“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker– An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands ‘?” Isaiah 45:9
Have you ever had God knock you upside the head?
Embarrassingly, more often than not. Why does it take me so long to get the message?!
Recently I have been feeling convicted to spend more time alone in conversation with God.
I’ve felt His gentle nudging through little daily (if not hourly) hints… thumbing through a magazine and running across a prayer quote. Doing my Bible reading and, no shocker here, seeing a verse about prayer. Pastor talking from the pulpit on Sunday and mentioning the importance of prayer. My kids asking a question about praying or, like a good Christian Mom, encouraging and reminding them that they should be praying (y’know the whole “do as I say not as I do” thing). There have even been songs on the stinkin’ radio! (Come on now, who sings about praying?!!)
Well, there is that one…
Funny…but that is NOT the kind of praying I’m talking about.
God longs to spend time with me and I desperately need to spend time with Him. He keeps trying to get my attention, pressing sofly, lovingly, but I shove my big but right in His face; “…but I’m busy looking through this magazine.” “…but I’m too tired to get up early.” “…but it’s time to relax, I’m going to watch tv.” “…but I need to get my workout in.” “…but I’m too sleepy, I’m going to bed.”
BUT! BUT! BUT! BUT! BUT!
It’s only a matter of time until He tires of hearing it and takes more drastic measures.
“There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD.” Proverbs 21:30
The past few months my husband and I have noticed a squeeze on the pocketbook. That tends to happen this time of year with summer camps for the kids, family camping trips and payments due for next year’s activities, but this year we also have two girls in braces plus the brakes are seriously needing to be changed on the bug…so boy, we have felt some financial pressure.
I’ve found myself not sleeping well at night because of it and heard that little voice lulling me out of my sleep asking me to come talk with Him. But I wouldn’t come. The pressure continued to build and build our finances getting tighter and tighter, and ignoring the sound of the brakes wasn’t only grating on the rotors but on our nerves.
God continued to call, begging me to sit a while with Him and unload my burdens, but I continued to ignore Him, trying to figure things out on my own. We had to do something so we asked our parents for help, which praise God they gladly gave, and we were able to get some bills paid while scheduling to get the car’s brakes fixed the next morning.
That morning as I watched Toddlers & Tiaras and ran on the treadmill, God used the episode to grab hold of my heart. In this episode, a family with not much money spent all they had to put their little girl in a pageant. This lovely little girl did win (whew!!) but her response caught me off guard. She bawled and when they asked her why she was crying (I’m totally thinking she’s just overwhelmed to have won the title) but through sobs and tears she responded with:
“I won our money back.”
I lost it right there on the treadmill.
I knew I needed to do more. This doing it on my own thing wasn’t working…I needed to ask God for help. I turned the treadmill off, went upstairs and spent time resting in my Father’s lap. I shared with Him my fears, my unknowns about the future, I thanked Him for His mercy and grace in providing a loan to take care of what we owe and I apologized for running from His call.
When I finished talking to Him, I felt so full, so complete, wondering “why on earth does it take me so long to figure this out?!”
And later, as I drove the bug to the garage, God sent a confirming nudge by playing a song on the radio…
I have heard this song before, several times in fact, but this time it felt as if I wrote the lyrics myself. It is exactly what I was thinking and feeling…and once again I found myself crying.
I dropped off the bug then got in the van with my husband to take him to work so I could have a vehicle to run some errands. Our drive was uneventful but as I left his office to pull onto the highway heading home, the van jolted forward engine revving, the ‘check engine soon’ light came on, the speedometer stopped working and I couldn’t go much past 35 miles per hour.
I laughed out loud when I called my husband to let him know, and to ask for prayer to get us home safely, but it wasn’t much of a surprise that this happened. It was just more of a reminder that I need to rely FULLY on God and not my own abilities. It seemed pretty clear that perhaps we should’ve waited on God’s timing; sat in His lap a while, resting in His comfort and protection, waiting to see what He would do. But instead we acted, He gave us what we thought we wanted and because we didn’t trust Him fully, He forced us to lean on Him.
Now we have one car in the shop and a failing transmission in the other.
God placed everything in motion and shortly after I got home the garage called with an estimate on the brakes, while a friend came over to look at the van.
And how did God respond when we FINALLY turned to Him for help? It turned out that both cars weren’t as bad as we had expected. Only the rear brakes needed to be changed on the bug and a couple sensors went bad in the van’s transmission. All of it could be fixed quite affordably!
Did God allow our families to help provide the money we needed? Of course, they wouldn’t have given it if He didn’t want them to, but would God have provided for our needs otherwise? Absolutely. God wants us to trust Him and His leading.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
“On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? …” Romans 9:20