Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In Other Words--No Matter What???

Throughout the history of God's people as given to us in the Bible, we see that life is a test. We have before us the option to trust God 'no matter what,' or to walk away from Him. To walk away from God is to leave the fragments of our dreams in pieces on the floor, but to trust Him is to let God pick up the pieces and make s whole again. When we choose to let Him make us whole again, He will make our lives more beautiful than before."
~ "What I Learned from God While Quilting" by Ruth McHaney Danner & Cristine Bolley~

This is a quote that I really wish I knew more of the context. I probably agree with the spirit of the quote, but it is not sitting totally easy with me. It almost appears to be an equation that can be overly simplified to "trust God=beautiful life, walk away=broken life" and I don't agree with that. Yes, it allows for the coming back after a period of not trusting, but what about when you are totally trusting and your dreams still seem to be shattered fragments on the floor?

One of my favorite Bible characters is Caleb. When we are first introduced to Caleb as one of the twelve spies that scouted out the Promised Land.

So at the LORD's command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites. These are their names: ... from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh;

(Numbers 13:3-4a and 6a)

The spies came back with a choice--to trust God 'no matter what' or to walk away from the promise. Ten walked away and as a result the dream of entering the Promised Land, not only for themselves but also for the people they led in disbelief, shattered into fragments in the sand. But two chose to trust 'no matter what.' They attempted to get the people to trust 'no matter what,' but the people were too frightened by the ten.

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."

(Numbers 13:30)

And God rewarded them for trusting Him.

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

(Numbers 14:24)

In this desert your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected.

(Numbers 14:29-31)

But it took over 40 years to see the reward. I often wonder if during those years of wandering in the desert if Caleb and Joshua ever wondered if they would see their dreams come to fruition. Did they have moments of frustration that they were made to wait and suffer because of the sins of others? Yes, they were trusting for the bigger dream--but this route to get there could not have seemed easy at all!

So often when we choose to 'trust God no matter what' the immediate result seems so much worse. Walking away is often the easy choice. Staying, and facing the circumstances in God's strength, can seem so difficult. Giving up begins to look like a good option. But, often, it is in the trial of trusting that the true beauty emerges.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(James 1:2-4)

Did you get that? Perseverence must finish its work so that you may be mature. We often think that trusting God means that we get to an easy answer. But often it is just the beginning of the trial that will lead us to maturity. And there is joy in that, although difficult to accept at the time. The joy of knowing that maturity is coming is what can spur us along as we 'trust no matter what.'

What about Caleb? Well even if he ever doubted it in the desert (don't you wish we knew more about his desert journey) he was still trusting God 'no matter what' at the end!

Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him
back a report according to my convictions, but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.' "Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said." Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.

(Joshua 14:6-14)

God, help me today to be a Caleb. Help me to trust you "no matter what," even if the fruition of that trust is not for a far off future--or even eternity like the saints of Hebrews 11. Whether they are shattered by my own rebellion or by my expectations that are not aligned with your plan, help me to place the fragments of my dreams into your hands. I want to trust. In the Good Shepherd's care and name I pray, Amen.

Our hostess this week is Nina at Mama's Little Treasures. Please join us there and be blessed by the reflections on this quote.


twinklemom said...

That is SO SO true...This has been such a powerful quote and it's a blessing to read what everyone has wrote about it!

God bless you!

lori said...

You MADE me THINK....and it was GOOD!:)
You know in making the choice to trust...I've not eliminated the questions...much like Thomas, who "doubted" in the moment, but not the mission as he went OUT...I've been like that too...

I hope to be like Caleb...trusting in the DRY times...I hate to admit it but during the 4 years of infertility, I was not as TRUSTING as I should have been....I see that now and I SEE what God was doing...breaking me, making me, and ultimately preparing me for the NEXT test...or challenge...which will eventually come...
Praying for the wisdom in James'words...
"condider it ALL joy!"
thank you for the blessing!


Susan said...

Oh my, this was soooooooooo good. You got me all FIRED up today.

Thanks so much for shedding such a great light on this quote.

You are a blessing♥

Heather@Mommymonk said...

