Well, it will be Valentine's Day in a couple of days.
A day when we celebrate love.
It makes me think of cards, and flowers, and candy. I'm sorta particular about my candy. I'm not a *See's box of chocolates* kind of girl. I'm more like Hershey's chocolate kisses, and M & M's – and if you want to throw in a couple of Milky Ways or Crunch Bars – I will accept that.
So, it's a day for sweethearts.
But, this year, I'm also thinking about my *heart* condition.
Not my physical heart, but my spiritual heart.
How's my faith pumping lately?
I've got to be honest. I've been all over the map with this move to the mountains. In the beginning, I really struggled. Then things got better. I thought that I had finally "arrived" up here. But then the holidays came, and some winter challenges – some boredom and some frustration – and boom. I hit the *pits* again.
Recently, I was driving back "up the hill" from a visit to my family.
I told God out loud that I needed to hear from Him. I wasn't exactly sure that I wanted to hear from Him. Because I knew the words would probably be stern. I have not been a pillar of longsuffering lately. Mrs. Crabby has taken up residence.
So, though I wasn't entirely sure that I wanted to hear from Him, I needed to hear from Him.
I waited a couple of minutes. Nothing. So, I decided to call a friend and yak for a while to make the trip go faster. Yes, I realize that I was putting God "on hold." Sometimes (almost always) He waits for me to quiet myself before He speaks. I've been having trouble with *quiet* lately.
Anyway, after about an hour, I had to get off the phone. I was heading toward that last 30-minute stretch of winding mountain road into town. And there is no cell phone signal on that stretch.
So, here's the scenario – me, a dark and winding road, no sound but the hum of the car – until He spoke:
"Do you trust Me?"
OK, that caught me off guard.
I answered without thinking…
"No, I guess not." (At least not in a practical *down-deep-where-the-peace-is-and-I-live-like-I-believe-it* kind of way)
He said it again:
"Do you TRUST Me?"
I answered, a little more quietly...
"I want to, Lord."
Once more, He said it again – a patient third chance, just like He gave Peter:
"Do you trust ME?"
And I spoke the most honest thing I could think of to say to Him…
"I trust You, Lord. But I just don't trust You to do the painless thing."
And this is what He said to that:
"Then trust Me to do the right thing."
I was rather floored by that.
I spent the rest of the drive really pondering. What is trust? And why do I have this latent "mis-trust" of God?
I absolutely DO trust that He is ABLE to do all things – every thing – the impossible things. I know that He is omnipotent. Fully capable of any supernatural feat that He desires to accomplish.
I also absolutely know that BAD things often happen. Things don't always work out. Sometimes people aren't prevented from a terrible accident, sometimes the diagnosis is cancer, sometimes a child wanders away, sometimes a job is lost, sometimes marriages aren't saved…
Sometimes life does not work out.
And that's where I have trouble.
I know God CAN – I just don't know if He WILL.
That's where my reply came from – from having misgivings about God's responses to my prayers – because I want to avoid pain. And sometimes, He allows pain to happen.
But, His last reply to me was powerful.
Stern, but caring. Firm, but comforting.
Can I trust Him to do the RIGHT thing?
Yes, I can.
I absolutely believe that He loves me, and loves my family and friends. I do believe that He is perfectly good. I do believe that He has a plan and a purpose that cannot be thwarted by circumstances.
God is not controlled by the inconsistencies of life.
The *ups and downs* do not dictate His wishes. He is the One unchanging Presence in the entire Universe.
Therefore, pain does not rule.
Death and disease – the remnants of the Fall – are not God's final answer.
This is the ultimate secret to learning how to trust. This is where faith's "rubber hits the road." This is the core of my *heart* condition.
Do I trust GOD'S ways of accomplishing the right thing – the greatest thing – in my life?
Even if it's painful?
Evidently for me, trust is a very big CONTROL issue.
I want to avoid anxiety, to never experience pain, to have a steady and happy life…
God wants me to look like His Son.
So, my faith is pumping – yes it is.
But it needs to strengthen that pulse!
Just as my physical heart is strengthened by exercise, so my faith heart is strengthened by trials, by struggles – and yes, by pain sometimes.
But I need it.
I need to learn the invaluable lesson that pain and peace are not mutually exclusive.
I need to learn that I am not in control – (evidently on this one, I'm still in elementary school…just sayin’)
I need to believe in my heart of hearts that God is truly good – all the time.
I need to trust God to always, unerringly, lovingly do the right thing.
And yes, at the end of the day, I really do trust Him for that.
After all, I do want to look like His Son…
"And they who know Your name [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy] will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You [on the authority of God's Word and the right of their necessity]." (Psalm 9:10, AMP)
"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"
(Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
How's your *heart* condition? Is your faith beating strong?
Linked today with:
Pamela at A SHELTERING TREEBonnie at FAITH BARISTA
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"