I've been thinking about how much of my discouragement depends on my THINKING. This weekend God got my attention, pointing out a pattern in the past several weeks of my life. I wish I had video clips to help you "see" these ... or a picture ... or an audio clip ... but you'll have to use your imagination. Let me tell you what He used:
- I made a right turn and found myself inches away from plowing into the back of a stalled vehicle at a busy intersection. I swerved into a lane that's usually packed, but was miraculously empty.
- While driving down the highway at 60 mph, a large truck came out of nowhere VERY fast and swerved across my front bumper, as if to run me off the road, and onto an exit. The driver must've been under the influence of alcohol. The 3 of us gasped in stunned amazement that we had been spared a terrible accident.
- I was driving home from a soccer game with the kids when, amid the crowded 4 lanes, I saw the split second events unfolding when two cars, just a car length in front of me, collided in our lane. A space opened to our right, allowing us and the car between us and the accident to pull into the safety of the next lane.
- I was backing out of a parking space (at Target :) ), when I felt the overwhelming, but quiet, prompt to stop. As I rested with my foot on the brake, I looked behind me at the empty rear window and waited ... until the top of a tiny blond head passed by. A toddler had pulled away from his angry mommy's hand, skipping right behind my moving car.
- Our family was asleep in our pop up camper last weekend. About 2:30 am we were awakened by our panicked dog, followed by lightning that filled the woods while time stood still. It was like we were caught in a strobe light as the thunder shook the mountain following the strike. We all huddled together for the rest of the night ... and I prayed myself back to sleep, finally, in the wee hours of the morning.
- We arrived home in the dark from camping, but the next day revealed a huge branch from a tree high above our bedroom had fallen while we were gone. There had been no storm. There had been no wind, but the large oak branch (we mistook it for a whole tree) had fallen and not dropped through the roof above our bed. The insurance man, roofers, and "tree guys" did not know how it could've fallen to the side, missing our room.
This is a string of bad things. Near misses. Almost makes me feel like someone is out to get us! Like we are targeted! That's one way to think about these times when our lives could've been taken, our lives could've been changed, or our lives could've been suddenly hurled into pain.
But God ...
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Who cleared the lane in traffic? Who held my car's speed to avoid impact? Who steered me into position before the accident? Who whispered for me to brake? Who covered us with His hand when lightning struck the woods? Who pushed the tree away from our room when it dropped from high above? God did. He is watching at all times and not allowing anything to pass through our days, without His awareness and approval. It doesn't mean He's bad or unloving when painful things DO happen, and they DO, but I have been so reminded about God's protection and sovereignty in my life.
Instead of thinking, "What rotten luck I'm having," I can think, "God is constantly caring for me!" Praise Him! I wonder what else He's done that I'm unaware of?!?! I choose not to think "Targeted," but to think "Blessed." And that's ENCOURAGING!!!
Think about this: How has God been watching over you?