En Route...

on this road called Life.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Panoramic Views - Habakkuk 3:17-18

From 2008-2010, my husband and I went through a really, really difficult season full of various trials, all with a financial desert as the landscape. I can look back now and see it was a watershed moment in our lives, truly, but at the time it was so, so hard. As I was trying to find an article to send a dear friend whose daughter is battling cancer, I ran across this post (and old email) that was originally written on April 2, 2010. How desperately I needed to be reminded of these truths this very day. How thankful I am for the Lord's sovereignty over all things! Even finding old emails! His timing is always providential!

May you enjoy the views from whatever vantage point the Lord places you on in this season of life, whatever season it is... and may you cling to Him in all seasons. 

2 April 2010

Charlotte, North Carolina has had quite a long, wet, and very cold winter. My bright purple rain boots have been put to ample use, and while I do enjoy them, I’d rather not have to use them multiple times a week. As the wet, cold weather persisted, so did my annoyance and grumbling. So, you can imagine my relief as temperatures have just recently started to creep up, the rains have relented, and the sun has decided to linger longer than a few hours. I honestly don’t remember ever being happier to see winter leave.

However, as much as I delight in winter’s departure, last week the Lord sent a poignant reminder of what winter, and no other season, brings… if only we have eyes to see.

Last Wednesday the sunset was gorgeous, and knowing how much I love sunsets, Forde told me to go outside and enjoy it while our dinner finished cooking. Standing on our back steps, I looked west to marvel at the panoramic majesty of God’s creativity painted in the sky. It was a stunning sight, one I wish I enjoyed more often, so I asked myself why I don’t do just that.

And that is when the Lord opened my eyes… 

I don’t often enjoy the sunset from the back steps because most of the year I can’t see it very well; there are too many trees in the way. Their abundance of leaves cloud my line of sight so that I am left with seeing only bits and pieces of the sunset. Yet on this particular evening, the trees have not been clothed in their spring leaves, and their barrenness - thanks to winter’s presence - opened up a spectacular and unobstructed view of God’s beauty, majesty, and glory... a view I so frequently miss because of abundance.

The same could be said of life as well. Winter seasons of life – those bleak, barren, desolate, bewildering times – have their blessings, too, blessings that do not seem to come in seasons of abundance. I don’t always have the heart to see or understand them immediately (if ever), but one unique blessing this sunset reminded me of is the sweet gift of a new, less obstructed view of God’s goodness, love, glory, and grace.  It is in life’s winters that this spectacular and fuller picture of the Lord’s heart and His attributes is gently given. It is in such times there are openings in our heart’s line of sight that are not always so clear.

Forde and I have very much seen this to be true. As nature’s winter transitions into spring, so a winter season of life seems to be fading into spring for us. We are cautiously hopeful and immensely grateful for this possible change of season. In all honesty, I don’t think we’ve ever been happier to see life’s season change. 

But, this sunset has given me reason to pause once again and reflect on all that the Lord has shown us through this time… much of which I doubt we would know so deeply, understand so fully, and be convinced of so thoroughly had God not seen fit to take us down this barren path. It is because of all that we have experienced, felt, been with, and been without over the past two years that we truly have seen a more panoramic view of how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

How very thankful I have become for winter. Scripture always puts it best: “The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21) He has taught that there are reasons to praise and trust Him in all seasons. I pray that lesson sticks and that you, too, can say the same. Should the Lord be giving, praise Him. Should the Lord be taking (stripping you), praise Him even then, for there you shall find Him and see Him more clearly. May the Lord give you eyes to see Him in all seasons, and may you treasure those views however they may come, in joys or trials.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV

Read it again slowly..."Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." 

May you rejoice in your Savior who gave His own life for you so that you would know Him and have life to the full!

