Have you gathered a sister or two to talk with? Your journal and pen? Let’s get started.
Father God, thank You for being trustworthy in every area of our life. Open our hearts to trust Your infinite knowledge and love.
We began these five weeks of going deeper into trust by seeing God’s trustworthy nature in Psalm 23. He is the good Shepherd. Let’s return there again.
Read Psalm 23
Where do you see “His knowing what’s best” in theses verses?
- Psalm 23:1 He knows our needs better than we do. If we trust His provision, we will not want for anything.
- Psalm 23:3 His guidance. He alone knows the righteous way.
- Psalm 23:4 He knows exactly what evil is up to in the dark valleys of life, so we have no need to fear. He will never be caught off guard!
In Revelation this week we read:
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Revelation 22:13
First, I have a confession to make. In the writing of last week’s homework, on Day 1, I referred to Alpha and Omega as the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet (I did have an opportunity to correct the PDF link earlier this week, so you may have missed my error). They are not, they are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. But basically, we could translate it: A to Z. He was painting a picture of Himself for us.
In the early church, the first and last letters of the alphabet were used to describe God’s eternity and infinite nature. It caught my attention, because every alphabet has a distinct beginning and end. But God does not. So, what is He saying about Himself?
How do the ideas of being first and last, and eternal fit together?
Words can’t really describe this idea of God, infinite, and not bound by time. It seems our entire world is ruled by time. We mark our calendars, set meeting times, and plant according to the seasons. From birth, we attempt to get our babies on an eating and sleeping schedule. Living without a clock or days seems impossible and it is hard for us to imagine.
God doesn’t live defined by the time He created for us. He is not a time traveler either. The bigger picture is He exists in and through every single moment all at once. Right now, He is at our birth and death and every moment in between. It blows my mind, but it also builds my trust knowing He is in every minute of every day no matter what time I have. A God who is not defined by time knows best compared to me and my finite perspective.
Remember when you were a young adult and you had the thought, “My parents were right about this.” You couldn’t see it at the time. Maybe you were stubborn, or immature, rebellious. Whatever the reason you were blind to what your parents were trying to teach you.
Read Isaiah 42:16.
This verse does not say God will give the blind sight. He did not promise a clear picture of what is coming or a map to be their guide in these verses.
What do the verses say God will do?
Following Christ is sort of like walking an unknown path with no way to see what’s coming, no indication of rough places ahead and for the most part, it’s dark.
Notice, God says He will lead the blind, those who know they don’t know. Those who think they have a handle on things, who light their own fires and know what they’re doing, will not receive any guidance from Him (Isaiah 50:11).
Most English versions of Isaiah 42:16 translate the last part as, I will not forsake them (those who are blind and know they don’t know). However, the New American Standard Bible translates the last part of verse sixteen as:
“…And I will not leave them undone.”
The original Hebrew means: to leave loose, abandon, reject, desert (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). It paints the picture of the Good Shepherd who will not lose sight of the blind sheep. He will not let go of the one who knows he’s disabled. He will not leave them on their own, undone. He will lead them in paths of righteousness. He will lead the blind in a new way, a way they do not know.
This truth reminds me of the way He has worked in my marriage.
There was a point I was ready to leave my husband. I cried out to God in prayer and He showed me a new way. Different, very different, from the way I’d been trying to make my marriage work for me. He led me to 1 Peter 3.
Read 1 Peter 3:1-6
This passage is very different than the world’s teaching on how to get your way in marriage: fight for your rights, make deals, seek counseling, and if your still not happy, maybe it’s time to separate and divorce.
After I got over the shock of Him telling me I was the one needing to change in order to change my husband, I consented to follow His way. I had come to the point in my relationship with God that I understood there was no other way but His.
Reading Isaiah 42:16 this week, I realized I was blind in how to be married and relate to my husband at that time. God didn’t let me go, He didn’t leave me undone, He guided me in a right path. His way has smoothed the rough places in my marriage. He has brought me out of the dark on this particular teaching as I’ve allowed Him to lead me and trust that He knows best.
When we realize following His way feels like walking in the dark, most of us make one of two choices: We trust in ourselves and others to lead us through… like the blind leading the blind. Or, we learn to trust Holy Spirit to lead us through each day.
This week our spiritual discipline was to surrender at least one day to the leading of the Spirit. What were your experiences on this adventure?
Sometimes, we are uncomfortable with following the leading of the Spirit. Is this true for you? Why or why not?
Just recently, I experienced conviction about a desire gone wrong in my life. You see, I spend a lot of time, energy, and money on comfort. I wake up each morning and choose comfortable clothes for the day, I sit on my comfy couch, and make sure the temperature in the house is just right. I avoid uncomfortable relationships and situations. I’m a creature of comfort. One of my favorite things is room service coffee. I’ll go to great lengths to get the comfort I desire. And when I think ahhhh… I’ve found the perfect pair of comfortable shoes, or the softest shirt in the world… I recognize some discomfort in some other area of my life.
