I have a true story to share with you and what better place than here, on my blog, on the internet, where it will surely reach millions! =)
Last week my children and I went camping on the lake. The grandchildren were invited as an end-of-summer event. We have been waiting for a break in the rainy weather but my window of opportunity was quickly closing with the end of July looming. The forecast was for sunny skies; so, I planned to pick up the grands in the afternoon, while the final touches were put on the camp.
Over the last few years, we’ve developed a system for camping that actually works! Simply: I orchestrate; direct a lot and plan & pack for meals, my girls do most of the home work, getting clothes packed, bedding organized, etc. My boys go to the designated campsite and start putting up the tents. The idea is to have the tents up, supplies on site and then deliver the campers. Smooth and easy.
So… I sent the boys down early with the tents. Cell phones now make this job (orchestration) even easier. I can sort of be in more than one place at a time. I called after a while and found out that things were going well and two of the smaller tents were already up. Things were going well at home, also, and we were all so excited to spend this time together. Some time passed and I got a call about our big tent. The tent.
After several years, we bought a new family-size tent just last year. It’s the tent that I sleep in with my two youngest children and three or four young grandchildren. I know exactly where they are each night and how they’re sleeping. Too hot in this scorching summer, too cold in our unseasonably freezing fall (last year), giggling and telling stories way past lights out, rolled atop each other, etc. I sing louder than the crickets and tree frogs, until the last one falls asleep, zip tent flaps, move kids back into sleeping bags and generally watch through the night, even when my eyes are closed. lol This is an important tent.
My older son called to say that because they didn’t remember the specifics of putting this tent up and couldn’t seem to put their hand on a diagram, there was too much stress on one of the main poles and it broke. “Don’t stress,” he says, (I wasn’t), and he assures me that he isn’t, either. They’re going to leave it alone for a time and concentrate on getting the other tents put together. My response, “I’m not worried; not stressed, but…we must have this tent. I need this tent. This is not cool. I don’t want to come up with a plan B; I am more than comfortable with plan A. Okay, it’ll be fine. We’ll think of something. Call me in a little while.” I remember thinking, “It’s a fairly new tent, right. I bet we can order a replacement piece, but that’s not going to help now. I wonder how long it will take to get it? Maybe they can overnight it? Wonder how much that will cost?”
Let me pause here, to tell you that this isn’t really a story. It is a testimony. If you’re already here, reading now, this post is for YOU. Read on. Don’t miss what God has for you. It will be a deposit into your personal well of God’s faithfulness. You will draw on it when you need it. You’ll be able to tell others and it will be added to their well. I do not believe in coincidence. I believe in the power of prayer and I believe in God.
We kept at our preparations and we prayed. We asked God for help and wisdom. I asked for peace and the ability to maintain a good attitude even if I had to change my ideas of what was best. A couple of hours later my son called, again. God had made a direct deposit into his well of faithfulness and he couldn’t wait to tell me what had happened!
Our youngest son had walked down to the lake’s edge to wade and explore. The oldest decided it was a good time for a break. They had been working, in the heat, with another brother, for several hours. He walked from the campsite, across the shore and directly into the water, about 10 feet. The bottom is sort of gooshy and it tends to make the water a murky, muddied-orange, until you reach some depth and the volume of water washes it out. Just to his right, lying 2 feet under the surface, on a lake bottom he could still clearly see, was something shiny. He said that before he even pulled the tent pole out of the water he knew what it was.
This lake encompasses 38,000 acres of water, and nearly 700 miles of shoreline. There are more than 1/2 a dozen campgrounds and at least 20 designated swim areas; a huge water park and numerous marinas. Yet, within sight of our camp, at a certain moment in time (not the day before or the day after), there was a tent pole lying at the bottom of this lake and he saw it! It was not broken or even attached to a broken piece. The pole that broke on the tent was an end piece. It had a specific purpose and it’s manufactured for the position it held. Tent poles come in different lengths and diameters according to the specifics of the tent. There are ends and middles. The pole that was in the water is an exact replacement for the broken tent pole. Exact. It did not have to be modified or manipulated in any way! It is the correct size and the specific design for its position! The FACT is, I could not have purchased a better fitting replacement and there it was.
In our house, this is a-God-thing. It defies reasonable explanation. We talk about it. Praise Him and give Him the glory. We stand in awe that He would care about something so small and seemingly insignificant in our lives that He would take the time to change our circumstances; to impress upon our hearts that He sees us and He knows our every need, long before we know it ourselves. We are honored that He loves us enough to build our faith and trusts us to share His Good News. No doubt, there will come a time when the enemy will tease and torment us with the thought that God has abandoned us and we are unimportant to Him, but the enemy is a liar and this history of God’s faithfulness will be a powerful tool to defeat him. I share it with you.
“And they overcame him because of the blood of The Lamb and because of the word of their testimony…” Revelation 12:11
“Behold, I am The Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
“…as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3
I don’t have nearly all of the answers to my own questions, let alone yours. I don’t know why children starve or are abused. I don’t know why those that seem so good, die so young. I don’t know why earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, fire and floods are allowed to destroy lives. I.do.not.know.
What I do know is this ~ God knows and we can put our trust fully in Him. He loves us, He is faithful and He keeps His promises.
“Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving Glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.” Romans 4:20-21
“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 42:11
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah… The Lord of Hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.” Psalm 46:1-3; 7
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
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Don’t give into the temptation of dwelling on your circumstances. Look to God, where your help comes from. Nearly 90 years ago, Helen Lemmel penned these words:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
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