In Christ,

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Silhouettes - Job 26:7-14

"He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent. And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?" Job 26:7-14 NIV

When I was living in France years ago, my friends and I had a summer eve's picnic on the grounds of a 17th century chateau, Vaux le Vicomte. After enjoying a wonderful evening of fellowship amidst the backdrop of this candlelit chateau, we headed back to Paris reluctantly leaving behind this beautiful sight. Darkness had begun to settle across the fields, while a remnant of the setting sun lingered off in the distance. As we drove away, one of my friends commented on the simple beauty of three trees. The details of the trees were lost in the growing darkness, but their silhouettes contrasting against the fading sunset captivated our attention. It was a stunning sight!

Silhouettes can have an alluring, almost mysterious, beauty to them and are sometimes the subject for pieces of art. (Anyone else have a silhouette portrait of yourself or one of your kids?) Lovely as they may be, silhouettes don’t capture every last detail, rather they merely trace the outer limits of an object, person, or surface.

Looking at this trio's silhouette, Job’s words flooded my mind. “And these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of him!” Truly, this side of eternity we see but a silhouette of God.

All the incredible things we see, know, hear, and experience of the Lord are but the outer fringe of Him. They are merely a silhouette - the outer limits of His love, grace, might, power, strength, mercy, and wonder... Can you imagine what He must be like in His fullness?! Jesus came to show us. He embodied the fullness of God in flesh. However, the sin in our hearts and in the world around us have much the same effect on our spiritual vision as on the night of our picnic: much is lost in the darkness. Oh, but one day soon we will come face-to-face with Christ and the Light will outshine the darkness! We shall see more than a silhouette of the Almighty as the radiance of His glory will come into full view.

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV

Friend, there is so much more to the Lord Almighty than we can even begin to fathom. Reread the passages above and remember Who your God is. Remember His power, His might, His tenderness, His love, His forgiveness, His grace, His patience, His beauty and His countless wonders. And remember: what we can see and understand now... these are but the outer fringe, a silhouette.

Truly, how faint the whisper we hear of Him…

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Valleys of praise - Psalm 95:5

In 2008, the American economy took a nosedive into a recession. Many lost jobs, experienced financial hardships, or saw their industries negatively impacted by the economic landscape. My husband's industry was one of those that took a pretty hard hit: real estate. Forde is a land broker, which, broadly speaking, means he helps clients buy and sell large tracts of land for development or investment. As you can imagine, not many people were wanting to purchase much of anything, especially large tracts of land during such uncertain times. Suffice it to say, 2008-2010 were pretty bleak days in the Britt household. Land deals that were set to close fell apart left and right. This meant Forde wasn't closing deals and didn't for 22 months. In a job that's 100% commission, that's 22 months without a paycheck. It was a painful season, and many times I downright hated being there, but the Lord sustained us, and richly blessed us in and through that season. This post below was originally written on November 28, 2009, in the midst of this very trying season of life. You could say we were on the valley floor...

“The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” Psalm 95:5

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, our Life Group (small group bible study) took time to share some of the blessings we would be celebrating this Thanksgiving. Knowing we would be doing this, I took some time to reflect upon what I am thankful for this year. 

In doing so, pictures of glorious mountains and deep, lush valleys flashed across my mind, in large part because the topography of our year has mirrored these images. Indeed, it has been a year of unrivaled mountaintop experiences and long, tiresome treks through gorges of trials. And yet, the Lord has shown me that both experiences provide reasons for much, much praise. Not only have I learned so much about the Lord’s heart, His church, myself, and my wonderful husband, but I have also come to see and appreciate the marriage between mountains and valleys in a whole new way.

Physically speaking, valleys are most commonly created by some form of moving water. When glacial ice gets to moving, a U-shaped valley like that found in Glacier National Park may be formed, while V-shaped valleys like that of the Black Canyon are formed by the erosive effects of a river’s flowing waters. In both cases, as the water or ice travels along, land recedes, little by little (or chunk by chunk), valleys are carved… and in the process, mountains emerge. We don’t have one without the other for mountains and valleys are uniquely bound in the creative genius of our God. He beautifully and wonderfully created the topography of the earth so that the floor of the valley gradually turns into the slopes of the mountain. 

Consider for a moment that the same could be said of the relationship between life's valleys and mountains.

