Life is full of second thoughts.
You are at the store checking out. The Holy Spirit prompts you. You look at the checker and smile and think, "Yes." You hand reaches past the check book to the little compartment in your purse where you keep your stash of tracts. Then comes the second thought and you realize that you are already holding a line of people up writing a check. Why hold them unduly trying to explain a tract?
You are at home. One of your hoolagins comes and asks you to "Weed" them a book. You stop and glance at the book realizing that it has been way too long since you spent some one-on-one time with this child. The Holy Spirit whispers that "They grow so quickly and need your affirmation today." You get ready to sit on the couch and just rest a minute when the second thought comes, reminds you of the late hour and the dinner time fast approaching. You tell them once again, "Not right now."
You are at church. You hear of a need for meals. The Holy Spirit awakens an excitement in you. You can be used! You in your mind plan out a spectacular spread. Your famous chicken that everyone raves about, mashed potatoes and of course your peach cobbler that is your trademark. You plan to contact the Pastor's wife after church and volunteer, yet somewhere between the announcements and the invitation you have a second thought. You think about all of the cleaning you need to do this week, the plans you have made, the money you do not have and you silently un-volunteer yourself.
You are at the park. You overhear two women talking about their difficulties. The Holy Spirit reminds you that you too had those same difficulties and He brought you through them victoriously. You smile. You remember and know that you and the Holy Spirit make a majority. You know how to help and for one instant you have the courage to speak out for Christ. But a second thought sweeps in and reminds you that, after all, you are only so-and-so and they probably wouldn't take you seriously anyhow.
Isn't it the second thoughts that get us in a heap of trouble? I was always instructed in school when taking tests that I should always go with my "first thought," because your first thought or guess is usually right. This week I was reminded of this thought in a sermon I heard and applying it to my life's events recently helped me see what God has been up to.
It is no secret that we have been in need of two particular things: a vehicle where we can legally store our hoolagins and a house large enough to declassify me as the "Old woman who lived in a shoe," where kiddos are popping out of every place. Well get ready to see how God has been working!
Last week we had meetings scheduled at a church an hour and a half away that we had been in preparation for, for some time now. It was a Holiness and Revival Conference and we absorbed each message trying to get all that God had for us each day. We knew it would be exhausting with the 3 hours total driving each night, but little did we know what an action packed week it would turn out to be! On Monday, the man interested in our van basically told us that he needed the van now or he would need to find another vehicle. Alright we said and sold him the van on Tuesday. The man (aka Mr. Habeeb) up the street was now interested in another house on the street because we were not in a hurry to move and he was. I in jest told Joel, "Alright if he really wants this house, tell him we can be out by the end of the month." Lesson number one: Don't jest. Turns out that is right in Mr. Habeeb's schedule! So in one day's time we sold our van and agreed to rent-to-own our house and be out in two weeks. Whew! If ever there was a need for chocolate.......
By Wednesday the shock of it all had set in and so had my second thoughts. Joel was dickering with a car salesman and we were praying like fiends that God would get us a newer larger van lickety-sizzle, and also a place to live. We had planned to make it to the special meetings that night though we would be a bit late. I sat at home with some of the hoolagins waiting on word from Joel about the meeting with the car salesman. I sat and the Holy Spirit spoke. We said to each other before Joel left, "If God gives us this van we definitely need to make it to the meetings." The Holy Spirit now said, "You need to make it to the meetings whether God gives you a van or not!" I agreed sitting in the blue chair. He went on. "Deena, if you had faith that God would indeed give you that van, you would be up and gettin' your clothes ready for the meetings." He was right. I needed to put feet to my faith and up I got and went downstairs to iron.
While at the ironing board, which seems to be where the Spirit speaks to me a lot these days, again the Holy Spirit met with me. This time it was regarding the house. "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness???" He asked. "What????" I replied. "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness???" again He asked. In my heart I told Him, "Yes, I believe God can," though again and again the verse fragment came back to me......"Can God furnish a table in the wilderness???" I quickly realized that the more He asked me, the less and less confident I really was. God was reminding me that He was in control and in these situations there was nothing I could do to assure myself of the outcome. I just had to rely on God leading my husband.
Tuesday reminded me that though in some la la land I pretend to be spontaneous, free spirited, ready for anything and welcoming to a new adventure, in reality here on Haywood I am nail it down, sign on the dotted line, promise me you will, and even a little, call me and tell me again what you are doing. (smile) When did I lose my nerve??? Well whenever I lost it, I think I lost a little of my trust in God.
Joel came home van-less (yes I know that is not a word..) and I met him coming up the stairs with my ironing in hand. I guess I somehow thought the Lord seeing me ironing would stop the sun or something. Joel confessed to me that on the way home, God spoke to him reminding him of, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together," and so it was settled. Van or no van we ARE going to the meetings. And go we did, and exhorted we were. We left believing God was going to do something.
Thursday Joel came home with a new-to-us van! Just our size and just our price range. Praise God!!! One need down one to go! Thursday night I finally found the context of my verse the Holy Spirit gave me. Remember I told you how He knows me and knows I need part of it now and need to look it up later???? Say it with me now..."I just love the Holy Spirit!" Sure wish someone would make me a T-shirt with that on there............ anyway........ when I found my verse I was amazed to find that the chapter it was found in was the chapter right after the one I had 3 years ago marked and claimed as my "Waiting on God for a House," chapter. I even wrote that over it. Here is the verse in it's entirety:
Ps 78:19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
I read the whole chapter out loud to Joel and noticed how many times "they", the Children of Israel forgot what God had done for them. This verse is their ingratitude speaking and it struck me like a knife through my heart. Nothing will ruin your day like being lumped in with the Children of Israel. How many times had I frowned on them as I listened to them being used as a sermon illustration? How many times had I said under my breath, "That no good ungrateful bunch." And now it was me. Had I remembered what God had done? How He brought me through 7 weeks of bed rest, providing not only meals every other day but faithful help each day with the children? Had I slighted how He gave me calmness of spirit during the scariest moments of my life? Had I set at nought His watchcare over me, over Alayna and His preservation of both of our lives? Had I simply forgotten the strength He alone gave me to make daily hospital runs, or the blessing He gave us at her homecoming???
Yes. I had. I had already forgotten and taken it for granted.
"Can God furnish a table in the wilderness???" He asked. What He really wanted of me was not an answer to the question. He wanted me humble myself and be thankful. And He wanted me to praise Him even if He never "furnished a table," for me.
Think you are thankful? Try this. At the dinner table tonight tell your children that when they pray they are just going to thank God for things instead of asking Him for them. See how quickly they thank Him and then turn around and ask Him for what they need.
I am going to stop and be thankful. I'm not even going to give it a second thought.