After Waylon preached his last sermon in June, we were excited about enjoying a month’s sabbatical to rest, relax, recoup, and study before beginning another year of ministry. Little did we know there would be no rest, no relaxation, no time to recoup, and definitely no opportunity to study. Instead, there was a Category 5 storm already brewing.
On Sunday evening as Waylon and I began to make our plans for the month, Waylon shared something he had read in one of F.B. Meyer’s books, The Secret of Guidance, about discerning God’s will. According to Meyer we need to look for three things to converge: God’s Word, the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and our circumstances. He said that when these three line up, the will of God will become so clear it is as if we have glowworms sparkling along our path. (Since we don’t have glowworms in Louisiana, think of fireflies or lightning bugs as we called them in Alabama). “You will become so sure that you are right, when God’s three witnesses concur, that you could not be surer though an angel beckoned you on…. I would encourage each troubled and perplexed soul who may read these lines to wait patiently for the Lord until He clearly indicates His will.” We were clueless as to how much we were going to need Meyer’s wisdom beginning the very next day.
To help you understand what I’m sharing you need to know that I was born into a very needy, dysfunctional family—mentally ill alcoholic father and three teenage siblings. Because of the age difference, the three older ones were much closer to each other than to me. Six weeks ago Rose, the youngest of the three who lived in North Carolina, passed away.
Now, back to my storm account—on Monday night I called Betty, my oldest sister, to check on her knowing that Rose’s death was a terrible loss for her. (The two of them had talked on the phone every weekend until a few months before Rose’s death). When Betty answered the phone I knew she was in trouble. She was depressed, gripped in the clutches of desperation, and had lost her will to live. She could not see how she and Stevie, her special needs son, could make it. Being a diabetic she was also worried about her physical well-being.
To make a long story short, we drove to Alabama and got her in to see her primary care physician, a godly man and a childhood friend of ours. Seeing her dire condition, he immediately contacted a hospital in a nearby town which had a unit for senior care. Providentially, we were able to get Betty admitted that afternoon, July 3rd.
Assessing the situation I knew that God’s Word, the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and my circumstances had lined up. I could hear the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 as He talked about “The Sheep and the Goats.” “In as much as you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me,” kept reverberating through my mind.
Also weeks before, the Holy Spirit had been tugging at my heart every time I had heard a song on the radio by Matthew West called “Do Something.” In it West, after looking around at all the pain and suffering in the world, shook his fist toward Heaven and said, “’God, why don’t You do something?”’
Then God said, “I did, I created you.”
Like Matthew West I begged God to do something in our situation, but instead I heard the words, “I made you.” Waylon and I both knew God was leading us to help this family.
In a few days it became apparent Betty and her son could no longer live independently. Although Betty could have gone to the local nursing home in Alabama and Stevie could have continued to live in their apartment, I knew that really wasn’t an option. There was no one there to take care of them. Besides, I knew I would not be at peace with my being two states away.
With neither of those being a viable option, it appeared that Waylon and I would need to bring both of them home with us. To be perfectly honest with you, after a few days I began to sink wondering how in the world I could ever manage their care.
We prayed and asked God to show us His will, the glowworms, as He had done so many times before in this situation. I couldn’t see how this could possibly work. Then God whispered His Word to me through Waylon:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path clear.”
Knowing I was between a rock and a hard place, I searched Waylon’s face, looked into his blue eyes, and asked, “Can we REALLY trust God?”
Being the wonderful man of faith he is, Waylon reassured me. “Of course we can,” he said. “God has already shown us the glowworms to guide us.”
So for the next few weeks I quoted that verse—Proverbs 3:5-6—over and over every time I began to sink.
God also reminded me of a wonderful passage of Scripture in 2 Chronicles 20 when King Jehoshaphat learned his nation was going to be attacked. Knowing his kingdom wasn’t strong enough to defend itself, the king came before the LORD and said, “O our God…we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
Then one of the Levites said, “This is what the LORD says to you, ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s….You will not have to fight this battle….Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”
I can tell you for sure that I read and reread that passage begging the Lord to fight my battle. And He did!
In my desperation of not knowing how I would be able to care for both Betty and Stevie, God sent an angel, my niece Theressa, who willingly and joyfully volunteered to assume the responsibility for Stevie. How that came about is another can of glowworms–another post for another day.
I’d love to be able to share many more details of the past month with you, but let me just say the Lord has fought for us. He has opened doors for which we have no explanation other than His mighty hand. God has continued to sprinkle glowworms along our path. Last Saturday night I looked out my breakfast room window to see a swarm of fireflies putting on a light show—just for me. I went back a few minutes later and they were gone.
While this has been a nightmare of a month I have learned a great lesson about trust and obedience. I’ve learned that:
- I can trust God. I have to trust God.
- There are situations I’m not smart enough to figure out.
- If I will acknowledge His sovereignty and act in obedience, He will show me the next step to take.
I hope your path is smooth right now, but if it isn’t I pray you will claim every word of Proverbs 3:5-6.
You can REALLY trust God!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. “ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4