Our family has just come to the end of my husband’s very long period of unemployment. When the company he worked for was acquired, his division was eliminated. It was not unexpected and the Lord gave us His peace during the months that preceded the acquisition and the many months of unemployment that followed.
During this time, we could see the Lord’s hand in our lives, both collectively and individually. We know our lives are not subject to “fate” or “random chance” or “luck”. We know the Living God and His providence is ever active in our lives. Even when we can’t see His activity, we know He is active. Our seeing does not preclude His action, just as His faithfulness does not depend on our faithfulness.
It has been through this trial that I have noticed the phenomenon of acuity. The hyper sensitivity to the world around me that brings even the most ordinary things into focus. I recently saw an example of this in a friend’s life. She and her husband relocated to our area from the midwest. In the process, they have seen the Lord’s providence in selling their home, buying a new home, renovating the new home, finding a new home church, making new friends and more. Through it all, their awareness of the Lord’s activity has been heightened because He removed them from what was familiar.
When we are immersed in the familiar we often miss the Lord’s activity. It is not marvelous to us. It is not unexpected nor is it deemed awe-inspiring or particularly praiseworthy. He is, after all, God. God can do anything! He created the heavens and the earth by His great power and His outstretched arm, nothing is too difficult for Him. (Jeremiah 32:17) The ordinary things of our days are acknowledged by a sweet sigh, “Oh, that’s the Lord.” But where is our deliberate worship?
When we are swept up in the familiar machinations of our days, we may take note of the Lord’s activity or miss it all together. How can it be that the ordinary experiences of our lives fail to bring us near to our Creator? He is near to us. Where are we? Immersed in the familiar. Familiar surroundings, relationships, routines. Even our experiences with the Lord may seem routine. And then He intervenes. He heightens our acuity.
Until we have acuity, we do not fall down at the throne of grace. I have learned that sometimes it takes the Lord removing the familiar so that I can see His provision. It’s counterintuive to our human sensibilities. Removing to see provision. It’s the removing that sensitizes us to the Lord. A friendship is strained, a job is lost, a disappointment, an injury, an illness, the list is long. It’s through these times of removal of relationship, health, wealth and the like that we see the Lord’s activity and His provision to His glory.
His glory is manifested in the impossible. His glory speaks to who He is. We often hear the familiar snippet of a verse “for His name’s sake.” For His name’s sake reflects His personal character and attributes. His name is Who He Is – faithful and true, merciful and just. Love. The Lord’s character is as deep as the list of His attributes. They are infinite and the Bible provides us a glimpse of God in a way that we can understand in our humanity.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:2-3
Our experiences filtered through the Word reveal God’s character to us in a very personal way. It is through the trials of life that God is revealed to our hearts. He gives what is needed. He preserves what is dear.
Who provides? Who leads? Who restores? Who guides? And why? For His name’s sake. It is in the ordinary rhythm of life that the Lord is glorified – in our rest, our refreshing, our healing and our righteousness. He is holding it all together. Nothing is too difficult for Him.