Sometimes our path seems really unclear. I have walked through several seasons of life that just seemed so fuzzy and uncertain to me.
When I went off to college, I was so confused. I couldn't be convinced it was really where I was supposed to be until I was there and even then I had my doubts. I didn't feel qualified. I didn't feel smart enough. I was sure I would fail. But in the end, I knew, even in the midst of all the doubts, fears, and confusion, it was exactly where I was supposed to be.
One thing was made clear in the midst of those confusions and doubts.
That I must walk by faith and not by sight.
Romans 8:24-25 says, "For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
And 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "for we walk by faith, not by sight."
I have clung to these verses especially in the seasons when I have had to put one foot in front of the other without knowing what was ahead, without even knowing where I was stepping.
The path may be unclear, but God's faithfulness is clear.
I may not be able to see what lies ahead. I may be confused, doubting, discouraged. But as a Christian, I am called to live by faith and not by sight. I hope in that which is not seen. I hope in a God who I know will make my path straight and lead me on. Even when I cannot see what is ahead, he can.
The path is not always clear for my own vision, but the path is always clear in God's vision. He sees all and is in control of all.
In him, I put my hope.
"That was a big mistake!"
"I shouldn't have done that! That was a mistake!"
But was it really?!
I am mean, maybe it was a mistake, intentional or not.
But maybe sometimes we look at it wrong.
Does God consider it a mistake? Is he looking down upon you, glaring at you because you did it wrong again. Because you went ahead and went with a decision and now aren't feeling so certain about it. You question yourself and decide it was a mistake. But was it? Did God say it was a mistake?
Maybe it wasn't a mistake. Maybe you are right where God wants you. It might not be your dream world, your dream idea of fun, it might not have turned out exactly how you had hoped. But a mistake? No.
We don't always know exactly why some thing happens. We can't always see exactly what God is up to each step of the way. But is it right to always call it a mistake when you aren't where you think you ought to be, because maybe you are where God wants you to be.
Just maybe, you are exactly where God has called you to be. And God doesn't make mistakes!
Maybe it's not a mistake. Maybe all you need is a different perspective and a different attitude. The attitude can change everything.
I hear a baby crying somewhere in the street below.
There are all kinds of noises happening in that street. People chattering, kids calling, laughter, the train, the noise of vehicles to and fro. But that baby's cry stands out from all the other noise.
Everything in me instinctively wants to rush down and comfort the poor child. Take the baby in my arms and bounce and whisper soothing words.
But instead I step to the window and look out, wondering whose child it is.
There I spot them. The baby in a stroller and the father trying his best. I smile faintly. A young father trying to do his best to calm one child while trying to keep an eye on his wandering toddler, too.
He has success for a little while, but then the baby cries again. I sigh, but I know it will be ok.
The father has his child. The baby will be ok.
Sarah Jane stepped gingerly down the narrow path surrounded by green foliage. It was likely a little dog trail, but she didn't care. It was a comfortable morning, the sun not yet blazing hot and the humidity not stifling. Her bare toes touched the cool earth, dirt beneath her feet. It was just the way she liked it. A soft smile lifted her lips and her eyes twinkled with pleasure. It wasn't every morning that was this still, and this perfect, only the chirping of birds or the squirrels cracking down on nuts. The air breathed fresh. It was a good day to be out. But what was that in the path just ahead?
Sarah Jane squinted her eyes and peered up ahead, her feet having come to an uncertain halt. She took a hesitant step forward and then another. She shook her head to clear her thoughts. She was always lettering her head run away with an extensive imagination always creating mystery when there was a perfectly logical reason. She continued further down the path, the object now coming into full view.
A bike. In the middle of the path.
Well, there can still be a perfectly logical reason for a bike to be lying across her path. She shook her head once more and squared her shoulders back. There was no reason to be curious about a bike. Very likely a kid playing nearby, not that she had ever seen kids out on this path before.
The bushes rustled near her. Sarah Jane came to an abrupt stop. Her ears listened cautiously. Now her mind was just playing tricks on her. The bushes rusted again. That was surely not a mind trick. She saw the bushes move.
A little boy scuttled out from behind the bushes and Sarah Jane relaxed, a soft smile returning to her face and her eyes sparkling once more. Mystery solved.
"Oh, Hi, Miss Sarah Jane! I found a black berry bush! Try one!" And he held out a small, berry juice-covered hand. Two berries remaining.
"I can pick you more, too." he grinned eagerly, before diving back into the bush without waiting for a response.
Day 6 was actually yesterday, but I was too busy reading good books and playing Settlers of Catan with Tyler to bother making a post. So today I will try to do two posts. Here is yesterday's word, Sent.
His only Son.
God became man.
His only Son
Servant to man
Sent to save
His only Son
By his death.
His only Son
It is finished.
It is done.
And today's word is TABLE.
Today is also the Five minute Friday Linkup.
I think Table is tied up in a couple other words. Food. Hospitality. Gathering.
We gather around a table set with a banquet of delicious food shared with friends or family.
A table isn't just a place we sit down and eat at. The table is supposed to be a place we gather around to share our hearts and souls with others while nourishing our bodies, too.
