Our Unexpected Journey

Floyd has had times of being agitated and feisty.  I've been told that the agitation is common to people in long-term care.  I can certainly understand that.  But as we've prayed specifically for him, he's been calm, attentive, quiet, and peaceful. That is a sweet answer to prayer. This has been a good week.

Someone sent me some daffodils this week.  Not real ones - wrong season for that, but a lovely "bouquet" none-the-less.  Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers.  I've always loved them - bright colored, fresh, happy.

The person who sent it was telling me the meanings for the daffodil flower - one of which includes hope.  That, of course, is very special to me on this journey.  They are one of the earliest flowers to bloom in spring.  They come out of the cold, dark days of winter just as the warm rays of spring start appearing.

As I was thanking the Lord this week for the fresh hope He has given me, I felt Him speak into my heart that He is always, always a God of hope!  In the bleakest, hardest, most impossible situations - He is our hope!  He brings hope!

"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord."  Psalm 31:24

"We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.  May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you."  Psalm 33:20-22

"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.  Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."  Psalm 62:5-8

He is faithful.  He is trustworthy.  He is my rock and refuge.  He is my hope!  He gives fresh hope to my heart.  I can't help but thank and praise Him!

In this life we don't get to choose our trials......and we don't deserve our blessings.  God is in control.  He chooses what hard times to allow to come our way, and He knows what blessings to release into our lives.  Our response is to know that God is good, and we can trust Him with whatever comes our way.

To be "content" as we're exhorted to be - the important thing is for us to always remember that He is good.  He is trustworthy.  He is working for what is best in our lives.

It's easy to think, I can be content if only.........!   But that's not what God has asked of us.  I sometimes think I'd like to share with God what it is I need.  But He doesn't need my help!  :)

"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation....I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:12,13

If I TRULY trust Him, then I need to thank Him for my trials and my blessings.  I'm trying my best to do that.

He's good.  He's trustworthy.  And He loves us more than we can possibly comprehend!

This week I've been reading in Romans 8, and have found myself impacted by verse 31.  "If God is for us, who is against us?"

I've been thinking how powerful that statement is.  God (the almighty ruler of the universe) is FOR us!  Wow!  Who can hold up to being against us, if He's for us?!  Every knee has to bow to Him.

I started thinking then, of all the ways He's for us.  Here are just a few that have come to mind:

  • He gives us strength.  

"The Lord is my strength and my song."  Psalm 118:14   

"If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides."  1 Peter 4:11  

Whatever way we are serving God, whatever ministry or act of service......the strength comes from Him.  My strength on this journey is from Him.

  • He gives us grace.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:9

One of my favorite verses.  I know I'm weak.  I know I can't make it through.  But He gives sufficient grace, and His power shines through in all its greatness in spite of my weakness.

  • He gives us wisdom.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."  James 1:5  

I could not have navigated all that I've had to deal with this year without His wisdom!  Oh my - I'm so, so grateful for His wisdom!

  • He gives peace/takes away anxiety.

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust you."  Isaiah 26:3

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6, 7

In the midst of some very big storms this year, God has given me wonderful peace - it's totally inexplicable!  Only God can do that.

  • He helps us with whatever we are facing.

"My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip - He who watches over you will not slumber."  Psalm 121:2, 3  

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."  Psalm 46:1

He is my constant help.  He won't let me fall.  He never sleeps - He's always "on guard."

  • He works on our behalf.

"With God we will gain the victory, and He will tread down our foes." Psalm 108:13  

We're not alone - He's working for us.

  • He sends angels to guard us.

"For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."  Psalm 91:11  

We can't see them, but He has angels all around to protect us.

  • He carries our burdens.

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you."  Psalm 55:22  

Most of my burdens these days are too big/heavy for me.  I regularly give them to Him.

  • He provides for us.

"God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19  

He has provided for every need on this journey.

The list could go on and on.  It's endless.  He is everything we need!  And He's FOR us!!

"He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world."  1 John 4:4

Don't you just love the beauty and power of His word?!  So rich - speaks to every need and situation.

How good and faithful He is!

When I was a young leader, I was mentored in the principle of the "relaxed grasp."  Whatever God places in our hands - people, ministry, money, giftings - we are to hold them with open hands, with a relaxed grasp.  If we do that, God will know that He can let things flow into our lives and hands because we'll hold them lightly and let them flow on when the time is right.  

If we grasp things and hold them tightly, they're ours not His.  When He knows He can trust us to have open hands with a relaxed grasp, He'll release much into our hands knowing it's His, not ours.  He gives us these gifts, and we need to thank Him - but hold them loosely.  We can let go and let them flow out when the time is right.

I have been blessed to "hold" Floyd in my hands for 49 years.  I have always held him lightly, knowing He's a gift to me from the Lord.  I have been telling the Lord afresh that I have a "relaxed grasp" on Floyd.  He's not mine, he belongs to Him.  I have released Floyd anew to God's will. There's such a sweet freedom and rest in that.  

And I have to say that I'm so grateful that God never lets go of us!!  He holds us securely in the palm of His hand.

"Your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me."  Psalm 139:10

"For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.' "  Isaiah 41:13

I don't know God's plan for Floyd - healing or heaven - but I know he's in good hands!  And I know I'm in good hands too.