WARNING! THIS IS LONG….
I have been studying the Old Testament lately and although most of the time we like to act all spiritual and have everything figured out, God began to show me that really I don’t know much of anything and this was especially true concerning the Old Testament. Along with this…while most of the time we study the word diligently for hours on end dissecting the scripture and re-translating it back into the original languages; I realized that I really needed help understanding the Old Testament. Excuse me if I generalized…maybe this just explains my issues of devotion. Maybe it’s just me.
So my dear seminary friend Allen Duty recommended several books to me that he previously studied for class. Both of these books are written by Mark Dever. The first is The Meaning of the Old Testament: Promises Made and the second is The Meaning of the New Testament: Promises Kept. Although the scriptures are enough, I believe that sometimes we need a little help in order to get perspective especially when it comes to the Old Testament. Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus have been amazing and have come alive with the help of this book. I would highly recommend both of these to you.
My purpose for telling you all this is the promises God makes he keeps. Promises kept. God is who He said He was both yesterday and today. Let these verses stay in the back of you mind as I continue.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” -2 Peter 1:3, 4.
Let me give you an example.
August ’04 Chelsea and I had been together for about three years and knew that we would get married some day. But this semester (because when you are a student you talk in semesters) we seriously considered getting married for the first time. We spent most of this semester seeking Godly wisdom, praying, and trying to think through details like where to live and work. Is it even possible now? In college? One thing that was promising was that in Chelsea’s final semester there was an internship available. This meant that instead of student teaching for nothing she would actually get paid. However, there were limited spots and I knew that we could not rely on this. What if she did not get it? Unknowns.
December ’04 Despite many of the romantic stories of love at first sight and you had me at hello, as we prayed over these many months we never got an official YES from God. I know your thinking, “What were ya’ll thinking?” Well God had given us enough reasons to get married and less reasons not to get married. I still remember how God used Chels to affirm me, “Sometimes I just think God wants us to trust Him and take a step of faith.” Simple yet profound. Although this was not a YES as we often wait for this was “Cody, trust me, I love you and I will figure out the details.” WOW, He is good. So we both agreed to talk to our parents separately and they couldn’t have been more re-affirming. I can’t imagine feeling comfortable and confident with a 21 year old boy asking for your daughter’s hand. Well whether they were really that confident our not…. thank you for your support and faith in me, in us.
February ’05 By this time I had already bought a ring which was unexpected and I had spent a few long nights awake planning the perfect engagement…..well I thought it was anyways.
August – December ’05 It is am amazing experience to watch the motivation of an engaged woman. There is no task unattainable no feat unfeasible. These few months were the most intense for wedding planning. Of course Chels spent most of the time between the engagement and the wedding preparing……..and…..well….I helped out when I could. Also during this time I began looking for jobs. This was tough because I had not worked during college yet and through high school I had my own business so I set my own hours. I found a job at an apartment complex in Bryan doing maintenance.
December 17th ’05 We were married and when we returned I found out that I was let go from the maintenance job because they hired a management company to take over.
January ’06 After looking for a job for around a month I was hired at the Courtyard Marriot (It is only a matter of time before Living Hope owns this place!) doing maintenance and shuttle service. I really enjoyed work there. I tend to be the fix it yourself type so this was perfect. I also got to meet many new people.
May ’06 I left the Marriott and took a job at UPS. The main reason that we decided to move to UPS is because they offer part-time benefits at no cost. Benefits are expensive for most when a company provides them, but purchasing them separately is even more expensive which we did for about 6 months. This insurance ran out at about the same time that UPS insurance started….within less than a month. CRAZY! Tell me that is coincidence.
August ’06 By this time we knew that Chels did not get the paid internship that I mentioned before. This meant that we would have to go at least an entire semester from August to December with only my income. As it worked out our expenses were at least $200 more than our income….and that is with bare necessities. From a worldly point of view this is setting yourself up for failure. But to this wordly point of view I say, “EXPLAIN”. No bill unpaid, neither mouth unfed, never without.
November ’06 As my parents and I talked about going to college in 2003 they agreed to help me financially as much as they could until I got my degree……and they continued to after we got married. In my prayer time God had been speaking to me about telling my parents that the money they contribute we should not take anymore. This was a considerable amount at times. The money was money that my dad made running the lawn business that we started in high school after I left for college. What a selfless man. I had talked several times with Chels about it and she seemed uneasy until about the third time and she realized that if this was what God wanted then the sacrifice was worth it. No more than a week later I was offered a position at Living Hope. I had discussed working with Allen more closely with the students for experience and they chose to bless us with a monthly check that would amount to more than the money my parents were contributing. God provided. He kept His promise. And again He affirmed the call of ministry in my life.
December ’06 Happy Anniversary!
January ’07 It has been close to 13 months now with only one paycheck that doesn’t cover our expenses. Just as we began to get nervous this month God provided not only the Living Hope job for me but a job for Chelsea!
We have learned that God keeps his promises. If we walk and live by faith that God finds pleasing then He will provide us everything we need for a Godly life. Yes there will be sacrifice. Yes there will be unknowns. But Yes He will figure out the details. He will. He promised. You can’t explain it. You cannot predict it. That is why He gets the Glory because only He could do all of this for us. Not because we deserve it, heaven knows we deserve hell for our wicked ways, but because perfection shed His blood for us…we have been redeemed. We get a second chance! Our God is good. He uses all things for good even when we don’t see the good. He provides at the precise moment that we need Him the most. What a perfect plan.
Then again maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am the only one who doubts God sometimes.
Maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t have all of life figured out.
But maybe….just maybe….you are being called to take a step in faith toward the Father.
He will help.