Wednesday, February 3, 2021

2-Finding God's Will: Bible Survival

The Big Idea: Bible verses that help you trust God and seek His will.

Can I know God's Will?

In the mid-sixties on a cold day in September. We lived in Grand Forks, North Dakota where the black rich soil grew the best of crops. My mom and dad took us to a potato field where combines were harvesting potatoes. Mom gave each of us an old ice cream bucket and invited us to help gather potatoes left behind in the dirt. It was called "gleaning," just like what Ruth did in Bible times.

"It's because Daddy's job is on strike again," Mom explained. "This will help us to have enough potatoes to last us through the winter."

We filled a large sackcloth full of potatoes, stored them in sand in the basement, and ate them through the winter.

How does a child feel when their parent's world caves in? 

I remember the first time Dad's job went on strike. Dad tried to sell World Book Encyclopedias door-to-door. Then he got a job processing milk. Mom became a Tupperware lady. 

My siblings and I pitched in monthly to clean the local Red Cross building. We got by. But we all knew money was short and we should all pitch in.

Less than two years later, Dad's company went on strike again. By the time it would be done, dad would have been off work for almost a full year between the two strikes. We could hear his disgust and frustration by now.

"I need to look for a new job, Eileen," he told my mom. "I can't keep doing this anymore with a company with this attitude."


As kids, we had not really noticed the hardship. 

Then we started to notice the cracks in the serene facade as the strike got longer and longer. I started to worry about my dad. But one night, at our church's Wednesday night prayer meeting, my father stood up to share a testimony.

"I want to share two verses with you tonight," he began, "that have been important to me for a long time. 

 'For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

A couple chapters later is another favorite verse. 

 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'  Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

 As you know, I have been out of work for awhile now because of the strike. We feel I need to find something else. I don't know what that is, but I know I can depend on God and call on Him. He will take care of us. I find great comfort in that and I hope you can too in your situation."

I felt better about our family situation after that night. And I decided I needed to remember these verses for the rest of my life. They got marked in my Bible.


Years later in college, I went back to these verses when I was not sure where I would get my first job. The hiring market had completely upended and no one was hiring in my home state of Minnesota. I wanted to panic. It helped a little that the rest of my class was in a similar situation. Still it was very unnerving. 

I made these verses into homemade bookmarks to remember them. I put them on a 3x5 card and propped them up on my dresser. I remembered them when I prayed.

Another verse in the Old Testament became a significant part of seeking God's Will for my life.

The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isiaiah58:11 NIV

This verse allowed me to trust Him when I found Him leading me to be a missionary in Africa. It was not what I had expected. I really thought I was to go to Japan as a missionary. But He changed my course. 

I knew as I prayed and sought Him, he would guide. And He would satisfy my needs and give me strength.

Later I was at another standstill in life. I was very torn. I was a missionary and I thought I was supposed to go back to Africa. That was my life calling, right? But I kept getting led in another direction regarding service to God in the United States. 

This would be a total shift from how I had envisioned what I thought God had for my life. 

How could I know what to do? 

What was the right thing to do?



When I suggest you mark up your Bible, it helps you find verses again and again during the hard parts of life. His Word for us is eternal. It is always relevant. 

Often the trials and upheaval of life gets harder each time. We can lean on the former verses, for it helps us build on what we have already experienced. 

God's Word is active. It is not static. It is not dead. It is living and active (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). It grows in us and deepens. It reminds me of a diamond that has multi-facets. You bring the verse out in a new situation and find the relevancy and understanding to be a new, deeper hue.

By this time, colored sticky notes were available. Instead of writing these verses on 3x5 cards, they went on colored sticky notes. I put them on my mirror, in front of the kitchen sink, on the door of the fridge and any other spot I frequented. 

By this time these verses were memorized. I could reflect on them and pray through them at any time during the day.

It fixed my mind on Him and was like nourishment for my soul day and night. He answered my prayer for guidance. It was never immediate. It always took time. I think this is in part, because God loved how much I leaned on Him in moments like these. 

I look back on these days as a sweet, special time of intimacy with God. 

And these verses are precious to my soul.


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1. Have you worried about your parents too? Or worried how to provide for your children?

2. Where do you turn when you have no idea what to do?

3. Is there a verse in the Bible that gives you comfort? How might you apply this in an unnerving situation?

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Diane,
    I had intended to read each section of Scripture Spy, but I see you have a number of entries in each section mentioned on your first page. I guess I'll be in this section for awhile. I love what you have shared setting a good example of how to apply Scripture in our lives. You may want to turn all these into a book!