middle

It is the middle of the week and this post is my response to the writing prompt, “Middle,” provided last week by Kate Motaung, the host of the writing community, Five Minute Friday. It is too late for that writing episode and the post took more than five minutes to write, so I will share it here only. 🙂

Middle.
It can refer to time, as in –
the middle of the morning,
the middle of the afternoon,
the middle of the night
or the middle of the day.
It can also refer to position, as in –
being the middle child in a birth order,
being in the middle seat of a row,
or in the middle of a queue.

Sometimes it is easy to know when we are in the middle simply by taking stock of what is behind us and what lies ahead. For example, if I have the goal of writing 500 words a day, I am at the midpoint when I have written word number 250. (Yes, I may edit out most of it later, but that is not the point right now.)

Similarly, we can identify if we are in the middle by using standards or measurements external to ourselves. For example, what our culture defines as middle aged.

But sometimes we do not know we were in the middle until we have fully passed through a season. It is upon looking back that we can tell when we were in the middle.

It can be challenging. This not knowing exactly where we are in the process.

This is where trust becomes a necessity. Trust that God knows exactly where we are and will guide us through each stage in our journey, including the middle.

31 Days of Loving Well: Trust

“Those who trust in their own reasoning are fools, but those who walk in wisdom will be kept safe.” (Proverbs 28:26, CEB)

“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” (Proverbs 3:5-6, AMP)

“Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness. Commit your way to the Lord; Trust in Him also and He will do it. He will make your righteousness [your pursuit of right standing with God] like the light, And your judgment like [the shining of] the noonday [sun].” (Psalm 37:3, 5-6, AMP)

“O Lord of hosts, How blessed and greatly favored is the man who trusts in You [believing in You, relying on You, and committing himself to You with confident hope and expectation].” (Psalm 84:12, AMP)

“Those who trust in and rely on the Lord [with confident expectation] Are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but remains forever.” (Psalm 125:1, AMP)

“And those who know Your name [who have experienced Your precious mercy] will put their confident trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not abandoned those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10, AMP)

//God is trustworthy. He has always been trustworthy and always will be trustworthy. If anyone walked up to me at anytime and asked, “Can God be trusted?” I would answer without hesitation and unequivocally, “Of course He can be trusted. He can be trusted completely.”

And yet there have been times when my trust in Him has wavered, weakened. And I acknowledge that has nothing to do with my Father; my lack of trust or weakened trust has to do with me. My uncertainty that although He can do the impossible, that thing that I am longing for, I am not sure that He will.

And there have been times when He has not answered my prayers they way I wanted Him to. Like when two of my sisters died within a few years of each other. Even after we had prayed in faith and believed.

But I am learning to know my Father better. Learning more of His character. Learning that no matter how much I know, I will always know in part. But finding it to be true that those who know Him will trust Him.//

And to know Him is to love Him and rest in His love and in His good plan for me.  Every time I choose to trust Him even when I do not understand, I am loving Him well.

This post was written for Day 5 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Trust.” To read other posts in the series, please click here or the image below. 

Loving well

Musings

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite psalms in the Bible. Verses 1-18 and 23-24 to be specific. When I read these verses I feel pulled, invited, drawn to slow down, to sit for a while with the truth in each one. Sometimes when I read, my sojourn in one verse is such that I do not get through the entire psalm in one sitting.

Recently, I was invited to read verses 1-16 and utilize a practice which includes several steps. For brevity’s sake, I will list only the first 3: (1) while reading, form the words with my lips or speak them audibly; (2) put my Bible aside and write the words and phrases which come to mind; and (3) reflect on what the words or phrases mean.

As I engaged in the practice, one of the phrases which held me fast was in verse 13, “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” These words spoke then and continue to speak to me of God’s intimate involvement in my life.

When I envision His knitting process, the type of knitting done via commercial machines is not what comes to mind.

Rather, the knitting process which comes to mind is that in which both the yarn and the needle are held in the hands of the knitter until the desired, planned, creation is complete.

The knitter, in this instance, our loving heavenly Father, knits according to a pattern, choosing what to include and what to leave out. Strengths. Gifts. Fragilities and vulnerabilities. Yes, even these are part of His design. He is not careless in His knitting process. Nor random or capricious in His choices.

And I think of Corrie ten Boom’s wonderful poem, known both as “Life is but a weaving” and “The Tapestry Poem.”

“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”

I muse on all this and see how these truths encourage self-acceptance and, more importantly, trust in the One Who does all things well.

