BY JORDAN MAYER
“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.”
One of the things I love about Scripture is the privilege we have as the reader to not only read the accounts themselves, but also get a behind-the-scenes look into God’s plan and purpose in the situation. Whether it be individuals or entire nations, God has worked and continues to work in and through human history to accomplish His purposes.
It seems so obvious to me as I read in minutes what took days, months, and even years to come to pass. I have to remind myself that these individuals were living these events in real time and didn’t have the benefit of skipping ahead to the end. Instead, they simply had to trust and wait upon the Lord.
Although, I am not always good at waiting. I like the feeling of being in control and taking action. I trust God, but maybe I need to just help things along a little bit. I’m sure we all have had similar experiences and results when we attempt to “help” God. We force situations into directions they’re not meant to go and wind up frustrated with the results.
It goes without saying, but God doesn’t need our help. Can we honestly think that the God who spoke the world into existence, who formed us from the dust of the ground, and sustains our very life needs our help to accomplish anything? It’s the clay asking the potter if he needs help forming the bowl; it’s preposterous! If God doesn’t need our help, what does He want from us? He wants us to trust Him.
I find it funny how I can trust God in some areas of my life and less so in others. Perhaps it’s because the big stuff reminds me of how Ill-equipped I am, while the day to day needs seem within my grasp to handle. But if we need God to sustain our every breath, we need Him for every single aspect of our life. And if God has faithfully provided in one area of our lives, then surely He will provide for the others. But again, we must wait until He does.
When I think of waiting, my mind tends to equate it with inaction. But waiting is an action, and it turns out to be the best thing for me in light of who I am waiting for and on. God will act, but I need to have the trust and patience to let Him act…in His timing! In this modern world of instant access and gratification, waiting and patience are short commodities. I want what I want and I want it now! But for a God who exists outside of time itself, He acts at the precise moment He intends to and not a moment sooner.
And much can be done in waiting. Waiting is a time to deepen our faith and trust in God. While we wait for one thing, we still get to experience his faithful provision in other areas of our lives. Likewise, these times are opportunities for God to be working on us and teaching us.
No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in or the winding path our life takes, God is enough. No, God is more than enough. He will act, but He will act for those who wait for Him.
BY JORDAN MAYER
"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ..."
We live in a world at war with the truth. Or more specifically, at war with a definitive truth. We are encouraged to live our truth and speak our truth. But if everyone has their own truth then there is no truth! And it turns out that none of us are all that good at defining truth for ourselves. And there is a reason for this. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" In order to know what truth really is, we have to look for it outside of ourselves.
In Jesus' high priestly prayer, He prays, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth". Where else could truth be found but in a perfect, all knowing, and infinitely good God? But simply understanding where the truth comes from is only the first step. We have to know the truth, and knowing the truth comes primarily through knowing God's Word. Psalm 1 provides us with the pattern: "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, no sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:1-2). There is no substitute for daily, intentional time spent in the Word. There's also no shame in starting small. Building habits can be difficult, spiritual or otherwise. Perhaps it's been a week, a month, or even longer since you've spent personal time in His Word. Whether it be 5 minutes, a half hour, on break, at home, in the morning, at night; it may look a little bit different for each of us. Remember, it's about quality not quantity. I have fallen into the trap far too often of thinking God will be pleased by the number of chapters I read or the number of minutes I spend. But this kind of thinking misses the point. When we spend time with those we love, we don't watch the clock or track our time. I have to remind myself that I am actively pursuing relationship with my Lord and Savior. I want to know Him better and I want to be changed by what I read. I enjoy reading the Bible because I enjoy Him!
The more time we spend in the Word, allowing its truth to soak deep into our hearts and minds, the more we are transformed by its truth (Romans 12:2). I can feel the difference when I haven't spent dedicated time in His Word. When Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4), He was highlighting the importance of spiritual sustenance. As we need air to breath or food to eat, we need the truth of God's Word to feed our souls.