A table may be a slab of wood with four wooden legs, but if a table could tell stories then it would tell you so much more.
It wouldn't just tell you of the kinds of food placed upon it. It would tell you of the hearts and souls gathered about it. It would tell you of the sorrows wept there and the tears of laughter shed there and hope and comfort and love.
The table could tell you about the grandmother who has set a meal upon that table for decades now. The babies that have grown into children and the children grown into adults. The fathers and mothers who tried incessantly to teach those children proper table etiquette. The friends who came to share in the family warmth.
A table is not just a place to sit and eat. It is the place where people gather, cultures brought together as one, different tongues and languages join hands in prayer to the same God and Father.
All people's love food and the table is where we are all brought together to delight in this wonderful nourishing gift, setting aside differences in order to love our brothers and sisters better with a plate of food and neighborly hospitality.
A table isn't just a wooden structure, it is a gathering place for community and friendship.
After today I will probably come up with something brilliant to write about this word. But right now I can't seem to come up with anything that seems of interest.
After reminds me of procrastinating. I will do such and such after I do this? We always have something we need to do first. But the truth is, after we've done that there will aways be another to stand in the way of the goal.
But AFTER also reminds me of what life after death will be like.
And the best part of all is the life after death for the believer. That kind of after makes me excited.
Well, with that being said, I hope after today my posts will be a bit more interesting.
And the word for today is PLAN.
Some people are meticulous planners. They have to have each day, each week, each year, and even years in advance meticulously planned out.
But I can hardly plan what I am going to do the very next day.
I am really good at dreaming, coming up with things I would like to see in my future. But I can hardly say that I plan for those things. They either happen or they don't happen. Maybe not completely like that, but the point is I simply don't put a ton of time or detail into planning.
When I came to Israel. I didn't exactly have everything planned out. There was a lot of unknowns coming here. In some ways maybe we should have planned better, but we didn't and so far it hasn't destroyed us. It might, but it probably won't.
I think why I don't like planning is it stresses me out.
If I put too much time and energy into thinking and planning exactly how something will go, I will also start thinking about all the ways it is not supposed to go. I will become so wrapped up in the details that I can't take enjoyment in what is actually happening. Or I decide to control my life according to the plan I have and when it fails, I fall to pieces because I lost what little control I thought I had.
So I fix my problems by just not planning at all.
Now I am not at all suggesting that my solution to stress is a good one. Sometimes it really is good to have a plan before just doing something, even just a little plan is good.
But in a world where there is sometimes too much planning, its ok to be a little spontaneous. It's ok to not have it all figured out. It's ok, if the plan you did have isn't going to work and you have to do something else last minute. It's ok to invite that friend for dinner this very night.
It's good to make plans. It's good to give thought to your life. But have it loosely in your hands. If God directs you a different way, let you feet be willing to go. Plans aren't everything.
The word for today is STORY.
I am always imagining and dreaming of what my future will hold. What will my life look like in five or ten years? Where will I be? Who will be in my life? What will I be doing?
But as much as I have dreamed about a certain future, I look back over the last six or so years and nothing really went exactly how I may have imagined it to go.
Starting college, I didn't imagine I would actually finish five years later with a bachelor's degree.
I had dreams of getting married, but I couldn't imagine to whom.
I had ideas of where I might be after college, but I am definitely not there.
All of this is to say, I make plans. I dream. I have ideas for my future.
But so far it hasn't really gone very much according to my ideas.
And guess what? I am totally ok with that.
My story is not looking like what I have dreamed it would look like, yet in some ways it's a million times better.
This is the story that God has for me.
I am living the story God has written for me and it's not always exactly my own ideas, but his story is so much better then any story I could write up for myself.
He is the master artist and the master author and his story for my life is so much better than I could ever imagine.
And that isn't to say it's easy because it isn't. I don't always like where God is taking me or what he is doing with my life. I often don't even understand.
But his story is still brilliant and beautiful. I may not always know it in the moment. But looking back, I know that he's is writing all the chapters of my life and I wouldn't want my story to be written by any other.
I joined the Ten-Day Writing Prompt Challenge from Five minute Friday. I know I don't have to publish it, but I thought it would give me something to post for the next ten days, so here it goes.
Today's word is TODAY.
I was trying to come up with some thoughts for that word and was reminded of a favorite Winnie the Pooh quote.
"What day is it?"
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.
I am not always good about seeing each day as a gift and a blessing. Some days are just plain hard and that's not going to change. But I do want to see each day as a gift.
I want to come to each today knowing that I am right where God wants me to be and rejoice in that. I want my today to be my favorite day.
I want to smile at the passerby simply because God gave me life and breath today and I am on the street walking with my own legs.
I want to wake up on every today and be grateful for something and everything. I want to remember that ever new today is a new beginning. A new day to try again, a fresh reminder of God's grace and truth. I don't have to worry about tomorrow because I have not been given tomorrow, but have been given today.
I have today. The sun might be shining or it might not, but I have still been given today and today is a gift. I don't need to wonder how I am going to make it tomorrow or a week from now because I haven't been given that. I have today, so I want to live in today and rejoice in this today.
"This is the day the LORD has made:
Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24