The God of Your Assurance

I spoke today at a women’s retreat.   [Now if you know me, go ahead and pick up your chin off the floor.  Yes, I know I don’t usually attend women’s retreats, let alone speak at them.  God changes things and people.  Get over it.]

Women’s retreats are interesting places for reflection, which is good if your life is in need of some time and space to examine the things you might otherwise overlook.  But…if you’re asked to speak, then you feel just the tiniest bit of pressure to be an agent to help provoke some of that reflection.  So I went in thought up, studied up, and prayed up.  I went ready.

Or so I thought…

When you’re the last speaker of a retreat you second guess everything.  I. mean. everything.  By yesterday afternoon I had rewritten everything.  By nightfall, I was once again ready.

But today came and as I sat, waiting for my turn, fear and uncertainty rolled into my heart like a freight train.  It was all wrong.  All of it.  Somehow I had heard wrongly in all my preparation and it was too late to do anything about it.  All that could be done was to pray…and pray…and pray. 

It was in this moment that I looked up and saw what the worship artist in front of me had been painting–a child bowing on their knees. 

You have to understand that Carole, a precious woman who paints & sketches during worship, prays diligently about what she should paint.  I had no conversation with her about my topic.  She wasn’t provided a cheat sheet.  She showed up and sketched only what she believed the Lord had a placed upon her heart and it captured my topic perfectly.  Unbeknownst to her the very thing I was doubting was the point in my outline that said, “Where are you standing your ground with God where He is asking you to bow?” 

The moment my heart saw it, it was captured by the goodness of God’s provision for the topic in my hand.  Doubt fled. Conviction rose to the  occasion.   I was subdued by the knowledge that God had been leading me. and leading others, so that He might be greatly glorified in our hearts and minds. 

I spoke with Carole afterwards and thanked her for being so faithful to seek the Lord about her art.  Her response, “I felt so weird about this picture because I had no idea what a bowing child had to do with theme of the retreat, but the minute I heard you speak about bowing I knew.”  We both entered with doubts.  We both left with a confirmation that indeed God is in our midst!

Why do I share this with you?  There are times in each of our lives that we are desperate to know that we are hearing the voice of the Lord in our lives.  We are so apt to let the buzz of doubt, confusion, and other people’s opinion drown out the conviction that can only be found in that which the Lord proclaims to a trembling heart.  I don’t know what you might be going through, but if you are doubting or searching, know that God sees you and it is His heart’s desire to confirm His wise plans and purposes to you and through you.  Self-confidence isn’t enough.  The affirmation of friends will only get you to the mic.  But God.  Oh, how many times we read that in the Scriptures!  But God,  He can make the trembling heart steady into the perfection of His plans.   Look for His hand.  Rest in the assurance that He will not forsake you in your seeking of Him.