But not only do we need the Word in our lives, we need other believers too. The Christian life is not a solo sport, just like the Church is not each individual member but the collective whole. One of the primary purposes of Christian fellowship is to encourage and remind one another of the truth. On our own, we are prone to wander and be deceived by the world and our own sinful flesh. Left to my own devices, I can rationalize and convince myself of almost anything. But, there is such comfort in knowing that God has provided people in my life who will constantly and consistently remind me of the truth. Finding people who will always tell you what you want to hear is relatively easy, they are a dime a dozen. But finding people who speak the truth in love, who are not afraid to call out sin in my life, are a blessing to my soul. "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy" (Proverbs 27:5-6).
The world is constantly changing and the truth may be difficult to see, but God's Word does not change because He does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Fill up on His Word. Fellowship with His people. Rejoice in His truth.
BY JOYCE PELLETIER
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
These words tell me so much about the intimacy of God and the grace that He freely gives. I talk to God so much about those things that bother me. Once I unload the anxious thoughts, and share those uncertain things I do not know, dwelling on how it will all come out. I know He’s got a great plan for my life, yet, sometimes I wonder why it takes Him so long to answer my prayers.
There are times when I just need to vent and get the negative thoughts out of my head so I can clear out some space for Him so He can fill me with grace and wonder of the amazing things He’s done again.
I’ll admit, I am impatient. The waiting game is not when I put my best foot forward. However, I need I tell Him so. When I am in the middle of the venting, I can see what I need to confess. I realize that I’m the one who is demanding answers.
As I write these words, I am in the middle of a day that started at 4 am. We are currently fostering a dog, until we can make the decision to keep her or not. We had to be at the Rescue place by 7am, to where she will be taken to Waitsfield for a vet appointment. As we were leaving, they called to tell us to hold off until they can talk to the vet as there was a glitch. So, back in the house we go and finally get the call to go at 7:45. We got home to a busy morning of cleaning the house and sneaking things in that just popped up to be done. There was a barrage of places I had to be, like a Wake at 4, then called the rescue to find out Sasha still had not returned again, so I went back home and waited for the call. Finally, at 8pm we were back home with a traumatized dog under the influence of who knows what the vet gave her so she would not bite them.
You see, this whole day was about teaching me patience. I’ve learned to never pray for patience. You will be tested. The good part was the mountains of laundry was done, the house and car were cleaned after a winter of salt on the carpet. And my blog is written. The lessons of patience, yet again won out as well. In the middle of driving here and there, I shed some venting thoughts and conviction of where I needed to make room for repentance and then peace was restored.
There are times when I see things that are wrong that need to be repaired, yet, He tells me “Not yet my child.” So I ask Him to again be my patience. It’s when I turn it all over in the middle of a chaotic day that resolutions are aired out. It’s a cleansing time. The issues I was frustrated about were trivial, but also a time of cleansing and realization of God is with me wherever I go.
There is a gentle reminder from God in Ecclesiastes 3:3 where it says, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up… (I challenge you to read through the rest of the chapter.)
I have found that when a tough day comes up and you can’t find the answers or a stressful situation blocks the road to communication, a simple prayer, “Jesus, stand between us!” This is my favorite prayer. This simple prayer reminds me that the Lord is always listening, and asking Him to be in the middle of these kind of days, as a reminder for ‘ME’ to take heed, Jesus is in control. Take a breather, sit a spell, and watch in wonder what He works out in those difficult and sometimes impossible situations.
I’ve seen this happen time after time. What changes most is my need deep in my soul where God is free to do what He does best. He fixes me, puts me in a place where I can vent about the things that aren’t going quite as well as I thought. You see when venting happens, it clears out the trash so I can have room to receive His Grace and Blessings.
BY JORDAN MAYER
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
Growing up, this verse was always one that confused me. Joy and trials in the same sentence together seemed like a contradiction in terms. It sounded like rose-colored glasses, glass half full, ever-the-optimist kind of thinking. It was one of those things that you read in the Bible, so you know that it's true, but have difficulty putting into practice.
However, as I've gotten a bit more life experience under my belt, this verse has started to make a little more sense. What once seemed like some call to false optimism is really a powerful call to joyful purpose. Purpose is a powerful tool for perspective. It takes the meaningless bad and makes it intentionally good. How much joy do you think can be experienced in believing that the trials in our life are meaningless? That they don't happen for any particular reason and are simply a random occurrence in an insignificant existence. Pretty depressing, huh?
