Have you ever had a close call and saw your life in slow motion? Been so close to tragedy and witnessed a miracle? I have and am guessing you have too at some point in time. A lot of my close calls happen in the car and it’s usually the other driver’s fault… no, really it is 😉 In a second my heart rate increases, my palms get sweaty and I see big $ signs in my vision. Time stands still. This is just a very small example of the “what if’s” or close calls in our lives- examples of God’s protection and blessing- that could have gone awry…but we escaped. So many times we see the bad, the sick, the bills in the mail and don’t think about the “saves.” How many times do we actually sit back and think about what could have been? Does it take a little more imagination? Maybe not.
Taking time to reflect on my blessings and imagining how things could be worse helps me to see my life more clearly. You may think this sounds like a depressing or “Negative Nancy” way to think, but hear me out. There are thousands of examples where I have been protected and had no idea of what could have been. God clearing a path for me at just the right time either physically or in the unseen. By thinking through my day or just stopping to think “what if” I can see my present situation in a whole new, and usually positive, light.
On the flipside, when the “what if’s” actually come true, prayer and studying scripture are so important for me. I have had many instances of God speaking to me through His word. I had one of those days last month where things kept stacking up against me and by the time night came around my mind went right where it always tends to lead –> pity party! Looking outside of myself for a quick second, I asked God to reach down and speak to me through that night’s devotional. Turning the pages to the night’s message with wet eyes, right in front of me was scripture and a message spot on to what I was experiencing at that exact second. Take note that this devotional was written at least 6 months ago and each day is written by a different person from all over the world on a different topic. I had chills and slept in peace. I could have just chalked it up to “chance”, but it was anything but.
In your prayer time, do you make time for God to speak to you? Do you ask Him questions or just list off your “thank you” and requests? In Luke Chapter 11, Jesus teaches the disciples (and all of us) how to pray. A constant reminder that God wants the best for us is in Luke 11:13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Are you ending your prayer time without waiting for His response? You wouldn’t go up to someone and speak incessantly for 5 minutes with no breaks and then turn around and walk away, would you? (If you would, you may need to come see me for a little pragmatic therapy 🙂 Typically, when you talk with someone you wait for the other person to respond. God may take longer to answer you than He did that night with me. The point here is to take time to really start listening for a response, look for His direction in the word, and let the Holy Spirit work in you.
Do you think much about the people you meet on a day-to-day basis? The man in front of you in line at Target, the person who took your parking space, your dentist, or the new friend you just made? Do you think of them only as agents or characters in the play of your life? They may not seem significant in your daily routine but maybe God is about to use them to answer something you have been questioning or struggling with. Ever heard of people praying for patience? Usually what happens is God gives them some person or situation to work their patience through. Yeah, I stopped praying for increased patience when I caught on to this…hehe. People are interesting! They have strengths and weaknesses. Are you really listening when someone needs to ask you a question or gives you a compliment? It may be just what you needed to hear. I found that the more open I am to hearing God’s response –> the more receptive I am to the actual answer.
Having trust in God and listening for his response does not equal getting what I want, however. I know that many times I mistake those two things and believe that if I trust more, I can get what I want. If I am “good” enough, I got it in the bag. The truth is, trusting in God and doing good is not a bargaining deal. We hand over our worries and fears to God (daily), do our work here on Earth that God has entrusted us to do with our talents and abilities, and use the blessings we do receive here on Earth to glorify Him even more. One of my very favorite verses is Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I have faith that God will continue to give me what I need and if I make the wrong choice and sin, I will see the path to come back to His good and perfect will for me. Grace is such a gift! In life there are ups and downs but what an awesome way for God to constantly remind me that I can’t do it all on my own and that I don’t know best. I am thankful that, at the end of the day, God’s got my back.
Drive safely 🙂