Reassurance

Well, I have learned something new.

Greensboro_road_signs

Do you know what these types of signs are called?  I knew they identified the name or number of a highway, but beyond that I can’t say I’d ever thought about the fact that they have a particular designation.

They’re called  “reassurance markers”.  I’m not kidding.

I’ve been planning my summer road trip and in the course of looking at maps and websites, I saw a picture of one of these signs labeled as a “reassurance marker”. I honestly thought they made that up.  But here’s the official description: “A reassurance marker or confirming marker is a type of traffic sign that confirms the identity of the route being traveled, but which doesn’t necessarily provide other information such as distances traveled, distances to other locations or upcoming intersections.”

So there you have it.  I’ve been driving for more years than I care to divulge. How is it that I never knew this???

And of course, it got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be great to have reassurance markers in our real life journeys as well?  Sometimes we just need to know we’re on the right road.  When things get difficult or crazy or unfamiliar, we start doubting that we’re where we are supposed to be.  We look for signs for the next intersection or signs to tell us how much further we’ll have to go until we get to our destination. We want warning signs about danger ahead.  Sometimes we’re even looking for rest stops.

But instead of specifics, God may simply give us a reassurance marker.  He’ll let us know we’re still on the right road, but that may be all He’s willing to tell us in spite of our belief that if we just had more information, we’d be much better off. Yet would our faith grow if we demanded that God explain the road? Would we learn to trust Him more if we knew exactly what was up around the bend, if we knew exactly how much further it would be until answered prayer or blessings? Probably not.

Sometimes all we really need to know is that we’re on the right road and leave the rest to Him.

Keep moving forward. Watch for the markers. And be reassured.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.  I will guide you with my eye.  Psalms 32:8

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:6

Your ears will hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it”. Isaiah 30:21

O Lord, I know that the way of a man is not in himself, it is not in man to direct his steps.  Jeremiah 10:23

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delighteth in his way.  Psalm 37:23 

 

Suffer

I admit it.  Sometimes I don’t think the verses that talk about “suffering” apply to me.

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.”       1 Peter 5:10

I love that verse.  It’s powerful and reassuring about God’s purposes in trials.  But as I studied it the other morning, the “after you have suffered a while” left me feeling detached. I’ve known people who have suffered.  Suffered with illness.  Suffered with overwhelming grief.  Suffered with losses I can’t even begin to imagine.

My insignificant trials and testings and disappointments certainly don’t fit in the category of “suffering”.

Or do they?

Suffer:  “To be affected or have been affected, to feel, to have a sensible experience, to undergo.” (from The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament)

Of course it can mean to be affected with an awful illness, to experience the loss of a loved one, to be tortured for your faith.  But it also means that 1 Peter 5:10 could say, “after you have been affected by ___________, after you have experienced ___________, may God perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.”

I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks.

I still think I’ll cringe just a little when reading verses about suffering, because I know that suffering is very real in many people’s lives and I have so much to be thankful for.  But I think I’ll look at those verses a little differently, and allow them to remind me that God cares about the things that affect me.

And He’s promised to use them to change me.  For the better.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  2 Corinthians 4:17

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.       2 Thessalonians 3:3

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

…if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard.  Colossians 1:23

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.                        1 Peter 1:6-7

(first published September, 2011)