As believers, there is joy to be experienced in knowing that trials do, indeed, have a purpose. They are placed in our lives for the specific reason of testing our faith over a period of time to make us perfect and complete. That sounds much better than the former.
For me, it is a source of great comfort that the trials I find myself in are not meant to break my faith, they're meant to build it up. And, ultimately, they are allowed by a Good Father who loves me and works all things for my good (Romans 8:28). Look at Joseph. He was sold as a slave by his brothers and suffered hardship in Egypt, despite always being faithful. And yet, what does he say to his brothers at the end of it all? You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20).
But enduring trials is not for the faint of heart! It is a messy battlefield where we must fight for every inch of ground. It's the time when we simply place one foot in front of the other. It's about getting through each day. Every second, every minute, and every hour until we come out the other side. Joseph still put in long hours as a slave. He endured uncomfortable nights in prison. He lived in a foreign land away from his home and family. The very nature of trials is that we have to go through them.
But, having joy in trials is not about putting on a "happy face" or denying the very real thoughts, feelings, and emotions we may be experiencing. You just have to read through a few of the Psalms to know that that is not the case. Instead, it's about leaning into the struggle, or more precisely, leaning into God. Trials have a habit of stripping away all the "fluff" in our lives and drawing us back to God. They bring a level of clarity that few other events in our life can match. They remind us that God is all we need, that He is all we will ever need. He is our strength, our refuge, our fortress, our strong tower, our shield, and the horn of our salvation. He is the rock on which we stand. He is our provider and protector. He goes before and He walks behind. He is there in the beginning and He is with us in the end. Infinitely loving and endlessly good.
That, my friends, is where joy is to be had. Not in the circumstances we find ourselves in, but in the God who is right there with us. For the building up of our faith and the deepening of our trust in Him.
BY MARTHA CHEVALIER
"And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.'”
(Mark 1:11 NRSV)
Knowing and experiencing our own belovedness is one of life’s most arduous as well as essential journeys. The genesis of real life must flow out of this one reality. Anything short of that, over time, ends up being a dry riverbed, an empty hollow cistern. Jesus had his Father's affirmation, solid and sure.
I wonder, did hearing the Father's voice produce something weighty in Jesus, preparing him for what lay imminently ahead? Did hearing the Father’s delight prepare and sustain him in the crucible of the Sinai desert, empowering him to overcome real and pressing temptation? I imagine that he heard the Father's words of love echoing in his quiet solitary hours of prayer. Could this be the bread Jesus referred to when He spoke of “food to eat that you know not of?” (John 4:32).
His Father expressed supreme delight in his Son, even before a single miracle was performed. How much of our lives are spent seeking the approval of others? How many common idols do we bow to seeking solace from our weary, anxious, and troubled souls? If only we would quickly default to a run, leaping or whimpering, toward our Father’s all-out embrace.
Do you think Jesus needed to hear his Father's voice of love and approval? We all desperately need to hear it, don't we? And if we aren't hearing it from Abba Father, we’ll doubtless be seeking it from other places. We might seek to hear it from our own efforts to ‘do good’ and to ‘be good.’ I'm so glad we don't have to earn the approval of God. Remember the flower game: he loves me, he loves me not? Maybe the next time you find yourself in a field of flowers, try this new version of the game… He loves me, He loves me, He really loves me! And He likes me, woe.
In the wildly extravagant mercy of Jesus Christ, we gain access to our Father's throne and good grace. And when we slip and fall, as we surely do, or make mistakes, or try to earn approval, or even seek to prove our worth with frantic self-effort, next time, take pause and remember the words uttered above: “You are my beloved, in whom I take delight.” One of God’s names is Emanuel, God with us. Sometimes so hard to believe, He WANTS to be with us. If His eye is on the sparrow, it’s certainly upon you and me.
“The Lord your God is among you; He is mighty to save. He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
iBY JORDAN MAYER
"If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you."
This is the kind of verse that makes my head hurt. Not because this verse is overly mysterious or confusing, actually it's quite clear. My difficulty lies in trying to wrap my finite, human mind around the immense and far-reaching implications of this verse.
One of the sweet pleasures of reading the Word is that we can never plumb the depths of its truth and goodness. We can continue to lower our bucket down into the well of His Word and pull it up full. This is how I see this verse in Romans 8. The more time spent meditating on it, the deeper these truths settle into the heart.