As I was praying about this I realized something. My desire for comfort isn’t bad, in fact it is God given. I was just looking for comfort in all the wrong places. Jesus told the disciples He was sending the Comforter. I’ve allowed my discomfort to send me looking for something I just won’t find in this world. God will not allow perfect shoes, or my sleep number bed to take the place of Holy Spirit. He is to be the sole source of comfort.
Read John 14:16-17
Jesus was teaching the disciples about things to come. They didn’t quite understand the work of the Holy Spirit because God had not sent Him yet. Yes, they believed in Jesus, the Messiah, but the idea of God living inside of them was still foreign because it hadn’t happened yet.
How does Jesus describe the Holy Spirit?
The Amplified version states it like this:
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever.
Holy Spirit is all these things to us. When we trust God knows best then we begin to rely on His counsel, help, and strength throughout each day. We trust He is advocating on our behalf in all circumstances and situations.
For many years now in my walk with God, the Holy Spirit has directed me on some days to fast and pray. The call generally comes with a time period to fast and a prayer focus.
About five years ago, I heard the Spirit calling me to fast. Just fast. No prayer direction. The call came multiple times a week and lasted for several months. I began to think I was crazy. I didn’t understand the purpose. But… because He said so… I did.
I learned some things about myself during this period of fasting. One was, I looked to the clock for freedom instead of Jesus for strength. And I ran to the pantry for fulfillment, rather than finding it in Him.
As He corrected these ways in my spirit, I came to the point of being able to walk in Target, smell their popcorn, and simply appreciate the aroma. I didn’t feel like I had to have it. I didn’t feel deprived. It was quite a moment. But what came within the next few days of that victory completely stunned me.
Sitting in the bleachers, sipping a large Sonic limeade, while watching my son play tennis, my phone rang. It was the doctor’s office. For several months they had been monitoring lab work on me. The nurse tells me: Mrs. Weaver, your blood glucose level was too high. You need to start following a diabetic diet. Check your blood sugars. And follow up in three months. The call ended. I was shocked. I wondered how this could be…
Before I was ready to surrender my limeade to the trash, it struck me: God knew this call was coming. He used the weeks of fasting to prepare me to change my diet. He knew! And for whatever reason, He didn’t heal me from it, but prepared me for it. And thankfully, I obeyed.
He knows. Trust Him. Obey Him. Even when you are completely blind to the reason behind it all. He desires to help you with whatever is coming.
In the Amplified version of John 14:16, one of the names for Holy Spirit is Standby. What does this word mean to you?
Webster’s Dictionary defines standby as:
- one to be relied on especially in emergencies
- a favorite or reliable choice or resource
- one that is held in reserve for use
- held near at hand ready for use
Holy Spirit is standing by ready to be our favorite choice, our resource in everything.
Trusting His infinite knowledge and leading in our day to day lives takes practice.
I am listening to an audio book by Francis Chan and his wife on marriage. He made a statement which caught me off guard. In His book He says God’s Word tells us to feed the hungry and take care of orphans. We shouldn’t be praying for direction about whether to feed the hungry or adopt orphans. We should be doing these things and asking God to tell us when to stop. He used this to illustrate our fear of failure… the fear of messing things up sometimes leaves us twiddling our thumbs in the pew. We’ve decided no action is safer than missing the mark.
Just last week a homeless man sits with a sign in front of Jason’s Deli, the family and I pass him by. As I walk through the doors and get in line I hear God’s gentle whisper, “Buy him lunch.” From my view point I could see him through the glass. There behind him was a take-out soup bowl and bottle of water. I began to rationalize God’s leading. “He’s already had lunch… and a drink too.” I talked myself out of following the Spirit and instead… I didn’t do one thing.
It’s true, we’ll mess up, get something wrong, maybe miss the mark. But missing the mark, messing up, doesn’t mean we give up all together. God’s grace is there covering our wrong and giving us endless opportunity to build our trust in Him and His knowledge.
Re-read John 14:17
What does this verse say about the world? About those who believe?
Look at the final sentence.
…for He lives with you and will be in you.
Holy Spirit’s work is two-fold for Believers. Not only is He working from the inside out, but He also works from the outside too. How does this idea help you to trust God knows best even more?
Next week, we are going deeper into Relying on God’s Strength.
Just like trusting He knows best begins with accepting we don’t know, relying on His strength begins with embracing our weakness and dependence.
The spiritual discipline we’re asking you to practice this week is called Embracing Our Finitude. It is a prayer exercise where you examine with God His infinite power and your limits. The prayer is designed to take about 45 minutes, so you may have to make a date with God this week to get it done.
Here’s the link to the homework: Going Deeper – Relying on God’s Strength
Lord Jesus, continue to grow us in our trust of You.