of things!  How did God minister to all of us, and each of us, all at once?

Another recent weekend, I woke up very worried about the week ahead.  To the point that I did not want to get out of bed.  (I mean, I usually don’t want to get out of bed, but this time it wasn’t because of cozy covers.)  After grumbling for a while, I remembered to pray.  It was a Sunday, and later, at church, I did not sit in my usual spot during the service. Nowhere near it, in fact.  I sat near a woman I’ve met but don’t know well; I greeted her but hadn’t planned to chat. Still, we ended up talking, and she (not I) brought up the very issue I was worried about, and answered my unspoken concerns with perfect encouragement!  I hadn’t told anyone else about the problem—only God. But He heard me, and answered me through a woman that I hadn’t planned to talk to.

How does God do that? How did He get us two free-willed (right?) women next to each other so I could hear EXACTLY what I needed to hear that morning?

And how did He get Joseph to a position of power and authority in Egypt years after his brothers sold him into slavery?

How did Esther get away with going before King Xerxes without being summoned, when everybody knew that was punishable by death?  Not only was she not punished, the king offered her whatever she wished.  And she went on to save her people who were on the verge of destruction.

How is it that Jesus was born in little ole Bethlehem, just like Micah 5:2 foretold, even though his earthly parents lived in Nazareth?  He just happened to be born while Mary and Joseph were in their hometown for the census instituted by the (pagan) Roman emperor.

How does He work in everything for our good (even when we ourselves seem intent on our own destruction)?

And on, and on, and on.

How can God do that????

Because He’s God, and there’s no doubt about it.

White Sulfur Springs Conference Center in Pennsylvania

Thanks for stopping by,

Susan

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Hide-the-Word Wednesday: Enjoying the Ride

This summer each of our children received some money from their grandparents, to spend as they choose.  For the past few days, the youngest has been asking–very earnestly :)—to be taken to the store to buy some Legos (more Legos, that is).  Today, Daddy agreed to take him and so they’re on their way.  I didn’t go with them, but I have to imagine that their in-car conversation is about the amazing structures that Little Man is going to build, or perhaps the French fries he’d like to get on the way home.  Maybe he’s telling Daddy about his day.  Or he might be asking Daddy whether Legos existed when he was growing up.

I’m pretty confident that my son is not asking whether Daddy knows the way to the toy store.  Or how an internal combustion engine works.  He’s probably not checking to make sure that Daddy uses the turn signal, or pointing out cars that might be about to enter their lane.  He knows that Daddy knows the way, because he’s seen Daddy drive there before.  I’m pretty sure he’s just enjoying the ride.

You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?  😀  Our Lord knows the way!  He made the way.  HE IS THE WAY!  He’s not alarmed or dismayed by potholes or roadblocks.  He sees it all coming and He has a plan for where is taking us.  We have a capable pilot in command, and a tank full of gas.  We need only trust Him, and enjoy the ride.

How would life be different if we truly believed that God knows the way?

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Hide-the-Word Wednesday: Taking Notes

I can always find something to worry about. The usual things like money, whether my children will be safe.  When I run out of “real” things to worry about, I get creative and imagine things to worry about 20 years from now.

Why do I do this? God has an impeccable track record, as written in His Word and in my prayer journal. Yesterday I was flipping back through recent entries, where I’d asked for his help with a huge medical bill.

It’s been paid.

I prayed for direction about my oldest son’s school schedule for next year.

It’s been settled.

“Look at that!” I wrote in marvel. And I had to admonish myself. “COME ON!!!” I also wrote.  And “STOP,” in huge letters.  Like the song says, He’s never failed. And He won’t start now.

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:31

image credit: wikimedia

I do believe that one day, I will be able to say, “I used to worry a lot.”  What is your testimony?  What did you used to do, before you were transformed?

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Surprise!

Are you ever surprised when God answers your prayers? In the past several days, I have prayed for God’s direction on two specific questions. The answers did not come right away, but as some days passed, I believe that He showed me the answers that I sought on both issues. And I have to admit, I was surprised!  Then again, what did Jesus say about asking and seeking?

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

image credit: Creative Commons (Royal Palace of Madrid)

Has anything recently surprised you, but shouldn’t have?

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Hide-the-Word Wednesday: Big Prayers and a Big God

I don’t remember ever reading the book of Nehemiah before this year. But last month the sisters at She Reads Truth studied the book together, and our children’s church is also teaching from the book this month. I’ve really been blessed my introduction to this impressive account of what God will do through His people when they are bold and willing.

Nehemiah was heartbroken for his people—for their sin and its consequences. They were “in great distress and reproach,” and the wall that once surrounded and protected the city had been destroyed. So Nehemiah prayed a big prayer: that his boss (that is, the king of Persia), would allow him to return to Jerusalem and help his people rebuild the wall. Nehemiah 2:2 says he was afraid, but that didn’t stop him from not only requesting permission to go, but also asking for timber from the king’s forest for the wall’s gates.

And the king said yes! The powerful king did not share Nehemiah’s faith, but granted his request because “the good hand of God” was upon Nehemiah. So he returned to Jerusalem, where he faithfully and humbly led a monumental, multi-faceted project in the face of enemy threats and ridicule, as well as fear and strife within. Once the wall was complete and guards were assigned to their posts, Nehemiah led the people in an even bigger endeavor, repentance and reform. The people made a new covenant with God, and they did well for a while! Sadly, God’s people returned to some of their old ways (as we often do). But from beginning to the end of Nehemiah’s story, he is bold and consistent in prayer, confident that God will do great things.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Old Jerusalem Double Gate Between Davidson Center and Ophel, licensed under Creative Commons

Do you ever forget that we serve a big God who can do great things? What verses help you remember?

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