Noticing God’s Hand
When we were little, we might have learned to trust our mom or dad, our teachers, perhaps a coach, or maybe a really good friend. We trusted those people because we could tell they cared about us. It could be that you didn’t have this experience. Trust may have been broken by abuse, a broken confidence, lack of attention, or any number of failings of other people.
So how in the world do we learn to trust God? After all, we can’t really see him, whereas we can readily see all of the people whom we learn to trust or doubt.
I remember learning that God is love, God is faithful, God forgives, and He answers prayer. But, in reality, those concepts lived solely in my head. I didn’t always see those characteristics played out in the people around me. I don’t know that they were etched on my heart—until I started to notice.
For a number of years, my job really challenged my intellect. Probably several hundred times, I have asked God to help me figure something out, and, lo and behold, I’ve figured it out. By maybe the twentieth time, I started to take notice! When I went to God, even with sort of a sigh of a request for help, He answered!
One life event in particular drove home that God’s love and faithfulness were real, and real for me.
I had been promoted to a position I wasn’t really adept at. I decided to resign, essentially to save my skin. I didn’t have a backup plan for income, and I couldn’t go without income. So I decided I was going to provide day care in my home. To provide day care, you need to be licensed, and this involves jumping through a lot of hoops.
In early April, I met with my caseworker, who would walk me through the licensing process. I told her I needed my license by May 30. She paused long, looked me in the eye, and told me that would not be possible. This was usually a 4-month process, and I was asking for it to get accomplished in 8 weeks. In addition, she was going to be out of the office for 2 weeks for back surgery. We were down to 6 weeks. I simply would not be able to get my license by May 30.
I started praying about this, pleading with God for my license by May 30, and I jumped through hoops: I childproofed the house, installed a fire extinguisher, took a CPR class, and filled out paperwork. I invited the caseworker to inspect my home, and it passed. She went in for surgery. I continued hoop jumping.
Emotionally, I was barely holding on. While I moved forward with these plans for a day care, I had to go to the office every day to a job that I was failing at and resigning from. Nothing about that was enjoyable. I really needed that day care license.
My last day of work came. I left the building, got in a car, and ever-so-responsibly (cough, cough) drove to Florida for a short vacation.
A week later, I arrived back home, wondering what in the world I was going to do for income. It was the first week in June. I opened the mailbox and found an envelope from the Department of Children and Family Services. Inside was my day care license!
And then I noticed it—the postmark on the envelope.
I can’t remember if I cried or laughed or jumped up and down. I remember shaking. What I know is that with that mark, God proved his faithfulness to me. To me. One tiny person out of the many millions on this big, crazy planet. I don’t get how he does that. I really don’t. But I know he did it.
The universe, karma, or positive thinking really do not have that kind of power and ability to accomplish such intricate plans. Only God does.
God knew I didn’t really need a day care license or need it by May 30. But He knew that I needed to know that he was walking with me during this very hard time in my life. And he literally mailed me a tangible reminder.
So now I notice. I notice small things and big things. I notice when God solves a problem for me at work, and I notice how he works bigger things out in ways I would never have expected long after I have given up.
One of my favorite quotes was written by George Whitefield, an English Anglican preacher. He lived in the 1700s, so the language is archaic. It’s worth twirling around in your head:
“That which has the greatest tendency to excite fallen men to praise and thanksgiving is a sense of God’s private mercies, and the particular benefits bestowed upon ourselves. These come nearer our own hearts, and are peculiar proofs whereby we may know that God does in a special manner favor us. If our hearts are not quite frozen, they must melt us down into thankfulness and love.” (George Whitefield)
What benefit has God given you, only you? How does that help prove God to you in your life? What do you want to ask him for right now?
By Christine Drews. Chris loves spending time in God’s Word and noticing God’s hand at work. She telecommutes as a senior developmental editor for a small publishing house. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, bicycling, sports spectating, and influencing the children in her life. This is the second post in a series about Growing in Trusting God. The first post is here.
Hi Christine, I don’t know if you are still reading comments from this post of your’s on Sara’s blog but I just found it in Sara’s pins. I used to have this with my father God daily & naturally but then went through a long, drawn out painful Job experience and forgot this part of me and my Heavenly father—-I still lived it but living in pain and desperation I ‘forgot’ it and it was almost robotic! As the ‘Job’ is winding down and I am now enjoying the benefit side of Job and getting out of it LOL I have started ‘remembering’ this part of my walk with Him and I so needed to read this today (I don’t regret my Job because God does make beauty from ashes and now with His comfort He gave me in my Job I can now comfort lost ones going through the same thing as I plant seeds to lead them to Jesus)!!! Posted a year ago but perfect timing for me today : ) If you read my comment & don’t mind sharing, can you tell me what you meant by God knowing you didn’t need the daycare license and not by the 30th? Did you stay in your job and God moved through it for you in your new position or did He give You a new one etc? I found this part also exciting. Loved this read SO much! Thank you God, Sara and you Christine for this blessed message…….
