We’ve been studying 1 Timothy on Wednesday nights at my home, and had just finished our 3rd week and Chapter 3. Julie, recently widowed, asked:
“Can we skip ahead a week and study chapter 5 next? I really want to understand what God expects of me as a widow, and I’ll be out of town the next week. Could we, please? I hate to sound selfish, but it would mean a lot to me.”
The entire group of ladies excitedly approved. Truth be told, all of us were enjoying being a part of her first bible study since the passing of the love of her life, Tommy Bevaart, and watching God do miracles in her life as she grieved in many healthy ways.
We moved forward and studied Chapter 5 on week 4, moving back to Chapter 4 on week 5. It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d be missing the same week as she, and would be working on Chapter 4 while on the cruise.
I’m on the very same ship I cruised on 7 years ago, almost to the day, with the cult leader and his team of leadership all bent on the purposes of the evil one…some knowingly and some unknowingly. And I’m studying what this week? 1 Timothy 4 … how some, in these latter days, will be led astray by deceptive spirits and doctrines of demons.
When I connected the dots a few days before setting sail, that God was redeeming even a cruise … sending me on the same ship at almost exactly the same time of the year, 7 years later … the significance is showing up everywhere … WOW … Seven is the number of completion and perfection. He is redeeming that horrible experience filled with the doctrines of demons and deceptive spirits with the faithfulness of a gracious, loving, patient, holy, merciful God who cares about even the smallest details of our lives, and I am in awe.
And to top it off, in a way only God can do, He added the proverbial exclamation mark to the word “redeemed” which so aptly describes this trip. I didn’t really think about it when packing, but happened to include a t-shirt I bought at the Enumclaw Rotary Street Fair. It was a fundraiser for Beau, a local 10 year old who’s on the mend from a tragic accident where over 60% of his body was burned. The shirt declares “I love my life” and I’m using it as a night shirt. As I connected these dots I had to shake my head in amazement as I realized how ironic it is. You see, in the cult we were convinced using Luke 14:26 that we had to HATE our lives in order to be a true disciple. But that was just another lie I’d bought, a doctrine of demons.
The truth is, God loves it when we love the life He has given us and point to Him in gratefulness for all He has done. Whether things are going well or we’re in the middle of a disaster, emotionally, financially, on the family front, healthwise, whatever… if life is a mess, I still love my life, because He is at the center of it with me, through the good and the bad.
I wrote most of this blog post on the cruise, and just returned home, unpacking, doing laundry, and packing up again for another local sailing trip with lots of family. As the washing machine whirrrrrs, I sit here in silence, in awe of the peace that passes understanding and the healing my heart has experienced on this most profound week of being lavished with love by a gracious God.
His faithfulness renews and refreshes me in ways that are hard to describe.
What a week.