Aside

I beginning to love this guy Abraham. What an interesting character! Like I said yesterday, it’s surprising the little details that are really jumping out at me in Genesis.

Genesis 21:22 is the start of a few verses where Abraham meets with King Abimelech and makes an oath to treat the king with honor and kindness. After the two men commit to the treaty, Abraham spends time with the Lord and…plants a tamarisk tree (vs. 33). A what? Why?? He plants a tree. So I Googled what this tree was. Why on earth would Abraham have planted a tree and did this one have significance?

The Tamarisk tree is a type of pine needle tree. It’s needles collect salt, creating a grey look to the tree. And because of the salt there is also a condensation that collects on the tree in the evenings, which lasts until mid morning the next day. The trees are known for being a place for rest, not only because of their shade but because the condensation creates a light mist under the tree.

So Abraham planted a tree of rest, a place of escape from the heat of the day, to represent the oath he had made. Proof of the oath he had made before God.

No matter what is going on around us, the ‘heat’ our peers are putting on us to live our lives in a certain way, we can always rest in the promises that God has made to us. In his promises there is escape, when we focus on his word, his oath, we can quench our thirst. When we sit in the shadow of God’s word, we can rest our minds and allow his presence to give us peace.

“…and there he called upon the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.”

Genesis 21:33b

Abraham planted a place of escape in the promises he had made before God and then he called upon the name of the ETERNAL GOD. The God that is has control over everything. The God that has been, is and will be forever. The God that has seen every single second of our lives from when we were conceived until our death. Not just A God, but THE God.

Today, I am sitting beside a fireplace, the snow has been falling for days, I have several good books to read and my drawing journal beside me, a hot cup of coffee and some peaceful music. Today, I feel cozy and blessed and lucky to be spending some peaceful time regrouping. Today, it’s easy to rest in God’s promises. But some day’s it’s not. And in those days, regardless of what is happening around me, I need to remind myself to rest under the shelter of God’s word. When I do that, I will find restoration and strength. And while I am remembering God’s promises, I need to call on my Eternal God.

I’m loving Genesis. The beginning. And God has done so much work since then, the story has evolved for thousands of years since the stories of Genesis. I am living my Genesis, I wonder what God is planning on doing in my years. It’s a constant battle to allow him to mold my life and not take control of it myself, but if my story turns out half as interesting as the people in the bible, I am willing to give myself up for God to work with.

I’m still reading through Genesis. I’m taking my time and really relishing the information that I come across. It’s amazing, the facts I didn’t know about these stories. And it’s the little things that are popping out to me that are surprising. I’ll be covering a few of them in different posts.

In Genesis 26:1-6 the bible tells about a famine. Isaac went to be with the King of the Philistines in Gerar and it was there that God told him to stay. Even though there was a famine, God told Isaac that he would provide for his needs.

At this point, Isaac is married to Rebekah and they have twin boys.

Lets put ourselves in this situation for a bit and assess the reality of what is happening to Isaac. He’s 60ish, he has a beautiful wife, Rebekah, and two sons. Food is scarce and he has the means to bring his family to a place where he can provide a more full life for them. A place where he can provide the necessity of food…He has the choice to either listen to the voice of God and do something different, daring and maybe strange and stay in a place where he can’t, in the worlds eyes, provide for his family or he can pack up his house and bring them to a land where it makes sense to raise a young family. God spoke to Isaac, not his family, not his wife, God spoke to Isaac. Can you imagine what Isaac’s family was saying? “I can’t believe he would treat his family this way! Why doesn’t he provide food for them? I mean, isn’t that what a husbands job is?! Who cares what he thinks God has told him! It’s completely irresponsible to not provide their basic needs for them! That’s his JOB! God would never tell him not to provide for his family!”

Isaac’s servants were grumbling behind his back, his brother kept messaging him to tempt him with thoughts of moving, all Isaac’s friends were moving to a more prosperous land…And it made sense. Why not just forget this voice in his head, who knows if it really was God anyways?, and go with the more accepted way of doing things? No, these comments aren’t biblically based, their my human opinion of what the other details of the story might be. But I wonder if they aren’t a bit of what was happening to Isaac…

And wow, does this ever sound like a situation I just went through this Christmas.

The situation with my marriage doesn’t make sense to many people. I have comments about moving on, checking out so-and-so, finding a new man…frequently. But God has told me to wait for my husband, no matter how long it takes and not matter what the circumstances look like to the human eye. God has told me to wait. So I wait.

The situation with my job doesn’t make sense to many people. I have comments about finding a better paying job constantly. Stats on the income another job could give me. Comments about my living arrangements. Discussions about my car and possible repairs it may require soon. But God told me to work at this restaurant and so I work.

My life makes no sense to the majority of people to hear my story. At first some people will admire what I am doing and then when they see some of the realities of what I have to “deal with”, they start to question whether I should start to take the direction of my life into my own hands.

