My grandmother was a wonderful God-fearing woman, I miss her. Many times when my first child was an infant my mom would tell me about my grandmother (her mother-in-law). They didn’t always see eye-to-eye on things, Oreo cookies right before sending us home… you know, those kinds of things. But there was one story my mom tells on my grandmother that is really a lesson for the ages, and God is reminding me of it today.
Often times when my brother and I were young we would visit our grandparents who lived only a few short miles away from us. And when my mom would accompany us, she would try to take care of us while we were at Grandmother’s house, frustrating both Grandmother and Mom in the process because they were both trying to take care of us. Until one day Grandmother explained to my Mom “When you are at my house, you leave the children to me. I can handle them, I’ve done this before, you go take a break.” By them both trying to accomplish the same task they ended up getting in each other’s way. Not to mention Grandmother knew that moms NEED the occasional break!
Fast forward to my last and favorite memory of my grandmother. My son was about ten weeks old and we had called all his grandparents and great grandparents together to take four generation pictures. At that point all my son’s parents, grandparents, and great grandparents were still married to their original spouses and still alive, that doesn’t usually happen very often so we deemed it photo shoot worthy. Anyway, the day after the photo shoot we had planned on Grandmother and Grandfather coming over to our house to see all the antiques in the one-hundred year old house that we were renting. That morning Gabe was the fussiest baby! He had never been that grumpy before or since. There was nothing I could do to please him, and I had tried EVERYTHING! By the time my grandparents showed up I was frazzled and tired and grumpy myself. In walks Grandmother, she saw the screaming baby and the look in my eye, asked “what’s wrong” and I verbally puked all over her telling her how the morning had gone. She looked at me and said “Tamar, let me hold him and you go take care of yourself. Go in the kitchen and make yourself something hot to eat. I will take care of him.”
“But Grandmother,” I began to protest, “you came to see the antiques, I can do this, really, its OK.”
“Tamar, give me the baby.” And I resigned my son to her care. The MOMENT he touched her arms he stopped crying! As a new mother of two months, I was amazed! Almost convinced of a supernatural power coming over my son as she touched him, and who knows, maybe it was – or a supernatural power leaving him as her light touched his little body. But either way, something happened. Yes, as a now experienced mother I realize that my stress had been most likely the cause of his distress, but then again, that’s just the point. As I made my way back into the kitchen to make myself something hot to eat as commanded by the higher authority of my grandmother I listened to the two of them cooing at each other and her singing, totally in grandma heaven. And we all thought she came to see the antiques! Ha! Hardly. A mere month later she had gone home to be with the Lord. She died from a blood clot that caused a stroke, the only photo in her hospital room was one of my little Gabriel.
About a year later God inspired my husband and I to move from our little Indiana hometown surrounded by farmland to the Chicago-land area so that my husband could go back to school to change careers and be a mechanic. For two years he went to school and worked part-time while I worked in daycare as a pre-school teacher. At the end of his schooling it came time for him to find a job, and we both were praying for one in Indianapolis where we would still be close to family. It came down to the last two weeks of school and he still didn’t have job lined up! Rent was due soon and we had NO idea if we would be staying another month or leaving for Indy. The best and only way I can explain that time in our life was dark. Everything was up in the air and totally unknown. We were totally between that rock and a hard place. The time was drawing nearer and nearer to take that next step. One we were more than willing to take… if we just knew WHERE we were supposed to step! Sure we had both been feeling led to go to Indy, but what if that wasn’t what God wanted for us? What if He wanted us in California or New York? We had no idea, and it was terrifying. We were being pressed to take this next step, but it was going to have to be a leap of faith like never before, and it was seriously stressing me out.
At that time I had, by far, the best assistant director I’ve ever had in any job either before or since! A woman with one of the most beautiful hearts I’ve ever seen. One day during this trial of uncertainty and fear the Spirit led her to come down to my room to visit me during breakfast. (Now, I can probably count on one hand how many times she had done that while I worked there, and still have some fingers left over.) She walked in my room and totally took over control. And I have to admit I was offended by her “intrusion” into MY classroom. I said something to her to the effect of “Oh, that’s not how we do that in here…” and she turned to the assistant teacher and asked her to watch the kids while she and I went to have a talk.
She pulled me into the neighboring kitchen and said to me, “Tamar, when the Master is in the house, you are not to be in control, He is. You just sit back and relax and take care of yourself, and let Him do the rest. When I’m in your room, you’re not in charge anymore. You let me take over so you can take a much-needed break.” Well, right then and there standing next to a white chest freezer full of frozen waffles and orange juice concentrate I let go of my control and started sobbing with relief. She wrapped me in her little arms and I poured the story out on her of what was going on and how it all just felt so dark, How we didn’t know what to do and it was so scary. And how the words that God had just put in her mouth were almost identical to the words He had put in Grandmother’s mouth a few years before. How their familiarity had touched me, taught me and reminded me of Grandmother all at the same time.
Today, God has pulled all these stories back up in my memory. There’s a change in the wind for our family. It’s looming and obvious and yet elusive at the same time. We’ve been avoiding it and yet it has still come upon us all the same. It’s time for us to take another leap of faith into the darkness expecting God to be there to catch us when we jump. We are in His house with a screaming baby totally stressed out over our life situation and we keep saying “What do I do?” and He’s looking us in the eye saying “Beloved, hand over the dream, let Me take care of it, and you go fix yourself something hot to eat, take a break and let Me handle things for a while, because I love you and I want this just as much as you do. More so actually, but we can’t both be working on the same thing because right now you’re getting in my way. So just sit back (be still), take a break over there out-of-the-way, and watch what I, the Master, can do (know that I AM GOD. Psalm 46:10)
12 Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
17 And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
Does it feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place? Perhaps God has placed you there so that He can cover you with His hand and protect you from His glory passing by in your current circumstance of life. Realize that in those “rock and a hard place” moments, if you COULD see what God was doing, it would kill you because of its pure awesomeness. That uncertainty and darkness you feel is keeping you alive, it’s protecting you. Don’t fear it and don’t fight it.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the LORD,” they say,
“let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, LORD, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the LORD will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the LORD
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!
Can you relate to how David feels; scorned by men, mocked and insulted? Are you being tempted to doubt your trusting in the LORD? Do you feel surrounded on all sides with a melting heart and a dry mouth? Are you spiritually starving and naked? Cry out to Yaweh! Cry out for deliverance, praise Him in the streets and on Facebook. Call the people around you to join in your praises of our God Almighty, because “He has NOT despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from Him but has listened to His cry for help”. (v. 24) God will save you! How?
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
He MAKES me lie down. He comes in and says “hand over the baby” so that you can REST, recover, de-stress, PRAISE! We walk through the valley of the shadow of death every day but fear no evil! For He IS with you – especially when it doesn’t feel like He is. His goodness, the very same goodness that passed by Moses (and you) in the cleft of the rock, will follow you all the days of your life until you go home to LIVE in Grandmother’s house where you just get in the way when you’re trying to control things.
Pray Psalm 143:
1 LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, LORD,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, LORD, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.