I used to take many things for granted.
Hot water. Electricity. Love from my family. Plans for my life to follow “my plan”.
Even though I haven’t really had that many experiences, I have learned not to take anything for granted.
Here are a few examples:
I spent a few weeks in the bush of Papua New Guinea several years ago, and I learned a lot about how you can make things work, even without conventional hot water heaters or electricity. Travel and regular timetables/schedules don’t go as planned. Especially Air Nuigini.
Recently we’ve had some power/electrical breaker switch adventures in our apartment. It helps to remember that it is not always dependable. We have a great electrician who has come out at random times for help with the issues.
With the house building project for my husband’s parents, we’ve spent many week-ends “camping” at the house site making do with washing dishes by heating water in a kettle and then tipping the water out on a bush because the plumbing wasn’t connected yet. We’d wash with a bucket and wash cloth since none of the bathrooms were put together yet. That will soon change. We have gone to friends’ homes on those week-ends in order to feel clean from the dust and sweat of working. (Installing sheetrock/drywall and such is very messy work.)
In the several months of building and framing, the electricity wasn’t completely hooked up yet, so a lot of the work was run off of temporary hook-ups and we had to be careful not to run a heater at the same time as cook on the hot plate (in winter) or a fan in summer or else we’d flip the breaker. After a long time of making do, my husband finished getting the switches and power-point/outlets installed in the basement part of the house and his uncle did the switchboard wiring and got everything connected properly. At least for the parts of the house that have sheetrock/drywall and are getting fitted out, we have power. It is such a wonderful feeling. Staying at the house site is feeling less and less like camping and more and more like a home.
Recently South Australia has had several blackouts across the state. It caused a lot of distress and concern for many in the state. We expect power to be constant, but even in our “modern age” problems arise and we can’t take electricity for granted.
There are other things in life that we tend to take for granted. Affection from friends and family. Understanding. We assume relationships are going fine. Sometimes they are. But not always. We sometimes have expectations for life goals or dreams, assuming that they will come as expected/wanted and that everything will go smoothly.
I’m also learning to try to be more understanding, or at least not assume I understand the other person’s perspective in situations.
Things don’t always go as planned. I know that I’ve been sharing cryptic struggles and in a sense written many vague thoughts in the last few months. I guess I’m going to keep writing in riddles for a while, but someday I hope to be able to explain some of what has been going on.
Let me just say the Lord has been teaching me a lot waiting and being patient. I’m leaning on Him rather than let my expectations dictate my actions. I’m learning to see that sometimes God doesn’t have us follow the norm or what we expect.
Is it discouraging? Yes. I’m not a very good learner, but I’m so thankful for my patient and gracious Lord who is gentle in His teaching. And lest you think we aren’t getting our dreams, we are. Some are coming more slowly than others. Some we may never see. But God is still good. Sometimes the things we’ve taken for granted do happen or come about. Just know that most of the time it is not in the way we expected or wanted.
A new friend shared a verse with me recently in regards to worry and fretting. It is a comfort to her when she’s struggling with uncertainty.
After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
We have God as our protector and He is all we need. He is our reward. I love that picture. No need to take anything else for granted, we have the promises of our Lord.
Please know I’m not endorsing repenting from sins, then going out at saying, “it’s covered” and doing all manner of sin and evil, claiming to be saved and fine. No, I believe that once we’re saved our lives will be showing a changed heart and a desire to serve and live for God’s will. We aren’t to be taking our need to be growing in the Lord for granted. But we can claim His promises as a great reward.
Please be encouraged if you are going through a rough patch, He is near. He is listening. He cares. Please don’t turn from the Lord in the hard times. That’s when He wants to grow you and help you most.
What have you been learning from the Lord?