Over the course of seven consecutive days my bible fell open to Tobias 11: 12 -14 -Tobias is cured of his blindness. It was obvious it had a message for me, but I did not understand exactly what it was. What “blindness” was the passage referring to – mine or someone else’s? I puzzled over it for months without any clear revelation.
Then one morning my bible fell open to Tobias 14: 1-4:
And the words of Tobias were ended. And after Tobias was restored to his sight, he lived two and forty years, and saw the children of his grandchildren. And after he had lived a hundred and two years, he was buried honorably in Nineveh. For he was six and fifty years old when he lost the sight of his eyes, and sixty when he recovered it again. And the rest of his life was in joy and with great increase of the fear of God he departed in peace.
I was fifty-six the first time I read the passage, and needless to say the coincidence caught my attention. Obviously I was the “blind” one. But what was my “blindness?”
My husband and I decided to relocate to a different state, one closer to family and friends. Financially it seemed a bad idea. The housing market, the stock market, the banks, the auto industry and numerous other businesses were going under. Every day millions were being laid off from their jobs. Relocating to another state and attempting to find another job was close to insanity. I should be thankful for the job I had, regardless of how miserable and homesick I was.
At first I resisted the negativity, but gradually my confidence was worn away and I began to fret. What if I couldn’t get another job after we moved? What if I waited to relocate until I had a job offer and that never came? What if we were stuck, isolated from family and friends for years?
Then something happened.
I watched a TV program, Disorder in the Court, a count down of the twenty most amazing court disruptions. One of the cases shown was the murder trial of famous celebrity. As he walked toward the court house he noticed a man with a guitar among the gathering crowd. The celebrity stopped, borrowed the man’s guitar and played the song, Some Where Over the Rainbow. As you know from past posts, God has sent Rainbows as heralds of miraculous delivery from whatever trial I happen to be struggling with. However, my doubting mind wasn’t sure this particular incident was a “sign.”
The next morning my bible fell open to Tobias 14:1-4 - once again. I “told” God if He had a message for me in that passage He would have to make it clearer in order for me to understand.
As I turned to the listed Gospel reading for my morning devotions, I “accidentally” read the wrong passage. I was convinced I was reading the same verses listed in my devotional. But I read this Gospel instead:
Mark 7:14-23, I read Mark 8: 14-21:
And they forgot to take bread; and they had but one loaf with them in the ship. And he charged them, saying: Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. And they reasoned among themselves, saying: Because we have no bread.
Which Jesus knowing said to them: Why do you reason, because you have no bread? Have you still your heart blinded? Having eyes, see you not? And having ears, hear you not? Neither do you remember. When I broke the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took you up?
They say to him, Twelve.
When also the seven loaves among the four thousand, how many baskets of fragments took you up?
And they say to him, Seven.
And he said to them: How do you not yet understand?
I understood. He had to literally spell it out for me, but I finally “got it.” The point of the story was God met the needs of the crowd plus. How many times had God provided for me above and beyond what I needed? My heart was “blinded” by worry and anxiety. These fears eroded my memory of all the miracles He had given me in the past.
Streams in the Desert added: Faith that moves forward triumphs. It used Christopher Columbus as and example of faithful perseverance in spite of circumstances.
There was more. Another devotional dealt with being homesick. There really wasn’t any place as dear and sweet as home….
The words exactly expressed my feelings about my job and Arizona. The desert was beautiful, I had made friends among my co-workers, but, it wasn’t “home.”
Three days later Mark 8: 1-10 was listed in my readings. In these verses Mark recounts the feeding of the four thousand – a reaffirmation of God’s divine providence.
Now, exaclty two years later, I find myself worrying again. This time about the job God so graciously gave me. With the economy still weak, concerns about cut backs errode any sense of permanance. Adding to my disquite are rising taxes. The little gains we manage, even with unexpected windfalls, melt away through higher expenses. I barely slept last night.
My thought on rising: I have sinned, numerous times. This constant state of uncertainty and struggle must be my punishment. However, my first devotional reading this morning was taken from Genesis - the story of Noah. An obvious reference to Rainbows. The next bit of encouragement came from Psalm 32. I was supposed to read Psalm 29, but just discovered I had actually read 32 - the one God wanted me to read.
Verse 10: Many are the scourges of the sinner, but mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord.
Rainbows and promises. But there was more. The Gospel reading for today is Mark 8: 14-21, once again. Then God went one step further. Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman quotes Psalm 37. This Psalm was intrumental in leading me to my current husband and our wedding in Africa. Using the quote as a starting point, the text goes on to say: Do not fret. Do not get unduly upset. Stay cool. Even for a good reason worrying will not help you.
And so once again I am told to put my faith and trust in Him regardless of my circumstances. And you know what? I am tired of the constant turmoil created by worry. It ruins my nights and days, robs me of what joy I may have at the moment, and destroys my rest. With God's grace and strength perhaps I can finally lay the ugly baggage of worry at His feet and never pick it up again.