Monthly Archives: April 2018

When Our Faith has to Pick a Lane

pick a laneJesus had some busy days. 

He had just healed a man with leprosy, then a guy’s servant, then healed a bunch of other people from sickness and demon possession. There was a lot going on. This was all in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 8. Jesus had to be physically exhausted. He climbed into the boat and went right to sleep. Just after He and the disciples got on board, the storm started brewing. The wind was blowing, the rain pounding, and waves jumping over the boat. The disciples began to mildly freak out.  

Rushing to Jesus’ mattress, they scream for Him to save them from their impending doom. He was sleeping.  

Have you ever felt like Jesus was sleeping? Unaware of what you are going through? Your wind and water are all over the place, but it feels like He is silent 

Me too. 

It is a tricky place to be, a time when our faith 
has to pick a lane. Do we trust Him, or do we not?  

I have prayed for something specific for more than a year and a half now. Something easily answerable. 
Yet I feel like if I look across the boat, I will find Jesus still napping. 

It’s during this time I have to
 decide whether I believe He will do *what* needs to be done *when* He knows it needs to be done, or if I believe I have been forgotten.   

This isn’t easy, and it’s not fun, but sometimes it’s good and necessary for our faith to have to stand exposed
, so to speak, to see what we really believe. No false pretenses, no wishy-washy church words said without meaning. We get to this stormy place, and we decide if we trust Him as the One who can save us or if we don’t.  

The disciples knew w
ho to go to. They ran to Jesus, He got up and stopped the storm. But they had their doubts. Jesus knew it, and He told them as much, asking them why they were so afraid.  

I’m certain Jesus is asking me the same thing right now. “Jennifer, why are you so afraid?” The truth is, I don’t know. I have seen Jesus come through for me over and over again,
 and I have no reason at all to think He would take a break. There are some questions I need to ask myself to get my mind back where it needs to be.

  1. 1.Do I believe God *can* answer my prayer? Yes.  

  1. 2.Have I seen God answer prayers for me before? Yes. 

  1. 3.If this prayer is for our good, and God could be glorified through it, can I trust He will answer it? Yes 

  1. 4.If He chooses not to, can I trust that His reasons are bigger than what I can understand, but that it certainly is not because He fell asleep? Yes. 

If I believe all of
 these things, I can have peace, believing that God will work things out in His own way and His own timing. It might be something I have to realign my soul to every single day, until He works things out His way, but for the peace that comes with it, I will gladly confirm my yeses to these questions as often as I need to. 

Needless to say, Jesus calmed the disciples’ storm by simply speaking. He took care of it, and all was well, amazing these guys who had just seen Him heal a gazillion people right before this. Over and over He proves how He is the One we can trust, and somehow, we forget and then continue to be amazed when He comes through.  

He will take care of me. He will take care of you. 
Let’s trust Him. 

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

Being Thankful During a ‘No’

Blog picture JCM

When I was in junior high, and parents trusted television a little more than they should, I saw a music video on MTV that featured a beautiful lady with a tattoo of a snake that was the entire length of her arm. Though over the years, my mind somehow decided it was on her leg, and that was what I wanted. That was the coolest thing I had ever seen, and I was determined that when I was old enough, I would make that happen.

Turns out putting age restrictions on things like that are a good idea.

But at the time, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t thankful for these restrictions, not the ones from my parents nor the ones from the government.

As a kid, I didn’t know that was a good thing. It seemed kind of crummy to me. Where’s my freedom? Why can’t I make my own choices?

When I don’t get my way, it’s easy for me, even now, to focus in on that, and forget all the other good things that I have in my life.

No, I didn’t get the 3-foot long snake tattoo (thank you mom and dad), but I did get rules that kept me from getting hepatitis and I had a good education, food, shelter, clothing and teen magazines.

And sometimes when I ask God for something, it goes that way. I asked Him for healing for my Mom, which didn’t happen this side of heaven. But I asked for healing for my niece, and it happened that very moment, so I know He is capable (if I haven’t shared that story, find me – I’d love to tell you). I have asked for jobs and babies and relationships, and not all of it went the way I wanted. Some of these things I still pray for, knowing these deep desires are in the hearts of my friends. And some things that I’ve prayed for, I can see now how it wouldn’t have been the best option.

But we are supposed to be thankful in all of it. I Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

In the book “Anything,” by Jennie Allen, she quoted her friend Rachel, who had many reasons to become bitter in her life. Instead of bitterness, Rachel was filled with joy and love for others, even those who had hurt her, and she said this:

“You have to thank God for the seemingly good and the seemingly bad because really, you don’t know the difference.” (p59)

There are ways that God can use those seemingly bad things to bring about good that our minds can’t even understand.

Sometimes I still might resemble that 12 year-old girl who wants a snake tattoo, not realizing that what I am asking for isn’t for the best, even though it sure seems to me like it is. But I have a Father who looks at me with love, knowing what is best, and holds me through the “No.”

If there is some “No” you have received that has your full attention right now, and you’re not feeling very Thanksgiving-y, take a few minutes to make a list and let God know how thankful you are for the things he has given you, and how much you trust Him as your Father to know what’s best, even during a “No.”

There is a serious freedom that comes with not having to figure it all out, but simply trusting God, and I, for one, am thankful for that.