As the waters of life rage (and they inevitably do), God not only allows and creates the valley, but He also brings forth the highly treasured mountaintop as well. Sometimes you experience the valley floor alongside a mountaintop experience; sometimes they are very far removed from one another. But they are always intricately connected. Our appreciation and understanding of both are highlighted by the contrast of the other. You understand the grandeur and magnificence of the mountain most when standing in the valley and seeing, experiencing the mountain towering over you. And only when standing at it the peak of a mountain do you have the vantage point to more fully see and finally grasp the depth and scope of the valley’s breadth beauty. After all, in nature as well as in life, it is the valley below that punctuates the lauded mountaintop views.

Plus, Psalm 23 reminds us of other reasons to thank the Lord for the valleys. 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4

Green pastures are rarely found at the peak of a mountain as conditions usually aren't conducive for much growth. (Picture above the tree line...) Rather, it is near the valley floor where the environment is so much richer and more conducive to lush, green growth. Plants, flowers, trees, and all kinds of life can more easily flourish on the valley floor. This reality is also true of life's valleys: the conditions for growth are most abundant on the valley floor. There the Lord restores my soul...your soul.

Indeed, I have seen this to be true this year for it has been there at the deepest, lowest parts of our valleys, that the Lord has restored my soul and brought me a new understanding of Christ as my Shepherd. Furthermore, even though God has led us along ways unknown to us (as is also promised in his word – Isaiah 42:16), He has led us. Because He has been our guide, I can trust that these unfamiliar paths are paths of righteousness, and the rough places along these paths will one day be made smooth.

Though I have often failed to remember the Lord’s faithfulness over the past year, the rocks cry out... as they have always done (Luke 19:40). I have learned and now know that when God creates a valley, He simultaneously creates a mountain. And I have seen the Lord live up to His promises and prove Himself to be who He says He is. From the valley floor, Christ has given me new eyes to look up and see the grandeur and majesty of our Shepherd and Guide who has been leading us all along, even to that valley floor. And because of Him, I can give thanks from the bottom of my heart when the waters of life are raging for I know God is at work and God is always, always good.

Wherever you may find yourself this day or the next, this season or the next, remember that when the Living Water moves, His glory, sovereignty, and faithfulness are exposed in the valleys and mountains He creates in the landscape of your life. Pray for eyes to see and a heart to trust. Remember, the waters are His and His hands have formed the topography of our world, our hearts, our lives, and our experiences. 

Listen as the rocks cry out. 

In doing so, may we then delight and give thanks for how intricately the Lord weaves together the valleys and mountains of our lives. May this knowledge help us patiently hope for how the Lord is working all things for good in the topography of our lives turning the floor of our valleys into the slopes of our mountains. May it also help us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus trusting Him relentlessly during time spent in the lush grounds of our valleys – growing. 



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The desert or the stream - Jeremiah 17:5-8

Having recently shared a post about saplings, I thought another related post regarding trees would be fitting. =) Enjoy!

“This is what the LORD says, ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in the salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’” Jeremiah 17:5-8 NIV84

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.”


These words pierced my heart like an arrow! If I’m really honest with myself (which I don’t want to be), these words paint an all-too-accurate portrait of where my heart often is: in the parched places of the desert. Such a realization also led me to the painful truth that what has led me there is a wayward heart… a heart that has not been fully trusting in the LORD and has not put complete confidence in Him.

I’ve partially trusted Him. But, I also tend to place a healthy portion of my trust and confidence in flesh: my strength, my abilities, my understanding, my experience, my knowledge, my time management, my systems, my plans, my husband/friend/expert's advice, experience, knowledge, understanding… you get the picture.

In God’s grace and mercy, He gives us many blessings that include talents, abilities, knowledge, experience, etc. I'm not neglecting the gift and blessing those can be, rather warning about what happens when we trust and rely on the blessing over the Blessor! When we do this - trust in the blessings over the Blessor - we find ourselves on a slippery slope that lands us in the middle of the “parched places of the desert.” I can assure you, after visiting this place on too many occasions, the terrain of such a place is exactly as God describes it: a wasteland, parched, and lonely.

But… (Oh the beauty of this passage! There’s a “but!”)

