Week four: I spy God!

In March I had a little mini-vacation in Rodanthe, a personal retreat, just me and Toby Dog.  My sister gave me the gift of this trip for my birthday, which was in April.  She knew that I’ve always wanted to take a vacation alone for a few days, a time of relaxation and renewal, away from the stresses and demands that invade your everyday life.  This year was a “big” birthday for me (a new decade!) and, thanks to my big sister, Toby Dog and I had a long weekend all to ourselves at the beach.

Even though my current vehicle has high mileage, mechanically it’s in wonderful shape and safe to drive long distances.  Despite this, Daddy didn’t want me to drive my vehicle, so he “loaned” me Precious for the weekend.  Precious is Daddy’s 2002 Explorer and has been so nicknamed because it’s rarely out of the garage and still smells and looks new inside.

When I stopped by my parent’s house to switch vehicles, I went in to say hi to Mama.  I wasn’t there two minutes before she was offering meat from the freezer and fresh fruit she had purchased the day before to take with me on my trip.  She knows I have to make every dollar count and my paycheck is stretched very thin, so she wanted to make sure I had plenty of provisions for the weekend.

During the long drive I had plenty of thinking time.  My mind wandered to the daily devotional I read that morning with the title “I Spy.”  Remember playing that game as a kid?  My sister and I used to play it on long car trips.  We would make up things to look for – I spy a California license plate, I spy something blue, etc.  That morning’s devotional was about how, as adults, we tend to desensitize ourselves to the presence of God in our lives and how He work in every second of our day by the way He provides, protects and blesses us.  We need to become more like children playing “I spy,” look around us and recognize His work in our lives and say, “I spy what God did!”

I am blessed with a father, mother, sister and brother-in-law that support me in whatever I decide to do, even if they don’t understand it.  I can call any of them at any time, day or night, convenient or inconvenient and they’d come to my aid.  Daddy and Mama both wanting to ensure that I had safe transportation and food provisions for the weekend, giving me their own SUV and food.  I spy God!

On the way to Rodanthe, the 20 mph winds were whipping the sand so it appeared to be a grainy mist in the air, obliterating the sun.  The gusts of 40 mph rocked and pushed our vehicle, yet Toby Dog and I made it safely.  I spy God!

The beauty of the ocean, wild and booming on the sand.  I spy God!

Yet sometimes, the works of God are not as obvious and the daily events in our lives seem to be a random set of coincidences.  My pastor often says that a coincidence is when God decides to remain anonymous.  For instance, consider my weekend retreat at Rodanthe.  At the time my sister made the reservation, she did it as a gift out of love for me and her desire to make me happy.  Little did she know that I was struggling with the startup phase of In Perfect Unity and desperately needed time away for personal, uninterrupted time with God to focus on the direction He wanted me to take the ministry.  That, my friends, was no coincidence.  Looking back I can see God’s fingerprints were all over arranging for that weekend to happen.  I spy God!

God’s hand can also be seen not only in the good times but also the bad.  My experiences of alcohol, food and unhealthy relationship addictions have strengthened my walk with Him and given me a testimony of hope to others who are also struggling.  I definitely spy God there!  In Romans 8:28, God promises that He will always be with us and will work every circumstance for our good:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

If you really look around you, you’ll begin to recognize His constant presence in your life through daily circumstances and the people you encounter.  You’ll realize that not only has He been with you the entire way, He has gone before you to make the path clear.  If you are struggling, whatever the issue may be, regardless of how bad it seems right now, know that God has gone before you and will carry you through it.  On the other side, you will be able to look back and see His fingerprints all over that situation and you’ll be blessed with joy as you’ve never known before.

Begin playing “I spy God.”  Find Him in the beauty of nature, in seemingly random occurrences, in happy times and in stressful and trying times.  Find Him as you receive His strength to eat healthily, exercise regularly and walk these first few weeks to a healthier overall lifestyle.  It is no coincidence that you have been led to this website, this ministry and are reading this article.  God has a plan and a purpose for you – one that you may not see now but His fingerprints are there.  If you rely on His providence, your faith will be strengthened, you will have a testimony of what He has done for you and you’ll be able to better discern His perfect will.

Scripture:  Psalm 139:5   You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

Prayer:  Father God, I’m amazed that you love me so much you care about the tiniest detail of my life.  I am thankful that You step into my life to provide, protect and guide me.  I know that no matter what I am going through right now, you have been behind me, you carry me through and have already gone before me.  Help me to never forget that You are a constant, daily presence.

toby dog riding

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