The box under the bed held remnants of a life I’d forgotten.

There were spelling tests and penmanship practice sheets and report cards.  There were crayon drawings and birthday cards from grandparents and even an award for 2nd place in an elementary school sack race.  Probably the last award for any kind of athleticism I ever achieved!  

My mother has kept all these items in that box under the bed for years.  And while I was home for Thanksgiving, I decided to dig through it.  I sat on the floor in that bedroom for quite awhile, reliving memories I didn’t even know I had.

At the very bottom was something unexpected.  An unfinished “paint-by-number” picture.  Do kids even do paint-by-number anymore?  Why would we have saved an unfinished painting?  Did I plan to go back and fill in those numbers?

Maybe God wanted us to save it so that decades later it would remind me of how He works in my life.

I could tell it was going to be a picture of a big horse and a little horse.  What little girl didn’t go through the “I want a horse” phase?  The baby horse is almost filled in with paint.  The mother horse has a way to go.  And the background has an awful lot of empty numbers where paint should go eventually.

I’m sure the finished picture would have been beautiful.  But the fact that it’s unfinished holds the lesson.

Our lives unfold gradually,too.  God fills in a spot here, a spot there.  And sometimes it seems that we can’t see the big picture.  We can’t figure out what all these little empty places will come together to be.  They seem random.  And it feels incomplete.  We want to know the end of the story.

But this painting in a box under a bed reminded me that God is going to complete my painting in His way and in His time.  He’s got a plan.  He knows what the finished picture look like.

I think I’ll hang this picture up just like it is. And remember that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

The LORD will work out His plans for my life— for Your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me. Psalm 138:8  (NLT)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)


I stopped singing in the middle of a hymn in church a few weeks ago.

Come, my soul, thy suit prepare:
Jesus loves to answer prayer;
He Himself has bid thee pray,
Therefore will not say thee nay;
Therefore will not say thee nay.

Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much;
None can ever ask too much.

There were a few verses after that, but when I sang the part about large petitions, I stopped.  Something had touched a place in my heart that I hadn’t been to in a while.

The place where I hide my large petitions.

God was asking me why I haven’t brought those big needs before Him lately.  And I really didn’t have an answer.  Maybe deep inside I didn’t think He’d answer after all these years.  Maybe I had just gotten weary of asking.  Maybe I really did think they were “too much”.

But when God stops you in the middle of church, He’s trying to tell you something.  And as odd as it was to just stand there with my hymnal in my hand while others around me kept singing, it was a really good moment.  God was speaking.  To me.

He was reminding me that nothing is too big to bring before Him.  He was reminding me that He is the King, and that is exactly why the largest of petitions belong right there at His feet.

I had to do a little research to find out what “prepare thy suit” means.  In the old English it means “an appeal made to a person of superior rank or status or the act of making such a petition”.

Jesus wants my petitions.  Even the large ones.

Maybe even especially the large ones.

(from “Come My Soul Thy Suit Prepare” by John Newton, 1779)

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

For what great nation is there that has God is so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?  Deuteronomy 4:7

It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.  Isaiah 65:24

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  John 14:13