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.
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.
Thanks for stopping by,