Today’s blogger is Anna VanEaton. God has given Anna a mission field to being a
counselor in an outpatient clinic. She has been counseling/mentoring for over
18 years. She has the delight of working with a MD that is a Jesus lover, and
their care for people has Jesus at the center.
Today Anna continues her thoughts from her previous blog. You can read Part One here.
We may never fully know all of the reasons why God moved us to Haverhill Massachusetts in July and then move us back to Johnson City Tennessee in November. It seem like five month were hardly enough time to unpack from a move let alone pack, move, unpack, pack up again, move and unpack again. As we mentioned in the previous blog, we are back at our same jobs, and are living in the same house we lived in prior to the move. At times it all seems like it was only a dream.
But it was real enough, and on the back side of all of it we are left wondering why it happened this way at all. Joseph must have wondered this many times through his years as a slave and prisoner. Sampson’s parents must have questioned God’s hand when their son demanded a Philistine woman for his wife. Gideon questioned God’s direction with a fleece and His choice of 300 men against so many. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego surely would have preferred not having to be thrown into the fiery furnace. Yet, God moved in each of these situations in some very unorthodox ways to accomplish His purpose.
We love William Cowper’s hymn, God moves in a mysterious way, which starts out like this;
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
So, one thing we are learning, really learning, is that Isaiah 55:8-9 is true. Here God declares, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
As we reflect on and look to God to glorify Himself through our experiences the last 5 months, it is becoming evident that the choice we made to go to New England was the choice that God ordained to be made. He made the way for us to go and he made the way for us to return regardless of how crazy and useless it all seems.
However, it is precisely because the last 5 months have seemed so senseless that we are learning more and more that it is really God that works in us to will and to do for His good pleasure, Philippians 2:13 (emphasis mine). My husband has been reading through The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Recently he came across this portion of a prayer; “O God, Help me to know that the work of prayer is to bring my will to thine, and that without this it is folly to pray; When I try to bring thy will to mine it is to command Christ, to be above him, to be wiser than he: this is my sin and pride. I can only succeed when I pray according to thy precepts and promise, and to be done with as it pleases thee, according to thy sovereign will.”
Daniel 4 tells the story of Nebuchadnezzar and his rise and fall and his coming to his right mind. In the end he declares, “At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
Notice that as a result of, not in spite of, the circumstances that God had taken him through, he praised and honored God precisely because God is sovereign. Sovereignty here leads to doxology, and that is a truth we are learning to enjoy, regardless of how we may not understand all the why’s. If God can get glory for himself through Nebuchadnezzar, Sampson, Gideon, Judah, Tamar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and on the list goes, then he can and is getting glory through what he ordained to be our lives the last five months.
My Husband relates the story of how his grandpa Sheehan would often be called up to pray before the offering at a large church that he attended when he was young. He would always start out by quoting Psalm 70:4b which says, “Let God be Magnified.” Our time in New England is teaching us in fresh ways to say that with vigor, regardless of whether we ever know the answers to why we went there. In the 3rd and final entry to this blog sequence, we will talk more about what God has been teaching us through all of this and how we believe He is getting Glory by his working as He has in this way in our lives.
loves being the wife of Joel, married over 18 years. My husband and
I open our home to Biblical counseling and walk alongside hurting, broken
couples. We have both been students of NANC, and I with CCEF. Together, we are
looking to complete a Masters of Biblical Counseling through Westminster