Well. Now that you have the facts here in Part One – I have to ponder a bit.
Did you know that living on Faith is not fun? I don’t care what the people on stage in dry cleaned suits and dresses tell you – Having Faith – Living on Faith – isn’t a fun time.
I love the question from Beth Moore – “Do you believe in God? Or do you Believe God?” It was a challenge to change for me in back in 1995/1996. I had trusted that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah that the Old Testament points towards. I trusted that he is the the son of God. And that he Died and rose on the 3rd day – according to the scriptures. I believed that the faith In His Name – in the name of Jesus Christ would cleanse me from my sins. Lead me to righteousness, allow me to receive the promised comforter, the Holy Spirit, allow me to understand scriptures, and most importantly, allow me to have close relationship with God.
Yea for me. But my life, since I was about 17 years old – maybe before – was led in the category – of “What does Angie want to do today?” What job did I want to go after. What product did I want to purchase. What activity did I want to enjoy. Freedom in Christ for me – was twisted into the American Dream of Freedom to live as selfishly as I desired. In all areas of my life.
Through Bible Studies in the late 90’s and a few well placed mentors – I realized how little my life was my own. I began to walk in faith – no longer being in control – waiting on His Timing – wasn’t the joy ride I thought it would be.
This really pertained to our finances. I have tried working for pay since we’ve had children – and the Lord just flat out does not bless that time. My job is my home. My husband and children. He’s made that pretty clear to me. Any time I try to ‘help him out’ to make a bit more money – well, it just isn’t good.
Which leads us to the last four years of transportation. It’s one thing to not have a car. but not having reliable transportation in a small town – everything is 45 miles away. We’ve had family pass away, get sick, get injured and move across country. Can we help? Can we go? No. We’ve had fun events, great events, can we go? No.
You start to wrestle with God’s Sovereignty. Start to contemplate Job. Start to wonder how much of this is the Enemy – pushing in – keeping us from the ‘good’.
You start to cling to the verses where Christ has over come, where God has a plan, where he wants what is good and perfect for us. We start stand, or kneel, or lay prostrate, and say – I just don’t know what to do - and God says – I gotcha where I wantcha, now I’m goin’ta show you something.
And it is a bit creepy like those late night monkey in the closet eating the banana moments. You know there will be a punch line, but in the middle of the night by a fire, with flashlights – the story seems more like a camper’s drama delight than God being in control.
The line between resting and working and faith. Between letting him show his redemptive power.
Each time we get to the part in the story – where God shows what he’s been up to – and we can see behind us with eyes wide open – 20/20 hindsight – we wonder why we ever spent one night in worry wart begging prayer. The way he chooses to fit the puzzle pieces together are so amazing that one can only say – By the Grace of God and never By the Planning and Hard Work of Angie.
Each time the end comes – I am left speechless. Feeling guilty for waiting so impatiently. Wondering if my flesh is worthy of his mercy and forgiveness. Wondering when I’ll be that beautiful saint that smiles knowingly when circumstances swing way beyond worldly expectations.
And this time? This redemption of not only the car –but the Coffee Pot – came from unlikely source. A girl. Broken and wounded. Still fighting, and standing strong – but in a whirlwind of aweful events outside of her control. A girl that we should be ministering to. We should be giving to. We should be literally holding. And the gifts came from her. God told her to give. Told her to be obedient. He met my need through her brokenness. Why? Why does my redemptive story have to come through her incredible pain? The moment comes. And she lets go. And I have a choice to take. Every fiber of my body said NO! I Can’t. There has to be another way. A way we can work to get this done. It can’t be a gift. It can’t be free. It can’t be more than we expected. It can’t be more than we imagined. There needs to be Something. Wrong. Something. Less than.
I think I have PTSD of Car Noises after 4 years of living with broken cars. I can tell you one thing for sure – each time I turn over the engine or start a cup of joe – many prayers of thankfulness and protection will be uttered for my new friend.
But how is this any different from Salvation? From the Gospel? From the Word?
I know of many people who know the Good News. Yet – are unable to accept it. Unable to take that free gift. It’s there. God brings examples of his people, loving, forgiving, to their door daily – and they do not think the gift is for them.
I did not feel worthy of receiving this car – I wonder how many do not feel worthy of receiving FREE grace. Free mercy. Abundant Salvation and Love? Thinking someone else needs it more, would be a better match?
I had a hard time receiving from this friend who needs so much – and I was pondering – how many people have grown up thinking they knew God. Knew of Christ. Have drawn their line in the sand to say – He can’t help me – to find out that yes, you do need to reach out. As I’ve gotten to know this friend over the weeks – I am in awe. She is a warrior. A survivor. Not a victim. Not Bitter. She’s being healed. She’s moving forward. So much I can learn from her. What if I had not accepted her gift?
And now – having driven the car – and my husband and boys admiring how comfortable and full of special details it is – my thankfulnesss – I’m just not sure how to form it into words? Just. So. Thankful.
And that’s how I always feel after obedience. It’s often a hard first step – but I am always glad I do. Each time I step out in faith – makes the next step more sure.
And we are headed out into the next four years with my boys. And I am walking in faith that He will lead them, guide them, show them what we are to learn, put the mentors in our paths, put the books in our vision, make the internships available, have the plan for higher education when needed.
And I sit back. Climb up on the hill. Sit on my haunches. Quiet. Scanning the horizon. And wait to see what the Lord is up to next.