Tag Archives: trusting God

Daily Manna Gathering

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morning coffeeHad coffee with my friend, Katy.  While we shared the woes of mounting bills and diminishing funds, we talked about the daily manna or bread from heaven that the Isrealites were given in the desert. Katy reminded me that God opted for a daily provision. When the people tried to hoard enough for the week, or even for the next day, the food rotted. They didn’t like having to trust that God would come through for them tomorrow. I don’t like it either.

In fact, like the Israelites, I am often tempted to look back at “Egypt” and think it all looks pretty good in retrospect. Like the Egyptians, I sometimes find myself saying, “Yes, I was a slave, but I was a comfortable slave!”  I keep forgetting that God loves me too much to leave me in places where I have become too comfortable. And he loves me too much to let me remain a slave versus pushing me to embrace my own freedom.

Katy also reminded me that it is just as silly to look forward into the future and allow ourselves to get all amped up with anxiety.  She said, “Just lay out the bills and see which one is due today. Pay that one. For all you know, you’ll be dead tomorrow!”  She’s right. And then I will have spent my last day on earth worrying about a bill that I will never have to pay.

See…this is why we need honest friends. Thanks, Katy.

What’s got you?

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A few years ago I went rappelling. Can I just be honest and say that I was pretty much terrified?!  The first try was from the top of a climbing tower, only about 60 feet high, but the climb alone was freaking me out.  If not for the fact that I was supervising a group of middle and high schoolers, I might have chickened out, but my pride was on the line.  When it was my turn, the guide took me by the hands and said, “Okay, turn around and face me.” He turned me to face him with my back to the edge of the platform.

“Now walk backwards until you’re just standing on the edge with your toes.”

Was he SERIOUS? 

Charlie had been doing this for years. A modern-day mountain man, he was a little grizzled and rough around the edges, but he was gentle with the kids and with me. He was in his late 50s, and somehow the fact that he was NOT twenty-something was incredibly comforting at that moment.

“Charlie, I’m a mom.  I need to be alive after this for my kids, ok?”

Charlie laughed.  “Just keep your eyes on me, ok?  Trust me.  Now step back.”  He held my arms while I closed my eyes and then quickly opened them again because he said, “Keep looking at me!”  I inched backwards until I could feel my heels dangling off the ledge.  “Keep your eyes on me,” Charlie coaxed.

Fat chance I’m looking anywhere else!

“Now, just sit down.”

“Sit down? You mean…as in sitting?”

“That’s it, just squat down like you’re gonna sit in a chair. You’ll see.  The ropes and harness’ve gotcha!”  He had that wide-eyed smile of a father watching his kid learn to ride a bike.

“Ok, Charlie, if this thing doesn’t hold, I’m gonna haunt you in the after-life.”

Charlie grinned. “Just do it.”  I leaned back and squatted down, as though easing into a La-z-boy…and…amazing!  It really did feel like I was sitting in a chair.  The harness and ropes were dead secure.

Instantly, I lost all fear.  I looked up at Charlie in surprise, and he caught my expression.

“See? I told you. It’s got you. Now just push away from the wall and have fun flying down.”  And that’s exactly what I did.  It was exhilerating!  It was over in just a few seconds, but I could’ve done that all day.  When we graduated to scaling off a mountainside a couple days later, I felt like an old pro, “Pfffff, I got this!”  All because I knew that the ropes and the harness and the guys on belay had me secure.

That’s what trusting God is like.  It’s so scary to go out on a ledge, until you step off the edge and sit into your fear. Only then can you know the safe and strong arms that have “got you.”  I love that scene in Indiana Jones where Jones, in order to solve a riddle, realizes he must take a “leap of faith” off a monumentally scary cliff side.  He sees no alternative but to stick his foot off the edge and walk. When he takes that step, he is amazed to discover solid ground beneath him.  The bridge was there all the time, but it was disguised in such a way that he couldn’t see it until he was actually on top of it.  What a great image of trust.

Trust is a mysterious and powerful thing when we stake our lives on something–or Someone–worthy of our faith. My rappelling experience was only as secure as the equipment and the experience of those on belay, both of which proved to be reliable. There are trustworthy arms ready to catch and hold us.  But we will never know them until we step off the ledge.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

The Dancing God

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Dancing African Woman

© Torsius | Dreamstime.com

I have a few friends who are adopting children from Africa. Yes, not just one—a FEW friends who are adopting children in Africa! It’s been a wild and miraculous thing to watch no less than three families go through this process only to have all the pieces come together almost simultaneously.  One couple is in Uganda now with their new baby girl. Within days, the other two families head to Zambia together to unite with their adopted children.  It’s breathtaking.

As we’ve all joined in their excitement and prayed for them, I have been struck by one thing: Too often we pray as if we’re telling God something he didn’t consider.  Now, God, did you remember to pack the money they need?  Don’t forget the passports! What are we thinking?  Do we think God is going to smack himself on the forehead and say, “Doh!  I don’t know why I didn’t think of that!  Thank you for reminding me.”

I don’t think so.

God is way ahead of us. In an amazing book I recently edited (and can’t wait to see published so I can tell you about it), the authors highlighted the first verse of Genesis where God’s Spirit “hovers” over the formless void. When God creates, there is a dance taking place. God is moving, stirring, changing things…making something out of nothing..and delighting in the dance of creation.

My prayers have changed. Now I pray, “God, give me eyes to see the dance, and let me join in.”  I pray, knowing that the prayer is already answered.  I’ve given up those prayers that were an attempt to kick God into action. My prayers have turned from drudgery (after all—it’s quite a tall order to kick the God of the universe into doing my bidding) into joyful expectation.

Indian Dancers

© Jackq | Dreamstime.com

I don’t have to twist God’s arm. God’s arm is already moving, and He reaches his other arm to me, daring me to give it a whirl as He deftly guides me around the floor.

He creates the dance.  We just follow along, keeping up the best we can, laughing at our clumsiness, and giddy with excitement about where the next steps will lead.

Dancing children

© Jozef Sedmak | Dreamstime.com

As we enter into the high point of the Easter season, it seems appropriate to focus on the God whose choreography included the exquisitely graceful move of kneeling to wash the feet of his friends and his enemy. Who could have imagined a dance like that?

There is a beautiful dance going on in Africa right now, and my friends are spinning around the floor in pure joy.  I wish I could be there to see it!

Go! And know that God has already gone before you. God is creating new things—new dances. Get out on the floor and enjoy!

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)

Filled with Your Fancies

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© Simone Van Den Berg | Dreamstime.com

Ran across this Proverb the other day while working on the book I’m writing. This quote is the voice of “Lady Wisdom” lamenting the decided lack of interest in her offer to help us poor humans learn to live well.

Proverbs 1:29: “They would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke. Therefore, they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their fancies.”

Ooo…I don’t know about you, but the idea of being “filled to the full with my fancies”  sounds a little scary. Wisdom teaches us, doesn’t it, that we are sometimes the absolute worst at knowing what we really want or need. I don’t know about you, but I’m okay with depending on God to keep me on the right path. When you look back, don’t you see those times when God gave you exactly what you wanted, and you lived to regret it?  I can just imagine God shaking his head sometimes and saying, “Ok…if that’s what you want…but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” I’ve learned to listen a little closer, test the waters a little more carefully, trust my latest passion a little less, and move forward with a heart open to allowing God to make route corrections along the way.