LIVING BY FAITH

I have been married 43 years. A majority of that time my husband and I have lived by faith. What do I mean by that statement? Simply, that we have never had the income that would provide for us to live the way we do. I hear many Christians talk about how they trust God to take care of them. Yet, it seems to me that they are truly trusting in themselves and their ability to make a living. If, God forbid, they would suddenly lose their job; panic would set in. Please understand that I am not saying that other Christians have less faith then I do. I have often sat at my desk with bills in front of me whining to God that we just couldn’t pay these bills and wanting to know what He was going to do about it.

Living by faith is so much more than trusting God to pay the bills it also includes our circumstances.  I have been guilty of thinking that as long as I trusted God to take care of the bills and provide for our physical needs that I was living by faith.  But how do I react when the plans I have are completely blown apart?  When God brings something or someone into my life unexpectedly do I trust that He has a plan that is far better than mine?  As Christians we often brag that we have faith in God.  We sing about our faith in hymns like “Only Trust Him” and “My Faith has found a Resting place”.  We quote scripture about trusting the Lord and His plans for our lives. Yet when life throws us a curve how do we react?

What kind of curves am I talking about?  Losing a job, death of a loved one–especially someone that is “too young to die”, breakdown of our vehicle which we need to go to work, an unplanned pregnancy, betrayal of a good friend, daily roadblocks that mess up our schedule.  There are many more but these came to mind.  God often brings things like this into our lives to remind us that we are NOT in control.  Little things like a simple cold or virus that makes us feel awful and frustrates our ability to accomplish our daily tasks can drive us crazy and send us running to our Heavenly Father demanding that He make us better or “fix” the situation because we have things to do!  True, most of us have some kind of schedule in our head and being sick wasn’t on the list.  Yet, shouldn’t we be asking God what was your plan for me today?  The Bible tells us that we are to give thanks in everything.  Doesn’t that include things that we do not like or understand? Of course it does!  God doesn’t give us an exception clause.  He just simply tells us to do it all the time in good times and bad whether we understand it or not.

So my question is: Are we willing to say “Heavenly Father, I know you and trust you.  I know you love me and have a perfect plan for my life therefore I will thank you for every circumstance, change of schedule, lack of funds or abundance of funds, obvious blessings and trials that could be a blessing.”?  My challenge for myself and you, my reader, is to learn to be thankful in every circumstance trusting that our loving Heavenly Father has a perfect plan for every minute of every day.

 

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INDEPENDENT CAT

We have a cat that adopted us. I imagine that someone threw him out along the highway that is just in front of our temporary home here in SC.  My husband named him “Ralph”.  Personally I don’t like the name but could not think of an alternative so he is officially Ralph.  I inherited a love for cats from my mother.  I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have at least one cat when I was growing up.  All of them just showed up at our house and we adopted them.

Both my husband and I had been talking about getting a dog when we were settled in our permanent home.  Ralph had been coming around to eat for several weeks when we decided to let him come in the trailer to eat and spend some time with us.  I was hoping that we could move him to our new home.  I bought him a small bed and put a flea collar on him.  I brought his food dishes inside to protect them from other wild cats.  My goal was to tame him and give him a safe, secure home where he would be loved and protected from the elements and wild animals.  But, he had other ideas.

The last few days he has shown up faithfully morning, noon and night to eat and sleep in “his” rocking chair.  But other times we will not see Ralph for several days.  He always comes back thinner and seems happy to be indoors once more.  Unfortunately, this behavior has proved to us that we cannot move him to town.  He is too old to be retrained as a house cat.  This past week, after disappearing for several days, Ralph showed up.  His eye was matted shut with blood, half of his tail had been torn off.  It looked like he was the loser in a major battle.  Now he is very interested in staying close to home and showing up for all meals.

This scenario reminds me of humans.  We are so often sure that we can handle our life just fine without God’s help so we go our own way blithely assuming that we know more than our creator about how to run our lives.  For a while this scenario works until our life hits a snag.  We lose a job, someone we love dies, our dreams are destroyed.  We may still muddle along trying to fix things on our own until we finally realize that we could ask our Heavenly Father for help.  Unfortunately, while trying to run our own lives we completely miss the multitude of blessings that God is waiting to pour on us.  Often we end up just like Ralph, covered with scars from the battles of life.

Ralph could have saved himself a lot of pain if he had stayed close to home and allowed us to feed and care for him.  How much pain could we avoid if we would learn to walk daily with our Heavenly Father trusting Him to guide and care for us?  Wouldn’t it make sense that God, who created us and knows everything about our lives, would only want the best for us?

I will always take Ralph back in and feed him and love him.  But, I cannot make his eye to see again or regrow his tail.  God is always waiting for us to come to Him.  He will forgive us and love us.  But the  scars that we created from our sin will not go away.  We need to learn to wait on the Lord’s perfect timing and trust Him that He knows what is best for us even when that big world looks like so much fun.  After all, shouldn’t we have more intelligence and sense than a simple house cat?