In the Blank Space

“Peter said to Him,

‘Lord, why can’t I follow You now?’”

John 13:37 

Jesus had created a “blank space” for His friends.  They had just finished what would be their last meal together.  It was a special meal, remembering how God had miraculously delivered His people from their slavery in Egypt, and brought them to the Land He had promised them.  Jesus was leaving the room.  Peter wanted to go with Him.

But Jesus was heading to the cross.  And Peter was going to hear a rooster crow three times.

For three years they had been together.  They had experienced God, and their lives had completely changed.  They had been very busy together, watching… learning… following…and being included in the Work that Jesus had come to earth to do.  They’d seen miracles.  They’d learned of God…heaven….and how to be part of God’s Plan for the people He had created.  They’d had front row seats, and had actively participated in the life of Jesus for three years.

When God creates a “blank space” in our lives, it is difficult for us.  Especially when we don’t understand it….had not expected it….had not asked for it.   It leaves us with unknowns…questions…anxieties…and often pain.    It is hard to stand in the space…and wait.

Peter experienced that.

But God has a Purpose for the “space” He has created or allowed in our lives, often not of our own choosing.

The Truth is, God is in that space.  Just as much as He has been in the active, purposeful activities we have been part of, sometimes even for a lifetime.

What does “the Space” offer us?

  • Time to LISTEN
  • THINK
  • BREATHE
  • LOOK into my own HEART
  • SPEND OPEN-ENDED TIME WITH HIM
  • PREPARE FOR WHAT IS COMING . . .

Filling “The Space” may take away from the opportunity God has offered to simply look into your own heart . . . and into His.   He has a Purpose for the Space that He has permitted.   Don’t lose the opportunity laid before you.  He is there.

Holding Hands

“A person’s fear sets a trap for him,

but one who trusts the Lord is safe.”

Prov. 29:25

Fear has been a core theme of my life, unfortunately!   When I think of a fearful person, the picture I get is of someone looking all over the place for the “danger” they fear.  Up, down, side-to-side, head ducking down, shoulders and arms held close for protection, and a serious crick in the neck.  Basically, trying to make yourself small and least noticable as possible.

On the other hand, Trustis a very different image.  Trust isn’t focused on the ground, or making yourself “small.”  Trust looks toward the goal and keeps moving ahead, step by step.  Not foolishly nor carelessly nor even very confidently, perhaps.  But just enough courage to take the next steps . . . one at a time.

Sign language for the word “TRUST” is that of one hand above, one hand below, palms coming together in a clasp.  God’s Hand extended toward mine, my hand moving up into His, open and empty, ….until our hands meet and clasp…like a child holding Daddy’s hand.

When we are looking all around us, eyes darting to see any possible danger, we’re not focusing on the goal of our journey. If our hands are full of all the items that we think will help us be safe, we don’t have our hand free to grab onto His.  Being preoccupied with being safe may be the very distraction that causes us to miss what was actually the goal.

I remember one very dark night in the desert (no electrical lights existed) I was walking, having come from a very upsetting situation.  So absorbed in my emotional turmoil, I took a step into “nothing”, and landed in a very dark, very large, deep hole.  A strong man’s hand reached down to find mine, and pulled me up onto solid ground.  In the blackness of the night, I couldn’t see anything, but that strong hand brought me out of the dark pit and onto solid ground. 

Whose Hand are you holding?  It isn’t possible to hold a Hand from a distance….you can only be an arm’s length away.  Stay close to Him.  Hold His Hand, and never let go!!

 

Perfect Peace

“With perfect peace

 You will protect those whose minds cannot be changed,

    because they trust You.” 

Isaiah 26:3

The long history of God’s people is full of really tough times and experiences. Drama was always around the next corner, it seemed.  Wars, captivity, living in exile, being refugees, running for their lives, long periods of extreme cruelty, and Death.  God allowed all of this to be woven into their Story.  He saw it all.  He allowed it to go on.  That’s a tough thing for us to contemplate.

When I reverse the order of this verse, there are two things that are “on us” as His people:  His people trusted God, and their minds could not be changedLife on this earth is tough.  Sometimes it seems impossible.  TRUST requires intentionally putting our small hand into His enormous, powerful Hand….and hanging on.  No matter what.  It means accepting the fact that I cannot control the events of my life.  I can really try, but it is not humanly possible. What I can dois hold onto His Hand, like a child with his/her father. There we touch His Strength, His Presence, His Protection and Assurance.  Our Perfect Father has the perfect view of what is ahead, around and behind us.  We might even close our eyes as we squeeze His Hand.  That’s fine!  Hang on for dear life!

Unlike a human father, our Heavenly Father will not let go when we put our small hand in His.  And each time we experience Him as He walks us through this life, our trust grows. Each experience adds to our level of confidence  in HIM.Step by step, He will not let go…only wecan do that. We may have to walk through frightening times, painful experiences, rocky paths, dark days…life on this earth.  But, holding on tightly, our trust slowly grows.  Our minds begin to absorb the reality of His Presence, His Love, His trust-worthiness….especially through the most frightening times.

And slowly, slowly, with each experience we walk through holding His Hand, our mind becomes more believing because of what we’ve been through together.  Our trust grows, because He has walked withus.  We realize that keeping hold of His Hand becomes our safest place on earth. And out of the years of walking together through life, peace….PERFECT Peacebecomes our experience…It becomes part of our hearts….our minds.  It becomes TRUTH for us.  The pain and troubles of this earthly life do not change.  But the PEACEthat has grown and deepened through it all…remains.