I stepped out onto the back deck late Saturday afternoon to enjoy the crisp weather and to quietly bask in the sights and fragrances of our backyard where I had done some pre-winter trimming of the bushes on Thursday and then mowed & swept the lawn earlier that day. My eyes were immediately drawn toward the pink western skies as the setting sun was giving its last effort at staying above the horizon.
It was another one of those times that I have grown to love out here with the sound of the breeze shimmering through the leaves that were still clinging to the trees around our property. The swish of the trees occasionally harmonized with the different species of birds singing their evening songs and the distant bark of one of our neighbor’s dogs. But besides those sounds, I was encapsulated with one of the greatest perks of country living… wonderful and peace-inducing QUIET!
As I feasted on the sights around me, I couldn’t help by thank the Lord for His faithfulness to my wife and I. Back in 2013 when I first began to get indications from the Lord in prayer about moving out here, I had no idea that we would end up in this location. In fact, I had never even heard of the town of Fuquay-Varina, Harnett County, Lillington nor any of the locations around our new home that are becoming more and more familiar to us with each passing day!
What I had heard in prayer back then was, that besides a few other key details of why the move was significant to God for us to make, was that it was important for us to own something (ie; a house again) in our later years. Well, standing on “our” deck some four and a half years later, I could only shake my head in awe of His lovingkindness and favor toward us.
In this Thanksgiving week, I can’t help but think of the goodness of our heavenly Father and speak out the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 136:1,4 declaring that I “Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his mercy (kindness, favor, faithfulness – Strong’s and Thayer’s) endures forever. (I) Give thanks to the only one who does miraculous things, because his mercy endures forever.” (God’s Word ©)
I spent a little time while preparing dinner last night talking with my wife about all the “miraculous” things that the Lord has done for us since we returned to California and eventually out here after attending Bible College in Oklahoma from 2006 – 2009. As the list got longer and longer, I suddenly received a revelation about a firm position we took in the early years of our marriage that set the stage for most of the items of the list we were making that night.
If you remember some of the posts I wrote last week, I mentioned the story in 2 Chronicles 20 when the Lord spoke through the prophet to Jehoshaphat and the children of Israel as they faced a life threatening event. In verse seventeen the Lord declared: “You won’t fight this battle. Instead, take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord for you…” (God’s Word ©) In this situation Papa God was telling the Israelites to take the position of trust in Him and His words to them. It was that position of trust that enabled them to hold their ground before the oncoming armies and to use praise as their only offensive weaponry.
In our case, it also began with taking a position of trust followed by praise. Let me explain… I won’t give you all the details as some of you might already be familiar with this story, but in the early summer of 1980 Piper was on maternity leave from Hewlett Packard where she had worked for about six months. Both of our hearts desires was for her to be a stay-at-home Mom when our kids came along. The only problem though, was that my fledgling photography business was not steady enough for us to be without her income.
In discussing the matter we decided that we would wait and see what happened as I had already put in an application at HP a few months previous to this time, before Piper let her supervisor know if she was coming back or not after her leave was up. After about a month or so of waiting along with some time spent in concentrated prayer, I heard the Lord one day distinctly telling me that we had the cart before the horse! We were waiting to see the results of our prayer before we took any steps of faith… kind of the opposite to the classic definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 where the writer said that: “Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot (yet) see.” (God’s Word ©)
I still can remember going into that small green kitchen at my Grandmother’s house that we were renting from my folks where Piper was cooking dinner and telling her what I had heard in prayer. Well, without ANY hesitation, Piper readily agreed as she was getting similar directions in her private prayers. So, without any further discussion we took hands with our little sheltie at our feet and thanked God for His directions and faithfulness to us and committed my job at HP to Him.
Piper called her boss the very next day and let her know that she would not be returning at the end of her maternity leave. We had made the decision that our financial future was in His hands… lock, stock and barrel! From that day on we never put finances before God’s plans for us. Now that’s not to say that we didn’t consider finances when making decisions, but God and His Word always had the final say as to the next step that we felt called to take.
Oh by the way… within a few weeks of that decision, Piper and I took our baby Josh to HP so that Piper could introduce him to the team she worked with. After signing in at the front desk in building one, we walked past the personnel department that was located right behind the entrance and continued down the open hallway. About half way through the building I heard someone calling my name and turned to see Steve, the man from personnel with whom I had previously talked to concerning my application jogging up behind us. Once he caught up to us he took a moment to catch his breath and then said that he had been trying to contact me as the management of the PC Shop were interested in me and wanted him to set up an interview!
Well, the rest is history! About a month later I went to work in the Printed Circuit proto shop, silk screening PC boards as well as putting in some hours each week developing negatives for the designers of the boards upstairs. I think God was just waiting for us to get our priorities right!
As I thought about that fateful decision back in 1980 while in the kitchen with Piper this last weekend, I couldn’t help but to let the thanksgivings flow to our Father in heaven because of all the blessings He has bestowed on us over the last 37 years since then, because of that lesson we learned in putting Him and His Word first. Now a days it just comes kind of naturally and that way of thinking is usually the first way we go. But you know… we have had to watch in that it doesn’t just become sort of rout to us! Each new decision needs to have a fresh anointing of our faith, a fresh perspective of His faithfulness and goodness to us, and a fresh recognition of Hebrews 11:1 concerning the outcome of our expectations!
As we look to the celebration of Thanksgiving in a few days, what are you thankful for? Why wait until you sit at the table with family and friends on Thursday before thinking about things to be thankful for. Start today and give the Lord a week of Thanks-giving for all that He has done for you!
Have a great holiday week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to be thankful for today?”