“Therefore, the promise comes by faith [trust], so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only those who are of the law but also those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:16, NIV)
I was not raised on Bible stories about God and loving and trusting Him. The story of choice in my family was “The Little Engine That Could”. I was taught to believe I could get up any “long, tall mountain” by my own effort. Push yourself! Set goals! Achieve, achieve! And always remember the important words “I think I can, I think I can.” So I grew up to be a planner, a list maker, a calendar person, an organizer, a fixer, and a caretaker. All good stuff, right? EXCEPT there is a whole lot of “I” in all of it!
When God brought me to Himself in childhood, He loved and cherished the first steps of faith I took toward Him. The years have grown us in age and in steps of faith. My knowledge of Him and His desires for me have continually grown and evidenced themselves. But in the midst of that He and I have had to repeatedly tear down my own personal banner, painted in childhood, which says “You can do it! Just FIGURE IT OUT!”
I keep needing to re-learn that no matter how much faith I have, I will never reach the point of self-sufficiency. I can’t store up faith like money in the bank; I have to grow it constantly, always renewing my trust in Him, not myself. My traits of planning, organizing, fixing and caretaking are all good stuff as long as they do not interfere with my relationship with God. They are all precious God-given gifts that are designed to be used not to climb “long, tall mountains” under my own steam but rather to be gifted out from me in my life by His grace and His power.
I have this little dog Polly. Hers is a simple life:
– Out the door at 6 or 7am for “potty”
– Kibble breakfast at about 9, followed by
– Coffee time on “mom’s” lap
– Napping in the comfy dog bed with blankets
– Biscuit and dentastix in the afternoon
– Outside trips and loving attention as needed
– Kibble supper about 6pm and napping til bedtime
Then repeat tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year … for about 13 years now!
Do I want that kind of simple life? Sometimes I think so! But I truly know that God created me as a complex, intelligent, seeking person – in His own image – His plans for me are boundless and He has always known me in my inmost being. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13, NIV)
I don’t need to re-read “The Little Engine That Could”. I do need to sing again and again with the psalmist, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:1-3, NIV) That message is for me! He chose me! It is personal and mine to claim today, firmly trusting Him with all of who I am.
Coming up on 73 you would think I might have lots of words of wisdom to impart. Nope! Maybe there is an experience laden something that helps out occasionally, but I seem to need and depend more on that simple open handed and open hearted trust of my childhood:
I KNOW GOD WANTS ME! ME!
I am still learning and strengthening my faith muscles under God and Grace every day. Over and over He tells me that I am saved by faith and trust plus NOTHING. The ever present message I keep hearing daily is:
Charlotte, the Bible never once tells you to “Figure it out” but over and over it tells you, TRUST GOD. HE’S ALREADY GOT IT ALL FIGURED OUT.
Love and Joy!
Char can be reached via email here.