Steps of Faith

 

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.  ­–Psalm 32:8 ESV

When God called me out of teaching, I resisted. For the entire school year.

I loved teaching. It was – and still is – my passion. And don’t I preach, “Follow your passion”? I’d say, “If I’m cut, I’d bleed ‘teacher’.”

Was God really telling me to give up my job teaching English, journalism, and Bible at the Christian high school? This was my dream job. I must be mistaken, I thought. It made no sense. Our youngest son was in college, and my income helped pay college loans and other expenses.

Yet the nagging sense of unrest and unease persisted. Health problems arose, but I pushed through them. Where would they get someone to replace me? Certified teachers without permanent positions made more money substituting in the public schools than what the private school could offer.

When the school year finally ended, I asked friends to join me in prayer. I had a decision to make. I wanted to be absolutely sure I wasn’t misinterpreting what I sensed God telling me to do.

By the middle of July I had my answer. When I turned in my resignation, a sense of peace filled me. The year-long internal wrestling match ceased. The tightness around my head, like a giant rubber band, released its grip.

It still made no sense, and I still didn’t understand why. But I’ve learned sometimes God tells you to do something that, in your human perspective, doesn’t make sense. And I’ve learned I do not have to understand to obey.

I still don’t know why God called me out of teaching all those years ago, but it doesn’t matter. I won’t even ask Him when I get to heaven.

Two thousand years ago a bridegroom was about to send his betrothed away and divorce her quietly.  She’d told him she was pregnant – by the Holy Spirit. He knew the prophecies, but still . . .

Then one night he had a dream in which an angel of the Lord appeared to him.

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife,” the angel said, “for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

When Joseph awoke, he took a step of faith and “did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife” (Matthew 1:24).

He didn’t ask why. He didn’t demand a detailed explanation. He simply obeyed.

Understanding is not a prerequisite for obedience. Or trust. Or faith. Actually, understanding can be detrimental for faith.

What is faith, after all, but “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”? (Hebrews 11:1) And “if we hope for something we already see, it’s not really hope. Who hopes for what can be seen?” (Romans 8:24)

Faith and hope are intertwined.

I took a step of faith when I resigned from my teaching position. DH and I took a step of faith when he retired. I’m facing a step of faith in the near future, trying to resist wanting to understand where God is leading me – and why He wants me to press on, forget what is behind, and reach for what’s ahead (Philippians 3:13–14).

What step of faith is God calling you to take? Will you take it?

Thank You, Lord, for those who pray with me as I contemplate and prepare myself for the step of faith You are calling me to take. Amen.

Read and meditate on Matthew 1:18–25

 © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

My Anchor Holds

Me standing in front on an anchor at the US Coast Guard Air Station, Traverse City, MI, June 2018

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. –Hebrews 6:19 NIV

As I turn the calendar page to the last month of the year, I mentally review the 11 previous months. Months, for the most part, I wouldn’t want to live over.

They weren’t bad. But you know how I feel about that word. I prefer “good” or “not so good” or “challenging.”

2018 was certainly challenging as I navigated the tumultuous waters of change, both wanted and unwanted, changes I initiated and changes that were foisted upon me.

From losing my kitty Rascal at the beginning of January (I still miss my little buddy) to the joy of attending my son’s wedding in June to DH’s retirement in September to dealing with eye issues to trying to decide what to do about Christmas in an empty nest.

Changes, decisions, uncertainty, joy, sorrow, disappointment, discouragement, hope, and lots of prayer dotted the days of 2018.

Hope is what got me through. And prayer.

Hope was and is the anchor for my soul. Not hope that everything will turn out the way I want, but hope in a sovereign God who has everything under control. Who has a plan and purpose for me. Who knows where I am, even when I feel lost, and knows where I’m going. Who’s all-powerful – He can make anything happen. Who’s all-knowing – He knows me better than I know myself and knows the end from the beginning. A God who loves me, faults and all.

Hope is what steadies this ship in the storms of life and keeps me from drifting away from where I’m supposed to be. Hope is the anchor I drop so it can dig into the bottom rather than hold me down by a heavy weight.

But note: I must drop the anchor. It won’t drop itself. If I leave it on deck, it won’t do me any good when the winds and waves batter me and toss me about, getting me off course and threatening to destroy me.

The anchor drops down deep and digs into the bottom, giving me security in uncertain times.

Prayer, on the other hand, goes up, ascending to the throne of my Father, who’s waiting for me to release my plans and dreams to Him, and trust Him with all my heart and not depend on my limited understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Once again, it is something I choose to do. I can try to figure it out on my own, but my perspective is limited, my understanding incomplete. I can try to do it all myself, my way, but I know where that’s gotten me before, and it wasn’t pretty.

I cried out to my Heavenly Father, and He was right there.  Indeed, as the old song goes, “He was there all the time, waiting patiently.”

I don’t have a whole lot to do to get ready for Christmas.

The house is already decorated, done in one day, thanks to my son, his new wife, and five grandchildren. The gifts are all bought, thanks to a day spent cyber-shopping. All I have to do is wait for UPS or FedEx to deliver them. Then I’ll wrap them.

The menu for our family Christmas dinner and gift exchange on the 15th and the corresponding grocery list are done. I’m not doing cards this year, except a few to hand out and a brief newsletter for a handful of friends and relatives. I do, however, have a few gifts I’m making.

So the next few weeks I’ll sit in my cozy chair by the fireplace and crochet. While my hands are busy with yarn and a crochet hook, my mind will mull over the past year, and my heart will rejoice because I know, whatever the future will bring, smooth sailing or turbulent seas, my anchor holds!

What are you needing hope for this Christmas season?

Cast your anchor in Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

There is a time to weigh anchor and sail, and a time to drop anchor and stay put. You, Lord, are that anchor that is always with me, on board my ship or holding me fast in turbulent waters. Thank you. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalms 46 and 139

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.