FAITH FOUNDATION

Today’s Prayer to Passage comes from the daybook ‘Jesus Calling’ by Sarah Young. Young provides a passage for each calendar day of the year, and they read as God speaking through her writing. I especially enjoy ‘Jesus Calling’ due to its distinct portrayal of being spoken to directly. Young’s writing presents clarity, peace, and direction.

I pray, “Dear God, I am starting to hear You more frequently. I think this might be because I am looking for You more often throughout my daily living. Thank You for being a constant in my life. This is truly a relationship of faith, joy, and marvel!”

Following my prayer, I held the closed book in my hands and opened it to reveal the following passage response:

“I SPEAK TO YOU from deepest heaven. You hear Me in the depths of your being. Deep calls unto deep. You are blessed to hear Me so directly. Never take this privilege for granted. The best response is a heart overflowing with gratitude. I am training you to cultivate a thankful mind-set. This is like building your house on a firm rock, where life’s storms cannot shake you. As you learn these lessons, you are to teach them to others. I will open up the way before you, one step at a time.”
—SARAH YOUNG

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock.”
—MATTHEW 7:24-25

I am weeping with tears of gratitude. As passages are becoming more fitting for the real answers I need, as I am able to interpret what the answers are in passages that might not seem fitting to others, and as I see God communicating with me beyond literature, I am simply amazed. Yesterday, I posted my daily entry and my iPad was still open. I propped my phone up on the keyboard to read a Wikipedia article. Seemingly “randomly,” a song I had never heard started to play on my iPad. I hadn’t taken any conscious actions to play it. It honestly startled me a bit. I wondered how a song could start playing on a computer when I did not set out any intentionality of listening to one.

I was able to decipher a line from the lyrics and quickly searched for the song online. It was a song titled ‘The Troubles’ by the band U2. I have a great appreciation for U2’s music. I’ve seen them in concert, I’ve meditated while listening to some of my favorite U2 songs, I’ve even visited Bono’s house in Ireland. Yet it wasn’t necessarily the band that caught me off guard. If a song was to suddenly start playing on my iPad, of course it would be by U2.

It was the timing, the title of the song, and the lyrics that most surprised me (not to mention the fact that I had not yet listened to this album, their latest). Yesterday’s blog entry was about our daily human “troubles.” I even used that word in my closing paragraph. With absolute certainty, I had to post ‘The Troubles’, adding it to yesterday’s entry. The video also includes the lyrics if you would like to take a peek.

These are the types of experiences that are starting to show up more frequently. Some might call these experiences superstitious moments of coincidence. Some might call them eerily uncanny incidents. And some, including myself, call them extraordinary faith-building birthrights, available to each and every one of us.

I will always remember such an experience that took place two weeks ago. I was riding in a car with a friend. She was with me for emotional support during a difficult time. She was bringing me to a counseling appointment, not planning to leave my side for the day. I felt her support and was grateful for it. Yet I couldn’t shake the notion that there had to be spiritual guidance also there with me that day.

We were sitting at a stop light, about five minutes from our destination, and these words rushed into my thoughts: “Your grandpa Tommy is with you. And he is so happy to see you asking for help. Know that he is here. Look for his name.” The red light was about to turn green. I scoured the street scene in search for “Tommy.” I looked to a Chinese take-out restaurant, a billboard advertising a local Chiropractor, a clothing alteration shop, and an auto parts store. I didn’t see my grandfather’s name anywhere. The light turned green. My friend started driving forward.

“I must be crazy,” I thought. “No wonder I’m going to talk therapy.” And I brushed the moment aside. The next stop light signaled from yellow to red, and we were momentarily paused once again. I looked up at the street sign secured next to the stop light. We were stopped at THOMAS AVENUE. My grandfather’s nickname was Tommy. That’s how I knew him; “Grandpa Tommy.” His full first name was Thomas. It was a moment beckoning, “Of course. How could I possibly be surprised? Here is the blessing of this day, the blessing of the forward direction I am taking.”

If ever there was a time that I have felt God send me a signaled sign, it was in that moment. That same day, I found a photograph that was taken of my grandpa Tommy and me the last time I saw him alive. I was living in Chicago at the time, and I had come home to Minnesota to visit my family for a weekend. After the photo was taken, I remember the last words he said to me before I hugged him and said goodbye. I somehow knew, due to some health complications and his age, that it would be our last moment together on earth. He said very simply, “I love you. Be good.”

It was a warm, assuring comfort to see his name that day. I was feeling weak and vulnerable. I needed family. I needed a blessing. And he was there. And I smiled. My friend turned to me and asked, “What are you smiling at? Everything OK?”
I answered, “Everything is wonderful. Yes. I’m good.” The stormy nature of what I had been dealing with vanished. I felt gratitude, calm, and strength. May you rest upon the loving foundation built by faith, and may God’s reassuring guidance bring to you a life full of wonder and goodness. A blessed birthright for a blessed life.

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