Scripture Reading: Micah 1:1-16, Micah 2:1-13, Psalm 46:1-11, Hebrews 6:13-20
Our air conditioner broke this week. I’m from the far north, where central air is a foreign thing and window units are turned on maybe thrice a summer. I live in Texas now, though, and while a heater is a thing you could maybe do without, an air conditioner is not optional. My husband called me today and gave me the estimate of a new system and I felt my stomach drop into my pinky toe.
How much? I asked him. This much, he said. My mind immediately turned to our savings account. Finally, after a year of beginning to accumulate some savings, we were hoping to have enough to repair our foundation or put some equity into the home itself. WelI, I said, there goes that.
A year ago this month we had a colossal financial loss. It was a perfect storm of sudden job loss, multiple moves cross-country to and from high-priced cities, the sale on our house falling through five times before (finally) selling at nearly a $100k loss to us. We hemorrhaged money for nine months until there was nothing left. I felt as physically defeated as I have ever felt, and our bank account actually was.
In that space, God did not come through with astounding miracles or great hurrahs. He came in quietly, through a sentence from a friend or a glimmer of hope—for months and months and months. I ached, but I began, eventually, to ache toward healing. He began to hem me in, though in an even a greater way than before, so I could learn to rest in His protection and care for me.
And with that healing I imagined God would deeply plant the lessons I’d learned in the process, that I would never have to repeat the same struggle to the same degree. Surely, I knew now that God was my provider, my shepherd, my caregiver? And because I knew it, I assumed He would never take the time to prove it to me again.
I sometimes believe we’re alike, God and I. I reason that because my mind changes, His must too. I’m positive He’s scheming a switcheroo, some grande finale where I’ll be the one left on the outside of the fence. I mistakenly believe I’m saved upon my own merits; the things I have learned or the lessons I have accumulated. I begin to believe I bring myself into the fold and am not simply brought in by Him.
But God, in His goodness, swore by Himself that He’d bring me in (Hebrews 6:13-20). From the get-go and from the start, before the foundations of the earth, before Eve ate the fruit, before the twelve tribes scattered, before the cross of Calvary, He counted me in. He gathered me in, “like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture” (Micah 2:12)—kept, secure, and protected.
Sheep can still get hurt in the fold. They can still sprain a leg or trip over a stump. Today I’m reminded of that as I sit directly in front of my oscillating fan and try hard not to think about our savings account. But sheep in the pasture have a Shepherd who is near to them—caring, attentive, and present. I sometimes begin to believe God has ousted me when things are going badly, that I have sinned too grievously or disappointed Him too greatly. But, the God who does not change, brought me in, and there I remain, His.
Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.