My new year has had a rocky start. Four days into it, my car was stolen. While a material possession (one that can be replaced), its absence required me to make quite a bit of adjustments that weren’t part of my plan. By the end of the week, the car was found and there were more adjustments to be made. It has almost been a week since Pepper (that’s what I named my Prius) was located. After many conversations, reports and photos, Pepper is now at the body shop. This entire ordeal has been a reflection upon the decisions I’ve made. Many lessons have been learned, and through it all–in spite of my human desire to have a pity party–I can declare how grateful I am for the process. Throughout the past two weeks, I found myself meditating on the goodness of God manifested through the ram, the ravens and relatives. The phrase first came up in my spirit a few years ago, and has been replayed throughout the weeks, giving me countless opportunities to express how thankful I am for all it represents. In the midst of my frustration, God has rescued me, and he used the ram, the ravens and relatives to do it.
The ram, as it appeared in the thicket as a substitute and suitable sacrifice for Abraham to present instead of his son, Isaac (Gen 22:13-14), comes to mind when God provides a way when there doesn’t appear to be one. It is the source of the phrase “a ram in the bush.” Most recently, God provided such a ‘ram’ in the form of a rental after Pepper was stolen. At the time I purchased my car, I wasn’t in a financial position to add rental coverage to my insurance policy. While I would rather not have had to use it at all, the fact that my vehicle was stolen made me eligible for a courtesy rental until the car was recovered and repaired. God made a way, and I’m forever grateful for my ram.
The ravens, a representation of God providing our necessities from some unlikely sources, is vividly detailed in 1 Kings 17:1-15. In the instance laid out in scripture, God gives nourishment to the prophet, Elijah, through a band of ravens (and later a widow). It is illogical for carnivorous creatures to hand off food to humans; however, God caused these ravens to be Elijah’s waitstaff. He did not want for a meal; they brought food morning and evening. As I deal with the frustration of all that comes with having a car stolen, I am also preparing to take my first true vacation as an adult. The cost of repairing the damage done to my car was not in the budget. In fact, every penny I’d squirreled away was so I could eat (literally) while on vacation. The trip has been long paid for, the time off has been approved, and many congratulatory words have been received. Who goes to Hawaii and can’t eat? For a while, I thought I would be the first. In my prayer time, I sought the Lord for a solution. I chose not to fret; instead I exercised the admonition and promise of Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When I did this ‘ravens’ were commissioned and I have been blessing God with every breath since receiving word of their joy at joining me to celebrate and break bread. When the nature of mankind is to think only of him/herself, it is praiseworthy to find folks who will come to your aid and put your needs ahead of theirs.
My ravens also consisted of relatives. The relatives, in this case were not direct blood-relatives, but members of the Body of Christ. When I found myself getting weak from the frustration of my recent trial, God put words of encouragement in the mouths of those I worship with corporately. This time, when the tears flowed it was from the joy of being in the company of people who took time to remind me of God’s promises for my life. They reminded me of His word. They reminded me that I am His and that His favor rests upon my life. They helped me stand (Eph 6:10-18) when there were countless reasons to crumble under the frustration of it all. They became for me what I endeavor to be for others. Jesus provided the best definition of relatives in Matthew 12:46-50. To paraphrase, he said those who do the will of God are truly my relatives. In this case, blood-bought trumps bloodline.
I needed (and need) to be rescued–kept from falling out of faith; kept from thinking the worse of people; kept from letting pride drive me into bitterness. There still remains the matter of paying for the repairs, and covering an extended use of the rental. And, to add insult to injury, someone is walking around being warmed by my mother’s coat (an item I cherish more than the car since her passing 3 1/2 years ago). In the natural, I still have to deal with the process of bringing this ordeal to a close. It seems like I’m paying the cost for someone else’s dirty deed. How desperately I need to be rescued!
Perhaps you are also dealing with the frustrations of life–some caused by others, some caused by your own choices. If so, allow me to encourage you to see God’s faithful hand reaching out to rescue you from falling. You may slip; you may even stumble, but you cannot be removed from the Father’s hand (Joh 10:27-29). The matter of my car being stolen (especially in proximity to the new year and my planned vacation) was sent by satan to distract, but God has surrounded me with reminders that His will is for me to remain in faith. He has not permitted this issue to become an issue, but a platform from which testimony and victory will spring. Therefore, the matter must be kept in proper perspective. It is only a distraction, not a permanent fixture in my life, but a temporary irritation (2 Cor 4:17). Your days may not go as you planned, but rest assured He will provide the help you need to keep your balance, and cause you to stand! Take a moment to bless God with the fruit of your lips for the ram, the ravens and relatives.
If you ain’t scared, shout to the Lord, “Rescue me!“
–WordsInPrint by Suni