The first time I remember meeting this lady was at Sand Mountain Bible Camp when I was 7 or 8 maybe? It was my first year as a junior camper and I was a little scared walking into the girl’s dorm. I didn’t actually meet her, I just heard her. Yelling about a camel cricket. Funny, what your mind chooses to remember. She wasn’t my counselor that year, but her sister was. I remember watching her family sing at camp and we bought their cassette tapes. We wore those things out listening to them all the time in our family van. It wasn’t long before she became my boss at SMBC as I worked as a counselor, worker, and babysitter there. There are MANY stories I could tell about my time there, but who would’ve ever thought that she would eventually become one of my greatest friends and prayer partners? I’m glad the Lord knew and He has used her and Bro. Gene many times over to speak to my heart. They are as faithful as they come! I’m thankful that I can pray for her “Across the Miles” but even more thankful that I know she is doing the same for me. One day those miles won’t separate us anymore and we will be praising the Lord together throughout eternity. Thank you, Mrs. Robin, for all the ways you’ve shown me Jesus.
The Lord has really been teaching me over this past year about trusting. Sometimes we see certain people and we just automatically assume that because of what they are doing for the Lord, they must have this “trust thing” down pat. Missionaries are supposed to be these great examples of stepping out by faith, following the Lord to an unknown place, leaving all that is familiar and trusting God to meet every need. And that’s true, to an extent. It does take an extra measure of faith to step out of the familiar, to leave what you’re used to, to move over a thousand miles away from family and friends, and start over in a different culture, a different language, with people who don’t understand you. But PLEASE don’t put us up on a pedestal, because we have the same struggles as anyone else. We might have taken that step of faith in following God where He has called us, but we still have to keep learning to trust Him more and more each day.
My life verses are Ps. 37:4-5, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” For many years, I have purposed to delight myself in the Lord, and I can honestly say that He has given me the desires of my heart. I have committed my way unto Him, and followed where He has led. And I thought I was doing a pretty good job of trusting Him. This year, my husband and I have gone thru one of the hardest trials we have ever faced, but in the midst of it all, the Lord has been working on me, and doing a work IN me, teaching me more about what it means to completely trust Him. I’ve struggled with how to share what He’s been doing in my heart, without revealing things that could hurt or adversely affect the others involved in this trial.
Let me just say, I thought I had it all. Life was a success as far as I was concerned. We have a great marriage, my 4 kids were almost grown and all of them were either serving the Lord with us, or working towards following what the Lord has for them. And in my naivety, I thought the Lord was blessing us because of our faithfulness to Him. We had done our best to follow wherever the Lord had led us, and do everything that He put in our hearts to do, we taught our children to love Him above all, we showed them by example how to serve Him with all their heart. And God was blessing and rewarding us for our obedience. And then that day came. That day when life was going exactly how I thought it should, and then, suddenly, it all fell apart. My world was shattered, and I questioned if everything I had done up to this point had been a waste of time. I mean, my heart was devastated, my confidence was shaken, to the point of questioning the very God Who had been so good and so real to me. And while I knew in my heart that He was still good, the questions of “Why? Why us?” were too real to brush aside. And that’s when I realized just how shallow my “trust” in Him was. I trusted Him as long as the results of my obedience were what I thought they should be. But when I could no longer understand why things were turning out the way they were, I began to doubt His very goodness. When I admitted that, the Lord began to work in my heart. And even though the situation hasn’t changed, my perspective has. I still don’t have this “trust thing” down like I should. I still struggle, some days more than others, but the Lord is helping me, and I’d like to share some of what He’s given me for encouragement.
Psalms 69:1-3. The psalmist starts out this chapter by saying, “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.” This is not a cry for salvation from sin, but of salvation from the circumstances that have come into his life. David has reached a place where he doesn’t think he can stand, he feels overwhelmed by the floods that are pouring in on him. “I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.” He doesn’t see a way out of this, and so he is doing the only thing he knows to do, and that is cry out to the Lord, the God of Heaven, Who has been so faithful to help him in times past.
I’ve been there this year. I’ve felt the flood of disappointment, fear of the future, the pain that comes with the loss of a relationship you treasured, the hurt of being misunderstood and/or thought of as a fool by those who don’t understand the reasoning behind the stand you have taken, I’ve been thru all of that. And there were times when I felt like the water was going to overflow me, overwhelm me, drown me. And just like David, I knew where to turn and Who to cry out to. The only One Who could change the situation, heal the wounds, and restore the relationships. And I expected Him to do just that. But you know what?
It hasn’t happened. Not yet. And I feel like the psalmist does in vs. 3. Where he says, “I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.” I’ve been there, I’m still there. I’ve cried and prayed, fasted and prayed, claimed God’s promises and prayed some more, and still, it doesn’t seem like anything is happening. In fact, it seems as if the waters have risen even higher, and I feel trapped, I don’t know what else to say, how to cry any more to Him. I’m just stuck, waiting on Him to do something.
And that seems to be exactly where He wants me right now. Let me tell you how He’s teaching me…I am a visual learner. I love when God shows me something real, and lets me see what He wants to teach me thru it. We all know Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” We know the creation story, how God spoke and there was light, how He made day and night (forgive me, this is where I’m teaching SS right now, so it’s foremost in my thoughts), how He created the skies and the seas, the birds, fish, animals and finally, man. I got hung up on the seas, the water, and how He created them. Do you realize that the whole earth was covered in water when God created it? That He separated the waters below (on the earth) from the waters above (in the clouds) and then He caused the waters that were still on the earth, to “be gathered together unto one place,” and the rest of the earth became dry land. Mountains, valleys, plains, deserts. Bear with me, this is going somewhere.
