Bailing on God
- Mary Southerland Journey Ministry, Inc
- 2011 8 Dec
Editor's Note: The following article is excerpted from Trusting God: A Girlfriends in God Devotional, by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, & Mary Southerland (Multnomah Books, 2011). This selection is written by Mary Southerland. Used with permission.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart” (Proverbs 3:5, The Message)
Friend to Friend
I absolutely love being a grandmother and wholeheartedly agree with the familiar adage, “If I had known grandchildren were so wonderful, I would have had them first!” Our fifteen-month-old granddaughter, Lelia Kay, sparkles with joy and has an infectious laugh that instantly captures your heart and compels you to laugh along with her. Consequently, our son, Jered, is always looking for ways to make her laugh. On a recent visit, he proudly demonstrated one of the new “tricks” he had taught Lelia. I was horrified!
Jered came home from work, scooped up his squealing daughter in his arms and grabbed her in a big hug. Lelia wrapped her little arms around her daddy’s neck and then firmly planted a noisy kiss on his cheek. Tears filled my eyes when I heard Jered whisper, “I love you, Lelia.” It was definitely a Kodak moment that left me totally unprepared for the moment that followed.
Lelia giggled, grabbed her daddy’s shirt with both hands and looked up at Jered, a mischievous sparkle in her eyes. I instantly recognized that sparkle and mentally added it to the list of things she had inherited from her daddy. Jered looked over at me and said, “Watch, Mom!” He tightened his hold on his daughter’s chubby little legs, and said, “Bail, Lelia!” Surely, I had heard him wrong. Nope! My precious grandbaby immediately fell backwards through the air, arms and hands dangling loosely over her head, swinging her little body through her daddy’s firmly planted legs, laughing hysterically. My stomach fell and my mouth flew open as I watched her repeat this terrifying toddler version of bungee jumping. Not once did Lelia seem to be afraid. As far as I could tell, there was not the slightest hesitation on her part. I did not see an ounce of caution as she totally abandoned herself to the security of her father’s arms – creating a beautiful and profound illustration of childlike faith.
That picture of faith took on a whole new meaning as we replayed it over dinner. Jered said, “I have to be careful. Lelia will sometimes bail on me when I’m not expecting it.” (Yes, that statement did increase my prayer life.) I looked at my son and like so many times over the years, marveled at his strength, thinking of the countless hours he has spent lifting weights, playing football and now building and remodeling homes. Jered’s massive arms and shoulders are a testimony of discipline and power. No wonder Lelia feels safe and secure in those arms.
I decided then and there that I want to be like Lelia. I want my faith in God to grow to the place where I can bail on God and totally abandon myself to my Father’s safe, strong arms, secure in the knowledge that He will catch me when I fall. I want to obey God without fear, trusting Him to be all I need. I want to depend on and experience God’s power and strength as I plunge into His plan for my life, knowing that He is aware of every step I take, that He monitors every breath I breathe and sees every tear I cry.
It can be scary to trust God if we insist on fully understanding the step of faith He is asking us to take. Proverbs 3:5 assures us that we really can trust God from the bottom of our heart - with every part of our entire life. We tend to focus on what we can see and explain instead of choosing to focus on God and His promises. We need to grow and mature in Christ but we also need to remain childlike in our faith.
Jered has never dropped Lelia. It probably has not even occurred to her that her father could or would drop her. Lelia’s trust in her daddy is complete and whole. And I can assure you Jered delights in that trust and will do everything he can to protect it. God is like that. He celebrates even our tiniest step of faith and rejoices when we abandon our self to Him. How about you? Are you ready to bail into the arms of God?
Father, I thank You for the strength and power of Your love. I praise You for Your faithfulness in my life. I long to believe You wholly and want to walk in a radical obedience to Your truth. Help me to choose faith over fear and trust over doubt. Teach me to rest in Your arms and trust Your heart, even when I don’t understand Your process. I choose to place my faith in You.
In Jesus’ name,
Now it’s Your Turn
Read Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” In your own words, describe the “chariots” and “horses” in your life. Where do you place your trust? In whom or what do you trust? Are you satisfied with the results?
The New Century Version of the Bible translates today’s key verse in Proverbs 3:5 as “Trust the Lord with all your heart and don’t depend on your own understanding.” What part does human understanding play in the process of strengthening our faith in God? What does the word “all” mean to you when it comes to obedience to God?
Excerpted from Trusting God, (Multnomah Books, 2011). Used with permission.
Mary Southerland is The Stress-Buster, a leader at helping women manage stress and enjoy peace in their daily life. Mary Southerland is a dynamic communicator, delivering a powerful message that changes lives. She will make you laugh, cry and walk away thirsting for more! Through warmth, humor, transparency and solid biblical teaching, Mary leads women to discover the powerful truth of God’s word and motivates them to apply it in their daily lives. An international speaker, Mary has spoken to thousands of women across the United States, Latin America, New Zealand, India, Thailand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Women identify with Mary, because she survived the road of clinical depression, infertility, adoption, full-time ministry, and the daily stress of life. She has worked “in the trenches” with pastor’s wives and women’s ministry leaders. Through God’s power, Mary emerged with joy, strength, and victory. Mary’s books include, Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, and Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry.
Publication date: December 8, 2011