I think that one of the greatest things that our time in Oklahoma and now in North Carolina has done is to open up the boundaries of our world. For some fifty years my wife and I unknowingly cultivated a (narrow) northern California viewpoint of the world. I will openly admit that I really thought that I would see a lot more folks wearing denim overalls than I did when I worked at the Home Depot in Tulsa! Thinking back… I only recall noticing one heavy set customer during our three year stint that fit my mistaken mental rendition.
The Bible College I attended and the metropolis of Tulsa is unique in that it draws people from all over the world. Tulsa has many major Christian and secular universities, trade schools and churches that are universally known and respected. During our time there I literally met and made friends with students and co-workers from just about every state in the Union as well as from many countries in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. I quickly learned that not everyone sees and/or understands things the same as I do! Their viewpoint, experiences in life and diversity of home environments helped me to greatly expand my perspective on life and open wide the door to a greater understanding of why people do the things they do! My experience away from where I had been born and raised expanded the limitations of my world!
When we returned to our home town we also quickly learned that the spiritual size of a Christian’s world can vary greatly amongst different individuals. Isaiah 12:2 was the catalyst for my thinking about this over the weekend. Here the major prophet of God declares of Papa God, “Look! God is our Savior. I am confident and unafraid, because the Lord is my strength and my song. He is my Savior.” (God’s Word ©) As I studied from this verse through the rest of the chapter, I recalled the trauma, confusion and questions that led my wife and I to earnestly seek the Lord for direction during our first year home from our stay in Oklahoma.
We were very aware that we were facing something of such intensity that we had never faced before. We rapidly came to the conclusion that we could not continue doing things in life as we had for the previous 30 some years of our lives. Change was definitely on the horizon and we desperately needed to expand the borders of our world if we were going to succeed. I can remember pretty clearly the day I took Piper’s hand, swallowed hard and already knowing some of the answers, prayed, “Lord whatever you tell us to do… we will do… no matter what!”
One of the answers I already knew and had been brushing aside was the direction to start re-building my yard and garden care business clientele and then turn in my two week’s notice at The Home Depot. Contrary to some other’s beliefs, that was a very difficult request to obey even though I was physically and mentally stressed out after only a few months on the new job assignment that put me on the road for up to three or four hours a day and away from the house and the needs of my wife.
But yet, when we finished that prayer that day and I looked into Piper’s twinkling eyes projecting a peaceful, trusting and loving agreement, I was filled with an instant peace as well as a sudden jolt of excitement and expectation! I can fully appreciate Isaiah’s use of the term “Look!” or “Behold” as translated in the King James Version. John Gill calls it “A note of asseveration” which according to Dictionary.com means “to assert or declare emphatically.” I recently heard a well-known expert in the Biblical Greek language express that the use of the term “Behold” could simply be stated in modern vernacular as an emphatic and emotional exclamation of “Wow!” That sudden jolt of excitement and expectation that I felt could easily be translated to an emphatic and emotional exclamation of “Wow!”
But you know… our “Wow!” became a fearful “Whoa!” to a few other Christians near to us. The financial questions of our obedience of Papa God’s directives to us was something that would not allow them to expand their world into a total trust of God’s making a way (or ways in our case) for us as we sought to work through the physical and spiritual ordeal that was beginning to take a toll on my wife’s health. Well, as you most likely know if you follow this blog, things got pretty wild and wooly for a while back then, but we had made our decision and had opened the door to our world to include the unlimited possibilities of God’s and we haven’t looked back since.
The Targum or Aramaic version of the Bible puts the two clauses of this verse concerning the Lord being our salvation and that we will trust and not be afraid together declaring; “Behold! In the Word of the God my salvation I trust, and shall not be moved.” To me, this understanding and stand on God’s unfailing and faithful love toward us is the foundation from which we can expand our worlds into the “WOW!” of His unlimited, exceeding and abundant possibilities and bring us places we could never go nor imagine without Him and His world!
So… Let me ask you again… How big is your world? Is it flexible enough to expand beyond the confines of your own understanding and reasoning? I am SOOOOOO glad that my wife and I learned early on to throw our caution and fear to the winds and allow Him to do His exceedingly, abundantly beyond what we could ever dream or imagine!
Think about it… and have a great week! Stay in tune to His Word and the door open to His unlimited possibilities and keep asking yourself… “What are my expectations when it comes to the size of my world!”