The True Love Dares: Dare 21

Dare 21:

Express praise and gratitude for each step of progress. Encourage the excavation process by your love and prayer of praise for the work of God your life and the lives of others.

Acts 16:16-40

As I read through this scripture, do you know what went through my mind?

What if Paul and Silas hadn’t been thrown in prison?

I found myself thinking, if they hadn’t been thrown in prison, all those people wouldn’t have come to know Jesus. Perhaps the jailor and his family never would have found out.

Sometimes it is so easy to get discouraged and disheartened by all that seems to be going wrong in our world. But, what if, really, those are the things that are going right?

A while ago, now I live with my parents remember? Well, we had a van that my mom and I shared. I had wanted to get my own vehicle for quite some time, but that had not opened up yet.

Well, one day I was driving down the road and there was this thought that came, seemingly out of the blue, and the thought was, you’re going to have your own vehicle soon.

Now, I’ve experienced God talking to me through my thoughts enough times to be familiar. At times in the past I would have balked at such a statement. But this time was different. I didn’t know how and I didn’t know when, but somehow I knew it was going to happen. Honestly, I let go of what was needed to make that happen. It was kind of like trust and surrender to God’s goodness even though I didn’t know how He was going to bring this about.

Within a short time after that, our van broke down. Due to finances being tight for all of us we weren’t sure how we were going to replace it. We batted around several ideas, trying to come to a solution. My mom talked to one of my aunts, asking her some questions about her van, as mom was thinking of getting one like it. This aunt, finding out that we were in need, gave us her old van, as she had recently just bought something new. That was a huge blessing.

Then, the next thing I knew, Mom asked me to come with her to buy another little car. We hadn’t had funds to buy anything just a short time before. Where Mom got the funds to buy one remains a mystery to me.

After we brought the new car home, my mom talked to my aunt and asked her if she could still keep the van and let me use it. I did not anticipate this. My aunt said yes! 🙂 Honestly, having been without my own vehicle for quite some time, it was a little surreal. But, gradually I realized that, yes, I did have a vehicle!

It has been so wonderfully exciting to be able to jump into that van and go when ever I want to, without having to work it out with someone else. The freedom that afforded me felt so wonderful!

One day, after having the van for a bit, it dawned on me: God had provided me with a vehicle! Wow! Not only that, but He did it in a way that I never would have anticipated—through the breakdown of our previous vehicle. Isn’t that strange how God used a setback to bring about an increase? Interesting concept, isn’t it?

Things like that have been happening all over in my life. When I’m able to trust God in the path He’s leading me in, trust His providential care, there is this gratitude and praise that seems to well up on its own for God’s goodness to me and the ones I love. I don’t have to know the way that God is going to keep His word and fulfill His promises. I surrender that to Him. It is such an easy way to simply trust and obey, to not be confined to a life of worry and unsuccessful attempts at keeping my world functioning the way I think it should. God is so much better at running my world than I ever was. My job is to trust, obey be grateful and praise Him for all that He does. It’s so freeing! I feel to rejoice for God’s goodness and for how easy His way truly is. Living a life with Him really isn’t hard. Truly His yoke is easy and His burden light.

Sometimes our dross, our dysfunction, etcetera, screams to be heard and to rule the day. But if we can just let it scream and go to a deeper, calmer Voice who says, “Peace. Be Still,” we will find all the “going wrongs” in our world are really God moving, His “going rights,” if you will.

When God is pulling out all this garbage in your soul, all the pain, the dysfunction, the misperceptions, unhealthy habits—you name it—it’s so easy to get caught up in what He’s getting rid of that sometimes we loose sight of what He’s bringing in to replace it with. What He has in mind, will, by far, exceed anything we could have anticipated. When He’s ripping out what needs to go—yes, it hurts and can be excruciatingly painful—but we don’t have to stand there, in a panic, beside ourselves with worry. Yes, the pain comes, regardless, but we can experience that pain in perfect peace and full of rejoicing, knowing that He who loves us has good things in store for those who love Him. Not only good things, but the best things needed for our personal growth and development. Does that mean we’ll be millionaires and have a fancy car and an outrageously big house that we really don’t need? For most of us, probably not. For some of us, He may provide those things, but it’s to His work and glory—“to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) Everything about God’s plan fits into that framework.

As God rips out the old, to replace it with what’s better—more functional, more doable, more reliable, more beautiful—He’s rebuilding us to be what is needful to fulfill the purpose that He sent us here for. He’s equipping us, training us, making us useful. And that’s a process that we have no need to be ashamed of, or afraid of. We can experience God’s hand in joy and gratitude.

Not only can we have this attitude towards our own life, but we can experience it on behalf of those we love, as well. When God opens our eyes so that we can see His hand in it, it is such a relief, not only a relief, but there is joy, excitement, praise and gratitude. God has an amazing way of bringing about miracles in our lives and in the lives of others. It’s a wonderful experience to watch them unfold before your very eyes.

Assignment for Dare 21:

Write out or pray vocally expressing thanks and praise to God for the good things He’s bringing into your life through all the troubles, even if you can’t see what He’s doing yet. Expressing your praise and thanks is an act of faith—you are acting on your belief in God’s promises. Patiently wait as He unfolds His majesty before you.

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