The more we know of God, the more unreservedly we trust Him; the greater be our progress in theology, the simpler and more childlike will be our faith.” _ J.Gresham Machen.
So far, we have been having one of the hottest rainy seasons that I can remember since our time in the Philippines. August, in the past, has been the month, typically, to have one typhoon after the other, but not this year. There have been more hot and humid days than I care to count. With the heat, and then an odd sudden rain shower, there have been a few good thunderstorms rolling around. Last Thursday, we were getting cleared up from our lunch, Judah was asleep and Izzy was sitting with a book on the couch, when, with no warning there was a flash of lightning and a roll of thunder that instantaneously shook the house. It was so loud! I think the fact that our house is raised off the ground and on posts made it it feel like the thunder was all around us, shaking us out of our afternoon sleepiness. Izzy was terrified and within seconds had literally jumped into my arms. It was just the start of what was to be a long, loud and vibrant thunderstorm that had us turning off all our electric and sitting in awe of the power of a storm.
As the sky clouded over and the room fell dark, Izzy had not left my knee and I could feel her little heart racing against mine. She tucked her head in close and didn’t move, didn’t ask any questions, just clung close to her Mama. As I sat, stoking her back, I could feel her relaxing, a few minutes later when I looked down at her face, I was surprised to see she was actually sound asleep. Just minutes before she had been terrified, totally shocked and surprised by the sound of the thunderstorm and now she was fast asleep. What had changed?
The storm was just as loud as it had been when she climbed up on my knee. The lightning that had struck fear in her heart was still flashing across the sky; and yet, she now slept resting on my knee. As I sat holding her and listening to the storm, it reminded me so much of how our Heavenly Father holds us continually in His arms, but especially during the difficult times when our worlds get shook with bad news or difficult situations. We run, terrified, clinging to the only One who we know has control over it all, but do we rest? I thought back to this time last year as we dealt with all of Izzy’s sickness and the emotions of last summer. As we celebrated her 4th birthday this week, my mind thought back to her third birthday which was spent driving to the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles to prepare for her bladder surgery the next day, (only to then have it postponed minutes before the surgery, due to another infection). There were many days of waiting and wondering during those weeks and then there was the added burden of knowing the time was ticking down on my visa. The heartache of having to leave Izzy and Danny in the States while Judah and I went to N.Ireland, not knowing if I would be able to return to the States or if we would be another month apart, living on opposite ends of the world. Those were hard days for me, but a year has passed since then and I now know the outcome of all of those events. Judah and I got back into the States without any hassle, we were reunited as a family and able to return to the Philippines a few weeks after receiving a good report from Izzy’s surgeon. During this past year, Izzy has not only recovered from the surgery, but has had a whole new lease on life because of it, and I have had a great burden lifted from me as she has not had one infection this whole year. In hindsight, I can look back and see just how faithful God was to us every step of the way. I can see His hand in all things, even on the difficult parts of the journey. Our God is fully trustworthy, He worked all things together for our good and I love Him more because of the things we learned and experienced during that time. Each difficulty that came along gave us an opportunity to trust Him more and to reveal a little more of His love and His faithfulness to us. At the time, it was painful, we shed tears and I wondered, sometimes, what the next day would hold, but all along the way, I knew I could trust Him, because He told me I could. The outcome of my circumstances did not declare His trustworthiness, because He already was, and is, and always will be, who He says He is. He is; the Great “I AM” who holds the world, my heartbeat and everything concerning me in His sovereign and loving hands. My soul was stirred to think on this truth this past week; if I am totally convinced my God is good, I will completely trust Him, and if I trust Him, I will always find rest. When I place my mind eternally on Jesus, the worry fades, the burdens are lifted, and worship finds a place in my heart.
There was something so fresh to me last week about the word trust, as I sat in a thunderstorm with my little girl slumped against my chest. I felt the love and affection swelling in my heart as I thought on the fact that she felt totally safe with me. It didn’t matter to her that the storm was still raging around her. She felt loved and safe on my knee and was able to rest in the midst of it, so much so, that she fell sound asleep. It spoke so much to me that she didn’t fall asleep after the storm, worn out from the worry, the noise and the flashes of lightning, that her body just crashed into a sleep. Nor was it due to relief that the storm was finally over and she knew that everything really was ok. She rested during it because she absolutely trusted me when I told her it was all going to be ok; that was all she needed to know.
And it was then, while I sat holding her, that I questioned my own heart and thought on how the Lord must feel when I lay awake worrying about the days ahead. The days that He has told me that He has planned out for me, the days that He has promised He will walk with me through, and yet, I am far from rested because, somehow, I want to know the outcome now. It is too often that I react to the circumstances and live as if under their control instead of resting in the Shelter of the Most High. It is easy to say we trust God. We know this to be true and right, but there is no greater sign of our trust in Him than when we rest in the loving arms of our Father, despite the troubles and the difficulties that may surround us.
Yesterday we had another few rattles of thunder. It wasn’t as bad as the thunderstorm last week, but it got Izzy’s attention again. For a minute or two she stopped playing and listened to see if it was going to get worse. Then she looked up at me and said, “Mama, when Jesus sends the thunder, is He not my friend?” As I looked into those big eyes, framed by those bopping little ponytails, the question seemed both ridiculous, and yet horrifyingly familiar, all at the same time. Of course, we know He is our friend. He never changes and He loves us more than we will ever comprehend; and yet, when trails arrive at our door, when things don’t work out the way we planned or wanted, we are inclined to wonder in the little hours of the morning, “if He loves me, if He is my Saviour and Friend, then why this….why my family…why now…”
Trust and rest.
We know we will encounter storms in life; we have been told they will come. Many dear brothers and sisters in Christ have, and are, experiencing great trials beyond what I have ever known. Others have turmoil, distress and times of depression behind closed doors and locked up in heavy hearts that no one may ever know of….and yet God! We know our God sees each and everyone of us, and He loves us. It sounds so simple that we nearly dismiss it while looking for some great, deep, theological explanation to help us understand our lot in life. However, to find rest we must firstly trust in His love, His goodness, His faithfulness, basically completely in Him. I am often more prone to start leaning on my own understanding when trials, hardships and uncomfortable situations arise, when the more peaceful route, is instead, to lean into Jesus, and wait on Him.
Dear friend tonight, He is near. Keep trusting.
Proverbs 3 v 5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
|A happy 4th Birthday girl and a proud little brother.|
|Another green cake!|
2 thoughts on “Rest (Part 2).”
My dear friend…… You are such an amazing writer. God has blessed you and every time I read your blog I am convicted, challenged, and encouraged. I love and miss you all so much! ❤
Yes, trust and rest…such a perfect analogy with Izzy in the thunderstorm. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. Love you.