Today I learned a lesson in trust from a loving Father. It was a lesson I shall not soon forget and one that I have a feeling may shape my response to Him for the rest of my life. Two weeks ago a friend asked me to provide pulpit supply for her while she was on vacation. Let me make this clear, I am not a Pastor and nor have I had any type of seminary training. I am simply a person who loves her God very much and has been touched by a relationship with Jesus to the depths of my heart. What I am is a person who spends a lot of time writing; it’s how I process things, its how I hear from God, it’s simply an integral part of who I am. So, when my friend asked me to fill the pulpit for her I prayed and clearly felt God was leading me to accept the challenge. I believed with all my heart, that, just as in times past God would provide the words, I would put pen to paper and voila a sermon would be born. WOW WAS I WRONG!!
What happened instead? Well, I did put pen to paper……..over 30 pages worth in fact and none of it conveyed what was in my heart, none of it truly conveyed what God wanted me to say, and I knew it! I felt a distance from God that was almost frightening and not only a distance but a disconnect from my hand. I know that sounds odd but God was continually speaking to my heart; giving me nuggets of wisdom, and what seemed like great ideas for the sermon, but the minute I picked up a pen everything came out wrong. I prayed, I begged, I bargained, I even prayed for a snowstorm because I could not for the life of me figure out how I was going to do this without something in writing. Then, last Sunday I had what I thought was a marvelous idea, and in retrospect I guess it was kind of rebellious. I thought, well God, if you have turned off the writing to my hand I’ll just say what I am hearing, record it and then write it down. If you have ever thought you could trick God into getting what you want, I’m here to tell you it is not going to happen! Over and over I continually heard Him whispering, don’t worry about the writing, it will be okay. Over and over I argued and last Sunday thought I devised a way to get around it (at the time I didn’t see it that way). Anyway off I went to a quiet place and spoke my heart out into the recorder on my phone. I listened to it and took some brief notes right afterward but for the most part figured I would transcribe later in the week. God had other plans.
Fast forward to three days later, I sat talking on the phone with my son, when suddenly the line went dead and when I looked at my phone it had completely deactivated!! I went through the steps to complete the reactivation and chose the most recent back up from Sunday morning. It wasn’t until the next evening when I decided it was time to listen once again to that recording that I realized what happened……that phone glitch, it erased what I had recorded!!! There would be no transcription from voice to paper. I was frantic, what in the world was I going to do God; God just said, “take it easy Amy, I’ve got this”. Well, You might have it God but let me tell YOU something….I am only human and I at least need notes!! Now not only did I not have anything written, what I thought was a way around it was gone as well. The anxiety that appeared opened the door for the enemy to begin planting serious doubts in my heart. Suddenly I was convinced that without something in writing I would accidentally offend someone and a church where my son and I had finally found a home after 2 ½ years of looking would then soundly reject me. It was silly and I know that now but the enemy had a heyday with me as my friend said for a couple of days.
After a couple of days of anxiety over no writing, fearing rejection and not understanding why God would do such a thing I finally began to calm down and trust Him, or so I thought. The truth is I willed myself to calm down thinking surely when He saw I was calmer He would provide the words. NOPE! I asked friends to pray over me for strength and wisdom thinking that would open the door to the written word. NOPE! Finally I decided okay, sometimes I am good at procrastinating, surely before Sunday morning at 9am He would give me the written words. NOPE!
At 8:30am this morning I finally conceded there would be no written words. I had a brief panic attack; I posted on Facebook for prayer warriors and checked out the window once more for that snowstorm. No snowstorm, so I checked Facebook one more time and what I saw brought my heart more resignation than comfort. A friend posted a reminder to me that the prophet Elijah was oftentimes called by God to do something he was completely unprepared to do and each time Elijah went anyway and in the words of my friend “shock of all shocks, God gave him the tools and the words He needed right on time!! And Elijah was blessed and people were too.” At that point I realized, there was no other choice so I finished getting ready and left for church still secretly hoping I would get some divine word revelation in the 15 min drive…..it didn’t happen. An hour later I took a deep breath, glanced heavenward once more and began the service by thanking God for the opportunity to speak to His people all the while knowing I still had no clear idea of what I was going to say. Well, just as my heart, in its depths knew would happen God showed up and showed off. I spoke words that just flowed from my mouth, but it was only me doing the physical forming of the words, the words themselves were lovingly breathed from a God who knew all along how it would all turn out and who knew all along what a beautiful lesson in trust this would be for His servant.
This evening I debated, should I listen to the recording or not? A speaker is always their own worst critic so I really didn’t know if I should listen or not but why not? After all, I had already trusted Him with the words I might as well listen to what He had to say. To say I was shocked when I listened is an understatement. I truly felt the message had come out as one jumbled up mess and the nice words from the congregation were just to make me feel better. Instead, what I heard on that recording were words that were definitely not of my own doing, the words conveyed a message of love from a loving heavenly Father in a way that I could never have accomplished. The words were not written, they were Holy Spirit breathed and honestly, I sat in shock after listening; not for the words from my mouth. I sat in shock of a realization of the amazing love of my Father who put events in motion that forced me to trust Him and then took those events and turned them into words not just for the beautiful people listening but also for a daughter who needed a lesson in trust. Our God is an awesome God……and the next time I am asked to prepare a message……honestly I will probably still stress, its just what I do, BUT each time I start stressing I want to remember this and consciously choose to put my Trust in Him remembering the beauty He brought forth from that trust.
My friends, may God richly bless you; and when you face a time you are certain you are unprepared for may you take a leap of faith and trust in a Father so loving and kind, if nothing else, just see what happens when you do!! I guarantee it will richly bless you!