Trusting God to Make a Way, When There Seems to Be No Way

I’ve always liked the Bible story about how God leads Samuel to Jesse’s house to find the next king for Israel. My favorite verse has been the one about how man looks at the outside appearance, but God looks at the heart.

As I was reading Everett’s “Jesus Storybook Bible” to him the other night, however, a completely different part of the story caught my attention. Isn’t it awesome when that happens?! Because it’s the living Word of God, there’s always something new, something to penetrate into our hearts. His Word is so powerful, even the children’s version can capture my attention in a whole new way!

Bible Story

This is the passage that got me:

Jesse showed Samuel his next oldest, tallest, strongest son. But God didn’t choose him either. In fact, God didn’t choose any of the seven sons.

Samuel said, “Is that all?”

Jesse laughed. “Oh, well, there’s the youngest one, but he’s just the weakling of the family, he’s only teeny — ”

“Bring him,” said Samuel.

Jesse’s youngest son came running up, and God spoke quietly to Samuel, “This is the one!”

My favorite part is when Samuel says, “Is that all?” What struck me about it was that God had led Samuel there, but then it looked as though there was some mistake. Samuel passed by all seven of the sons Jesse presented before him, and not one of them was the one God had chosen as king.

Samuel could have started questioning and doubting – was he at the right place? Had he heard God correctly? Was one of the seven sons really supposed to be the next king, but he had missed God’s voice, or misunderstood?

But he didn’t do that – instead, he asked Jesse if there were any more sons. He had faith that God had led him there, and one of Jesse’s sons was supposed to be king, so there must be another son somewhere.

I’ve thought about that a lot since reading it. Listening to God’s voice is such a tricky thing. There have been times when I felt as though He spoke to me, but it didn’t make sense, or it seemed impossible. I started to question what I heard, and tried to figure out, in my own small, very human way, how God was going to make the impossible work, and when I couldn’t see a solution, it was easy to feel doubt.

But the more God speaks, and the more He provides, the more my faith grows, so that even when things seem impossible, or don’t make sense, I’m starting to trust there will be a way. There’s another option not yet before me.

I want to be like Samuel, and have the assurance that something has yet to be revealed, rather than start to doubt, and think there’s been a mistake.

It reminds me of a great quote I once heard Andy Stanley share from his dad:

If I know God said it, I need to live like I believe it, and keep trusting that He’ll make a way. The hole will appear, another son will come forward, because somehow, the answer will become clear. God always provides.

It can be very unexpected, and look a lot different than what I might imagine, but He will be there, showing me a way through.

Been Thinking About Tantrums

As I sit here writing this, my sweet baby girl is in her crib, absolutely FREAKING out. I’ve never seen her like this. Her reason? I wouldn’t let her go into Natasha’s house, and I made her come inside our house because I needed to make supper.

You wouldn’t really think she has it in her, but she does. She’s a feisty one. And that’s a good thing, but it does have a down side, as I am hearing right now.

She comes by it honestly, as they say. I used to put on a good show when I was her age, I’ve been told. My sister always jokingly (?) said that it was really unfair that Anika was such a perfectly obedient child when she was little, because I needed payback for all that I put our parents through.

Now she doesn’t need to feel that way anymore, because Kaylia is doing her part to challenge my parenting skills.

I think I turned out okay, so I’m not too worried about Kaylia. And I’m looking forward to all of the positive stuff that comes with the determination and gumption that she is already displaying at such a young age. And when she’s happy, as she is almost all the time, she really is the sweetest little girl.

It’s kind of funny, because I listen to her screaming in her crib, and I realize that I still have “tantrums” – I’ve just learned to have them in a slightly more acceptable form. I have my mind set on what I think would be a good idea, and if it can’t happen, I get all grumpy and sulky about it, and I am in a bad mood about it until I can spend enough time alone to pray and work it out, to get to the point where I finally surrender everything to God, for the millionth time.

I go into Kaylia’s room to see if she’s ready to come out, and she screams “no” and jerks away from me, still lying there wailing in her crib.

And I do that, too, in a way. I know that God is always there, and He offers me all the peace and joy I could ever want, but it takes a little while until I’m ready to give up my way, and accept His.

Then finally, Kaylia’s crying calms down. She lies there listening to the stories Anika reads to her, and starts asking for milk. She lets me pick her up, and her face is all red, and her nose is runny. It takes her a little while to recover from her “episode”.

And I’m like that, too. I finally reach a point where my way doesn’t seem so important. My energy and emotions are spent, and I finally open up to God and let Him come in to soothe me. My emotions are a little shaky, and I’m a little embarrassed for taking so long to figure things out. But I’m back on the right track.