“But, blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” 

Quite a different picture is painted of a person who puts their full trust and confidence in the Lord! Such a person “will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

This... this picture sounds so inviting. This is where I want to be.

The scene painted by these words reminds me of a view I saw daily while living in Colorado. My brother and I lived in a house perched high atop a hill overlooking the Gunnison Valley. Looking down into the valley, the river's location was quite obvious - just find the ever-so-conspicuous double-line of trees meandering along the valley floor. It was hard to miss. Because these trees’ roots were “sent out by the stream,” the trees never lacked water, and could, therefore, grow and flourish despite the dreadful winters that plague the valley.

These Colorado trees are like the tree described in Jeremiah 17:8. Despite the surrounding conditions, the trees survived, and not only that, they thrived! Such is a person who puts his/her trust and confidence in the Lord. Despite the surrounding conditions of life, your heart and spirit, your faith will survive, and not only survive, but thrive. However, keep in mind that much like trees we go through seasons, so "thriving" may look barren and bleak at times. Please don't lose heart if you are in such a season! It is just that, a season..

Many trees shed their coat of leaves standing barren in the winter season. Even still, a healthy tree, stripped though it may be, is gathering strength, soaking up that water, garnering nourishment as the winter prepares it to be bigger and stronger come spring. Each year a ring of growth marks the survival of another winter. (What might your "rings" be?)

Regardless of your season of life, it's worth noting how effortlessly we slide into "trusting in man" and depending on oneself (or others), and not the Lord, for strength! We don't typically fall into the desert; we slide into it. Satan fights a fierce battle making it ever so easy, ever so enticing, ever so alluring, ever so simple to do one inch at a time. Hence why Christ's followers are given the full armor of God: life in Christ is nothing short of a battle; we need nothing short of armor!

Be mindful that Satan will do whatever he can to keep or place your trust in man, or your own strength, because he knows that if he does this successfully, he will keep you from sending out your roots by the streams of living water found in Christ. As a result, expect that in big and small ways Satan will always be tempting you to slide down into this pit, furthering this pattern, confirming the lie that God and His ways can't be trusted.

Therefore, “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:11) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) Know that in doing so, you will be blessed and built up, which will make you much like the trees that outlined the Gunnison River's path: thriving despite the season. Yes, your confidence in the Lord will be ever so conspicuous to a watching and wondering world.

Friend, consider your heart today. Where are the roots of your heart being sent out? Are you sending your roots to the broken cisterns of man, or the abundant streams of Living Water found in Christ alone? Each day we get to take steps in either direction. So, which will you choose: the desert or the stream?

Blessed are those who put their trust in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him…

*originally written May 12, 2006; edited April 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pilate's surrender - Luke 23:34-25

"So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will." Luke 23:24-25 ESV

In the week leading up to Easter, I reread the gospel accounts of the events surrounding Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. As I do, I try to see myself in all the characters. (Not too hard to do, sadly!) I'm the person in the crowd yelling at Pilate, "Crucify Him!" I'm Mary and the other women weeping, distraught over what has transpired. I'm Peter denying Jesus in both word and deed. I'm Judas as I kiss Christ with betrayal. I'm the soldier healed by His hand. And I'm Pilate, not sure how far I should go in standing up for Jesus.

Pilate has always been a perplexing character to me. History characterizes Pilate's leadership as being headstrong, strict, and authoritarian. And yet in the gospel accounts of his interactions with Jesus, we see a reluctant Pilate vacillating in his decision. He is not quick to condemn Jesus though his position would've allowed him to be.

His hesitancy and delay in condemning Jesus signals that Pilate sensed something was different about Jesus. Upon questioning Jesus, he could find no guilt in the man (Luke 23:4, 14), but this conclusion did not please the crowd. So, he sent Jesus to Herod for questioning, but Herod pardoned Jesus and returned him to Pilate. Pilate again tried to release Jesus, but encountered more opposition from the chief priests and rulers. Yet again, Pilate addresses the crowd, with concern, confusion, and hesitation in his words for he was "desiring to release Jesus," (Luke 23:20) finding in him no guilt deserving death.

