We moved to Virginia in November of 2000 to find some land and build after talking about 'moving north to the forest' for about 14 years. We bought a "temporary" home so we could look for a piece of land to build. After 18 months of searching, we found a piece of land with lots of plant diversity and running water on the border and built a house. In the process there were many problems and challenges and looking back we sure were wondering what God was doing.
Our belief isn't that God sends evil our way because the devil works free and overtime on that task; however, we do believe that everything in our lives has to be filtered through the loving hands of God to be allowed in. We would most times choose to call 'evil' what God says will be 'good' for us if we love Him (Romans 8:28).
We have such finite human minds and yet we expect to understand the omnipotence of God in our lives, and sadly, when we do not, many of us turn away hurt and angry that life did not go the way we had planned it.
We certainly had opportunity to do that when our Virginia land and home dream crumbled. After a 40' x 90' section of forest was taken out due to a very rainy season and equipment sliding and getting stuck, we didn't have the look or feel for the way we had designed the house, so we made the choice to sell upon completion. One long-term dream down the drain.
I still have the longing in my heart for a piece of God's creation deep in the forest to call my own, and to steward, and to walk with Him by my side showing me the wonders of the natural world that He created for our enjoyment. I picture having Scripture verses on the paths and being able to take groups of children on trail walks as I show them the amazing world of God's creative mind.
For now, I've fallen in love with gardening on the acre we have. We have a shopping center not far behind us, and a new development of 102 townhomes going in. Not exactly what you might call "peaceful" but then our peace comes from God and not our circumstances, right?
Since things have not happened in my timing, I have had to rely on my faith to uphold me when we take country drives through areas that I would love to live in. Contentment tours. Great lesson in being content with where you are now ... and also great opportunity to build my faith! To know that God is working and that our place is out there. Like healing, it takes time to prepare it and bring it to pass. We can't see in the spiritual realm, but much is happening there on our behalf.
Dreams keep us focused on the future to make it easier to leave the past behind us, which is a good thing. I've certainly spent enough of the past whining about God's answer to my prayers. I never did like "no" for an answer. Contentment is a hard place to arrive at sometimes when you live in a country that promotes "having it all" and "having it your way."
A.B. Simpson, in his book "Joshua" says: "As faith continues to speak, God continues to give. He meets you today in the present and tests your faith. As long as you are waiting, hoping, or looking, you are not believing. You may have hope or an earnest desire, but that is not faith, for "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1). We are to believe that we have received it (Mark 11:24)."
I had to chew on that for awhile because I continued to wait, hope and look for our place, and I thought I had arrived at the Faith Threshold and passed through when I could allow God to choose the timing. When I no longer pined and begged for it to come to pass NOW! Faith comes in stages. I see my loving Papa guiding me to a much more important place than the place of my dream. True faith for me is knowing daily that THIS is the day that the Lord has made for me and I choose to call it wonderful.
When we live by faith, we need no further evidence of good in our lives but God's Word. He has told us He has the best for us and He will bring that to pass. True faith sustains us in the most trying of times, and we live in some trying times as many of the end time events are unfolding before us. Even when everything threatens to contradict God's Word and the devil whispers continually in our ear the opposite of what God tells us is true, we can stand in faith as David did when he wrote Psalm 27:13-14:
"I am still confident of this. I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
Sounds like a lot of waiting? Only on our part. God is actively working, and waiting teaches us many things. In a world expecting instant gratification, we become visibly more Christ-like by being content and full of faith that God will provide all we desire and need. We may not have the right picture of it in our minds, but our faith will allow us to know that it is the best!
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold (or land), which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (I Peter 1:6-7).
Donna L. Watkins lives in Central Virginia with her wonderful husband enjoying birds, wildlife, gardening, forests, nature travel and her cat, Squeek. More articles can be found at TheHerbsPlace.com and a free subscription to her mailing, A Healing Moment. http://www.theherbsplace.com/ahm.html