I appreciate the depth you added to this quote. It's not a simple equation (though we often wish it were). In some ways it is simple: Trust God no matter what.

But the outcome is not predictable and that's why we say, "no matter what." Not because I expect Him to make everything rosy, but because I trust Him regardless of how things turn out. Now that's tough faith!

Denise said...

You always inspire me, thank you.

Bonnie W said...

It sounds as though this is something you are struggling with or have struggled with in the past.

I can relate too - you feel like you're doing everything right and trusting God with every fiber of your being and still the tough things happen - often like Caleb, the tough times happen because of someone else's lack of trust.

It's like David writes in Psalm 103:7 God made His ways known to Moses (and Caleb and Joshua and all who trust) and His deeds to the children of Israel. Those who trust always get to know God in a deeper way, even when those around them can only see the things God does or doesn't do.

I'd rather be a Caleb any day!

Thanks for sharing your heart today.

Shari said...

I wish trusting God was quick and easy, but it isn't. If it was then our faith probably wouldn't have the opportunity to deepen.

Tami Boesiger said...

You make me wonder, MiPa, what are you waiting for?

You bring up a good point about trusting even when we can't see and believing in what God has told us.

Karen said...

Trusting God no matter what is not always easy. So true! However, I truly believe that when we truly trust Him, He can give us that peace that surpasses all understanding - the peace that can only come from Him.

Thanks for sharing!
Hope you have a wonderful day!

Pixilated Mum said...

I understand your wanting to read that quote in context. It's not working for me either.

I don't view life as a test. A test is all about getting something wrong or right and suffering the consequences. I do believe in heaven and hell, but I also believe greatly in God's mercy and love and compassion. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I don't see the Lord as a test-giver in heaven who is going to flunk me out of heaven for all those mistakes. I've been forgiven. I've had graced poured within me.

To me, life is a gift that the Lord blesses us with so we can grow in a deeper relationship with Him. I always took to heart what I learned as a kid through the Baltimore Catechism: "Why did God make us?" Answer: "God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven."

I do think we suffer trials and tests now and then, but overall, life is not a test. The Israelites wandering in the desert weren't so much as failing a test as they were just not ready for everything that the Lord has prepared for them. They didn't trust and love and serve Him enough to be able to enter the Promised Land.

And as far as leaving "fragments of dreams on the floor"? I just think we're called to give ourselves entirely to the Lord ... ALL of ourselves ... and trust that He, the potter, will form from this clay the vessel that He wants us to be. God, in His infinite Wisdom and Love, already knows our dreams, hopes, joys and sorrows. We have to really believe that. And sometimes, when our lives feel shattered and broken, the Lord will work with the broken pieces ... and sometimes, He'll just give us a whole new dream and hope and life.

For me, once I was reawakened in my faith, I lost all my friends, my job, my social circle, my dream at the time. The Lord created a whole new life for me, thank goodness. I have new friends, a new "career", a new social circle and new dreams. But what is important, to me, from that experience, is knowing that no matter what I've got a God who is Love, who cares for me. I trust Him more and more as I grow older and look back at events in my life, even dark ones, and see His imprint there. It makes it easier to trust Him in the present when I remember how He has been there for me all this time. I think that's why, in the Old Testament, the Israelites are forever reminding themselves through their prayers and such that they were brought out of Egypt. We have to remember our past, in a way, to trust the Lord in the present.

Oh, MiPa, I'm sorry this is so long ... I get to rambling sometimes ...

Pixilated Mum said...

p.s. I was annoyed by the quote, but not by your thoughtful comments!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to be sure that you knew that. Your thoughts about Caleb made me think and I enjoyed the prayer and prayed it. : D

Love & peace,

Pixilated Mum said...


Me again. LOL

I replied to your comment on my blog ... in my blog ... but thought I'd add it here in case you don't read it:


Thanks so much for sharing your movie experience. And I was also loving the Whoville parts, but just so very disappointed by the scenes outside of it. The Whoville scenes were sweet, and I wish the story had remained there more than on the jungle itself.

It did have things that parents could gleam to teach, but it was the overall tone that I found hard to like. But I can definitely see your point.

Thanks so much for your comments!