I read them slowly from the cocoon of my sick bed, spoke them into the room as one might swipe at cobwebs. They are truth and I held them like a stop sign against the dark and renegade thoughts that traveled the neuropathways of my brain. The declaration offered hope and reassurance.
This I declare about the LORD; He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God and I trust him. – Psalm 91:2
He is my God and I trust Him!
Trust isn’t instant. It’s learned over time and through experience. Blind trust in God is sometimes called for in life but trust we have cultivated through experiencing Him is more personal; not easily shaken.
I learned to trust God with finances more deeply in my mid-twenties. I had three children and a precariously fragile marriage. One tense October Sunday morning my husband backed the car out of the driveway and headed in the direction of church.
Halfway down our block I irritatedly uttered: Would you please wait until I’m fully in the car before you start backing out? At the end of the block my husband wordlessly turned the car around, sped back to the house, pulled into our driveway and said flatly, “Get out! Get the kids and get out.”
In stunned silence I peeled three bewildered children from the back seat.
He didn’t come home that night.
Or the next.
It was four months of hand-to-mouth living before divorce proceedings were stopped. It was a season of divine provision.
They have a way of challenging our theology and reshaping our life’s essential meaning.
Some life disruptions can seem like the end of the world. They appear like a betrayal of God. They attack our spiritual equilibrium, confront our identity and uproot our sense of security.
The difficult months following that rainy morning thirty-five years ago became a canvas of grace, painted by the hand of God in vivid colors of loving faithfulness.
Through the grace of disruption I was given the privilege of renewed dependence upon God. I experienced His provision in very tangible ways and solidly experienced God as Jehovah Jireh–my provider.
I eventually remarried and though my financial position became more comfortable, other aspects of my relationship with and trust in God would be clarified.
Thirty-five years of life disruptions since have shaped my relationship with God, working a maturation and sanctification process in me.
That process continues.
I am prone to forget my vital need for utter dependence upon Him. I can unwittingly drift into the waters of pride and self-reliance.
We make plans and God laughs.
Those sentiments have no biblical basis but they remind me of James 4:13-16
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.
We sometimes slip behind the veil of parroted expressions of faith without realizing we’re really just robed in rhetoric. The familiar scriptures we quote, the one-liners we repeat from sermons and best sellers can lull us into believing we have a stronger dependence upon God than we actually do.
The Christianese we speak doesn’t always equal the caliber of our surrender to God or His Lordship in our lives.
My husband, along with two of our sons, recently received a blindsiding email that left us all standing like deer in the headlights. A family business decision separated them from their dreams and their jobs.
It looked like betrayal and felt like shame.
That email effectively wiped away the plans of a father and two sons to farm together. It redlined the identities of these men who had always been farmers.
It was a business decision made by brothers for the benefit of some, but not all.
It took days before the shock wore off–before we were able to identify the blindside as a tool in the hand of God.
It was God’s eraser to the drawing board of our carefully laid plans.
On the white board of God’s sovereignty we were reminded:
I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. — Jer. 29:11
Our plans had been abruptly disrupted.
His plan is still unknown to us.
Throughout the last year we had prayed fervently: Lord, this is our desire, this seems wise and prudent…we ask you for wisdom, direction and favor but above all, if this isn’t your plan, please close the door.
And He did. Though late in the process, it was definitely closed.
The reality of it all is slowly sinking in, especially for my husband whose been forced to prematurely walk away from a third generation farming operation he’s spent forty years growing. It’s all he’s ever know. And it’s a major blow to our sons who thought farming was their heritage and future as well.
As we pray for love and forgiving hearts, we thank God for His better plan and we voice our praise.
We would rather be caught in the scary unknown than with foolish confidence pursuing our own will.
We humbly and gladly echo the words of Jesus, Not my will but yours be done!
In the messy mingling of fear and faith, we are becoming more keenly aware of the privilege we have been given to be stripped of any vestige of independence from God–any reliance upon ourselves.
There is refuge and safety in none but God alone! He is our future, our hope. The grace of disruption can return us there.
(Author’s note: I share events in my life only to illustrate a point–not with the slightest intention to disparage anyone. My former husband is today a very humble and gracious follower of Christ. I have tremendous respect and admiration for both he and his wife. My husband’s brothers are also God-fearing men making difficult decisions. We love them and will continue to do so.)