Not long ago, I had the opportunity to attend Living Proof Live (LPL) with Beth Moore in Springfield,MO. It was a great time, and I truly enjoyed spending time with my sisters in Christ. It was a time to freely worship my Creator, and bask in the love He has for His people. However, by Sunday I felt weary and worn, beaten up, yet grateful for answered prayer. It wasn’t necessarily just Beth’s message that got me, it was more everything put together over the course of three days along with her message.
When the Lord hits you with the same verse three times in less than 24 hours, take note.
We arrived at LPL to find a scripture lovingly and prayerfully taped to the back of every chair in the arena. Mine was 1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you”. As the event started, Travis Cottrell led worship. A song or two into worship, he read 1 Peter 5:7 to us, I turned and looked at the card taped to the back of the chair. “Thank you, Lord” I said.
When the event was over Saturday, we headed out for lunch and then to a Christian bookstore in Springfield. There is a study I had thought about doing for quite some time, and sought out looking for the workbook. Arriving at the shelves, I began to flip through ‘Experiencing Jesus’ and was pleased to see that it looked really good. However, flipping through this study I once again came face to face with 2 Peter 5:7. This was the third time in less than 24 hours. And the funny thing was, it was the “wrong” bible study; I had intended to pick up ‘Experiencing God.’
So the next day I arrived at church with the thought of joining a different class for a couple sessions. I had been freed up from teaching my Connection Class (Sunday School), due to an awesome and important series on All In Orphan Care taking place, which most classes participated in. But this break provided a wonderful opportunity to join others. Well, the basis of my 1 Peter 5:7 verse that had been so prevalent the previous 36 hours continued. I couldn’t escape it! For the next hour we discussed worry and healthy concern, focusing on Matthew 6:25-34. I walked out of the class with another, “Thank you, Lord.”
The church service began and after worship, our preacher began. And wouldn’t you know, by the end we had landed in Matthew 6:25-34. The message was being received, loud and clear. “Thank you, Lord.”
You see, I had been worrying about something for roughly three weeks. The worry had crept up on me. I knew I was worrying, but I physically couldn’t seem to do anything about it. Every time I would have a moment to make progress, distractions invaded. I became crabby and irritable, short tempered and scowled. I had begun to take something that needed to be done with strength and guidance from my Creator and ever so slowly took it upon my own strength. I was taking something that belonged at the feet of the Lord, and took it all upon myself. I was worrying about an impossible time line! What I discovered is that it wasn’t God’s timeline, it was my own. And often, my own timelines do not work when it comes to big, life changing events.
Getting pregnant with our first child did not fit my timeline, it took way too long. And, loosing that child was not on my timeline either. Getting pregnant with our son was not on my timeline, in my mind it happened much too quickly after our loss. However, the Creator’s plan was much better than my own and I wouldn’t dream of exchanging His timelines for my own. His ways are so much higher.
1 Peter 5:6-11 is what I needed to be mediating on, casting my worry Him. And in verse 10 it says, “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
I believe it was the God of all grace that lovingly, and gently, whopped me over the head with this verse and theme over the course of 2.5 days, correcting and drawing me to himself. His timing is perfect. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. One thing I am learning in this process is that I am to not worry, trust His perfect timeline. (He has been in charge of it since the beginning of time you know…I think he can be trusted.) Cast my burdens upon him, because he cares for me! It is through things like this, and casting our worries upon Him, that we will be restored, confirmed, strengthened and established in Christ. His steadfast love always has his children’s best interest in mind.
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil or spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Matthew 6:28-30 (ESV)
He uses all things as opportunities to grow our faith and trust in Him.