Trust and obey are simple action verbs that command you to do two things that aren’t simple to do. Trust, or reliance, comes with time and a proven track record that will allow you to take steps toward trusting something or someone. The word obey is also a call to action with no room to wiggle. You can’t wait a while or think about it; the command in this case requires immediate action. When I was a child, I gave my life to the Lord, and since then I’ve learned to fully trust and obey him alone– allowing him to use me as he sees fit. Every single morning, I renew my commitment to God in prayer by simply saying “Use me, Lord.” Those aren’t words that you utter to just anyone. You can’t tell a friend or your spouse to use you. Even though you may trust them on some level, they are human and fallible and might take those words literally — causing you both tremendous hurt. It has been my experience and belief that the only one I can fully trust and obey is the Lord.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
As you grow closer to God, you will hear his voice and allow yourself to be directed by it without missing a beat. Even when you don’t realize that you’re being obedient, you’re being obedient. I’ve noticed that he sometimes speaks through others to get to me. He also uses others to get me to move as you noticed in part two of this series. Suffice it to say, I’m probably not the only one saying “Use me, Lord.”
Two days ago as this massive storm approached the East Coast, my husband asked me if I carry my cell phone with me as I’m walking the dog. He already knew the answer to that question, but I figured this was his way of asking without directing me to do something. He knows how much I despise being bossed around. Just like anyone else, I’m more open to suggestions rather than directives. So before I responded I told him that I don’t like carrying my phone. When I’m out with the dog, I’m unplugged from the world for a little while. It’s my respite in the woods. He listened intently, but I could hear the wheels turning in his head, trying to figure out his next move — how he might suggest that I do something that I was so opposed to doing. He knew this wouldn’t be an easy victory, but I knew that I’d relent without a fight even before he made his next move. He said he carries his on his walks so that he can talk to the kids or my mother-in-law. Then he said “I keep it just in case I fall and need help.” I chuckled on the inside. My husband isn’t some frail, old man; he’s a Marine. Mustering up the best serious face that I could don, I said “Good idea. I’ll carry my phone from now on in case I have to rescue you.” I just couldn’t obey without being a bit snarky. That afternoon when I prepared to take my walk, I grabbed my cell and cleared my throat loudly so that my husband could see me put it in my coat pocket. Yes, I know that was a punk move, but I made it anyway. That’s just how I roll sometimes.
As I inched my way onto the driveway (which had been cleared earlier), I was pleased to see that the plow had been down our street a few times. Though the snow was piled high on either side of the road, I still had a clear path to walk the dog. As I neared the corner, I noticed a few neighbors shoveling their driveways. I waved and said hello, but I guess eight degrees is a little too cold for small talk. So, my pup and I inched a little further around the corner, and I noticed a man lying face-down in the snow. At first I thought he had just fallen, so I climbed onto the bank–sinking knee-deep and steadying myself all the while keeping my Golden tethered at arm’s length. If he had fallen, he’d been there for a little while. I rolled him onto his side and began talking to him, though he didn’t respond. He fixed his glassy eyes on me, unable to communicate, but the desperation in his frozen stare screamed loud and clear. He needed help fast.
I reached over to offer him a hand, but he couldn’t grab it. His hands were frozen and red. I checked for a pulse on his wrist and then his neck, and it was faint. He was breathing, but it was faint as well. I quickly fumbled through his pocket for identification since I didn’t recognize him but found nothing. My fear was that he had wandered off and might have been lost. Then I remembered my phone –the cell phone that I was reluctant to take. I called 911 and continued talking to the man in the snow. Finally, a neighbor saw me bending down in the snow and came running. I don’t know how he saw me from that distance, but I’m glad he did. He took hold of my dog and brought her to my husband. Then a neighbor who was shoveling his driveway came over to see what was going on, and he ran into his house to get a blanket.
Just as I was assuring the man in the snow that he would be ok, his Apple watch rang. It was his dad. I immediately answered it and told him that his son had fallen in the snow and that he needed to get here ASAP. He questioned me angrily. “Who are you? What are you doing with my son’s phone?” Then I told him my full name and commanded him to calm down and to get here immediately. He and his wife arrived shortly before the ambulance. The mother of the man in the snow ran toward me, but left space between us almost as if she wanted a clear path for our words to pass. She yelled, “Is he alive?” I could see the anguish in her eyes, and her hope for her son hinged on my response to that question. I quickly replied “Yes.” Then she inched closer, sinking into the snow thigh-deep and wedging herself next to her son. Her words in Turkish were questions — repeated over and over as the EMTs inched in to assess the man in the snow. She repeatedly asked those same questions in English — anguish draped across her face and helplessness enveloping her. I imagine she has gone down this path with him many times before–a rough road pocked with broken promises, deferred dreams, and sad realizations.
I walked away praying for Jacob, the man in the snow, and thanking God for showing me why it’s necessary to trust him completely and to obey. As I walked slowly up the hill toward my house, Jacob’s mother ran up the hill and embraced me. I hugged her back. His father followed her up the hill and asked me my name. Again I gave him my full name, and he extended his hand and thanked me.
I saw several neighbors outside — all looking down the road. I wondered why no one else saw Jacob face-down in the snow. Perhaps I’ll never know for sure, but what I believe is that God wanted me to learn a valuable lesson that I would not have learned without a real-life scenario starring me. He knows that I’m hard-headed, and he used that moment to get me to chill. Message received! God always sends me where I’m needed — whether I want to go or not. Also, I think he wants to remind me that there is no job description for his servants. We must take on all duties as assigned and go wherever he leads us. He will equip us to serve and send others to our aid; we merely need to trust him and obey.
Update: Jacob survived. It didn’t seem likely at the time that I found him, but the cold temps helped to preserve him. If it were hot that day, he might not have been so fortunate. I learned from a neighbor that he’s a troubled young man who has suffered from mental illness and drug addiction most of his young life. I know that God sent me to his rescue. Now I wonder what he has in store for Jacob.
Call to Action: If this post resonated with you, please go back and read Parts I and II, and then share them. Life is so fragile and short. What will you do while here to make God smile? Join me in the comments and share your God goals. May blessings abound! <3