I'm going to admit a fault to you guys:
Sometimes, I doubt God.
Yes, even me. This little girl who has seen miracle after miracle, been supernaturally provided for time after time, seen healing only God could pull off again and again; I doubt God sometimes. The great thing is, God's self confidence isn't altered by me doubting him.
When you own a business, there are times in the month when you're not sure how things are going to work out. Checks don't always come in on the days you want them to and it can really make you want to pull your hair out! You watch the bank account full of last month's profits dwindle and - if you're like me - you start having some conversations with God.
"God, why? Why are you testing us like this?"
And the Holy Spirit says "Have faith."
"God, you provided for us that time, and that time, and that time. Why doesn't it look like you're going to do it this time?"
And the Holy Spirit says "Be patient."
"God! I demand to have an answer from you! You promised us abundance and that sure wasn't what this is!"
In the back of my head, I hear God chuckle. And the Holy Spirit says "Trust."
"Okay, God. We're doing the work. We love the people around us, and we're doing the work. We're not the slackers here...your turn!"
And the Holy Spirit says "Be thankful."
But this situation! This awful, painful, stressful situation over here! This one, right here, where I don't know with absolute certainty that we're going to make our bills this month. This one, right in my face, that tells me things are going wrong. This one, where somehow we're doing the work and things aren't working out in my timing! Fix this, and then I can be thankful!
And I imagine the Holy Spirit sighs. "Hasn't God provided for you before," he asks. "Hasn't he always provided for you? What reason do you have to believe that this time is any different? Be patient, child. Have faith, trust God, and be thankful."
So, I stop. I've learned, finally, that when the Holy Spirit repeats himself it's time to stop what you've been doing. I should probably learn to stop the first time, but I'm just here for now.
I stop, and I look around me. I look out at the beautiful view I have just outside my window...every morning. The sun rises and hits the trees and the little valley I can see from my porch and everything lights up in response. All of the colors become richer and more vibrant. From my porch I can watch the clouds get their golden lining, watch daylight burst through a crack in the rainstorm...just for a little moment. But that moment is long enough. It's so beautiful, so perfect...and it's right here. I don't even have to leave my house or put real clothes on to see. God set it on my doorstep.
I close my eyes, and I listen. Birds are always singing here. It doesn't matter if you can see the sun or not, if it's rainy or clear, hot or cold. The birds always sing. Their song is joyous and, if I let it, it lifts my spirit.
Driven by the beauty around me I start to think of the other things I have to be thankful for, like the wonderful husband God has given me, and the beautiful home we live in, and the chance to impact all of the lives we touch. I start to thank God for every blessing that comes to mind until too many of them are reaching me at once and I must fall into silence, allowing my soul to reach out in worship.
A very wise woman whom I admire greatly once told me that worship unlocks doors. Worship is the key that opens the doors to rooms full of God's blessings; full of things he wants to give you, but that you might be holding the door firmly closed on by complaining and doubting.
She also said that God made us, so he isn't frightened or intimidated by our human-ness and emotions. And it's a good thing, too! Because mere moments before I reached a state of worship, I was complaining. I was even angry! I had forgotten that I serve a God I can rely on. That my God is all powerful and very much alive and actually loves me, and that means that his blessings will always meet and exceed my needs. This girl, who has seen the hand of God so many times, forgot.
And then I remembered. That's an amazing thing about the Holy Spirit. You can forget sometimes, as a human, just how powerful God is. And then the Holy Spirit will remind you.
The amazing thing is how often I find myself coming out of that place of worship with new confidence. I may have doubted God a moment ago. I may have not been sure just a minute before. But now I know. Now I can confidently thank him for blessings that are already on the way, even if I can't see it. Because I've been reminded of who my God is. He can work the universe to give me assurance that the sun will rise and shed light on the world every morning!
I don't know if you've ever tried to direct the cosmos, but I imagine it's quite a feat!
The Holy Spirit reminds me of who God is, and my conversation changes. I start thanking God for providing in the past, and for having already sent the provision for today and tomorrow and even months ahead of time.
You see, I come out of that place of thankful worship and I am at peace. Finally. When I walk into God's presence sometimes I forget to be at peace. I forget what it was like as a child to trust that Daddy's going to take care of things, to just know that even if it looks upsetting right now, I can just go find Daddy because Daddy will fix it. I forget that God is my Daddy, and just like a toddler girl, I can go sit in his lap when I'm worried or scared, and he will fix it. I forget that I'm not alone, and expected to shoulder everything on my own.
Sometimes, when I walk into God's presence, I have forgotten who he is.
But here's a credit to my parents: Somehow, I always know to go looking for him.
Even if I've forgotten who he is. Even if I've forgotten that I have no reason to believe he would leave me stranded this time. Even if I'm angry, and scared, and overwhelmed, even if I've been running away and trying to handle the world all on my own...I always know, somehow, to go back to the presence of God. Because in my parents' house, that's what we did.
The bible says "Train a child up in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." And it's right! Because habits, especially the habits you develop as a child, are hard to break! Frequently we don't even realize that it is a habit. It's just something we do.
Because of the way my parents taught me, because every problem was brought to God and set - or sometimes thrown - into his hands, I have that habit. No matter how angry I am or how much I've been doubting, I have the habit of always coming back to God's presence.
I will admit, sometimes, it's to yell at him. Sometimes I come into God's presence with my guns blazing, ready to hurt someone if I don't get my way. But the amazing thing about God is that he's ok with that. If you can't come to him any other way right now, he's ok with you as you are. He wants you to learn and grow but you're not going to get turned away at the door to the throne room just because you're angry, or sad, or hurting. God doesn't hide from the unpleasant side of humanity's emotions.
Yes, sometimes I doubt God. But I am blessed in that the Holy Spirit is always there to remind me of the path to the throne room. I can enter God's presence any time, and there's something about entering the presence of the Almighty Creator of the Universe and Savior of Mankind that just puts you in awe. From that place of reverence I can be receptive to God's pouring into me. I may forget who God is but all I have to do in order to remember is look out my window. Or close my eyes and listen. And then, when I leave his presence, I am changed. I know things will work out, I'm not worried or concerned anymore.
When I walk out of God's presence, I am like a child. Children are so carefree. They play and laugh and can easily be themselves because they don't worry about whether their needs are met. They know with absolute confidence, the kind of confidence that makes you not even think about it, that they will be taken care of.
I leave God's presence like a child. And as soon as I've stopped worrying about the results and trying to make things happen in my own timing, everything falls into place. Health problems are resolved, checks come in on time, even whatever squabbles I've had with the people around me find resolution.
Everything in my life has a tendency to fall into place when I start trusting God again, when I remember who he is. Because I have let go, and decided to trust the God who designed the ground I stand on and the beauty I'm surrounded by and even my own brain. I've decided to trust that if he can do all that, he can probably handle whatever it is I'm going through. And when I decide that, things get handled more beautifully than I could have asked for.
And that, my friends, is very good.