Sometimes trusting and walking in God’s instructions to you will look like irresponsibility. Don’t kid yourself into thinking the bible preaches otherwise. Like Isaac, sometimes we need to ignore what others are saying around us and look ONLY to God and what he is telling us. HE is all that matters, not the opinions of those around us. Take what they say with a grain of salt. Line it up with scripture as well as God’s personal instruction to you and then see what you can take from it. And sometimes you’ll need to block what they say completely.

I know what God has told me, I know the promises he has given me, I know the instructions he has given me. And until he shows me otherwise, I will walk in those promises and instructions regardless of how much sense it makes to those around me. It’s my GOD’s opinion of me that I have to live with eternally, not my friend’s or family’s.

God’s instruction won’t always make sense, but he is God. Not only does he know best, but he has the means and the ability to provide for your every. single. need. Sometimes his plans don’t seem to make sense. But God can see the entire picture. If he has given you instruction, trust him. It might not make sense right now, but one day you will look back and realize he was right.

Later in Genesis it says that Isaac planted crops and harvested a hundredfold. He became rich, it says, and he had so many flocks and herds servants that the Philistines envied him (Genesis 26:12-14). Isaac became so rich that the King asked him to move away from his lands because he was too powerful…

And I bet that when God asked Isaac to stay in the famine infested land, there was no way Isaac could have predicted that blessing happening to him.

I was thinking yesterday about my experiences trying to run away from my marriage.

One of the memories that came to mind was the weekends I spent with my boyfriend. I was very invested in the relationship and had told him I was in love with him. We were talking about moving in together, how we would raise kids together and he had mentioned buying me a ring. My heart was more involved with him than it had been with any other man. But still…still there was something missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it. There was a wall between us, a level that I just couldn’t get to. It didn’t matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t allow myself to fully relax with him. I enjoyed his company, I had fun, but I knew that my heart wasn’t as invested as it needed to be…there was something missing.

I always looked forward to the weekends we spent together. When I had time off of work it was spent with my boyfriend and every time I had this image of the weekends being relaxing. I wanted to feel rejuvenated, refreshed and content. And I’m sure that’s what people saw me enjoying with him. But that’s not entirely what my heart felt. Every weekend ended with the feeling that I needed something more, that we had rushed around too much and that the goal hadn’t been achieved. I felt more restless than before. And that feeling almost left me panicky. What was wrong that I couldn’t reach that goal? What was wrong with me that I couldn’t break that invisible wall down?

Being that my husband is involved with someone else right now, I tend, as most people would, to believe what my eyes are telling me. They look happy in pictures, his family thinks he’s happy, life seems to be going pretty smoothly…But if I remember how my life seemed to others when I was rebelling against God and how I still appeared happy and content to those around me, I should know that you can’t always believe what you are seeing.

Chances are, if you can see trouble, there’s even more going on under the surface. Like rapids on the river. If there’s movement on the top, there’s even more current underneath.

If you are in a situation where you are judging the book by the cover and not trusting that God is working even when you can’t see it, stop. If God has given you specific instructions and you are following his commands, keep going regardless of what your eyes are telling you. Trust that God knows what he is doing, because he really does and he really is. Be obedient, take the steps that he is instructing you to take, and trust that he is working on the other side of the mountain. There’s a point to God’s instructions. He isn’t just asking to you to walk a certain way for fun. He’s doing it for a reason.

When I was dating my boyfriend, everyone around thought we were the cutest thing. We looked good together, we were happy together, we had fun together, we made an effort for each other and we told people how happy we were. We were everything we were supposed to be as a couple and when you looked at us, you would have thought that everything was going smoothly.

Don’t make assumptions from what you see. There is so much more happening under the surface.

God is working even when it doesn’t seem like he is even looking in your direction.

When I was sleeping with my boyfriend I was thinking of my husband (two years later!). But I wasn’t telling my closest friends that. When we would go on dates I would wish he would do things my husband used to do. But I wasn’t telling my friends that. During sex I would wish he would do things or say things my husband used to do. But I wouldn’t dream of telling my friends that.

If your spouse is running away from your marriage, don’t trust what your eyes are seeing or what your ears are hearing of their circumstances. They are searching for God and until they find him, they will never be content.

Satan’s lies are temporary thrills so why would we stay in them permanently?

Every single time I would say ‘never’ about my marriage, my heart squeezed inside me. “I will never move back to my home town”: my heart told me I would. “I would never try things again with my husband”: My heart told me I would. Whatever a ‘never’ was attached to what I was saying, I knew in my heart it wasn’t true.

Don’t trust what your rebellious spouse is saying or what their lifestyle looks like because chances are high that the exact opposite is happening in their heart and they know it.

This is where being prayer warrior is critical. Bend those knees, get on your face before God and know that even when you don’t see him working, he is! Allow God the space to work in your spouses life because he can do a much better job than you could even attempt.