You looked down the stream of time and saw a crisis in my future. Not a big one; just a long string of medium-to-medium-large ones back to back in the middle of the worst icestorm in Texas in years and an acquisition at work.
You knew I would reach a breaking point in the middle of it. You said I wouldn't be tempted beyond what I could bear, and would provide a way of escape, and You knew I would reach that point in the first week of February.
You knew this a long time ago, so back in August, you planted the idea of the way of escape in J and L's minds. We tried to turn it down..."can't afford it" we said. "No, it's a GIFT!" you told them to say.
You knew I dreaded the gift, as I repeatedly asked you to get me out of it. The timing was terrible (I was going to miss all the initial training from our new corporate headquarters, I had three teenagers testing their limits), plus I don't really like this kind of gift.
You knew, you saw, that the last 72 hours before the unwrapping--and all the way up to the last moment--the pressure increased in intensity, loudness, and diameter.
Suddenly the gift was there (it was literally an escape, the cruise I mentioned in my last post). You watched over us as we crawled for 8 hours at 30mph over icy roads from Dallas to Galveston.
You heard me deal with problems with teens at home via the phone for the first three hours and wonder if I should get off the ship before it left port. You sent someone to pray for us. You slowly peeled my shoulders from up around my ears, where I didn't even know they were. It felt somewhat like the unpleasant sensation of popsicle toes defrosting after playing in the snow in Texas snow boots (plastic bags and duct tape).
You knew that several days of gazing out to sea, playing with words to describe the different blues of water and sky, laughing with friends, scuba-diving, not doing ANY work, and not speaking to my kids would be just what I needed!
You knew when I got home, I would immediately be back in stress, but that I would be able to handle it from my newly re-established normal height. You knew I would need to make sense of it all, so you sent me to Elijah.
You knew I would be able to relate to Elijah's story of extreme stress, followed by an angel RX: a respite of body and soul care. He wasn't done, but he got a break: divinely protected sleep, divinely provided food (twice) that came with an encouragement: "Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you." Another long, discouraging task lay ahead of him, but you gave him miraculous strength to accomplish it. Then you brought him his replacement who ministered to him after a long, obedient life.
You knew I would finally see that the provision was in place before the need was even known (You're so good that way!)
You knew I would take comfort from Elijah's story that all my difficulties, endured moment-by-moment in your Presence, are nothing less than the service of your anointed ones. Not a sign that I'm faithless. Not a punishment for one of my crimes, but a journey to mold me into someone fit for the task that lies ahead. Living proof that you entrust me with what I cannot do, while empowering me to do it. More evidence that your favor is upon me (for these difficulties are coming out of two EXTREME blessings!)
Thank you for knowing. And thank you for the gift!