But, the pressure from the crowd and the mounting political tension caused Pilate to capitulate. He delivered Jesus over to their will. The NIV 1984 version translates this verse as Pilate "surrendered Jesus to their will."

This wording got my attention: "surrendered Jesus to their will." How many times have I allowed the "crowds" to win? How many times have I acquiesced and surrendered Jesus to the pressures surrounding me? Countless!!

How many times have I surrendered Jesus to my will?


All too often I am like Pilate and succumb to the pressures of the crowd, the desires of this world, or to my own will despite the fact that I yearn to surrender to Jesus and His will. Always. It's hard to do, but as we approach Easter, join me in considering how you relate to the characters of these biblical accounts. Specifically, are you, like Pilate, surrendering Jesus to the crowd, to this world, to your will?

Or... are you surrendering to His will?

I pray it's the latter. If it's not, just remember that apart from Jesus you can do nothing (John 15:5), not even surrender to Him. So, ask Jesus today to help you surrender rightly to His will, in big and small things, in big and small moments. Only then can we be less like Pilate, for with Christ and in Him, we can do all things, even rightly surrender.

In the process of surrendering,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A sapling's lesson in strength - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Originally written January 16, 2006; edited March 2015

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV

When Katrina blew through the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coasts in August 2005, she left a gruesome wake of damage, not just in the three states hit, but also extending into Florida and Texas. When we visited my mom's side of the family for Christmas that year, I was able to see the damage along the Mississippi coast firsthand, and I was flabbergasted! Despite ongoing clean up efforts, the magnitude of Katrina's devastation seemed omnipresent even four months later. Houses and entire neighborhoods were obliterated. Miles inland were flooded or destroyed. Debris was still everywhere. The pictures just didn't do it justice!

On our way to the family Christmas gathering, which was 15-20 miles inland, we passed acres upon acres of woods, which were littered with remnants of Katrina's force. One home in particular left a lasting impression. The property looked like a war zone! Big, huge trees were snapped in half or completely uprooted with the mass of its roots left dangling in the air. It was unbelievable to see these massive trees blown over like a row of dominoes. And yet, there was a stark contrast on this property. While the enormous, old trees lay destroyed or uprooted, a vast majority of the little weak trees - the saplings - stood rooted and firm in the ground. They miraculously managed to withstand the storm's destructive winds.

Sure enough, the further we drove, the more common this sight became. Big trees uprooted or split in pieces, while the little, weak trees remained. Apparently, the small trees had one thing going for them that their huge counterparts didn't: their small trunks were weak. This weakness meant their trunks were more flexible and pliable so that they could bend, not snap in two, in the force of the wind. In this particular storm, the saplings' weakness proved to be their strength. Their weakness was God's grace to them. 

Mile after mile, acre after acre, the Lord kept driving this point home: in their weakness was their strength. In their weakness was their strength. Paul's words were vividly coming to life before my eyes. In the midst of pain, suffering, hardships, calamities, weaknesses, and insults, it's easy to let this truth fade from the forefront of our minds, isn't it?!

Yet the truth remains. "When I am weak, then I am strong."

Scripture is not clear on what Paul's weakness or thorn was, but the truth about which Paul writes applies to other followers of Christ, regardless of our thorns. There is a reason we are given "thorns." It could be to keep us humble, to cause us to rely on God and not ourselves, to strengthen us, to remind us that His grace is sufficient, or for some other reason we may never understand this side of eternity. Yet one thing is abundantly clear in this passage: our God is sovereign over all things, including our thorns, hardships, weaknesses, and calamities, and if you're a follower of Christ, He will always be moving in and through your weaknesses, your hardships, your persecutions, your thorns. In fact, by God's grace, you may discover what the little trees discovered during Katrina: it is your weakness that becomes your strength.

As I reflect on this scene in processing some of my own weaknesses and hardships, I am encouraged to go before the Lord to seek His help on seeing Paul's perspective. I pray you will, too. May we see them for what they are... a gift... "a thorn was given me in the flesh," and that thorn keeps us in constant touch with our limitations and our need for a Savior. We are desperately in need of God's grace. Always!

