It never ceases to amaze me how much God provides for me and at the perfect time. What does that say about me and my faith? It is growing. All the time. Or, if you prefer, it is lacking. All the time. Either way, I am frequently reminded that He is active in my life in more ways than I acknowledge.
Today's post is generated from my deep appreciation of a devotional article I read in one of my books. I read these books every day, according to the appointed date, and I never read ahead or behind. Sort of a rule for myself. So when the readings identify what I am experiencing at that exact moment and offer the perfect advice or perspective that I need, I can't help but believe God is somehow behind this perfection. I don't understand it, but I am SO grateful for it.
The reading today was explaining the benefit of being isolated from everyone and everything you are used to and the blessings that can come from this uncomfortable state. Referring to the widow and her two sons in 2 Kings 4:4, it says, "They had to be isolated from everyone, separated from human reasoning, and removed from the natural tendencies to prejudge their circumstance.......depending on God alone." (more later on 'prejudging our circumstances') This is exactly what I needed to hear today as I am facing severe and intense trials in my life right now and it's left me feeling so confused and seeking a reason or understanding for the situation I am in. It tells me that God is going to great lengths in my life to get my proper attention. As much as I think I am putting Him first in my life, my reaction to unexpected changes that I see as unfavorable corrects my thinking. If I were really putting Him first, my first reaction would not be fear or worry but an understanding that God has allowed or orchestrated this for my benefit. To draw me closer to Him and rely on him entirely. Not on whatever I have lost. I know that in my life, tragedy and loss has 'called me on the carpet' and reminded me that I have let myself trust in something other than God. Not that we shouldn't experience sorrow with our losses but they don't need to destroy us.
But this also requires action on our part. As stated in my reading, "We are to enter a secret chamber of isolation in prayer and faith that is very fruitful. At certain times and places, God will build a mysterious wall around us. He will take away all the supports we customarily lean upon, and will remove our ordinary ways of doing things. God will close us off to something divine, completely new and unexpected, and that cannot be understood by examining our previous circumstances. We will be in a place where we do not know what is happening, where God is cutting the cloth of our lives by a new pattern, and thus where He causes us to look to Him." Wow. This describes perfectly how He has worked in my life the past few years and that makes it so much more comforting to be reminded that He will do the same in my current situation. How could I forget? I think it's just the way we humans are wired; we need constant reminding and training.
"Most Christians lead a treadmill life -- a life in which they can predict almost everything that will come their way." This described my life up until the past few years. I didn't have all the answers to my problems but I knew how to get them, was able to find them and learn from them and so I was not afraid of unexpected challenges or changes in life. I didn't know what was coming and I didn't welcome 'bad' things in my life, but I had so many resources (health benefits, work/life benefits through my job, friends, family, wise people around me...) I had confidence that I could survive them and even be stronger in the process. But the past few years have shattered that confidence which tells me I was more confident in MYSELF than in God. So I am being lovingly corrected.
The article further says, "But the souls that God leads into unpredictable and special situations are isolated by Him. All they know is that God is holding them and that He is dealing in their lives. Then their expectations come from Him alone." This totally changes my perspective. It takes me from feeling absolutely inadequate, foolish, lost and confused to instead believing God really does have a purpose in me going through this pain and fear and HE is that purpose. I have allowed myself to get distracted from the main priority in life: put God first -in everything. In my life, this means daily Bible reading, prayer, and trusting Him.
So now, I am reminded that when human reasoning isn't helping me or answering any of my questions and also when it IS helping me, either way, I must remain detached from earthly things and keep myself attached to God. "It is through the most difficult trials that God often brings the sweetest discoveries of Himself"
Excerpts taken from "Streams in the Desert" L.B. Cowman