Monday Vitamins: One day you will know

Jesus, had made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, once again fulfilling what was prophesied of Him. Now here He was, the King of kings, performing the task reserved for the lowliest of servants.

https://i2.wp.com/www.turnbacktogod.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Jesus-washing-feet-12.jpgPhoto Credit

Peter, not understanding the purpose of Jesus’ actions, resists Him initially. Like Peter, sometimes we resist what He wants to do or is doing in our lives because we do not understand His purpose. His response to Peter has meaning for us also, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” (John 13:7). We can trust whatever He does in our lives, for whatever He does or allows is with a purpose and always for our good. We will not always understand but we must always trust Him. One day, whether on this earth or in eternity, He will make all things clear.

Monday Vitamins: Those who know, trust

“Those who know, trust”

I am with you always
The Eternal, Always-Existed One Has promised
Sometimes I stretch full out on His words
Like a home on its foundation
Pull them up like a blanket
To keep the chill of the unknown at bay

At other times I inspect the words
As if He has  a reputation for being untrustworthy
Testing them like Mr. Beaver in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” tested the ice of the frozen lake before trusting his weight to it

But He is the unchanging one
And the distrust I sometimes feel is baseless, residual
An inheritance
As Ann Voskamp notes
From the first ones created
Who heard a question and believed a lie

So I reach for the antidote
Bottled in Psalm 9:10
“Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.”

Your Name embodies Who You are
Personal, intimate, growing knowledge of You is the antidote to distrust
Seeking to know You intimately must be my primary pursuit
For those who know, trust

Sister of the widow of Zarephath

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The book of I Kings, chapter 17, verses 8 to 24, document the story of the widow of Zarephath, Elijah and the God of Elijah. God clearly told Elijah, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” So, the meeting between the widow and Elijah was a divine appointment; the challenge for this woman was, God and Elijah knew of the divine appointment but she did not.

A person could be excused and forgiven for thinking, “If God is going to involve someone (me) in His divine plan, He could at least give that person (me) a “heads up.” We (I) can be excused and forgiven for thinking in this way but the truth is, He is sovereign, and owes us(me) no “heads up,” no explanation for anything. That being said, the fact is, God did give her a “heads-up.” And here in lies Challenge # 2 – the notice did not come in the manner the word of God likely came through His prophets in those days. For example, Elijah saying something like, “Hear, O widow of Zarephath. The Lord has sent me to dwell here and has commanded you to provide for me.” (Another lesson – God is unchanging in His character but how He chooses to execute His plan can vary).

The “heads-up,” the invitation to be part of His divine plan, came in the form of an ordinary request by Elijah. Umm. Makes me wonder … how often have I missed an opportunity to become involved in God’s work, to engage in one of the works He has for me to do, because the invitation or notice did not come in a manner that is familiar to me, e.g., an inner prompting, a word of knowledge? Umm. I am thinking in this moment that every time I become aware of a need, it could be useful for me to at least consider if my awareness of the need could mean that I have a part to play in meeting it. Umm.

(I cannot get away from the fact that God had chosen her to meet the need of His servant and her obedience would result in her needs being met, but she did not know this. She could have kept what she had for herself and her son, consumed it, and died. Sobering).

Elijah asked for “a little water” and then “a morsel of bread,” all small amounts. The water she seemed quite willing to give because the Bible records that she was going to get it without saying a word. “The morsel of bread,” however, must have seemed like too great of a request. Listen to her words, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die” (verse 12).

I so identify with this woman, and recognize her as kin, my sister. The “family trait” is, too often when God asks me to give sacrificially, I list what I have and all that I have to do with what I have, as if God was ignorant of these details when He asked me to give. He also knows that for both my Sister Widow and I, the fear of not having enough to meet our own needs is behind our “listing” behavior. Admittedly, her fear had some basis in reality – she was living in a “for real” drought. My fear, however, tends to be of the “False-Evidence-Appearing-Real” variety. God said to her and says the same to me, “Do not fear. Trust Me,” for all obedience is an act of trust in the Father, just as disobedience can be seen as a lack of trust and rooted in unbelief.

May I like my sister, the widow of Zarephath, obey Him even when what He asks does not make sense, just plain defies human comprehension. Because, as with her, He will do for me what He says He will do and I will reap the harvest of obedience and trust.

Here is the ending of this chapter of the story of the widow of Zarephath, Elijah, and the God of Elijah. “So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah (verses 15-16; italics added). Her obedience continued to bear fruit but I will let you read that chapter of the story for yourself in I Kings 17: 17-24.