Before the piercing screams, before the sobs that went on into the night, before the two Tylenol PM’s that had been the only conceivable way to silence my thoughts, and before my almost 3 year old had to pry me out of bed, I was at an altitude of over 30,000 feet pondering a promise, and a fortune, and completely unaware of the devastation awaiting me once the wheels touched the tarmac.
“…You need to come up with a backup plan,” my father had said a few days prior, ” in case things get worse.”
His words ignited my greatest fears, roping me into succumb to my most crippling insecurities.
…A backup plan?? …WORSE?!?!
His concerns were valid, his loyalty to his daughter unquestionable, but he was wrong.
God had asked me to do something entirely different,
“Don’t be afraid.
Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you…
The Lord himself with fight for you.
Just stay calm.“ (Exodus 14:13)
That’s a promise!! A promise made to me, but a promise made first to the Israelites when they were up against the staggering hopelessness of the Red Sea.
Just like the Israelites, it was my choice whether or not I listened and believed the Lord’s promise to fight the battle before me. ‘Listening’ meant there could be no backup plans… safety nets… or desirable outcomes… it meant adamantly ‘standing still’ when I was most tempted to run FROM my problem, or run TO something in an attempt at fixing that problem on my own.
Listening and believing God’s promise meant doing NOTHING, and by doing nothing, willingly sacrificing EVERYTHING!
“…I know that’s what God wants me to do,” I had relayed to my mom over Vietnamese sandwiches one day at lunch, “ I just don’t know how much longer I can keep doing it…”
I noted the concern in her eyes as the same I had seen in my father. They knew that.
I needed God to rescue me soon! He was running out of time…
The only question was, did God see that?
…Did God see ME?
…Sleepless, and sobbing in a heap on the bathroom floor? …Crushed by depression, stricken with anxiety? …Sitting amongst the wreckage of my derailed dreams? …The devastation left of my heart, my bank account, and my marriage? … Forgoing all other options to face my greatest fears knowing that the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth COULD lead me through the magnitude of my hopelessness just like he did for the Israelites, but secretly wondering if He WOULD?
As I thought back to the conversation I had over lunch that day, I rummaged through the abundance of Us Weekly’s, Cheez-Its and coloring books in the bottom of my carry on bag until I found the crumpled piece of paper that I had tucked away for safekeeping.
I unraveled it, remembering my mom squealing in delight at the arrival of two fortune cookies proceeding our lunch that day, her barely being able to contain her excitement as she pushed the cookies to my side of the table in the name of some lighthearted fun (…and at the very least, a decent fortune for the tortured soul across from her!)
I had complied, rolling the cookies around in the palm of my hand for dramatic effect until I was certain which cookie I would claim as my own. She volunteered to read her’s first and we giggled at its absurdity, but when it was my turn the mood changed entirely.
My mom hung on every word that I said…
“ …You will be rewarded for LISTENING in the next week…”
As my flight prepared for landing I took a deep breath and considered the events of the last few days; the promise that at times was the only thing in my frailty that I could hold onto while the waves of life beat violently against me, tossing me mangled and lifeless onto the shore. The war that had been waged for my soul, and yet that simple promise holding me together when everything else was so ravenously threatening to tear me apart…
Don’t be afraid. Just stand still. The Lord will rescue you. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.
I considered my curious fortune, entertaining the thought that maybe… just maybe… God’s deliverance was on the horizon! Possibly even in the next week!!
…I quickly snapped out of that delusion. After all was only a fortune cookie! 🙂
I tightened my seatbelt, as if to verbalize that I was ready for whatever God had for me. I didn’t know what the outcome would look like but I had regained enough strength to stand to my feet and daringly accept the fate awaiting me.
I trusted Him and would listen to what He asked me; To stand still and stay calm until HE rescued me!
I then asked God for something I will never forget: Either blow the roof off my marriage or provide a miracle.
…Never anticipating that in the next 36 hours he would do BOTH!
Even more surprising, were the events that would unfold just like the fortune had said!
… A reward for listening IN THE NEXT WEEK!
*** Part II of this story will have you wondering, are you listening to God? And if you have been but are considering giving up, what if you hung in there just a little longer? Maybe even for just one more week…
See you back here next Tuesday!