I have been thinking, thinking, thinking about Corrie ten Boom, and the post I wrote. I have been mulling over and over her words that said, "a wise hand put it there (a stone) so that you may take a good look at it". Well, I cannot certainly wholeheartedly agree with that, and I wanted to make it clear. I totally feel that if, for every trial and trouble and anxiety you have, you take it to God, He will direct you and give you peace.
I totally do not think all trouble and bad things that happen come from God. I have come to realize that at least for me, the question of why bad things happen is not relevant to how I handle it. For me, in the long run, it does not matter at all where the thing that is causing me trouble comes from. It only matters what I do with it. I think that it is this part of the stone devotional that clicked so much with me. I could hypothetically do something really wrong and it would cause me trouble. Some bad person could hypothetically do something to me or my family and it would cause me trouble. Some good person driving carefully at the stop light could cause my "trouble" if I am being impatient and not loving or rushing around not on time. The rain could fall when I wished for sun, and I would feel troubled. Now not all of these things would necessarily be considered stones. However, if they make you or I stumble, it could be a stone in our path.
I have been trying to practice a good reaction to trouble, instead of looking for a place or person to place blame. If you really thought something was God's fault, would that change your responsibility to act like a loving, patient, forgiving human being? I have come to find out that it doesn't for me.
In fact, there is more peace in my life when I quit trying to figure out if something bad is from God and instead try to focus on what He would want me to do in that situation, whether it be to speak up, be quiet, walk away, choose not to be offended, be patient, or just wait. It is quite difficult to actually believe that He truly truly cares about the little things in life, but He does. I want to show God's love everywhere, at the stop light, at home, at Wal-Mart, at church. I want to be the same person everywhere I go. I want anyone looking at me at the stop light to see a patient loving person, and not a grumbling, sour, impatient one (this is one reason my husband and I do not put bumper stickers on our vehicles, but that is another post entirely--it is not God's fault that His children act very ugly sometimes).
For me, my reactions always begin with my thoughts. That is one reason I like to meditate on the word of God. One of my favorite verses is the "think on these things" one (Philippians 4:8). Think about it, if you or I only thought about things that were lovely, pure, virtuous, good, etc., would there be any room for negative thoughts which would surely lead to something done or said that would be regretted?
KJV: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
So, when I come to a stone and take it to God, sometimes I find that I put it there by my own words and actions. Then, God help me tell the truth. Maybe I spoke ugly. Maybe some ugly things in my life are due to my own inaction or action.
The good news is that I have realized that I should give myself a new start every day, to forgive myself, and give my self grace. To give myself some love and patience that I do not deserve.....because God has already forgiven me, and He waits every day for me to ask Him for help at every stone, in every situation. I hope you give yourself some grace, too, and trust Him to help you because He is an ever present help in time of trouble. (psalm 46:1)