Saturday, January 30, 2016

If. Trust. Forward.

If you believe that I am sovereign over every aspect of your life, it is possible to trust Me in all situations…..Trust is like a staff you can lean on, as you journey uphill with Me.  If you are trusting in Me consistently, the staff will bear as much of your weight as needed.  Lean on, trust, and be confident in Me with all your heart and mind”
~Jesus Calling (January 24th)

“So Moses took his wife and sons and put them on a donkey for the return trip to Egypt.  He had a firm grip on the staff of God.”
~Exodus 4:20 (MSG)

“Then make the seven lamps for the lampstand, and set them so they reflect their light forward.”
~Exodus 25:37 (NLT)

If.  Trust.  Forward.  Three powerful words that when looked at individually may not seem like such a big deal, but combined, they cause me to shudder with the weight of the meaning behind them. 

I have been struggling in a season of silence with God.  I’ve been seeking Him, digging into His Word, serving His people….and I have experienced great joy in it all.  Every situation has made me smile and has caused my heart to understand the difference between happiness and joy…a joy that comes from Him.  And the blessings I have experienced have been phenomenal.  But in the midst of it all, it has felt like God has been silent.  The reverberating sound of my own voice has been deafening to my heart.  In the past I have walked closely with God, heard His whisper in my heart, and have experienced sweet, divine moments with Him.  And with this silence, I miss Him; I miss what I once had.  But maybe in this season, He is working on some deep crevices in my heart where I need to learn to simply trust Him.  Or maybe… I need to stop looking backwards and start looking forward to His light and step out with a deeper faith I’ve not yet encountered.

I’ve been battling the “ifs”.  If only I had done this.  If only I had said this.  What if I made a different choice, a different decision?  These “ifs” have caused me to remain rooted in the past.  I’ve been fixated on what once was, not what could be if I let go and trust.  I’ve been stuck on my dreams and desires and my timeline, and I’ve become frustrated with God not acting the way I think He should.  But then that makes me god….and I am not!  If only He had done such and such.  If only this dream happened in this way.  If only my dreams were fulfilled.  Maybe that’s why God has been silent.  I’ve been placing myself before Him and doubting His sovereignty and His goodness and His plans.  Who am I to question God’s ways?  He is the author and Creator of life and of me, so who am I to question the Creator?

These “if only’s” have caused me to remain focused on the past and on myself.  What would happen if I changed that “if only” to “what if”?  Would the focus turn to Him?  Would I learn to trust Him and His ways, timing and plans? 

What if I choose trust instead of doubt?
What if I choose obedience instead of stubbornness?
What if I see a person in need, whether it be circumstances, financial or a heart-need….what if I step out and talk to them or help fill that need?
What if I look for ways to encourage others?
What if I pen the words He has given me?
What if I open my home up to foster children?

These “what ifs”, they change the focus from inward-selfishness, to other-mindedness….to God’s people, to Him.  What happens when the focus shifts to His Kingdom and His people?  Isn’t this where His glory has a chance to shine? 

God asked Moses to go back to Egypt so that He could release His people from captivity.  What if Moses was so preoccupied on his past (I mean he did flee Egypt because he killed someone) that he didn’t stop long enough to examine the burning bush?  It was in that moment when he stopped to take a closer look at a burning bush that wasn’t being fully consumed by fire, which God spoke to Moses resulting in the freedom of His people from slavery.  What moments might I encounter if I stop focusing on the past and start living each day, each moment with His light before me? 

The lampstand was a light that served as a guide for the children of Israel during the Exodus and it only lit the path before them, not the path behind them.  This can serve as a reminder for my own heart that His light shines forward in my life, not in the past, and that maybe it is time to step forward towards that light.  This will require leaning heavily on His staff, trusting Him, not the things of this world I see before me.  But if Moses can be example to me, he had a firm grip on the staff of God as he began the journey God called him to.

So maybe I need to grasp firmly to His staff, lean in and choose to trust Him, and then take that first step towards His light before me and begin a journey of “what if” with God. 

What if I live a life fully surrendered to Him?  If I choose to trust Him and move forward in His light each day, what will happen?

“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.  Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say:  Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”
Isaiah 58:8-10