John had been out of work for sometime. He was devoted to his young family of wife and baby. He was desperate for a job that paid well. Finally, he got an offer that he had to either accept or not immediately. It was an enormous salary increase over any previous employment. He had to decide fast because the ship that would take him and his specialized truck needed for the job would be leaving in two days for Australia.
John and his wife were sad to move so far from family and friends. But he had been searching so long, it seemed their only chance; everything else about the job was perfect. The plan was for him to move ahead of the family.
After he accepted the job, his wife went home to pack.
My parents were there. They congratulated John and were thankful the pay was so great and that (almost) everything seemed so good. They went home.
The next day, unsettled about the family having to move so far away, I told my friend named Ruby. She was a friend of his family. Ruby and her father owned two large companies. I told her how John and his wife did not want to go to Australia; I reminded her of his education and industry experience.
I asked, “Isn’t there anything you or your dad could find for him?”
Ruby made a few phone calls and got John an interview for the next day, which happened to be the day the ship was scheduled to leave.
In the meantime, before that interview was set, we told John what she was working on. He was quite thankful and happy but added, “Well, I have to know tonight. The ship leaves in the morning.”
The phone rang; it was my mom. She asked how things were and then she said, “Cheryl, Dad and I didn’t want to say anything last night because John had been looking for a job for such a long time. Also, because the salary was excellent and he thought it was a good deal, we didn’t want to spoil what he saw as a gift. But I have to tell you now that neither of us feel good about this. We feel like it’s not the perfect plan and the perfect job for him. There’s something else.”
And I said, “Well, Mom, I’m not supposed to tell anyone this because it’s being done behind the scenes. I’ll tell you because I know you and I know how well you know Jesus and that by telling you it’s only good because of your relationship with Jesus.” But before I could tell her about Ruby looking for a job for John at her father’s company, he came back and it was time for Ruby to tell him about the job interview; we hung up.
So Ruby told John about the interview and he said, “But the interview has to be tonight; the ship leaves in the morning.”
And she said, “I tried. Tomorrow is the only time possible. And it looks really good for you, too.”
I told him about Mom’s call and he was surprised my parents felt so strongly about it. He trusted their intuition because he knew them well.
And I said, “Unless there is perfect peace in every aspect, unless you realize a blanket of peace that covers every tiny aspect of the whole situation and you, it is not perfect.”
And I visualized a literal blanket covering someone, or a family, as they make decisions. The blanket covered them and even went out a little beyond them and was sealed on the edges so that only peace would reach them.
John looked directly into my eyes as he listened.
I added, “If there is one little part that grumbles a little, that’s not peace. And it’s not perfect. You have to let the ship leave without you, and trust God.”
I woke up repeating, “Unless there is absolute perfect peace when stepping into something new – anything new – we must let the ship leave without us and trust God.”
End of Dream
Later the next day, I spent time thinking about a big decision I am in the middle of. Rolling through my mind were those same words: Unless there is absolute perfect peace when stepping into something new – anything new – we must let the ship leave without us and trust God. And I saw that blanket again, that a situation or a person or family making an important decision is lying under – like on a bed, but it’s kind of out in a grassy place – and the blanket is over them with no ripples or crumples in the fabric and it is sealed around all edges, letting nothing ‘bad’ get under there with them or the decision/situation. And it is a restful place, filled with absolute peace; there is no anxiety whatsoever.
I will use the blanket image as reference as I move forward to know God’s direction for this decision. I’ll use it for all my large or small decisions, for that matter. Because I trust that God only wants what’s absolutely best for me. Doesn’t he?
Just like the young man and his family. Of course God wanted him to have a good job to provide well for his family. But God also wanted him to trust Him for the perfect job – in every way. Sometimes trusting God calls us to wait longer than we think makes sense, based on what we see around us. We must remind ourselves that God sees way more than we do.
Then I saw the blanket in the grassy area, and these words came to me, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”
Not only will we have perfect peace when we make decisions by trusting God. As well, the final decision will be life-giving. He restores our souls as we wait on Him, as we trust Him and rest in Him and not make a move even when so much seems perfect – but not quite. Life-giving restoration. No angst. No anxiety. Only peace that passes all understanding. It’s what every good father desires for his children, right?
After all my morning journal reflections, I returned to the Magnificat and recited the previous night’s prayers and readings, as I often do the next day.
“You, O Lord, are my lamp.
My God, who lightens my darkness.
With you I can break through any barrier,
With my God I can scale any wall.
As for God, his ways are perfect.
The word of the Lord, purest gold.
He indeed is the shield of all who make Him their refuge.
For who is God but the Lord?
Who is a rock but our God?
The God who girds me with strength,
And makes the path safe before me.”
I will wait. And I will trust. And I will know the safety, peace, and joy of being in His perfect will.
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