I am convicted by this thought of these weaknesses, thorns, hardships, calamities, persecutions, insults... limitations... as being gifts given. I need to quit focusing on the handicap and struggle they bring, real and difficult though it may be, and start also appreciating the gift that comes with it. Like the saplings, maybe this weakness is God's provision for my survival, His grace to me... His blessed protection that I just can't see or understand this side of the storm.

My prayer today is that you and I don't resist our limitations, weaknesses, and hardships so much as we allow them to push us to our knees, surrendering them and letting Jesus take control. I pray that in that process as Christ's power rests on you, and in due time, we will learn to be content as we begin to see how the Lord uses them as a magnifying glass for His power (and our ultimate good).

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

His grace IS sufficient. He is all we need. How I need to believe and trust this more.

Thankful for weakness and the grace (and protection) it gives me... or trying to be,

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A windy ride - Romans 8:28

Originally written April 22, 2004; edited March 2015

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 ESV

Several years ago I was able to spend the summer living and working with my brother, Garrett, in Gunnison, Colorado. During my time there and at the encouragement of my adventurous brother, I discovered a new hobby: road biking. Not only was it great exercise, but it also provided me with an amazing new way to enjoy God's breath-taking creation that surrounded me in the Gunnison Valley. I most often rode alone and loved to ride down new roads to explore, camera in tow. I also enjoyed taking a familiar path to the river with a book, journal, and pen to find a peaceful spot along the riverbank to read, write, and just soak in the beauty of the Lord.

One such ride left an imprint on my heart that I think of often. The day was absolutely brilliant... the Carolina-blue skies with not a cloud to seen, a bright sun was shining glistening off the river, and there was a wonderful breeze. It was one of those days I just wanted to soak in. So, I chose one of my favorite routes that led to the river's edge and off I went.

When riding a bike, even a slight wind can make your ride a bit more difficult. Therefore, my attitude towards the "wonderful breeze" changed rather quickly. From my perspective on a bike trying to plow through the breeze, it was turning into quite a windy ride making me strain much harder than I usually did on this path. This in turn led to some grumbling, and I let God know I would greatly appreciate it if He could calm the winds, since after all I knew He could, so I could no longer be distracted by the burden of the wind and could once again just enjoy the scenery and ride.

Shortly after this internal dialogue ensued, I came upon a curve in the road. As I rounded the bend, I was no longer in the wind. HALLELUJAH! The wind had ceased! Praise the Lord!

Relieved, I pedaled along... but then I started to get hot... really hot... miserably hot. I just thought the wind was bad! The heat was 10 times worse! Before I knew it, I was begging for the wind again.

Then it clicked. There was a reason for the wind; it fit into God's plan for good, not harm.

The wind served as God's provision to protect me from the heat. It also provided some added resistance to help build and strengthen my muscles. Yes, that meant more effort and strain, but the resistance was working together for a good outcome. And I'm sure the list could go on! Regardless of the reason, it became clear that God had sent the wind to bless, not burden me and that He knew why the wind was needed, even when I couldn't understand its presence and simply felt annoyed, bothered, and burdened by it.

I often try to remember this ride whenever I encounter fierce winds in life. Maybe these "winds" are sent to protect me from the heat of something else. Maybe they are being used to develop strength, endurance, faith, trust, hope, some other fruit of the Spirit in me, or another reason altogether. Whatever the reason, Scripture speaks loud and clear to the fact that trials of various kinds will come, but that when they do, even then God is sovereign over everything. Furthermore, because I have been called, I can know and trust that all things will work together for good. Maybe I simply haven't turned the corner of understanding to see how the Lord is working these things together for good.

Whatever the circumstance, my windy ride reminds me to trust the Lord and remember His promises... that for those who love God and are called according to His purposes, all things work together for good, even the windiest of trials.

Pressing on,

Verses to reference:
John 16:33
2 Corinthians 4:17
James 1:2-4
1 Peter 1:6-7
1 Peter 5:6-7
Psalm 71:20