Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding… Proverbs 3:5

I often find that God teaches me through circumstances. I do trust him, and he’s faithfully guided me all my cognitive years, but still I sometimes wish he would just give me a brief outline of his plan prior to launch. I know trust is based on our relationship with a God who has never failed us, but it would be so much easier if he would confer with us on logistics.

This past week I was scheduled to be part of a team leading a retreat for missionaries in Guatemala. Our theme was “Trust,” and we’d all planned our presentations. Our airfares were booked and paid, our accommodations were reserved, and we were ready to go. And then the excruciating pain in my foot (a stress fracture) alerted me that I WOULD NOT be part of the retreat. Instead, I was the one assigned to retreat, rest, and listen.

That had not been part of the plan, and I was not consulted prior to packing or preparing my talks. When the ER doctor confirmed that my team would leave without me, I was relegated to immobility, rest, and listening. I was reminded that understanding typically occurs after the fact—when we’re quiet and when we’re open to God’s wisdom.

I remembered an event that occurred during my last annual church council meeting, which could have had severe consequences. We were doing a dramatic presentation of the Woman at the Well for the thousand or so church delegates. All the lights were off in the vast conference hall, and I was standing at a podium with blinding theater lights pointing in my direction. Slowly and as articulately as possible, I read John 4:4-42, a really long passage. When I came to the end of the reading, the lights were abruptly cut off to heighten the effect. What happened next would instruct me…

My task was to make my way across the platform, step down to the next level, and find my chair – in total blackness. (Whose idea was that?) I carefully slid my feet inches at a time, thinking, “What if I fall and the noise disrupts the flow? What if I scream as I break something?” The actress following me in full costume had already begun her part on the far end at the other side of the platform. I mustn’t make a scene.

I continued to slide my feet, carefully inching along the upper platform, wondering if the next step would bring disaster. And then a hand reached out of the darkness and grabbed me. An unexpected hand that had anticipated my dilemma and was there waiting for me. Santos (Saint, his real name) knew I couldn’t see and had moved to the edge of the step to help me and to keep me from falling. I could feel his strong grip, and I could sense his warm smile.

And that’s just what Jesus is like—knowing and anticipating those pitfalls ahead of us but also planning to be there to keep us from injuring ourselves. I hadn’t needed Santos at the podium or on the long slide across the floor. But he was there just at the right time, and he kept me from falling.

Father, sometimes I complain about your ways, but I ask that you continue to strengthen my faith and teach me to trust in you—however you choose to do it. You’ve saved me so many times, and you’ve promised to continue. In fact, you said you “[are] able to keep [us] from stumbling and to present [us] before [your] glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 1:24). Your promise is enough. AMEN.


For in him we live, and move, and have our being… Acts 17:28

I’ve just returned from a delightful trip to our nation’s capitol with my daughter-in-law Brooks and grandchildren William and Caroline. We landed and hit the ground running, making the Air and Space Museum our first destination. I marveled at the progress made from the Wright Brothers’ first flying machine to the tiny space capsule housing our brave astronauts and remembered that the first “meal” taken in outer space was the holy Eucharist. And then watching the stars and planets and all the various systems fly at us at breathtaking speeds in the planetarium: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3, 4)
Walking back and forth between museums and our hotel was a visual reminder of our nation’s place in this global society. Restaurants offered dishes from many countries while unfamiliar languages swirled about us. We met people from everywhere, and our drivers all had different homelands. One of our drivers had Jesus stickers all over her dash and told us she was a Christian from Ethiopia. Everyone had a story. “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9)
In the Museum of Natural History, the array of animal life, its variety, size, and color called for appreciation of a Creator not only with great imagination but also a wonderful sense of design, color, and humor. Who else but God would give mama kangaroos pockets for their babies? (That might have been helpful for the mother who forgot her baby in the airport’s waiting room last week.) Or the fish who live in the deep sea and are almost transparent for safety’s sake? Think of giraffes whose long necks allow them to nibble on the tree tops… “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this.” ( Job 12:7-9)
Just at the point of our being totally exhausted, eight-year-old Caroline would run ahead of us with a huge toothy grin and twirl and spin her way down the sidewalk, bringing laughter and smiles. Reminding us of why we were there and the joy of being. “…a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)


The Museum of American History evidenced divine protection against overwhelming odds as this nation was created. Our forefathers battled enemies stronger, better equipped, and better trained. But their reliance was on God. At Valley Forge, Isaac Potts discovered General Washington praying in the woods, entreating God’s mercy when all seemed to be lost: “Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying.” “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Such stories were repeated multiple times: In the War of 1812, the British Navy bombarded Ft. McHenry, and yet only one life was lost after the battle. Throughout our history, people have prayed for this nation. Lincoln issued nine calls for prayer and fasting during his time in office, and on it goes. We know of the Miracle of Dunkirk, and I remember the prayers we all prayed for our boys (and my brother) in Vietnam. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” (Psalms 91:1, 2)
Even the monuments reflect God’s sovereignty. At the top of the Washington Monument are the words, “Laus Deo” (“Praise be to God”). Throughout the Capitol there are references to God and faith, and the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” is engraved on a plaque on the wall. President Lincoln’s second inaugural speech is carved into his Memorial in which Lincoln mentions God fourteen times and quotes the Bible twice. The Jefferson Memorial is filled with Jefferson’s references to God. The Supreme Court has images of Moses with the Ten Commandments while all sessions of the Court open with the “Courts Marshal announcing: God save the United States and this honorable court.” “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” (Psalms 33:12)
Our visit to Mt. Vernon, Washington’s beautiful country estate was initially chaotic as hundreds (if not thousands) of school children descended on the gates about the time we arrived. After the initial onslaught of students, we discovered that farm demonstrations were limited to small groups. (Whenever we felt overwhelmed, God brought quiet and respite.) We learned of our first president’s humility, ingenuity, and remarkable leadership skills. There is debate about his religious inclinations, but his practices certainly demonstrated a man of great integrity and charity. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
At the close of each day, we unanimously agreed that the day had been wonderful. And then we awoke to the news that our flights had been cancelled due to the grounding of certain aircraft. But even then, our God who strengthened our nation’s founders and guided them in creating this unique experiment in democracy, remembered us and made provision. Brooks and the children got a bonus day in D.C., and I returned in time to host a missionary brunch in my home the following morning. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
I love knowing our heavenly Father is with us every single moment for every single occasion, not just the good times. He’s a God for every day.
Thank you, Father, for reminders of you wherever we go.