Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
When the children were little, each one was carefully instructed in what to do if they were ever separated from me. The first thing I taught them was the information to identify themselves and their parents to tell an adult. The second was to stay exactly where they were the moment they realized that that they were lost. Don’t move. Then they were to begin calling me as loudly and possible. If someone else touched them, they were to yell and shout “you are not my mom” or “you are not my dad” and fight with all of their might to gain the attention of others. This was our disaster plan. With five children, it was absolutely necessary to be sure that I did not lose tract of anyone. The poor Dillard’s clerk was the first to test our emergency plan when she thought my son was separated from his mother. She grabbed hold of his arm to stop his wandering and it began yelling and screaming at the top of his lungs. She was traumatized. He was quite proud of his survival techniques. We all lose our way. It doesn’t mean that we wander off or even leave our walk with the Lord. There are just sometimes when faith does not illuminate the way far enough ahead for our human comfort and so it threatens our confidence in the Lord.
What should we do when the way of God is not as clear as it used to be? What is the next step when I don’t understand His Way? How can I trust a God I cannot see, feel or touch and follow His Way completely in the dark? Think about our friend, Peter who as he ventured out on the water was confident in Jesus. When the wind and waves kicked in, suddenly he could see his next footstep “on top of the water” very well so what did he do? He panicked. What did Jesus do? He caught him. The Lord promises to do that for righteous people. (Prov. 24:16) It says that as the Heavens are higher than the earth so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. There will be days that I just don’t understand what God is doing or how He is doing it or if He is STILL doing it. He is.
I Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT) As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.
When I read this verse today, I said, “God that’s me today. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point.” What do we do as believers on those days when every step before today added up to this moment? When we have a promise, but in each step it seems further away? When every natural condition defies God’s Word, Promise or Plan as we know it? Then what? I am here today. I seem to have lost my way.
Luke 21:19 (NLT) By standing firm, you will win your souls.
Standing firm. We must stand on the Word of God. His Promise for our life. His Word that He has spoken to us. The Plan that He prepared for us. Even when our natural life does not add up to the supernatural mandate that the Lord has inspired us to receive. God always gives us a promise. Always. He gives us His Word. Always. He instructs us by His Spirit. Always. He empowers us with everything we need to stand firm and endure to the end. We are fully equipped. We also have a free will powered by a reprobate mind that would rather give up on God and have immediate gratification – I don’t care how saved and sanctified that you think you are.
When we reach the end of our own understanding, this is the beginning of faith and trust. We must come to the end of ourselves. Some call it the realm of hope. I usually long to hear the word “impossible” or “forever” because this is where the ruler of this world tries to overstep his boundaries and enter God’s Sacred Territory of complete sovereignty and wrestle away the authority and power that He bestowed Jesus when He beat death and the grave. But just before I get there – I run out of “me” power. My optimism is gone. My enthusiasm wanes. My patience begin to run out. I am running on reserve power rather than maximum potential. I feel weak and weary. What do I do here? I must stand. Just as I told my children to stand in the place where they lost their way – God is reminding me to do the same thing today. The place where He led me until I lost sight of Him. Stand on the Promise. Stand on faith. Trust Him. See if I lose sight of my child, I am going to retrace my footsteps to find them. God never loses sight of us. He keeps us in His Hand. He also goes before us preparing the way of that thing He has promised. He has not left us at all. He is simply perfecting that which concerns me (Ps. 138:8) and working every detail for my good. (Romans 8:28)
I John 5:18-21 (NLT) We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.
This is what we know for sure. I am a Child of God. Nobody can snatch me from His Hand or take me from His Love. I have a very real and ruthless enemy. Jesus has come and before He left the Lord gave me something vital. He gave me His Spirit. His Spirit is my understanding about a God I cannot see and Savior who I cannot touch. He confirms in me the Word that I read and digest each day. The Word of God contains the Bread of Life that feeds and strengthens my spirit man to engage in the battle for my mind, will and emotions each day. I must rely on what I know about God to trust Him. I must keep anything else from taking God’s Place in my heart, soul and mind. God is the Source of my hope that makes faith possible. (Romans 15:13)
But wait there’s more…
Hebrews 6:17-19 (NLT) God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
God meant exactly what He said to you, confirmed in His Word and confided in His Spirit. If all three agree, it is a title deed to what we cannot see but know belongs to us. It is with this in mind that hope becomes the anchor that keeps us in place during those times that we do not understand and begin to lose heart. God holds us in that place. It is during such times that we must “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His Promise.” (Hebrews 10:23) Time to put our money where our mouth is so to speak. If you trust God, it is time to show it. Trust keeps you hoping when you have no reason to and standing on faith without anything to show for it. It is called endurance. Only those who endure to the end will be saved. “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36) Ugh! This is not easy…but He promises us today that it will be worth every drop of sweat on your brow, your weak knees, and your broken heart as we lift tired hands to praise the Living God while we wait and cannot see the next step before us.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
During chemo treatments, my son would often just drift off to sleep. The infusion room was a flurry of activity with nurses rushing back and forth, monitors beeping, alarms sounding, televisions blaring in each little cubicle made of curtains. Yet, he would be sound asleep. I used to wonder how in the world this child could just conk out like that when most people would be completely unnerved by all the distractions, not to mention, bags of poison being pumped in his body time and time again. Yet, he was completely peacefully sleeping. Why? He trusted the doctors who cared for him. The nurses became his friends. He knew that I was sitting right next to him watching every move and asking endless questions to understand. From the beginning, our son trusted God to save his life. He believed that the Lord was in control so he did not worry about the details and people around him. He just endured. This allowed him to sail through four rounds of chemotherapy in that room without any apprehension or fear just peace that allowed him to sleep. I remember time and time again thinking God this must be perfect peace.
Ephesians 3:16-21 (NLT) I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Sitting in this chair today thinking about the “things” I find perplexing, I still don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Heck, I don’t know what will happen in the next ten minutes for that matter. I cannot understand how our family arrived in this place at this moment or where the Lord is leading us from here. All I know is that here is the last place I found Him before I became lost. Lost in my feelings. Lost in the moment. Lost in the pain. Lost in the confusion. Lost in the wait. Here I will wait because at the end of the day – I trust the Lord. My understanding has led me to places I didn’t want to go. My way is a dead-end. In His Presence I do find peace. He is there waiting for me every time I come. He doesn’t always tell me what is next but He promises that He is already there. I’m really not lost just waiting. Thank you Lord.
If you are lost like me today, I pray that from His Glorious and Unlimited Resources that the Lord will empower you with inner strength. His Grace is enough and weakness allows His Power to work in us and through us. May Christ gain more real estate in our hearts today as we learn to trust Him more and let our faith grow just a little more. Lord, give us another glimpse of the vast capacity of your Amazing Love for us. Your Love is too great to fully comprehend or completely understand. Thank you for your ability God to accomplish infinitely more than we could think or ask. Maybe that’s the reason the wait is so long and the road so narrow. Your promises are always larger in hindsight than in our approach. I surrender my life, my way and my will to your process of completion. You have made a way for me and I intend to find it.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NLT) May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.