Christine Drews says
Dear Diana, Sorry it took me a couple of days to respond! I am also sorry to hear you went through a Job season. It sounds like it was deep and dark and lasted a long time. Thank God for His faithfulness through it all. I am glad to hear you are seeing glimpses of blue skies these days. Your question is great: I actually did use the daycare license and provided before and after school care for a year before getting back into my previous career. What I meant was that I didn’t really need the license by May 30. I mean, I thought I did, and as a matter of practicality in terms of putting food on the table, I did. But it could have come by June 6, and I would have been just fine. After that, I probably would have been placing embarrassing calls to family for financial help! I just thought it was so incredible that God stamped the exact date I had prayed for on the envelope. I was so miserable and lost during that time, and it was so affirming to have Him speak to me in that way. It is interesting to me that you wrote today (or yesterday, I guess). I was just thinking about this post this morning! God’s timing, once again. God’s grace and comfort to you as you continue to heal from your Job time. -Christine
Hi Christine, Thanks for responding! It was a blessing to receive your encouragement. You are correct I am getting glimpses of God’s beautiful blue sky and starting the healing journey of my Job experience & it does amaze me how faithful God is now and to have seen how God met me in the Job experience; I never lost that closeness with Him no matter how much pain & loss I experienced—-even on days I felt hurt or mad at Him He met where I was each time & ministered to me & just kept bringing me closer to Him. I am excited to use my training to help hurting others!! I love LOVE how God sent you the response back on THE exact date you prayed for and it is even more special in that she was advising you NO WAY could it happen by May 30th!! I love to stand back and watch God work as much with the smaller needs as with our “Red Sea needs”. I always tell Him, “No one can do it like You, God!” Go God!!! Thanks for sharing too that you were just thinking about this post around this time as I needed that God-hug. So blessed to have fellow Christians like you and Sara sharing your lives and walk with God and I hope you and your loved ones have a very special Christmas!!
Christine Drews says
Thank you, and blessings to you this Christmas season, too.
It seems that I’m always late to these conversations 🙁 After posting my comment below and reading the others, I see that they were all posted more than a year ago 🙂
I have also had many experiences with God making connections in my life that benefit me. I have also heard His very loud, male voice warning me every night while I slept for a full week until I heeded His warning.
There have been divine alignments between a woman that I grew up with. We have been friends since we were about three years old. Now, many years later, I consider her my oldest and dearest friend. We often had the ability to start talking at the same time and saying the very same thing, getting up from a sitting position and doing the very same thing (almost like mirror images of each other).
As we both moved on in life, got married, had children, etc. we stayed in touch. We grew up in California, and at one point she and her small family moved to Washington state. For the first time in years, we fell out of touch with each other for a period of four or five months. Over a period of a week or two I had been thinking heavily about her while at work and at home. As I was sitting at work one day, I decided that when I got home that evening, I was going to give her a call.
Before heading upstairs to my apartment, I stopped at the mailbox. When I opened my box, I saw that there was a greeting card inside. When I pulled it out, I found that it was from my friend. I couldn’t wait to go upstairs to open it, so I stood there at the mailboxes and did so. It was a beautiful card on the outside about friendship. When I opened it up, she had written,” I’ve been thinking about you, have you been thinking about me?” Tears came to my eyes and my heart skipped a couple of beats I’m sure. Although it touched me, I was not really surprised due to all of our past experiences of mirroring each other’s thoughts and actions.
God always aligns things for us. He brings people into our lives for a reason, and I’m so glad that He made it possible for she and I to grow up together down the street from each other, and to have such a long and true friendship.
Christine Drews says
zvkk2p: What a phenomenal story of God keeping you in touch with a friend who is also in tune with God. It’s terrific to notice these things, isn’t it? Don’t worry about being late to the conversation! When you’ve experienced God’s hand working in your life like this, you can’t help but be excited about it each time you remember it. Thank you for reading and for posting!
Survey of Christianity says
Chris (& Sarah) – You have no idea how much I needed this post, today. I have been trudging through one of the most devastating experiences of my life and it just keeps going on, and on, and on …
Thanks for the reminder that God does care about each and every one of us, individually; whether it’s big or small.
Peace, Blessings, and Joy!
Christine Drews says
Dear Survey, I am sorry to hear you are going through such a hard time. I don’t know your situation, but you can be sure God does and that he has things working out in ways we could never imagine. I have been resting in 2 Kings 6 lately. You might find comfort and strength from the account in verses 8 to 17. God is always at work in ways we cannot see. God’s strong peace to you.
Christine Drews says
Tee-hee-hee. I updated my photo so that it doesn’t use yours. 🙂
Christine Drews says
Sara, it’s so fun to notice it! A while ago, I hadn’t laughed in such a long time that I actually asked God to give me laughter. A couple of days later, a colleague at work told a joke that had something to do with Betty White in an e-mail. It wasn’t inappropriate, and it was so funny. I belly-laughed for about 5 minutes, and I’d remember it later in the day and laugh again. And then I noticed! God had answered my prayer, via a Betty White joke! That still makes me smile. God is so gracious.
Sara Borgstede says
You are great, Chris! I never would have thought to pray for laughter. I love that. I like seeing your photo. 🙂
Sara Borgstede says
Chris, Thank you so much for this post! I absolutely love this story of how God specifically showed you his love and provision for you. Awesome. I want to be more aware of this in my own life. I think He shows me but often I miss it. I ask for His help and then get busy and forget to notice it. This message is going to help make me more aware — thank you!
I’ve always heard that we should ask God to take our worries and fears upon His shoulders and then get out of the way (forget about it). He does the work that we ask Him to, and doesn’t want us to give it another moments thought.
Recently I forgave someone through God and asked Him to take my anxieties about a situation onto His shoulders. Once I did that, I was able to just move on, and not think of it. Since I was able to do that so easily, I was assured that He had it under control.
Christine Drews says
I scrolled up and saw this post, after reading your other one. You are such a great example of listening to God, following his nudges (or his commands!), and then enjoying the peace and joy that follows. God is surely at work in your life..