I think that David kind of had tantrums, too. There are some Psalms that definitely sound like tantrums. That doesn’t mean that it’s behavior to strive for,  but I do think it means that God can handle it.

My favorite part is that David prayed for a “steadfast heart.” I read once that it’s okay to have ups and downs in our relationship with God, but that we can all pray for a steadfast heart, like David did. And as we grow, we’ll steady out a bit, and not be on such an emotional rollercoaster, but rather move towards continual reliance and closeness to God, without as many deep, dark valleys – or maybe with more of an understanding that God is in the deep dark valleys, and then even those aren’t so bad.

Hmm, maybe tantrums can be my new reminder to pray for a steadfast heart, and a deeper knowledge of God’s presence in my valleys… Then I’ll actually want Kaylia to have them more often!

photo © 2010 carlo cravero | more info(via: Wylio)

Tourists

Yesterday was our big sight-seeing day. The whole time that we’ve been out here, we’ve stayed in Sebring, doing fun, “regular” types of things like swimming, eating, shopping and playing.

But Saturday was the day to head out on the road to see Florida. We talked about doing Disney, but we took Anika to Magic Kingdom the last time we were here, and we don’t want her to think that every time we come to visit my parents out here, she gets to go to Disney. Plus, there’s so much to see that costs a whole lot less than Disney does, so Ben planned out our route for the day.

We drove along the east coast, and stopped to see a lighthouse, went to Juno Beach and walked to the end of the pier, toured a 100-year-old mansion in Palm Beach, and ended our full, busy day by having supper at Jill and David’s house in Fort Lauderdale!

So, here are the details on our stops:

We had a two hour drive to get to our first location, and it was fun just to see different scenery. Cows grazing among palm trees is not something we see very often:

Our first stop was a little bit of a disappointment. The lighthouse was supposed to be this really neat, old place to see, and Anika was all excited about climbing to the top, but this is as close as we got:

It was closed for painting, which was really too bad, but it meant more time for the beach!

We drove to Juno Beach, and it was amazing. Last time we were out here, we went to Coco Beach, which also has a pier, but you have to pay to walk to the end of it. And our response was, “What?! As if we’re paying just to walk to the end of a pier!” But as we were heading home, I realized that my one regret for the whole trip was that I hadn’t walked out to the end of the pier. What’s a couple bulks compared to walking out into the middle of blue sky and blue ocean and sunshine, and feeling all surrounded by wonderfulness?

So this time, we had our cash ready, and we made up for last time! And it was beautiful. It kind of stank like fish, but other than that, it was perfect!

I took many, many…many pictures at the beach, so I’ll sort through those, and maybe post the rest of them tomorrow.

After that, we drove to Palm Beach – such a fun drive!

Anika’s really into mansions lately – it comes from all the books she’s been reading. The other day, we drove by a really big house, and she eagerly asked if it was a mansion. She was very disappointed when we said no, not really. She sighed this big, dramatic sigh, and said, “I’m longing to live in a mansion when I’m older. I’ve been searching for one all my life.” 

While we’re somewhat concerned about this materialistic obsession, we thought she’d love to see this old mansion museum – it would help her to picture stuff that she’s reading about. And she did love it.

They say you need two hours for touring it, but with 2 kids, and 2 adults tired out from an afternoon at the beach, we found that cruising through it in half an hour was just about right!

And then we drove to Jill and David’s house. It was so good, and we were so glad we went! Our time together was not nearly long enough, so we’ll just continue it the next time we come out here!

Jill has worked on summer staff at Red Rock for a few years, and she and David just got married in September. We had met him, but hadn’t really spent any time with him. But it took about 2 seconds to feel comfortable and at home at their place. The first thing I heard when I walked into the house was him calling to Jill from the kitchen, “If I was a colinder, where would I be?” And that is exactly the kind of thing that Ben would say to me.

Jill has always been so great with little kids, and Anika was very excited to see her again. David proved himself to be just as good with our girls, and it took a very short time for them to warm up to a new situation, and start zipping around the house.

After supper, we played some Dutch Blitz, and then much too soon, we had to start our 2 1/2 hour drive home.

It was such a good, fun, full day. We could easily have spent much more time at each place we went, but I guess that’s okay, because it’s always best to quit while everyone’s still having fun, right?! And we’re really hoping that there will be a “next time” sometime soon, because now we know what kinds of things we love to do out here!

Looking forward to getting some beach pictures up next!