The Trust Clause

We sat in a waiting room at the Mount Nittany hospital, waiting for the doctor to let us know that our daughter’s fibroid removal was complete and she was in Recovery. It was a relatively simple procedure, made a little more complicated due to the fact that the fibroid was just a tad too big to be removed laparoscopically, and so surgery was necessary. I had taken a week off of work to stay with her while she recovered from the incision, and planned to return home when she returned back to classes. Her Dad planned to return a few days after the surgery to go home to our other teenage daughter.

Then the words “cancerous tumor” came out of the doctor’s mouth, followed by “months of chemo” and “she’ll have to drop out of college indefinitely.” As my mind swirled with this unexpected horror, I suddenly heard a voice in my ear saying, “It’s OK, Bets. I’ve got this. You and Sarah are going to go on a journey that will teach you many things about me.” The peace that passes all understanding came over me, and I felt equipped for what came next.

God had offered us a trust clause in that moment. An unbreakable contract, a promise that was iron-clad, and a guarantee that our daughter would not only survive, but thrive. We grew closer to each other as a family and to God in those months of cancer treatment, and we learned how to TRUST, even when the things that were right in front of us (extreme nausea, hair loss, weight loss, isolation, additional surgeries) suggested otherwise.

Today Sarah has beautiful long hair, an amazing husband, two degrees, and three kids. God blessed us in abundance.

Romans 4 (The Message)

16 This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions andthose who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that’s reading the story backward. He is our faith father.

Not everyone gets to hear God speak words of reassurance in the moment of crisis. This is why developing a life of faith-based trust is so important.

In our scripture today, Paul is reminiscing about Abraham’s call to leave the unknown and settle his family in a land far away. In faith, Abraham agreed. With no evidence that it would turn out all right, he simply was obedient to the strange and disconcerting instruction. God spoke, and Abraham trusted. In doing so, he became the father of all nations, and was blessed to be a blessing.

Where is God calling you to trust him in the absence of any real evidence that doing so will work out well for you? Where is acting on faith rather than by guarantees the response he is looking for?

God’s promise comes as a gift. One promise we can all stand on is his promise to prosper us and not harm us, as he offers us a future with HOPE. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Whatever you are facing today, remember this: when we step out in faith, we never step out alone. Thanks be to God.

Survivor! by Sarah Haas Callahan

A Sign from God

We were sitting outside by the hotel pool on an unusually chilly Florida day. I had wrapped myself in a beach towel for warmth and was watching kids running around the pool and going up and down the water slide. Surely these children were from Minnesota. It was way too chilly to actually be WET out here.

As my husband and I chatted (my teeth were slightly chattering,) a plane flew overhead and began to write something in the sky. Our hotel was located between Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, so I figured the message would be something akin to “Surrender, Dorothy.” Imagine my surprise when the words “TRUST JESUS” appeared. Why yes, don’t mind if I do!

I had been worrying over a retreat that I am leading in a few days. We couldn’t find a curriculum we liked, so the organizer asked me if I could write something. Let me pause here and say if any of you are aware that I have been asked to do such a thing in the future, please slap me upside the head until I say no.

But since none of you were there to slap me, I said yes, and have been diligently writing, planning, and dreaming away ever since. This job is so much bigger than I am. How should the timing of each session go? Do I have enough interaction planned? How much music? Is there a good balance of quiet reflection and table-talking? Should we do a craft? What craft?

It will probably amuse you to know that the subject they wanted me to focus on is WORRY. At least my firsthand knowledge of the subject will give me that authentic voice we all long to hear when we go to a retreat. I have worried, fretted, lost sleep, changed direction, talked incessantly to my running partners about it….oy vey.

This morning I discovered that my sermon for the final worship session (which I finished on the plane on the way to Florida) has somehow managed to go missing in cyber space, and the last two-thirds did not get saved.

Trust Jesus, indeed.

Proverbs 3 (New International Version)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

So what do you have going on right now? Where is God calling you to stop leaning on YOUR understanding, and submit to him? What are you holding back because you don’t actually trust him?

This scripture is calling you to trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. Not just for the little things, parsing out simple tasks to him, but with EVERYTHING. Your home, your life, your marriage, your health, your kids…your unfinished retreat sermon.

When I need reminded of this the most is when I think I am in control, or that I can solve my own problems. I hurry ahead, plow through, push on, and forget that God, in HIS understanding, has already worked it out without me.

And so the lost sermon was re-written. I don’t know if I wrote the same thing, or took it in a totally new direction, but I do know this: it was God’s work all along.

So too will he come into your situation and work it out for your good. Just trust, and obey.

Let This be a Sign Unto You…