In my reading, I came across these verses in Ps. 104:6-9 “Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled: at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.”
Proverbs 8:29 says, “When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth.”
We live in a very remote area of Honduras. As in, no fast food, no shopping malls, it requires 2 plane rides and a 1-hour boat trip to reach our village. So anytime we want to go out on a “date” here, one of our few options is to take a 4-wheeler ride on the beach. It’s about a 5 min. ride to get there, and we can ride about 30-40 min, before we run out of drivable shoreline and have to turn around. One day a couple of months ago, when I was really struggling, my hubby and I took one of our 4-wheeler rides. Usually on our “dates”, we will ride for a while and then stop and talk for a while. This particular day, I remember we did very little talking. We just rode. And we stopped and just sat there, watching the waves come crashing into the shore.
As I sat there, I was wondering if the pain, the grief, the heartache of this trial was ever going to end. And I remember sitting, thinking, “Lord, this is going to get the best of me. I just can’t help it. I can’t keep going. It’s too much, the waves are crashing in on me, just like they are on this beach. I feel like the tide is rising, and it’s going to drown me.”
And the Lord reminded me of the verses above. He reminded me that He was the Almighty, Omnipotent God, the One Who created the seas, but more than that, He placed a decree, a boundary, that the water could only go so far up on the shore. If you live near the ocean or the sea, or even go there on vacation, you know that the tide comes in twice every day, and it goes out twice every day. Why? Because God ordained it to do that. He gathered the waters together into the place He wanted them, and He set a limit as to where they could go. He was reminding me that He was in control, not just of the waves and the water of the sea, but of the problems in my life.
And of course, my mind immediately went to the storms that surge off the coast of Honduras where we are, the people here call them “Nortes” or Northerners. We get several tropical storms each year, and if the cycle of storms can be predicted, we’re about due for a major hurricane sometime soon. Not a pleasant thought to anticipate. Of course, I questioned God, “So what about when the tropical storm hits, and the wind drives the waves further up over the banks and into the community? What about the Tidal waves and Tsunamis that flood the coast, are those not overflowing their bounds?”
You know, I am usually very careful with how I question the Lord, but this day, I was just hurting, and yes, even doubting that He was doing what He had promised. I was probably even a little bit angry with Him, because I felt that the circumstances that He had allowed to happen in my life, had gone beyond the limit of what I should have to deal with. I felt like we had done what He wanted, and yet the problem remained, despite my prayers, despite everything. But when I got home, I began to look up those verses and try to read them again, and that’s when I came across Jeremiah 5:22. It was a needed reminder, and a gentle rebuke from my Father. “Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?”
He was reminding me that even in the midst of the biggest storms, the waves CANNOT pass beyond what He has appointed. Even in MY biggest storm, the waves can’t prevail against me, they can’t go beyond what He has allowed.
Isaiah 43:2 says, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee: and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
What a promise! What a comfort! To know that no matter how high the waters may rise, they will not overflow my soul. That He is with me through all of the storm and waves, He will never leave me or forsake me. And in His reminding me of this, He is asking me to trust Him fully, completely, more than I ever have before.
Just what does it mean to trust? The full definition of “trust” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is, “Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”
I don’t know that I could have said that better if I tried.
If I am truly going to trust in the Lord, that means I have an assured reliance on His character, His ability, His strength, and His truth.
Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the LORD, I change not…” His character is unquestionable. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I can trust Him because He will never change.
Daniel 3:17 “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us…” His ability is unlimited. Nothing is beyond His power to do. I can trust Him because He is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” Eph. 3:20
Ps. 65:5-7 “By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power: Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.” His strength is unequaled. It’s His strength that set the mountains in their place, and it’s His strength that can calm the wildest sea and quiet the clamor of the waves. Ps. 37:39 says, “But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in time of trouble.” I can trust Him because His strength never fails, and when I need Him most, He will be my strength.
Ps. 100:5 “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
Ps. 91:4 “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” His truth is unending. It’s constant. His Word and His truth will stand forever. I can trust Him because what He has promised in His Word today, will still be true tomorrow.
I’m learning that He doesn’t want me out of the storm just yet, He wants me to learn to trust Him while I’m in the storm. To trust that He knows best, that He sets the bounds of the waters, and the waves won’t go any higher than HE can handle. I can trust Him – His character, His ability, His strength, and His truth! I want to close by leaving you with this old hymn, the words have become very precious to me in these days, especially the third verse.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you, who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
“Fear not, I am with thee – O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, I will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my gracious, omnipotent hand.”
“When thru the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
“When thru fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee – I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.”
“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, tho all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never – no, never – no, never forsake!”
Robin grew up in a preacher’s home, and was a lost pastor’s kid till she was 12, when the Lord showed her she needed to be saved, no matter what others thought. At the age of 14, she became an MK (missionary kid) and traveled all over the U.S. while her dad taught in the prisons. She met her husband at a summer Bible Camp when she was 15, and 3 years later, they were married. They have been in full time ministry since they got married, the last 8 years of which, they have spent in the remote region of La Moskitia, Honduras. They have 4 children, 3 of whom are grown and living in the U.S. now. Robin loves to cook, loves music, and loves to serve the Lord alongside her husband of almost 24 years.
Find her blog here: http://taste-n-see-honduras.blogspot.com/