Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gertrude Garmin

“Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” – Psalms 25:4-5

This past Christmas my “from-me-to-me” gift was a Garmin Nuvi GPS unit. After several trips to places in Nashville I never intended to go, and decided I needed a travel companion that knew the way and could tell me where I was. Once we heard the GPS’s somewhat pushy and controlling female voice, we decided to name her Gertrude.

Yesterday I took a trip with my best friend, my daughter, and her friend to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. That’s about a 3 hour drive…but Gertrude will tell you it is precisely 2 hours and 46 minutes! Along the way when we would pull over or miss a turn she would begin to whine at us “Recalculating directions!” We could miss a turn by 30 feet and she’d start in “Recalculating directions!” She’d then recite to us the left turn followed by another left turn to turn us around.

On the way home Gerty decided to take us home a different route. On the way up we’d travelled through Evansville, Indiana. That’s actually the most direct route in my opinion. But Gerty decided we would be best to travel to Owensboro and then to Beaver Dam and get on the West Kentucky Parkway. Once we figure out what she was telling us, we found out it really was a better route in that it was on major highways with less curves, less traffic, and yes, just a little bit faster.

But the problem with Gerty is that she doesn’t show her hand! When she tells you “continue travelling 23 miles” she doesn’t tell you why. She doesn’t show you the next turn. She doesn’t tell you the full course. You’re given information on a need-to-know basis. You get what you need to know right then…and you have to trust her for the rest.

It dawned on me this morning that my path in life is very much like that. God hasn’t shown me the whole path – just what He wants me to do next. Once I reach that destination, then He proceeds to tell me the next step. I have yet to see the full path, although, by God’s grace, I do know that one day I will reach the destination!

Not long ago I became involved with a client that is part of Africa Inland Missions called Rift Valley Academy. They run a school for the children of Africa and children of Missionaries. When I originally heard they were in Kenya, my heart almost stopped because I remembered my pastor’s prophecy that someone from our church would go to Africa this year on a mission.

When he’d given the prophecy I’d immediately prayed “Please Lord, not me!” I felt God telling me, this is your mission, but I waited on God.

Then the invitation came to travel to Africa – with RVA paying the travel. But as a single Mom, I couldn’t go and leave my kids. Then God opened another door when they offered to provide travel for my kids…and a safari trip too.

The next obstacle was vacation time, which I don’t have much of being new to my company. But while having dinner one night with one of my company’s owners, I was informed that this wasn’t a problem because they had only weeks ago discussed RVA and doing some pro-bono for the client. They would offer 40 hours of my time to RVA as pro-bono work, which meant I didn’t have to take any vacation time to go.

My heart literally flipped! I almost cried just sitting there at the dinner table! I could see God charting my path to Africa as clearly as I could see it if Gerty Garmin had it on the little purple highway on her screen! I got the passport application filled out, checked on the immunizations I’d need, and was looking for the kinds of needs RVA had for me and my children to fulfill while we were there.

Then a funny thing happened. God said “Recalculating directions”, and I wasn’t supposed to go.
I still don’t know why because God has yet to show me the path I’m on and why this is not my time to go to Africa. Maybe it was a test of obedience, and God just wanted to see if He sent me, would I go.

What I do know is that right now I’m on the path He has designed for me. Right now, I’m to stay put, be an active mother to my children, a friend to my friends, write what He gives me, and wait for the next instruction.

This is a matter of trust, just like we had to trust Gerty yesterday to give us the right path home. For about an hour and a half we were wondering what she’d gotten us into! Then she showed us West Kentucky Parkway, and we knew she was right.

I know God’s plans for me are the best plans. He seeks to prosper me, and to provide the best possible future for me. Sometimes I wish He would show me His ways, but perhaps if He did, I’d be less likely to follow. So in His infinite wisdom, He just says “continue travelling 23 miles” and I have to hold His hand and follow where He leads me.

The minute I let go and decide to chart my own path, He’s quick to “recalculate directions” as well. That’s called grace. Sometimes it’s a rocky path to teach me to stay on course, and sometimes it’s just a detour that leads to nothing and He gives me a contrite heart of repentance to realize I was wrong and turn around. But He never leaves me without direction.

Thank you, Father God, for being my life travel companion. Thank you for charting the best course for me. Thank you for keeping the path hidden to shield me from the fear of its hills and valleys. Help me to wait for your directions. Amen.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Lame and The Blind

“And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, “You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,” thinking, “David cannot come in here.” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David).” – 2 Samuel 5:6-7

When I was either a junior or senior in high school I went to visit my grandmother one day. She was out on her back porch breaking string beans. I sat down with her to help and we began to talk and somewhere during the conversation I told her I was going to college.

Now you have to understand that no one in my family at that time had been to college. In fact, only one had graduated high school. Her immediate response was, “You’ll never go to college. That’s just a dream.”

It cut through my heart. She’d shown me one thing – she had no confidence in my ability to succeed. I took it all in and then just as quickly replied, “Oh yes I will! You just watch me.”

I could just have easily let her ideals of my future become my own. I could have taken on the discouragement and lost focus of what I wanted in life. But praise God on high, He didn’t make me that way!

David encountered something similar at the beginning of his reign over all of Israel. After reigning in Hebron over the tribe of Judah for seven years, King Isbosheth, Saul’s son, died. David was then anointed King of all Israel. When he went to Jerusalem to reign he found the Jebusites had occupied the land.

The Jebusites cried out a taunt to David, telling him that he would not be able to come in there because if he did, it would take nothing more than their lame and their blind to kick him out. Jerusalem was on a hill, and the grounds around it rocky and rough. They thought they were safe from David.

David could have easily said to himself, “Look at this place! It’s occupied by those
who hate me, it’s rough to travel into the town, I’ve already lost several of my men in wars, and really, I could settle for Hebron. I could go back and reign there over all Israel.” He could have backed down.

Instead, I imagine David’s thoughts were on where God had taken him so far. God had allowed him to kill a bear and a lion while just a shepherd boy. He’d allowed him to kill Goliath, the Phillistine and become a hero to his people. He’d allowed him to escape the death hunt of King Saul, and twice given him opportunity to kill Saul himself. He’d protected him in war after war, allowed him to gain back a wife that was stolen from him, and made him ruler over all of Israel by not only his being Jewish and being chosen by God, but by the love of his own people. David knew one thing that brought him success. He knew from who’s hand he had received it.

God’s faithfulness to us should never be forgotten. The greatest encouragement we can know is to understand that without God, we would be nothing, and as Christians we will never be without Him.

Not only did David take the city of Jerusalem, which was also called Zion, but he renamed it. He called it the City of David, and it is called that to this very day. He made their taunt of “the lame and the blind” a victory cry and even sang about it. When God is on your side, nothing and no one that can stand against you.
Verse 10 of this passage tells the rest of the story so simply. It says “So David went on and became great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.”

Friends, as sure as God lives in you, he desires to prosper you. Don’t accept the discouragement of the world. Accept the future God has designed for you. Accept it and know that it comes from His Hands.