I know, I know, I missed two days, but I promise to make it up to you. In my last post, I promised to go through my bible and locate all the passages that helped me get through my troubles, the ones that helped me to trust in God and to live one day at a time. There are 32 of them that I have counted.
I wish that I had kept some kind of a record as to a timeline or how I happened on each one, whether it was through my normal reading or whether God directed me to them, but alas I didn’t. So I will just tackle them one at a time and try to explain them as best I can. I will begin with James 4:7.
So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
As a quick sidenote, James is one of the shorter chapters in the Bible, yet percentage wise I have more passages marked in this chapter than any other.
When I first began my journey I was definitely under the influence of Satan. I had been for a long time. While I had gotten better in some respects, I was still under his influence. I was beginning to see that in order to resist Satan I would have to submit myself to God, trust in Him, listen to him, and follow his lead. This wasn’t easy at first, the submitting myself to God part at least. I was able to resist the devil although I always knew (and still do) that he was never very far away. But totally trusting in God was a little tougher. I describe it as climbing up a mountain, and when you reach the top there is too much fog to see what is on the other side. You don’t know what you will be walking into, so you turn around and go back the way you came. After all, you know what is that way.
But why should I trust in the Lord? What proof do I have that He has ever been there for me, that he has ever helped me? After all, my life (until recently) has been a struggle. How can I say that it would have turned out any different if I had trusted in Him? I can’t go back to the past and change things. I suppose I could try to guess but that is just that, a guess. I needed to think back to any time in the past He may have helped me. Was there one?
Come to find out there were many. One is what had caused me to begin this journey in the first place. I had fallen off the back of a truck and was almost hit by a machine known as a scissor-lift. I was working hauling small construction machines with a “Roll-off” tow truck. It was a wet day, and I wasn’t paying attention and took a shortcut. The scissor-lift began to slide backward, knocking me off the bed of the truck, and as I lay there I was watching the machine come to me. I thought “This isn’t going to end well.” Just then the machine turned slightly missing me be a few inches. What caused the machine to turn ever so slightly? There was nothing on the bed, no defect, there was no wind, nothing I could see that would have made it do that. Was it the hand of God? Did I have a guardian angel?
I laughed it off but couldn’t stop thinking about it all day. My thoughts turned to the question of whether there is life after death. Is there a heaven and a hell? Is God real? I realized even though I was a cradle Catholic I had no idea what being Catholic meant, what I was supposed to believe or not believe. When my day was done I realized I better find out and determine what the truth is. That marked the beginning of this wonderful and sometimes confusing journey.
As time went on I began to remember other times when things happened to me, things I couldn’t really explain. I even remembered two specific times I had actually prayed to God and he answered me. The first time was maybe 30 or 35 years ago, the second was 7. Had I realized it the first time, or more correctly, had I not ignored it, my life would have turned out much differently. But …
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. – Jer 29:11
God has a plan for us. We never know what it is, but there is one. And most of all He doesn’t give up on us, even when we give up on Him. We may not know exactly what His plan is, but it we listen to Him, it will be revealed to us in bits and pieces. The first time he sent me a message was when I asked Him to show me a sign, He did, but I didn’t take it seriously. He could have given up on me, but He didn’t, he tried and tried again. Maybe falling off the back of the truck was the last time, I don’t know but at least it worked.
In my next post, I will get into the story of the first time I prayed for help and the sign God gave me. For now, I will go back to the first passage I shared above. This was the first step I needed to take, to give myself to God, put myself in His hands and resist sin and temptation. Once I did, my life slowly began to change.
This is where everyone needs to start, put your trust in God, and He will lead you.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. – Prov 3: 5-8
It isn’t always going to easy, it will take some time and a lot of patience and perseverance, but it will come. Every journey begins with one step.