God never asks us to believe him blindly. There may be circumstances in which we are asked to have faith in the darkness but it is in those places we are equipped with the ability to discern. Our sight may be cloudy. It may be unclear. But we are able to make out enough to find our way.
Because there is always a light kept on for us.
There is always hopeful sight.
Should we ask for it. Look for it. Expect it.
Much of what we experience on this planet requires trust in faith but so much of the way our God operates is to provide us with enough reassurance to have that faith.
We may not be able to understand. The future may seem obscure. But we can know the best is yet to come.
He gives us constant consolation. Never-ending validation.
He is our ever-present light.
In these times my heart hurts terribly for those who have yet to experience this truth. Those so far anchored to what they see that they cannot discern the unseen. Those who haven't had enough of anxiety, panic, worry, and fear that they can let go into the safe arms of the One who is constantly pursuing and offering protection. The God who is always providing messages of love and encouragement for them.
The One who tells us fear never comes from him.
The One who tells us he is ALWAYS with us. Even in the hard.
When you don't know your Creator well, it's easy to dismiss messages as coincidences, easy to dismiss signs as impossible. It's easy to keep our eyes on the world around us--supporting vernacular associated with the wisdom of keeping grounded, level-headed, realistic.
But pragmatism can keep us from supernatural experience.
We just have to keep our eyes open.
Recently, I visited my hometown, San Diego, with four of my daughters. I drove them to my old high school, Clairemont High, and parked on the street facing the student parking lot. From there I was amazed to see the ocean. I'd never noticed the ocean from that vantage point before, but it was quite obvious! How on earth had I missed it? I'll tell you how. I was so focused on friendships and cute boys and all sorts of teenaged issues. I'd missed it entirely. The ocean had become commonplace and I'd lost sight of its beauty. Now that I live in Kansas, the ocean is something I notice!
Sometimes we miss the beauty that's right in front of us because we have our blinders on. We've limited our scope. This is precisely what happens when we narrow our line of vision to what is directly in front of us. When we keep our eyes shut or blinders in place. It's like wearing sunglasses with smudged lenses inside a dark room.
Let's take our blinders off, wipe our eyes clean.
Let's trust God in all circumstances, each disappointment, every virus.
If we let him, and especially if we ask for it, God will give us signs along the way, messages our hope is not in vain.
Last year I decided I wanted to memorize new scripture, so I asked God to direct me to the verses I should tackle. He lead me to Psalm 91. I had never read Psalm 91 before, or if I had, the verses hadn't stuck with me. The words about protection were meaningful, but not as meaningful as they've become recently. Last year, I read that Psalm over and over again, setting it to music and falling asleep to hearing it recited on YouTube. Just before the virus hit, every time, and I do mean EVERY time, within the span of a week I would sit down to open my Bible and read, it would fall open to Psalm 91.
"Whoever dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.' Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you..."
A week ago I again sat down to read my Bible and it opened to Psalm 91. Now, the Psalms are in the middle of the Bible so one has a greater chance of opening the Bible and landing there than other places. However, I have opened to other chapters with great frequency when God was making different points with me. For example, just before I decided to write my memoir, I would frequently find myself in Ezekiel Chapters 1 and 2, urging me to write. No, Psalm 91, a recurring message to me, had not been happenstance.
I had no sooner finished reading the Psalm aloud again when my phone rang. It was my daughter Kelsea, telling me my grandson Henry was sick with symptoms of the Coronavirus. His pediatrician wanted him in the office for testing right away.
Obviously, I told her he didn't have it. How could he? Not when I'd just read Psalm 91 aloud. And he didn't, praise God!
I almost didn't use my Psalm 91 message as an example here. Some experiences with God are personal. Others might be misunderstood. After all, there are a lot of good people who are suffering right now. We are all suffering.
But we all have a God who cares intimately for each of us. One who is constantly assuring of his commitment to us.
We need to share those experiences. We must encourage one another!
We need to look for the signs!
Even as I am writing this, my husband has stepped out of the shower to tell me he just received a business email that is hopeful in these tough economic times. Coincidence? I think not.
Neither are rainbows after a storm, or sunshine following a long night. Birdsong in the spring, and croaking night things following a long winter.
There are always oceans of signs of God's love for us. Please don't miss them!
God has never asked us to believe him blindly. So why don't you ask him for a sign today? If you are patient and anticipatory with eyes wide hope, I guarantee you'll receive one.
Just don't dismiss it as coincidence.