It's hard to expound any more on what Paul has so clearly laid out, so perhaps we just need to sit in this truth for a moment. First, that it was the work of the Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave. Here was the the Son of God. A battered and bloodied body, wrapped in cloth, and laid in a tomb. Satan seemingly prevailed. Death appeared to have had the last say. And yet, after three days, the tomb was gloriously empty! By the power of the Spirit, Jesus conquered the grave and rose to life again. And while that fact is amazing and miraculous on its own, the verse does not end there. The same Spirit that accomplished this work is the same Spirit that lives inside of us. And the same power that raised up Jesus is the same power that raises us up.
But I'll be honest, as I meditate on this verse, I can't help but cry out to God to forgive my puny faith. Like the father of the mute son, I say, "I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24). My human mind is so accustomed to boundaries and limitations that I am prone to impose them on the Spirit. I have to ask myself, do I live like I have that power inside of me? This verse is a reminder of the extent of that power. It is resurrection power. "So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) Just as the Spirit raised Jesus, I have been raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). This old self, this body of death, this sinful flesh...it's made new.
Whatever I may be facing in life, even the daily battle with my own sinful flesh, it is no match for the power of the Spirit. The Spirit empowers me to live this life, but it is also the promise of hope for something better (Ephesians 1:14). So many of the earthly realities we experience now find their ultimate fulfillment in heavenly ones.
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must point on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:52-57).
On this blessed Resurrection day, we celebrate life from death, hope from despair, and victory from defeat.
BY JORDAN MAYER
"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul."
As part of my daily Bible reading plan, I read through one Psalm every morning. While it's often difficult to answer the "what's your favorite book of the Bible?" question, the book of Psalms would definitely make the short list. I love the beautiful structure of the poetry and the vivid imagery the authors use to express their thoughts. The Psalms span a wide range of situations and emotions, and I have found there to be a Psalm for every season. Psalms of praise. Psalms of lament. Psalms of thanksgiving. Psalms of wisdom. I have yet to find a circumstance in life where I have failed to find encouragement in the pages of this book in Scripture.
Under the crushing weight of my sin, I have prayed the words of Psalm 51 more times than I can count. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (v. 10).
When depression has hung over me like a dark cloud, I have preached the words of Psalm 42 to myself. "Why are you downcast, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God" (v. 5)
When I am paralyzed by fear and anxiety, I quote Psalm 56 in my head. "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise. In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?" (v. 3-4).
When I feel tempted by the allure of sin, I remember Psalm 16. "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (v. 9, emphasis added).
As I read through Psalm 94, verse 19 became the latest addition to my arsenal. What a precious verse to repeat.
I may not know what your cares are, just like you may not know mine - although we are encouraged to bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). While our cares may vary from one to the next, the remedy remains the same. The source of comfort, of consolation, remains the same.
In Psalm 94, the author addresses God directly and declares, "your consolations cheer my soul". What are his consolations? The author names them in the chapter. The Lord is a just judge (v. 1-2). The Lord hears all and sees all (v. 9). The Lord does not forsake His people (v. 14). The Lord is our help (v. 17). The Lord's steadfast love holds us up (v. 18). The Lord is our stronghold and rock of refuge (v. 22).
In Luke 2:25, we read that Simeon was waiting for the "consolation of Israel". What was his consolation? Directed by the Holy Spirit to the temple, He sees the Consolation of Israel before his very eyes, the "salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel" (Luke 2: 30-32). He sees Jesus!
When my cares lie heavy on my heart, here are a few of my consolations:
"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him'" (Lamentations 3:21-24).
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:35, 37-39).
God is our great consolation. He is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3), a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1), and near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). So what does He ask of us?
Simply to come (Matthew 11:28). Cast your cares (1 Peter 5:7). Lay down your burdens (Psalm 55:22). Pour out your heart (Psalm 62:8).
Find rest, peace, and comfort in His presence today.
