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Life is a faith walk.
Sometimes, my faith is oh-so-small.
Small enough that my tendency is to wait to write about things, to see how they’re going to turn out. I don’t want to write about something if it won’t “turn out well”, although precisely what “turn out well” means is a bit of a mystery, anyway. Who determines whether or not something “turns out well”? Me? My eyes? I suppose that’s the way I tend to look at things.
But anyway, I often wait to see what the outcome will be, in order to have, at least, a more complete tale to tell, should I decide to sit down and write about it.
But I feel like God has put some pieces together for me this morning, and even though I don’t know how things will turn out, I feel like I’m supposed to share a part of my faith-walk journey. Because life is full of “faith-walking”. Rare is the completed story we get to tell. And it’s perhaps in the “I don’t know how this is going to turn out yet” place that most of us find ourselves, on most days. And so, maybe if I share my what I think I’m hearing my Good Shepherd say to me, it might speak to you, too, in your circumstances.
I’ve been re-reading a book I read a few years ago called, “Why Pray?” by John F. DeVries. It’s divided up into 40 readings, each a complete thought on its own, yet still a connected thought to the previous readings. Easy enough to read one reading in a few minutes, and then have time to meditate on those words, time where you can allow YOUR Good Shepherd to speak to your heart about your life.
So, one of the most powerful little stories he shares involves his little grandson, Andrew, when he was 6 years old. He tells the story of how Andrew went to his other grandfather’s dairy farm, for a week. He tells how Andrew’s other grandparents praised him for the HUGE help he had been to them when he’d stayed with them on the farm, and how they couldn’t wait for him to come back again. They were getting by – but only just – and to come back for another visit as soon as he could.
DeVries goes on to say that Andrew took their praise so seriously that at his Sunday school class, he asked his classmates to pray for his grandparents, who were STRUGGLING to make their dairy farm survive without his help. And that while this made DeVries – and us – chuckle over the little guy’s inflated sense of his own importance, that really, aren’t we, at times, so very much like Andrew, in our own lives?
We think WE’RE the ones driving the “tractor of our lives”, when actually our divine Father in heaven only invited us up in His lap to ride around. He then invites us to put our hand on the wheel, but, in fact, He’s the one steering the tractor. It’s His Tractor. It’s His Farm. He delights to have us on His lap. Our companionship and trust in Him are His very great joy. But He doesn’t need our assistance, or counsel.
So because I struggle with an inflated sense of self-importance and responsibility, (and maybe you do, too) this story keeps playing in my head over, and over again.
See…I’ve had a series of events occur lately that have caused me to just shake my head in wonder over what God might be doing in my life. I don’t know how all these things are going to turn out. I don’t know exactly *what* God is doing through them, or through me.
But if I start my day in prayer, submitting my will to His, inviting His Spirit to be in control of my life, I can know that I am yoked to Him, and thus, will stay in step with Him. Jesus says that that’s where we find rest.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
A yoke is what you strap onto an ox to work. But Jesus says that when we’re yoked to Him, that that’s where we find rest. In our work is where we find rest? How can that be? Because in our work with Him, He’s doing the heavy pulling (what we sometimes call the “heavy lifting”).
So, in hindsight, over the last month, since and including the BAM conference, I’ve had what seems to me like a series of amazing experiences and events occur. One of them was having a piece I wrote published on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. They are not experiences for which I can take full credit. They’re more like the kind of things where I sit back and wonder what in the world is going on. And I don’t know the answers yet.
I wrote down these events and circumstances this morning during my quiet time, just to try to wrap my brain around them a little bit. I listed them out, one by one, in order to submit them to God – to ask Him about them. To see if I could detect direction in them. To tell Him that, yes, I have noticed that there are some remarkable things going on. Not that everything in my life is peachy right now. It’s not. I’m struggling mightily in some key areas: health and finances.
But I remind myself that what brings Him the most pleasure is when I come to Him as a little child. A child is full of needs that he is unable to meet himself. But the child knows the One who CAN fill those needs. So, I bring to Him my needs, and however flawed, my trust. And I say, “Lord, I believe! Now help my unbelief!”.
And I ask for Him, as I raise my sail, to fill it with His breath. To take me where He wants to take me. To use me as He wants to use me.
To go back to the original metaphor of these words, to help me to trust Him to drive the tractor, and take us exactly where we need to go.
And today, I look back, with wonder and amazement, over the places He’s taken me recently. Immeasurably more than all I asked for, or even imagined.
And may these things, where I believe I’ve seen His hand at work, may they inspire me to greater trust in the areas that seem devoid of hope.
Are there circumstances in your life that weigh you down? The feeling of being the one responsible for making things happen can be a terrible burden to bear alone.
My prayer for you, dear friend, is that you would bring your circumstances, be they “good”, or the ones that drive you to despair – that you would bring them to the One who longs for you to climb up in His lap, and go for a ride this day. Bring them to Him, and ask Him to speak to you, in the midst of “not knowing how things will turn out”.
Trust the One who is actually in control, of all things. Take His yoke upon you, and find rest.
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