No Matter What

Eight months ago, I was on edge, anxiously waiting to see how stores with empty shelves and an illness shutting down the world would play out. It was a busy morning, kids running through the house as I prepared for the day ahead, completely distracted. I was making eggs and as I opened the fridge, I caught a glimpse out the kitchen window where my eyes locked high up in a tree, as a bird danced around the naked branches collecting food. In that moment, peace came over me as I heard God say, “Look up. Always remember to look up.” At the time, the unknown that lay ahead, causing me to fear and feel out of control, suddenly seemed small in comparison to God’s love for me and his surrounding creation. I remembered the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34, as he preached that if God takes care of the birds, then surely he will take care of us and that worrying wouldn’t add a single hour to our lives. I was reminded not only to look up, letting God’s creation draw my concerns up to him but also to rest in his goodness, his love and his sovereignty.

Truth is, I remembered to do this for a while. The emerging of Spring kept my attention focused on that goodness as creation bloomed all around me. Then, Summer came and the sunshine and the flowers kept my anxiety at bay for a while longer. Somewhere though along the way, I let fear, confusion and anxious thoughts that spiraled out of control, creep in as the sunflowers began to droop and we inched closer to fall, closer to shorter days, closer to a new kind of cold and flu season, closer to a contentious election and closer to holidays that would seem different this year. In the messiness of the unknown, I stopped looking up. I let the brokenness of this world and the fear I have of it, get bigger than God.

Fortunately though, he never turns his back on his children, even when we foolishly get ourselves stuck in the mud. Even when we ignore the truth that he’s already shown us. Even when he’s proven to us over and over again that we can trust him.

And because his love is greater than any evil that tries to separate us from him, he showed up for me in just the way I needed him to this morning. As I wandered into the kitchen as I do every morning, but this time, teetering further on the edge than usual, thanks to the state of our country, hung over from the stress of a morning after an election with no clear winner, I felt myself reaching desperately for God. I turned on K-Love to calm my spirit and comfort my weariness, knowing that America still has a long road ahead and so many unanswered questions looming over this particular November 4th. This place of the unknown is harder to take the more you focus on it. The more you live within it the more unbearable it becomes.

Opening the refrigerator door, I felt my entire body aching from overwhelming stress. As I reached in for some eggs, I heard that small, still voice again and he said to me, “Look up.” So, without hesitation, I looked out the window and there, dancing around, collecting breakfast in the sunshine was a sparrow. I thought to myself how this little bird is going on about his day, unaffected by the tension that exists here. It was almost as if that bird was putting on a show for me as it joyfully danced around the roof line of my garage. Again, I heard God’s voice, “Remember? I have the birds and surely I have you. Why do you fear? Why are you stressed when I have it under control? This is MY world.” And in that moment my ears picked up the song on the radio, “His Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture.

Nothing can separate

Even if I ran away

Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes

But You have new mercies for me everyday

Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages

Your love never changes

There may be pain in the night

But joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage

I don’t have to be afraid

Because I know that You love me

Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water’s deep

I’m not alone in these open seas

‘Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide

I never thought I’d reach the other side

Your love never fails

‘Cause you stay the same through the ages

Your love never changes

There may be pain in the night

But joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage

I don’t have to be afraid

Because I know that You love me

Your love never fails

‘Cause You make all things work together for my good

You make all things work together for my good

You make all things work together for my good

You make all things work together for my good

You make all things work together for my good

You make all things work together for my good

‘Cause you stay the same through the ages

Your love never changes

There may be pain in the night

But joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage

I don’t have to be afraid

Because I know that You love me

Your love never fails

And as I stood there, listening to the words of the song, staring out my kitchen window once again, thinking about His words to me and the little bird my eyes were fixated on, and the months I’ve let pass since he last tried to teach me to trust him, tears began to roll down my cheeks. Not out of defeat. Not out of shame. Not out of fear but because I felt peace for the first time in months and because my creator knows me better than I know myself. Because he knows that my greatest sin issue is trust; he kept sending the birds. And just like that, 4 more sparrows came and danced within my view.

It didn’t stop with the sparrows however, a blue-jay came next. I feel like it’s important to note that I love blue-jays but in the 5 years that we’ve been in our home, and though an avid bird watcher, I’ve never seen one in my yard before that moment. My eyes stayed glued out the window, and I watched in awe as that beautiful blue-jay hopped along my fence singing a sweet little song. I stood there fully receiving what God was showing me. It was as if he was saying, “Do you still doubt me? Here’s another bird. Do you still doubt me? Okay, here’s another one.” As the blue-jay flew out of sight, a black and white warbler caught my attention. It hopped around the ground and then flew onto the roof and then onto a nearby bench. I stood mesmerized by the simplicity and beauty that I was witnessing.

And as quickly as election fears popped back into my mind, I focused in on the next song playing and the words I heard may as well have slapped me in the face, “Jesus is the only name to remember.”

The song that was playing was “Only Jesus” by Casting Crowns.

Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself

Dream your dreams, chase your heart, above all else

Make a name the world remembers

But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams

I got lost in the light when it was up to me

To make a name the world remembers

But Jesus is the only name to remember

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy

I don’t care if they remember me

Only Jesus

And I, I’ve only got one life to live

I’ll let every second point to Him

Only Jesus

All the kingdoms built, all the trophies won

Will crumble into dust when it’s said and done

‘Cause all that really mattered

Did I live the truth to the ones I love?

