“All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him.”
For several days now those of us in the small business world in Hopkinsville have been encouraged to post ways that our community can support us: “Tell the community how to buy gift cards or carry out food or season passes. Remind people that you are there and what you need.” I’ve been encouraged to make those posts and while I understand the urgency of the time for that, my focus is in another direction. Like most of you I’m sure, I’ve had my moments. Moments when fear grips as I realize that we just lost all the income from spring school field trips. Moments when I realize that we cannot open on March 28 and it looks like we will lose the income from our biggest event in the spring, our Easter egg hunt. It’s our 20th year in business and should be one of celebration but somedays it doesn’t feel that way. As if that’s not enough to make me anxious, what brings me to tears the quickest is the disappointment that our children can’t come home to visit. We miss them, but we know that physical distancing is the best option right now. My 87-year old father had to leave his home to stay with my sister and it’s hard for him to give up his independence and the comforts of his home. Those are all things that take my breath away at moments and will bring the tears.
But God…..if you know me you know I love those words…but God…
You see in these days when the world would be telling me I should stress about our loss of income and when I should be really focused on our budget and how we are going to come out of this ready to just “drag people into the gates” of the farm, our focus has been different. You see, God is doing a work in both of us. We have peace. We have our moments when the enemy steps in and I will have my ugly cry (Milt doesn’t ugly cry but I know that when he is being reflective he is having to work thru the fear) but God reminds us to redirect our focus and the peace comes.
You see I realize God is answering my prayers. In January of this year I taught a Bible study and in it we looked at the story of the Israelites and the battle of Jericho (Read it for yourself: Joshua 6:18-21). Through Joshua God instructed His people to circle the city for seven days. On the seventh day they were to circle the city seven times and at his command they were to shout and the walls of the city fell down. The Israelite people were handed the city; their enemy was conquered and they emerged victorious. All they had to do was be obedient. As a result of that study we talked about the technique of writing down our prayer requests and drawing a circle around them. It was a physical representation of the idea that God calls us to come to Him circling our prayer request and praying through in obedience until God answers our prayers. This is not the first time I have taught this Bible study and I love the concept of writing my prayers down and drawing a circle around them. And every single time I have done this I have watched God answer my prayers, yet when I say that God answers my prayers, it does not mean that I always get things the way I want them, but He always answers for what gives Him the most glory.
So in December 2019 as I began to prepare myself for teaching this class I got a notebook and I began once again to write down my prayers.and circle them. Some of my prayer requests included prayers for other people and questions about directions we should take as we prepared for our anniversary season. But recently God revealed to me just how he is answering my prayers.
Let me share what I wrote with you:
12/13/19: Stretch us next year (2020) with the farm so that we know beyond a shadow of doubt that it was God.
12/17/19: To hear the voice of Jesus in our lives
1/1/20: Lord I want to look more like you and I want to spend more time with you. Discipline me to love and spend more time with you. Give me a craving for You above all else.
1/4/20: give me a voice of praise and encouragement, a spirit of joy, peace, wisdom, and discernment for Your glory
1/19/20: Do something unpredictable, and uncontrollable.
Wow….the morning I realized what God is doing it has taken my breath away. You see God knew when I circled those prayers exactly how He planned to answer them. And I can assure you it wasn’t exactly how I expected Him to answer. In these days of physical distancing and staring real fears in the face I have spent much more time in the Word. I have worked hard at being a voice of encouragement to people around me. I prayed for God to strengthen our marriage and we have humbled ourselves in prayer together through this so many times. We have listened to Godly preaching and teaching and explored the Word for His answers. We have chosen to worship at home on more days than just Sunday. And we realize that if we were busy with a season opening in 3 days that we wouldn’t be doing that. We would be business as usual without taking the extra time to be with God. And we realize now more than ever that only God can be our provision when a significant portion of our livelihood is being taken away by a pandemic.
God is doing something unpredictable and uncontrollable. He allowed a pandemic to occur because God could have stopped this but He has not. So do I believe God is using this to get our attention? Absolutely! Do I believe the outcome depends on me and you? Absolutely! God is answering the prayers that give Him glory. And God is hearing the prayers of His repentant people.
So much more I could say today but for now…my question for you (and for me)…how are you spending your time these days? In prayer or panic? In faith or fear? In the Word or on Netflix? How are you modeling the changes to your world to your children? In harmony or conflict? In thankfulness for family time or frustration for your inconvenience? Are you teaching sharing or selfishness? Kindness or anger?
It’s all up to us. It all depends on whether we trust God or not. My prayer today is that you trust Him. With the pandemic and your finances. With your family and your soul. Your salvation, your destiny and your eternity….He is the answer to it all. Not sure about that? Read the book of John in the Bible. Ask a believing friend or ask us. We would love to share His Truth with you.
And for those who believe…I challenge us, get in the Word. Repent. Worship. Pray. And believe God for His redemption. It’s coming. Keep circling this Jericho. These walls are coming down. Our God is victorious. Let’s do this with Him!
Praise Jesus. He is Worthy!
P.S. I would love to share links to some of the moments that have impacted us in recent days.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZYSxs5pS0M–A sermon by Tony Evans
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uPEu9bvRAI–Tony Evans and his family model church at home with your family with another timely word.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QG72nkzqhY&t=25s–Pastor Steve Berger from Grace Chapel in Leiper’s Fork, TN, has a timely message for us.
II Chronicles 15:3-7
Jeremiah 31:17, 25
These are just Scriptures that have spoken to me in recent weeks. (can you tell I was in the book of Jeremiah? ) Keep reading His Word and listening to what He says to you!