Our Unexpected Journey

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Floyd is continuing to remain stable.  He's had a few coughs, but the dreaded chest congestion hasn't returned which I'm so grateful for, as our cold winter weather is here.  He's been smiley when people have been with him and seems to be at peace. 

He got tearful when I shared some family news this week, but was otherwise peaceful.

I've learned on this journey that there's an area where I need to be careful.  God has met us time and time again.  We've seen Him answer prayer, perform miracles, and be so faithful to us.  And yet, when we face a new trial or testing, if I'm not cautious - I can easily respond with unbelief.  I may even find myself thinking maybe this is too hard for God.  It's really "too big" this time - or I'm asking "too much."

Someone sent me a video of a dear elderly lady sharing her walk of prayer with the Lord.  She referred to this verse: "How oft did they provoke Him in the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert.  Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel."  Psalm 78:40,41

She said God used this verse to tell her to never limit Him!  I love that.  God is limitless - but we can limit Him in our hearts through our mumblings and grumblings and unbelief like the children of Israel.  I don't want to be like them!  They wandered in the desert for 40 years because of their responses!!  Their complaining didn't help one little bit.  All it did was bring discouragement.

When something seems "too big" - when it feels daunting......the only thing I know to do is to go to the Word and start reading all of God's promises once again.  I've read them before.  I've seen Him fulfil them over and over again.  But when facing new challenges, I go back to them like I've never read them.  I let the truth of His word wash over my soul.  I pray the promises out loud.  I sing them in songs.  I thank Him for how He's fulfilled them in the past.  And I step out in fresh faith in believing Him to meet me in the new challenge.

Holding onto God's promises helps me deal with any doubt that is lurking in my heart.  It strengthens my faith.  It gets things in their proper perspective.  It keeps my eyes on God, not on the needs and problems.  It lifts my spirits as I'm reminded of how awesome God is.

I don't want to "limit the Holy One of Israel."  I want to have an open heart to trust Him, and to believe for new, fresh miracles.

"Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping - believing that he would become the father of many nations."  Romans 4:18

"Nothing will be impossible with God."  Luke 1:37

"Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust Him, and He will help you."  Psalm 37:5

"Our Lord is great, vast in power; His understanding is infinite."  Psalm 147:5 CSB

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God."  Romans 4:20

"The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it."  1 Thessalonians 5:24

All too frequently I seem to be facing "impossible" situations - for myself, for Floyd, for our family, for the All Nations ministry.  I MUST keep my focus on God - on His goodness, faithfulness, and promises.  He is totally sufficient for every need.

Every once in a while I think about eternity.  I have to admit that it's a concept that my finite mind can't quite grasp.  Time that is unending - that goes on forever, and ever, and ever, and ever.  I'm so used to thinking in minutes, hours, days (I wrote a book on time management!)......with most things having a conclusion to them - so eternity seems unreal in some ways.  I can't wrap my brain around it.

But it's very real!  We will spend eternity with our wonderful Father!  I don't know what all He has planned, but I'm sure it's good.  Maybe we'll spend the first thousand years just thanking Him for His goodness and worshipping Him.  Like the song says, we can "only imagine."

I remember sitting on the deck of a boat on a lake in Colorado years ago.  Floyd and I were talking with a friend about eternity.  In the dark, looking up at the gorgeous sky, thinking about the universe, contemplating how awesome God is, wondering what it will be like to spend eternity with Him - I was overwhelmed by the beauty and grandeur of God!  I think I had a revelation in that moment of the wonderful gift in store for us after this earthly life.  Someday we'll walk with the saints of old, with friends, family, many loved ones - and we'll bow in worship together before our Heavenly Father.

The verses from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 certainly take on new meaning when thinking about all this.  "Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

I was talking with a friend recently who reminded me that everything we're walking through is preparing us for eternity with God.  In the big picture scenario, this life is just a tiny blip.  It seems so huge to us right now as we're living it out......but in the scope of eternity it's nothing.  And God is using this time to get us ready for eternity.  Everything we're experiencing, every choice we're making, everything in our relationship with Him is all preparation!  Talk about an education - wow!  Most of us thought our schooling was long behind us.  But we're in the "school of life" that is getting us ready for eternity.

I don't know about you, but I want to do my best to get ready!  I've failed miserably at some things, but God is patient and forgiving.  He gives us new beginnings, and He uses the mistakes to help us learn and grow.  He never gives up on us!  He never thinks we're hopeless.  He just lovingly gathers us in His arms, forgives us, and helps us.  He is preparing us each day here on earth to spend eternity with Him.  What an awesome and glorious thought!!  

Through Floyd's illness and my battling cancer, I've had lots of opportunities to think about eternity.  On a number of occasions I thought one or both of us could be moving into eternity right away.  That's still a very real possibility, although I'm not in any hurry!  But thinking about eternity is not a scary thought at all.  I realize we have a wonderful treasure in store for us in spending eternity with our Maker.

But I also realize that I want to be faithful here and now to get ready.  I want to learn every lesson He has for me.  I want to help others get ready.  And I want to worship Him here in preparation for worshipping Him forever......that "forever" that my brain can't quite grasp!

"From eternity to eternity I am God.  No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.  No one can undo what I have done."  Isaiah 43:13

"He has made everything appropriate in its time.  He has also set eternity in their heart."  Ecclesiastes 3:11

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity."  2 Peter 3:18

"So that being justified by His grace, we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."  Titus 3:7

"This is the promise which He himself made to us: eternal life."  1 John 2:25

"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen."  1 Timothy 1:17

Our friend, Pete Greig of 24/7 Prayer International, has an online resource called “The Prayer Course” and in one of the sessions he said - "Your choices, thoughts, prayers, and actions echo in eternity."  Everything about this life goes into eternity.  It's all part of what God has in store for us.  The questions we have, the things we don't understand, the prayers we didn't think were answered – someday we'll look back on all this and see that God was using everything to get us ready to spend eternity with Him.  It certainly gives me a different perspective on my daily life!  I want to get ready.

P.S.  I have recently watched all the sessions of “The Prayer Course”.  It is SO good!  It's simple, clear, real, honest, do-able, and inspiring in the way Pete shares about prayer.  Each session is about 20 minutes long.  I found it such a boost to my faith!  I'm already watching it a second time.  So often I find teaching on prayer makes me feel like a failure.  This is just the opposite - it made me want to jump in and pray as much as I can.  I think you will find it very helpful. 

Click here to see it