Was my life the proof that there is only One

Whose name will last forever?

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy

I don’t care if they remember me

Only Jesus

And I, I’ve only got one life to live

I’ll let every second point to Him

Only Jesus

Jesus is the only name

Jesus is the only name

Jesus is the only name to remember

Then, a sparrow flew up to my kitchen window and seemed to be looking right toward me. He perched himself there for a moment before flying up a couple of feet to the roof, sitting for another moment before returning to my window. I’ve never seen this happen before. And there in front of me, as if to allow me to get a better view, I looked him over, noticing the incredible detail of his features. Every little feather on his body keeping him warm, the reflection in his black little eyes and the texture of his little brown claws. I took in God’s creation with awe and wonder and in that moment nothing else mattered.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

And just like that, the sparrow flew off, quickly fading out of my sight and I heard the next song on the radio playing, “Love God, Love people” by Danny Gokey.

I’ve been running in circles

Jumping the hurdles

Getting caught in that rush of doing so much

I’m feeling kinda worn out

All this checking the boxes

Trying to be flawless

Has me spinning my head, catching my breath

Too afraid to slow down

I tell myself to keep this up

That God wants more than just my love

But I’ve been complicating things

It’s just like me to overthink

Gotta keep it real simple

Keep it real simple

Bring everything right back to ground zero

‘Cause it all comes down to this

Love God and love people

We’re living in a world that keeps breakin’

But if we want to find a way to change it

It all comes down to this

Love God and love people

Oh this is freedom

The keys to the Kingdom

Knowing life will be found when love can be loud

‘Cause love is what it’s all about

I tell myself to keep this up

That all God wants is just my love

No more complicating things

No more need to overthink

Gotta keep it real simple

Keep it real simple

Bring everything right back to ground zero

‘Cause it all comes down to this

Love God and love people

Love is patient

Love is kind

Rescues hearts and changes lives

Love is all we need to make things right

Gotta keep it real simple

It’s really so simple

Gotta keep it real simple

Keep it real simple

Bring everything right back to ground zero

‘Cause it all comes down to this

Love God and love people

I believe God was making clear to me something he has tried to reinforce to me since January, as he prepared me for the storm that only he knew was to come. See, when I was working through something difficult in the beginning of the year, God told me to trust him no matter what. Initially, I thought this was just a general thing I needed to work on in furthering my walk of faith. This wasn’t necessarily the case though. February passed then March came and I began to see that he was not just testing my faith but rather, preparing me for what was to come. As I watched with shock and disbelief the way our world was so quickly changing around us and as one bad thing came after another, I would tell him, “Okay God, I trust you no matter what.” In those moments though, I guess I was still holding on to MY idea of what “no matter what” would look like. I was saying the words he wanted me to say but a part of me was still wanting it to go the way I wanted it to go.

But Jesus. He intercedes for our sins. When we fail to live out our faith, when we stay stuck in fear, when we fix our eyes on the problem in front of us instead of the sovereignty and love of God; grace covers us each and every time we come running back. God, in his love for me, saw that my eyes weren’t lifted up high enough and he needed me to fix them back on him. He is so good to come after us when we wander a little too far but we are never out of his sight.

With my eyes fixed back on his goodness and on his creation, I just can’t help but feel like no matter what happens, whether we find ourselves rejoicing or grieving this week, no matter who the next president is, no matter what happens in this country with lockdowns, viruses, unrest, or freedoms; our job is clear as followers of Christ. We’re to trust God and shine his light in the darkness. Uncertainty for us is a given but nothing is uncertain for God. He knows what is and is to come and he has it all under control. Nothing else matters and there is peace to be found in that!

If you too have wandered this year and find yourself struggling today, caught up in the unknowns, burdened by the weight of the world that’s just too much to bare, remember that it’s not too much for God. As he reminded me this morning and so I must remind you, he’s got it all under control – no matter what! We just need to look up and remember that this is HIS world. And no matter how much pain we experience here, there is still beauty and goodness to be found. There is still love to be spread. There are still souls to be saved. There is still work to be done. There is still an abundance of things to be thankful for and in turn, praise to be given to God. In the end, no matter how the unknowns affect us, we know one thing for sure; God wins. He is for us and nothing can separate us from his love. We can trust him no matter what because he’s already got the “what” figured out.

“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.”

Romans 8:28

For more on the goodness of God:

I Lift My Eyes Up

For more on trusting God:

Are You All In?

What Have You Got To Lose, Anyway?

6 thoughts on “No Matter What

  1. Love this beautiful and encouraging post! We can trust God no matter what because He already has the “what” figured out. Great reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you found it encouraging! Thanks for reading! ❤️

      Like

  2. It’s not too much for God. So encouraging, knowing that He is in total control and has a plan. Thank you for this precious word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Knowing He is in control is what gets me through times like these! Thanks for reading ❤️

      Like

  3. “This is MY world.” I love that reminder and it’s so true. We can trust that God knows what He’s doing in His world. Thanks for this beautiful story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! It helps to remember that he’s watching over his creation and we know that he is good, no matter what! Thanks for reading! ❤️

      Like

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