Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.
This was my 1997 verse of the year. In April of that year I wrote to a friend that I felt that God was pushing me down a more trusting road. Even now I have no idea why I thought that, but while I was writing it, I had a little bump developing under my eye. About a month later I was diagnosed with a keratocanthoma (try saying that 5 times fast) which is a nasty little form of skin cancer that grows very rapidly and can spread very quickly if you’re unlucky enough to get one on your face.
God led me to an excellent doctor, but there was this weird delay with the lab results that left us pretty stressed for a time. One evening when I just lost it and started to sob like I hadn’t sobbed in years (1982 to be exact), Jesus came to my mind and reached out His hand to me and said, “Do you trust me?”
What could I say but yes?
And over and over again He has spoken those words to me this year. “Do you trust me enough to accept where you are, and that I put you there? Do you trust that I see you, know the situation, and have things under control?”
Leaning on my own understanding is like looking out the window without pulling up the shade. God has the room with a view.
This was illustrated from God’s own pen so clearly on a trip to Nebraska in November of that year. Just my boys, Tristan and Tracy, and I were heading up from our home in Kansas to spend some time with my parents when, somewhere between Stockton and Phillipsburg, I felt that familiar lurch (I’m embarrassed to say “familiar”) that made me jerk my head in the direction of the gas gauge and then scream.
Now, I always take my boom box on these trips because singing along keeps me awake (that, and a 30 oz. bottle of Mountain Dew), and anyway I love to sing. So I had been “praisin’ the Lord in song” for oh, I don’t know….about FIVE HOURS, and the fact that I was now sitting by the side of the road with two kids and an empty gas tank, REALLY TICKED ME OFF!
“God,” I said, “couldn’t you have given me just a little prod in the middle of all that BEAUTIFUL PRAISE to glance at the gas gauge? You have given me prods for far less important things than this before!”
Well, the kids began to wonder what we were going to do, so we prayed, and I informed God what I wasn’t going to do. “I am not going to get out of this car and flag somebody down. No sirree, God, I am going to sit right here, and You just bring me an angel.”
Cars zipped by, and Tristan informed me that he had to go to the bathroom. Perfect. Luckily, they’re boys, and the side of the road is just as good as a Texaco. While out and about, the kids spied a house a ways off the highway, but having had experience with vicious rottweiler- type dogs guarding country homes as of late, I had no intention of starting down that road. So back in the car, I continued to pray for an angel as the cars zipped past.
“Okay, God, I’ll put on the hazard lights, but I’m not getting out to flag down some serial killer.”
Time passed. Cars zipped. We prayed.
I knew my parents would soon be getting worried, and I did not want to be in this same situation in the dark, so exasperated, I opened my car door, stomped up to the front of the car, popped the hood, and stood by looking as totally helpless as I could.
“Alright God, here I am,” I said. “Now you bring me somebody I can trust. I need that angel!”
A line of cars went past, and the last one slowed down and turned around. It was a very nice lady who offered to take me on to Phillipsburg to get some gas. I got the kids and loaded them into her car. As I got in, she handed me a box that had been sitting on the seat.
“Would you mind holding my angels?” she asked.
I looked down, my eyes filling with tears, at three little craft angels in a box.
“Do you trust me?”
Well, to make a long story even longer, we got the gas and returned to my “beached whale” with a little, tiny gas can that I prayed held enough gas to get us to the next town. As I unloaded the kids from her car, I felt I had to tell her what that box of angels meant to me. She laughed and said she’d have to tell her daughter, because she was more religious than herself. That’s who the angels were for. That’s why she stopped to help me–her daughter and grand daughter were traveling that day too. She tried to laugh it off but said that maybe her daughter would make a believer out of her yet. Maybe two prayers were answered that day.
“Do you trust me?”
As we continued our trek north with a double rainbow to our right, I said, “Yes, Lord I trust you,” and into my head came the words, “Never will I leave you or forsake you.”
Sometimes, for amazing things to happen, you have to get out of the car.