BY DONNA CHURCHILL
“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
(1 John 2:6)
About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis (degenerative disk disease). By the mercy of God, chiropractic care and monthly massages, I have managed to be very nearly pain free for all these years. But last August, I started to have some problems with my left leg and one morning I woke up and was not able to walk from my bedroom to the next room. The pain in my left leg was excruciating. It was a Saturday, so I was not able to see the chiropractor until Monday, and even then he couldn’t do anything for me, the pain and inflammation was too intense. He suggested a doctor’s visit for some prednisone. To make a long story short, after two rounds of prednisone, I still could not walk or stand for longer than a minute because of intense pain. My quality of life became greatly diminished.
During this time, I started to seek the Lord regarding this matter. He spoke to me very quietly and graciously about my “walk” with Him. He gave me the Scripture quoted above. I started asking Him – how am I not walking “even as he walked?” The Lord answered that question and began showing me areas in my life where I was not walking as He walked.
The Greek word for walk or walked in this verse is peripateo and it means “to tread all around; walk at large; live; be occupied with.” Basically, it means how you live your life, how you walk out your life daily. Is it in His presence or apart from His presence? I began asking the Lord to help me walk as Jesus walked; to help me live as Jesus lived.
The Lord started revealing areas of pride in my heart and a lack of humility. The pain in my heart became much greater than any pain I had felt in my leg.
The Word says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:6, 10
And just in case we missed it the first time, He pretty much repeats it again in 1 Peter 5:5-7 - “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Don’t miss this – “God resisteth the proud…” I’m sure you remember - pride is what got Lucifer kicked out of heaven! This is no small thing. I remember saying something to the Lord to the effect – “God, I’m 71 years old and I have been a Christian for 47 years; how did I miss this?”
Looking back, I don’t think I completely missed this. I just think God was taking me around the same old mountain because there was so much more I needed to learn!
Shortly after this, the Lord placed a small book in my hands, appropriately titled, Humbled, Welcoming the Uncomfortable Work of God.
An uncomfortable work it truly is! But I don’t want to be in a position for very long where God is actively resisting me.
I am learning that humility is the essential ingredient in relationships – with the Lord and with people. Scripture speaks extensively about “preferring one another in the Lord,” “esteeming one another as better than ourselves,” and more, but I think you get the picture.
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, all of a sudden they realized they were naked; their sin was exposed – the sin of pride. Satan had tempted them with the promise that they could be like God. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5
And God continues to this day to reveal our sin, my sin, of pride because of the damage it does to relationship! Adam and Eve’s awareness of their sin caused them to hide from God and the sin of pride still does that to us today. It separates us from God and effectively separates us from others, too, in the process.
I thank God He is making me more aware of how this sin affects my daily life. This is a life-long school I’m enrolled in. I thank God that He hasn’t left me in that place of pride and I thank Him that because of Jesus “the goodness of God…. leadeth thee to repentance.” (Romans 2:4)
My heart’s desire is to “walk even as He walked.” And just exactly how did Jesus walk?
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” Philippians 2:5-9
There it is right there – the very fulfillment of the Scriptures we read in James and 1 Peter. He is our greatest example.
One of my humorous responses when someone is trying to teach me or show me something new is, “You can teach an old dog new tricks – it just takes a little longer!”
I thank God He’s willing to spend my life teaching me.
BY JOYCE PELLETIER
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Our life experiences bring us to so many different places. Nature has a way of giving me a new perspective when things start causing me a new challenge.
I just came thorough a vitrectomy surgery on my right eye. The retina was starting to detach. When I looked out my right eye I could see dancing street signs, school bus red blinking lights disappear before my eyes; traffic lights vanishing before me as well. It was kind of funny at first. The dancing street signs made me chuckle. But when I went to the Ophthalmologist, it wasn’t so funny any more. It suddenly became serious. The macular was starting to fail, to where my retina would be in danger of detaching.
The day of the surgery – found me awake during this procedure. I was sedated but not asleep. They said I would not remember anything when it was done. Well, that turned out to be untrue.
I remember looking at the machinery around me and I also could see something uniquely special. It was hard laying there for nearly 2 hours. Normally surgery finds you asleep and then waking up. This was different! I was awake in a totally relaxed state, the whole time.
As they worked on me, I saw visions of something so amazingly beautiful, I could never replicate it. I saw giant clear bubbles become like frosted glass that you see on your window of your car or home. I saw before me something that was being created that was drawn in perfection. Never had I seen something so exquisite being so created right before me. I saw the richest colors of deep turquoise, deep blues, burgundy and yellow. The design was similar to the picture with this blog.
