Tasting God's Promises

This journey of following that we have been on, this journey that has intensified over the course of the last 6 months as we have been thrust into the next chapter of our lives has been so rich and full of goodness. It’s not been without its concerns or stresses. At the top of the list of concerns that we’ve had surrounds how Sophi and Raena would adjust to living in the Dominican, their education, their health, their tech support without specialists easily on hand, etc…

Concern is good. Concern is an expression of love. Anxiety… anxiety is different. It is the opposite of peace and inserts itself the moment trust in God gives way.  Anxiety is the perversion of concern and is symptomatic of wanting to control all outcomes on our own terms. Anxiety indulges “What ifs,” and makes obstacles of countless hypothetical scenarios kindling embers of doubt into a raging inferno of fear induced paralysis. That’s where it goes. Anxiety distracts us, leading us to ignore everything else around us because we are so consumed by things that have not happened but might. It’s an effective tool of the enemy to draw us off course and render us utterly ineffective.

Peter walked on water. He was bold enough to get out of a boat in an effort to meet Jesus who was walking on the water towards him. He did it! He was walking on water. He journeyed into the madness of trusting that if Jesus willed it the water would hold him and against all common sense and practical knowledge he was doing it. But he got distracted. He took his eyes off of Jesus and started to look at the waves all around him. He began giving the very real possibilities around him more authority over his situation than Jesus and he began to sink… But he didn’t drown. Jesus reached down, pulled him up and asked, “Why did you doubt?”

Our journey is a different kind of dramatic than that. There have been times when we’ve been tempted to be stifled and hindered by “what ifs.” But God in his grace meets us in our fear and nudges us, rescues us from our tendency to sink and reminds us that the point is to follow Him, not to stop and obsess over the rocks we could possibly trip over along the way. We’re grateful for a God that nudges. We’ve needed nudging along the way. We’re also grateful for a God that adds to our courage as we journey forward with little signs of encouragement to keep going.

Our concerns surrounding the twin’s education given their hearing loss and needed supports to succeed have been significant. If anxiety were to creep in, this is one of the tenderest areas of vulnerability for us. So the girls’ success at school has been one of the potential stones in our path to obsess over (i.e. What are we thinking moving to a place with no support, no specialized professionals, no this, no that, why the heck would we dare get out of this perfectly good boat… you get the picture). And as we dropped them off today at their first day of Third Grade in the Dominican Republic we passed through the doorway into their classroom. The door was decorated with a rainbow. There was another on the bulletin board behind the teacher’s desk. Rainbows are cool; they’re great for kids, colorful, etc. I’d seen it the week before when I was putting tennis balls on the chairs and desks to cut down on class room noise. But I hadn’t really paid attention to the detail of the door or bulletin board until this morning as the girls sat at their desks for the first time. Both the board and the door read, “Tasting God’s Promises.”

And this is when I heard Him say in my heart this morning, “the rainbows are for you, they’re for the students but they are also for you. I’ve promised you concerning these daughters of yours. I’m reminding you that they are daughters of mine and that in as much as you are their father I am more their Father and I’m yours too. I’m no stranger to your concerns on their behalf. I will care for our daughters. And to remind you of this I’ve marked the proverbial stone in your path (Sophi & Raena’s education) both within and without with a rainbow, the first marker of my promises.” And so I walked away from a Third Grade classroom this morning completely and unexpectedly floored by our Father’s love and encouragement and any temptation towards anxiety just melted away.

I love that the teacher chose “tasting God’s Promises” rather than “taste” because it conveys on-going experience in motion; it has not been completed and we are also not waiting on it. It’s happening now and it’s an on-going discovery. So “Tasting God’s Promises,” the teacher later explained is actually their class’s theme for the year. Turns out, I think it’s mine too.