A few years ago I went to a Women’s Retreat that changed my faith. The topic of the weekend was “Trust”, an issue that I didn’t feel would be too hard for me. Little did I know what God had in store.
A few months prior to the retreat, my husband and I had started trying to get pregnant. The morning of the retreat I called my best friend, who was going with me for the weekend, and said, “I think I’m pregnant! I haven’t taken a test, but here are my symptoms…” She had two children (which of course made her the pregnancy expert in my mind) and quickly agreed that I must be feeling the twinges of the first trimester. That evening at the retreat, my period started. How disappointing. Still, it had only been a couple of months. No big deal—maybe next month.
And then wouldn’t you know, the next morning our focus was on Hannah. Hannah, who begged God for a son. Hannah, who remained barren year after year. Hannah, who was sometimes so depressed she couldn’t eat. But then Hannah had Samuel, and her prayers were answered. The idea that stuck with me from this discussion was that God didn’t give Samuel to Hannah because she “struck a deal” with Him. Samuel was in God’s plan all along—but she had to wait for God’s timing. “OK, God,” I thought, “whenever you want me to get pregnant is fine with me. I’ll trust in your timing.” This retreat was all about trust, after all. Maybe it wouldn’t be next month, but I’d trust Him for the timing, whenever it was.
A little while later we had our third and final session, this time on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—“The Three Musketeers”, our speaker called them. Of course, most of us know the basic story: King Nebuchadnezzar had a large statue made and ordered everyone to worship it. These three men refused and were thrown into a fiery furnace. Even though the furnace was so hot that the soldiers who had thrown them in were killed by the heat, the men were unharmed—they didn’t even smell like smoke when they came out. What an amazing story of God’s power. But the focus of our retreat, remember, was on trust—not on what God did, but on what the men were willing to let Him do in their lives. You see, they didn’t have faith because God saved them from the fire… they had faith regardless of what He would choose to do. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17&18, emphasis added) “Even if…” They knew what God could do, but they were going to trust Him to do what He willed.
“Even if…” After our speaker was finished, we had time to go over some questions she had given us and journal for a while. That’s when God really spoke to me. “You’ve been willing to trust Me with when you have a baby, but are you willing to trust Me with if?” Wow, I hadn’t really thought about that one. “Even if he does not…” Was I ready to make that statement? Was I ready to trust Him even if I didn’t know I’d get the outcome I felt I “deserved” as a reward for my trust? Then again, if I knew the outcome, there wasn’t much trust involved, was there?
It was then that I knew that I wouldn’t get pregnant that month, or the next, or the next. In fact, it took nearly two years—and a minor surgery—before we were blessed with our first pregnancy, our beautiful Grace. I’m not saying it was easy, but I look back on that time and see the richness of the things God taught me through those months. And even if Grace had never come, even if I were writing this article with a different ending to a different group, God would still be God, and I would still trust Him.
How often do we trust God to work when He wants, as long as He does it how we want Him to? “God, if you heal me I will have such an amazing testimony!” “God, let us come out of this financial hardship successful so that others can see how good You are!” “God, if you give me what I want, I will give You something in return.” God doesn’t want our deals, He wants our trust. If we trust Him, He will use us in His time and in His way.
Are you ready? Can you say, “I trust Him, even if…”?
Stuff I wrote a while ago.....
- ► 2009 (30)