I am pleased to welcome Dr. Julie Tofilon as a writer to our blog (you can read more about Julie on our About Us page). Julie was a former student of mine at Columbia International University and she gives us a fresh reminder of God’s sovereignty that if God doesn’t give us what we want, then it isn’t what we need.
Was a monthly fellowship group meeting today or not? I checked an old email. At 12:15. Not a good time to check for a lunch meeting that starts at noon. “Jan. 15th! Oh no, that’s today!” I closed the computer, bolted up, and dashed off to change clothes. “Oh dear, that’s right, Tom (my husband) took the trusty Toyota, leaving me with the shaky Subaru. I’m not even supposed to drive that. But hey, I know the Lord really wants me there because our friends, overseas workers in the same country we served in, are coming to speak. Besides, who’d ever purposely miss a meal provided by Cantonese restaurant owners who host this “True Bread Fellowship”? So I found the spare key and jetted out the door, wishing I had a jet-pack to go to our church building. (We people are the church).
Only one problem– the car didn’t start. “That’s strange,” I mused, “This car just started for Joe last week, before he left, so it should start now.” Tried again. Nothing. And again. A bit of “coughing engine” sounds. “Oh bummer. Guess I’ll call Tom and see if he can come get me.” No answer. So I tried a couple others who go, and they didn’t answer. Finally a third person answered. She wasn’t going today. So I attempted to start the car again. Same as before. Kind of like insanity—trying the same non-working procedure over and again.
“Ok, stay calm. If the Lord wants me there, He’ll get me there.” So I prayed, “Lord, please help this car start if you want me to get there to hear a great presentation by friends we haven’t seen in over a year, and this is their only time, and besides, there’s all that delicious food… Amen.” And I tried firing up the engine again—that is NOT insanity—trying again after one has prayed. Nothing. Sigh.
At that moment the phone rang– “Tom! You got my message?!” “Yeah, that’s why I’m calling”. “Are you at the fellowship meeting now?”
“There is no fellowship meeting.”
“Why not?!” (I felt more emotion than Tom did).
“Because there’s no one here.” (Such a reason).
“Oh. But the email said the 15th.” (Peace and relief flooded my soul the same way I probably flooded the engine). “It’s a good thing the car didn’t start.”
“You mean you were going to take the Subaru?!” (Now the emotions had transferred to Tom).
“Yeah, I was ready to do what it took to get there.”
“I would’ve called you if they were having the meeting. I know how important it is to you.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that. Thanks! You’re so sweet!” We chatted awhile and ended the call.
God reminded me of two valuable truths through this: 1)His sovereignty is always good—if something doesn’t work that we “have to do”, either we don’t have to, or He’s protecting us from something. Because the Lord is all-knowing, sovereign, and good, He knows what’s best, is always able to do what’s best, and will do what’s ultimately best for us. Therefore I can and should trust Him. Psalm 9:10 tells us: “Those who know Your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.” Knowing God’s name means knowing His character, which leads to trust. 2) I need to trust my godly husband more. Good marriages are built on trust and trustworthiness, supporting each other in love (Ephesians 4:1-3). Which brings us back to truth number one—trusting our perfect God.