The more I looked at these designing images, the more I realized it was the Master Artist at work to perfection. God took the time to give me these images and I was mesmerized by them. I was in awe at what I saw. They became more intense as I was growing impatient for this procedure on my eye to be done. So much so, I talked to the doctor as he was working on me and had the nerve to ask him if he was nearly done. I told them I was getting more anxious as I lay there. They increased my sedative, yet not enough for me to fall asleep. The images kept coming and during the time of those images, God entertained me and distracted me, which was what I needed.
This was an amazing event that I hope never to forget the amazing design. The image with this blog is close, but not exact. I wanted to share it.
During my seven-day recovery of sleeping on a Face Down Posturing Chair, with many hours of poor sleep, I felt a little trapped. One morning Maurice was having his prayer time and I asked him to read the verses he was reading. They were from Jesus walking on water. When He told the disciples “Do not fear, I am with you,” I started crying realizing God was telling me not to fret.
The next three days that same reading came up and I knew my healing was coming. I felt the presence of God during that week of strange sleeping. I knew I was not alone. I knew God was sitting near me all those nights of restless slumber. I was protected, I was somewhat walking on the water with Peter. I didn’t falter, I didn’t sink, because God was ever present with me during the whole thing.
It's been three weeks since the surgery as I write this blog and my vision has improved so much, I can read my regular Bible again, after buying a large print one.
The visions gave me so much more insight to God and what He wants for my life. It’s hard to describe, but it is something I will never forget. What a blessing this has been! I am also so grateful for all your prayers.
BY JORDAN MAYER
"Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not."
I don't know about you, but when I read the Old Testament, I tend to be quick to judge the Israelites. I question their faith, eye roll their grumbling, and pity their failings. But I realize that I stand from a privileged vantage point. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. I have the benefit of both reading the account of Israel's history as well as God's purposes and workings in and through it. Everything seems so obvious when we can see the big picture, but it's much harder to actually live it and walk through it. It requires faith. And then I have my next realization: "Well shoot, I'm more like the Israelites than I thought."
Over the last two years, God has been teaching me a lot about faith and trust, particularly when it comes to my job and career. I enjoy the comfort and security of knowing what's up ahead and what I need to do to get there. I like plans, organization, and structure. The last two years have been the complete opposite of that. I have battled so much frustration and anxiety over not having a clear plan or path ahead, feeling uncomfortable and ill-equipped for my role, and struggling to know whether I was doing a good job or not. And then there's COVID, but we won't go there.
I realize now that what I was really fighting over was control. Boy, do I like to feel in control. The key word there is feel because it is actually quite laughable what we think we have control over.
I recently read through this passage of Scripture where God provides this strange wonder bread called manna. Scripture emphasizes the fact that God instructed the people to gather a day's portion. No sooner had the command been issued than the people disobeyed. Being the more practical, logical, and industrious individuals among them, some Israelites gathered more than they needed and decided to keep a little extra, just to be safe. Of all the times I am prone to judge the Israelites, this isn't one of them. In fact, I am sure I probably would have been one of the individuals who put together a healthy surplus for themselves.
Based on verse 4, we understand that God was not merely providing for the people, He was testing them. Would the people obey God's Word and only take what they needed for the day or would they try to control God's provision? Although there are many examples in the Bible about wise living, careful planning, and hard work; these qualities are all tempered in faith and trust in God. In James, we are encouraged to make plans and think ahead, but to submit them to God and His will (James 4:13-17). When Jesus is teaching the disciples how to pray, He instructs them, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). Why not our weekly bread, or our monthly bread, or even our yearly bread?
The supply is not the issue. God gives in abundance and out of an overflow of His goodness. But God's desire is not that we come to Him once in awhile, but daily. In Psalm 71:3, the writer says, "Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come...". But there is a tradeoff. Coming before God means giving up control. It means surrendering our fears, our worries, and our anxieties by entrusting ourselves to Him. The Israelites were called to collect what they needed for the day so that they could wake up the next to see God's wonderful provision yet again. And God calls us to do the same. Surrender your day to Him, trust Him with it, and fill up on His grace. Then return again tomorrow for a fresh supply.