God is Our Driver … Rest, Relax, and Ride Along!

by Angela Royse Pelleman
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV). Sometimes it seems that nothing in our lives makes sense, and we often struggle with the question, “Why?”  When we are struggling, the negative lies begin to circulate in our heads, as the devil tries to smother us with fear, anxiety, guilt, self-condemnation, and more.  These spirits begin to suffocate us, making us feel hopeless.  Believing the lie, that things are out of control, we desperately jump into the driver’s seat, grabbing at the wheel.  This would surely cause an accident, if it occurred on the road, and most people wouldn’t even consider it.  Yet, we do it all the time to God.  We end up driving ourselves crazy!
It’s true that younger drivers may have a permit, but the law says they may only drive with a licensed adult who knows how to diligently watch the road ahead.  The adult coaches the young driver to slow down and not follow the other cars too closely.  An experienced licensed driver understands how easy it is to go over the speed limit, is aware of the need to avoid potholes, and knows when to apply the brakes.  Mature drivers keep young passengers safe.  The youngest passengers will need to be driven around for quite a while, as they graduate from infant carriers to car seats, and then out of them. Not only are they unable to drive; they don’t even know where they are going.  They are along for the ride, and it’s our job to take care of them.  God’s job is to take care of us; we just need to let Him.  There will still be some carsickness along the way, inclement weather causing bumps in the road, and even some bad accidents.  However, in the end, what passengers really want, is a trusted driver who will get them safely to their final destination.  Our lives are a long rough road with many twists and turns.  For Christians, all of the roads lead to the same destination…salvation through Jesus Christ, and the gift of eternal life in Heaven with our glorious God. 
How do we stay out of the driver’s seat? We can pray against those negative lies, renouncing them in the name of Jesus.  As we do so, the lies begin to lose their power. You may feel like you are praying against these lies all day long, but that’s the idea.  Being in communication with God all day long, is to become an active part of his perfect plan for you.  We can pick up our map, and ask God if we are going in the right direction.  We can stop at a rest stop, and refresh ourselves with His word, when we are weary from the journey.  We can take a U-turn, when we’ve gone in the wrong direction, and we can ask God and others to forgive us.  We can also forgive others when they have added to our exhaustion, by leading us down the wrong road, making the journey even longer, and more painful.  When we begin to take an active role in God’s perfect plan for us, we will begin to see how He is at work, even amidst our suffering.  He won’t let us go.  He will let us know that He is on our side, guiding us to become better Christians, so that He can begin to heal us, from the inside out.  This is for our benefit, and enables God to use us in order to help advance His kingdom, so that no one gets left behind. 
It really is comforting to know that we are God’s children, and that He is on our side, so we truly have nothing to fear. Nothing can stop God, as your driver, from getting you to your final destination.  As Paul says in the bible, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 38-39 NIV).  Nothing can take away God’s love and protection for us.  It is only fear that lies to us, and makes us think this way.  God is at work on a much bigger plan than we could ever fathom. We can actually sit back, rest, and relax knowing that we aren’t always going to understand God.  In fact, most of the time we won’t.  But…God knows what He is doing, and He really does have our best interests at heart, even when we don’t understand Him, and even when our hearts are filled with pain.  “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’” declares the Lord.  “’As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55: 8-9 NIV).

© 2014 Angela Royse Pelleman – The Silver Lining

© 2014 Photography – Angela Royse Pelleman – The Silver Lining

The Love of Jesus is Sweeter than Chocolate

Jesus says, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him”  (Luke 11:11-13 NIV)!  God WANTS good things for us.  He wants to bless us abundantly.  He wants us to have good things to eat and drink, but more importantly, He wants us to feed on his word and be nourished by it.

Today I had a day where good things happened.  Not every day goes like this, but when good things happen, I know that they are gifts from God.  I thank him for the gifts.  These little things that happen during our better days, are just a tiny taste of how God wants to bless us.  He also wants to bless us through our trials, and He does.  One day there will be no more pain, and no more tears.  But for now, God wants to speak to us and be close to us through our sweet times and our sour times.

God speaks to us through people, signs, and dreams.  He also speaks to us through His wonderful book, the Holy Bible, which fills us up with good words.  In Proverbs, King Solomon wrote: “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24 NIV). Chocolate is yummy to eat, but the bible says pleasant words are sweet, and that they have the ability to heal!  What if you love chocolate, or another favorite treat, but you can’t have sugar?  If that sweet hurts your body, it’s no longer a good gift for you.  But God’s gifts are always good.  If every time you wish for chocolate, and instead go and read your bible, you will be fulfilled by something sweeter; the words of God.  Then you can share those delicious words with friends.

Recently while thinking of my pastor, who survived a stroke, and was diagnosed with diabetes, I thought about the difficulty of new diets that come with a life change.  We’ve experienced it in my own family, as we’ve developed new allergens to foods previously enjoyed.  My son lives each day with an esophageal disease, which prevents him from eating many foods, and requires careful monitoring of food ingredients for safety. Many people cannot have sugar, or must be extremely careful of their intake.  But the good news is, that with God’s word, we don’t have to worry about overdoing it.  In fact, we can partake of it as much as we desire, and there are no calories!

It’s a joy to eat a meal and have dessert with our fellow Christian brothers and sisters.  It’s a delightful blessing.  But if we really want to be blessed, we can sweeten our taste buds with God’s word.  In the book of Luke, Jesus tells us this himself; “While Jesus was still talking, a woman in the crowd spoke up, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”  He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it’” (Luke 11:27-28 NIV).

Obeying God’s message, means taking it to heart, and living it out. If God’s words are sweet to us, they will be sweet to others.  We should live as Jesus does, and share sweet words of encouragement with our family and friends.  Sometimes sweets go bad.  A cake left out too long can get moldy or dry, and it is no longer good to eat.  Our words can leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth.  They can sting like vinegar or become stale to other people’s ears.  As Proverbs states:  “A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day” (Proverbs 27:15 NIV); and who wants to eat soggy rhubarb pie?

Instead we can follow the advice given in Colossians:  “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6). Salt brings out the flavor of foods, including desserts.  Salty caramel mocha is now one of my favorites, whether it’s flavored coffee or ice cream!

Let’s remember that Jesus’ love is sweeter than chocolate, so it’s a wonderful treat to walk with him daily. Take him with you wherever you go.  Cry out to him when you’re hurting.  Reach out to him during your trials.  Thank him when you’re grateful, and thank him during the difficult times too.  Praise God when He gives you a good gift. Use your senses He has given you.  Listen when He calls your name. Touch others by letting them know how God’s son, Jesus, has touched you.  Stop and smell the roses.  Rest in the little gifts God is giving you throughout the day.  And finally:  Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8… NIV)!

© 2014 Angela Royse Pelleman – The Silver Lining

© 2014 Photography – Angela Royse Pelleman – The Silver Lining