God has a plan and will set you on the path He intended from your creation.
Today is our 41st wedding anniversary…forty-one years jam-packed with testimonies–freeways, rocky roads, and country lanes. A scroll full of ‘em!
God assigns the lane we’re to run this life’s race—and that lane is sometimes on the freeway or a country lane, but often it’s a narrow, rocky, dark road.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;…” Hebrews 12:1-2a NAS
This morning Richard and I reflected how God’s hand has directed and disciplined—comforted and corrected—loved and forgiven us all these years. The lanes we were assigned to run in have tracked along freeways of success, rattled along rough, rocky roads, and plunged us into dark valleys of despair—but God led us all the way.
With two kids in college, Richard’s company downsized, and he drew the short straw. The mother of one of my fifth graders in the Sunday School class I taught told me her son prayed, “Dear God, please don’t let Mr. Gates go without a pay check.” Nothing like the simplicity of a ten-year-old to go right before the Throne of God with his child-like faith. But isn’t that what God tells us to do?
“You have not because you ask not…ask and you shall receive…” James 4:2b and Matthew 21:22
Gregory asked and God answered! Not only did we receive severance pay, Richard was immediately employed by another company, and we had two pay checks for a spell! And God taught not only us but rewarded the faith of that tender ten-year old with a David-sized-faith.
What we deemed tragedy, God worked for our good and His glory—just like He promises.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Sixteen years ago, our lives took a sharp detour into the death’s dark valley—the sudden loss of our twenty-eight-year old daughter. And despair became my M.O. for months…a year…then two. But God hemmed me into this very dark, narrow lane where life slowed to a crawl. A lane where I couldn’t run ahead of or away from Him. I had to follow while He led the way. A lane where I had to be quiet and listen and weep.
During those years God showed me a verse in His word I probably would never have paid much attention to amidst all my why-whimpers.
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
Yes, God keeps secrets. Secrets we can’t begin to comprehend. Being the ultimate Father, He doesn’t burden us with things beyond our understanding. And I learned another lesson—I must trust…completely trust Him…especially when trust hurts and there’s no end in sight.
Oh, I could tell you how He rescued me from my own stupidity and an empty gas tank late one night on Alligator Alley. Those of you who know of the dangers of Alligator Alley are gasping, I’m sure.
This two-lane highway runs across the State of Florida…right through the Everglades. Yes, ma’am, a big ole’ swamp. Full of every kind-a-getcha known to man, the two-legged and four-legged kind. And after the sun goes down, it’s dark. Very. Very. Dark. But alive with creepy, scary sounds in the night. I spent several hours that night, in a dark car parked on the side of this frightening wilderness, confessing every sin I’d ever committed and promised God if He saved me, I would follow Him all the days of my life.
I’ll never know ‘til I see Him—another one of those secret things—but, the couple who rescued me gave me their business card…said he was a paving contractor…gave the address and phone number, and took me to his business to get gas. I even called my husband on his office phone. But the next morning when my husband called to thank him for saving his less-than-bright wife…there had never been a phone number, address, or company by that name in Naples, Florida. Hmm.
Angels? I don’t know…but God says “Nothing is impossible with Him.” Luke 1:37
Can I get a witness from those of you who’ve learned that lesson first hand?
Yes, Dick and I have driven, sprinted, and walked along life’s freeways, rocky roads, country lanes and everything in between. We’ve accumulated a long, long, long list of remembrances…Testimonies…of God’s faithfulness to love, care, discipline, and protect those who trust and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ through this short life and into His soon-to-come Kingdom!
He is faithful. He will never leave you or forsake you. That’s a promise!
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:5-6 and 11
To those of you trudging through dark valleys, will you cling to Jesus? Will you trust only in Him?