When Things Don’t Turn Out as Planned

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 (NASB) “Did you do your best, honey?” “Yes, mommy, I did” she quietly said. “Did you study for the test, double-checked your answers?” “I did, mommy, I promise.” She was at the verge of tears. My heart sunk. I felt helpless and dumb. The grade was pretty unacceptable and it wasn’t her first bad grade that month. I found myself hating pre-algebra all over again. No, I didn’t think about pre-algebra when I said yes to homeschooling my children. No, sire, pre-algebra was not in my “cons” list. I actually didn’t have a “pros and cons” list at all. I simply knew that God was calling us to enroll our girls in a hybrid school, where they go to school some days and are homeschooled on others. I figured we would do just fine; after all, I was only going to serve as a facilitator and booboo kisser on homeschool days. Wrong! Was I ever wrong. I was also the one who was supposed to be able to help my babies when they didn’t know what to do. Instead, I looked at pre-algebra papers and wondered how on earth I made it through school thirty years...

The One-Mile Marker. Time to quit!?

Passage: Exodus 9 “‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.” Exodus 6:6 He left the presence of the Lord, repeating the words God had given him several days before. “I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgements”. He hung on to that promise as he got ready to request yet another audience with the King of Egypt. Between you and me – Moses had to be tired of it. When we get to Exodus chapter 9, Israel’s leader had seen God strike Egypt five times with miraculous, awesome wonders, and yet, Pharaoh would not waver.  And although God had told him that He himself would harden Pharaoh’s heart, there’s no doubt that pressing on was a hard thing for Moses to do. How much more, Lord? How much will it take for this hard-headed, prideful king to let your people go? How many more wonders do you have to perform until he finally believes? You know exactly what it will take to break him, and yet, you choose this slow, painful path to set us free. Why? Why? True – I may be stretching Moses’ thoughts a bit, but we know that Israel’s leader at the time had serious issues with unbelief. He questioned God’s sovereignty over and over again, while presenting his excuses to defuse the task of leading the Jews out of slavery (Exodus 4). Surely it was hard to go...

Manipulating God’s Timing

David and his men had been hiding when they heard the footsteps of a man entering the cave. Startled, he oddly shifted on the ground, careful not to make a sound that would announce his presence. He stretched his neck to look toward the sound. His heart skipped a beat. It was him, the man he admired and loved, yet, his enemy. The very one who sent David fleeing for his life into the wilderness was entering his hiding place. It didn’t take long for David to realize that Saul had not entered the cave to capture him. He was just looking for a private place to relieve himself. David was armed and had a small army of supporters who would have loved nothing better than to vindicate their leader. Saul was unprepared and unsuspecting. David had the perfect opportunity to seek vengeance for the years robbed from him, as God’s chosen king had to flee for his life and live like a criminal in the wilderness of Engedi. “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” This story is told on 1 Samuel 24, and my vivid imagination cannot help but ponder David’s dilemma in the cave: “I can end Saul’s life… and take the crown that is rightfully mine. I can go live a normal life again. I can finally claim the throne… Or I can let him go.” You know the story. David cuts off the edge of Saul’s robe… and spares his life. Later on, he even...

Decision Time: Is God Still On the Throne?

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34 It had been a long time since I heard God speak in such a clear, unmistakable way. It took me by surprise. Of all things He could have used to give me His message, He chose a bird. A plain, small backyard sparrow delivered a message that I would never forget. It was 2002 and I was at home with a small baby and an unemployed husband. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 2001, my husband’s job was eliminated only three months after the birth of our firstborn. Our savings were draining fast and I was afraid. I knelt down by the window of our family room and cried out to God. For the first time since my husband lost his job, I was honest in my prayer: “I’m scared.” “How are we going to pay for the mortgage?” Was God aware of the price of diapers and baby formula? As I finished “informing” Almighty God of all that was going on in our lives and our imminent needs, I felt a strong need to be quiet and wait for Him to speak: “Please talk to me, Father! I need to hear your voice.”  As silence filled the room and several moments passed by, I was about to give up when I heard it: “Chirp!” I looked up and there was the sparrow, sitting on the lounge chair outside my window. It seemed to be looking straight at me. “Look at the birds of the...