"God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it." Hebrews 4:1
Life on this green earth requires a lot of mountain climbing. From birth, there are huge hurdles and overwhelming obstacles -- learning to walk and talk, learning to share and later learning reading, writing and arithmetic while learning to make friends.
In adulthood, the childhood struggles with schoolwork and social circles takes an abrupt upward turn as we face the steep climb into making a living to support ourselves, finding a soul mate who won't betray us, and re-navigating relationships with family and friends.
With all this mountain climbing, we need to find rest in a peaceful valley. This is God's promise for us in Hebrews chapter 4. Yet oftentimes, we can't seem to find that valley of rest and peace.
God's Word explains why.
"For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God." Hebrews 4:2
Way back in Bible times, the people didn't find rest because they didn't have faith. The Hebrew people wandered through the desert looking for the promised land, but not really believing they would find it.
They spent their days wishing they were back in Egypt - in slavery! They complained about the food that God provided - manna lying on the ground ripe for the picking! And when they did find the promised land, they were afraid of the giants living there.
They didn't have faith. They didn't believe God. And they didn't trust Him.
What about us? Not much has changed in thousands of years.
Raising my hand in confession. Yes, I have faith. To a point. I'll step out and take risks - leave a job to start a business, move to a new state and start all over again, give up steady income to start a non-profit. I've done these things.
But there's always been a back up plan -- a savings account or a second income. And even then, okay I'll admit it -- I'm scared.
I claim it's a leap of faith. Yet my faith falters. I take two steps forward and one step back.
Okay, major confession time. I've been writing for 20 years now. But I've always had another income to rely on. Not just my husband's income, but another income of my own. I've never been 100% all in, sink or swim.
And maybe that's wise. Writing is a tough business to make a living at. The common advice to novelists is "Don't quit your day job."
Is that wise or is a lack of faith?
Recently, we've had a lot of financial uncertainty, and frankly a shortage to meet our needs. This always seems to happen right when I'm making headway with writing - and this time is no exception. I have a novel ready for a publisher. But the long and arduous process of finding one and the lengthy wait to get paid aren't going to pay this month's mortgage.
One day Satan got the best of me and I panicked. I didn't pray first. I didn't ask God for direction or provision. I didn't trust. I took matters into my own hands.
I applied for a part time job. With the nonprofit and writing, it'd be my third job. I was hired the very next day, only dependent on a drug test. Okay, I thought, this must have been meant to be.
Then on the morning before the drug test appointment, I took a nasty tumble. When the drug test was scheduled, I was at urgent care getting x-rays on my broken foot and stitches in both of my hands.
Unable to walk or use either of my hands, I could not do the job.
I don't believe God caused my fall, but He certainly allowed it.
I hadn't trusted Him. I hadn't followed and obeyed my calling. I hadn't rested in His promise.
So God gave me rest in a far different way. Weeks of debilitating recovery has been the rest I received. And I tell you this with a contrite and humble heart.
Pain is harder than patience.
Lesson learned, and yet I have to be honest. I still struggle with this. I'm a huge believer in the value of work and getting off your duff to make a living. How do we know when to act and when to wait? How do we know for sure that we're waiting on God's promise and not being lazy or unwise? Do we allow the savings to be dwindled? Do we sell the house?
I don't have all the answers, or I wouldn't still be nursing a broken foot and busted hands.
But this I know. God will tell me if I ask Him. If I listen for that still small voice in my heart and soul. If I obey God's calling rather than what others want me to do.
I acted before asking. I panicked before praying. I wasn't listening and I certainly wasn't trusting.
Trusting is believing -- that God has everything under control, He wants His best for us, and He will provide. God may have provided those savings for such a time as this, to get us through until the time was right for His promise to be fulfilled.
I'm praying for the faith to trust in His promise. I want to wait on God even after my body heals and the job offer remains.
With faith and obedience, let's believe God's promise and enter His rest.
"For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’" even though this rest has been ready since he made the world." Hebrews 4:3
God's Blessings to you!
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