Don’t you just LOVE it when God interacts with you in a way that leaves you in no doubt that He really is listening and walking alongside you!?
There have been times in my life, as I guess there may well have been in yours, when I have felt that all I can hear is silence. Prayers go unanswered and God seems to have decided that He’s done with talking for a time. In this quiet I have listened to sermons and read books that assert that God is speaking to us all the time, if only we would slow down and listen – but it is in those moments that I dare to suggest to myself that it’s me who is present and God that isn’t.
His nature and His Word say otherwise.
Recently, my hubbie and I escaped for a few days away to the Lake District – a favourite retreat of ours to refresh body and soul by immersing ourselves in the grandeur and beauty of mountains and lakes. It’s in this space that we are able to ruminate, ponder, pray and dream together again, and inevitably the conversation at some point or other will always come back around to our future family. One day we tackled a familiar tourist trail, starting with a steep ascent surrounded by spectacular views before striking out across dense, craggy moorland, using the map to guide us on a wide loop which would take us back through forest and along the shore of Derwent Water. We passed skipping lambs and blossoming trees and felt our spirits soar and settle as we exhaled in creation beauty.
As we passed a sign on the final leg of our walk warning us to be aware of pregnant ewes, my thoughts, inevitably, turned to my own desires for pregnancy. Once again we found ourselves in a place of considering the options before us, feeling our way into the right timing and choices, wondering what God’s heart for our next steps might be. As we chatted and prayed aloud, committing our thoughts and plans to Him, we entered a beautiful section of forest by the lakeshore; water rippling and mirroring the surrounding scenery.
And as our prayers concluded, there in an opening we came across a striking sculpture entitled ‘Entrust’: a huge pair of hands, the size of a small boat, carved out of wood. Wow!
I didn’t think twice before jumping in and nestling down, in awe of the timing and the kindness of this intimate confirmation of our prayer requests. The word ‘entrust’ means to authorise, commit, hand over, leave with, confide, deliver, deposit with.
So often I think, when we try to trust God, we feel the onus is on us, that there’s an active participation from us that is constant in its momentum. But in reality, entrusting things to God means handing them over and leaving them there. Entrusting is a powerful exchange which asserts that personal responsibility is relinquished and passed over, finally and fully, to the One to whom we are delivering our cares. As I sat in this pair of huge hands, I felt encircled, empowered, protected and joyful. I could see out, but I was surrounded on all sides. It reminded me of Jesus lying in the bottom of the boat as the storm rages overhead (Matthew 8:23-27).
Be in no doubt, God has promised never to leave nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Even more than that, He wants us to know that He hears absolutely everything we say (so be warned!) and He longs to interact with us. I so often forget that God is listening to my conversations, but it is precious moments such as these, which reignite the wonder and joy, and remind me that God came down to earth in Jesus and left us with His precious Holy Spirit. Just as children enjoy playing hide and seek, so Father God has hidden beautiful gifts of His goodness along our path for us to find. On this day, we were given a powerful reminder of His strength, might and presence and His keen love and interest in the things that matter most to us. What matters to us, matters to Him too.