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July 25, 2020 8:03 am
How does your story fit in the big picture of God's providence?
There are interludes in this book that take people back to the word and help them see from this perspective.
Now how these people dealt with what they didn't know, but they trusted God for the future. God wants to tell the story of Jesus through our lives. God is writing a bigger story that we won't see, too. We can look back in retrospect.
Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, authors and speakers Robert and Nancy DeMoss Wagaman join us to help us embrace the mystery of God's providence. Our featured resource today is their book. You can trust God to write your story. Find out more at five love languages dot com.
You know, after a lot of years of experiencing and observing God at work and the twists and turns of their lives. Robert and Nancy have written their first book together. It came out last fall. This was one of the best programs of twenty nineteen. And you're going to hear it on this summer.
Best of broadcast. Our host Gary Chapman resonates with this topic. Gary, you've seen how God has used the good and the bad in your life, right?
Well, that's certainly true, Chris. Going back to when I spent three years getting my PTSD so I could teach on the mission for you. And then we applied to the mission board. And Carolyn and I got turned down. You know, basically because of her health, that was a tough time. And we questioned God. You know, we questioned the mission board. And Carolyn felt badly that she was keeping me from the mission for, you know, all of that. But look what's happened. Yeah. Now, my books are all over the world. And that's an example of what we're gonna talk about today. God's story was bigger than our story. And then the whole ordeal with Carolyn's cancer seven years ago and walking through that journey with her. And I saw how she allowed God's word to resonate through her heart during that time. And he brought her out of that. And back to a normal life. And for both of us, we had a much deeper sense that life is fragile. And we're here today. So let's use today. Yeah. God works good things out of the things we don't always understand. So I'm looking forward to our conversation today.
I am so excited to get to talk with the Borg on this. Anytime we have them on here. We've heard their story before. They became Mr. and Mrs. in 2015. Nancy founded and leads Revive Our Hearts. Roberts, co-founder of the literary agency Wohlgemuth and Associates. The full title of our featured resource today is You Can Trust God to Write Your Story. Embracing the Mysteries of Providence. You can find out more at five love languages dot com.
Well, Nancy and Robert, welcome back to Building Relationships.
Thank you, Gary. Thank you. Always good to talk to you.
So how did this idea come about? There has to be a story behind the two of you writing this first book together.
Everybody has a story. Just a few moments ago, you were telling the story about you and Carolyn. And what we've discovered is that everybody has a story. If it's that the driver of the shuttle to the rental car place or the guy that's fixing your sprinklers in the lawn or your spouse or your friends or your family or loved ones like you and Chris, everybody has a story. And so the joy of writing this book was unpacking our own story and then the stories of many of our good friends.
We're actually we've both written a lot of books on our own. But this was the first time we came together to write. And Robert and I, as I'm sure is true with other husband, wife writing teams, we have different styles, different approaches to writing.
And yet we really felt that it was time because this was something that was so in our heart as we had seen God writing our individual stories and then bringing us together. Speaking of Building Relationships and the joy of saying, look, we see God's hand at work in our lives, in the lives of people were close to who've been through some really hard things. And we see that this isn't about us. Ultimately, ultimately, this is about a beautiful, amazing story that God is writing in our world and in and through our lives.
So we came together with some fear and trembling. In fact, the night before we actually started writing. Are you sure you want to tell this story? Well, the short version is I had a bit of a meltdown standing in the kitchen and thinking there there's no way we can do this.
But, you know, you can trust God to write your story and you can trust God to help you write a book about it. And it turned out to be really a joy and something that we believe is already we're seeing God use it to bring comfort and encouragement and hope to people who feel like they're drowning in a story that's totally different than the one they would have expected for themselves.
Well, God certainly brought you together on the book. And I think God is going to use it to help a lot of other couples. It seems like the focus of the book is to see how my small story that his story with a small s fits in with the capital s God's. Sorry in my life. Is that the picture?
Yeah, it is. When we sign books and we have the joy of doing that, we write Romans eleven, 33 to 36. And that includes how unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable are his ways. That's that is the story that is we don't know. But we trust. That's a big part of this story.
And ultimately, finding hope in our own story depends on our believing that God has a bigger, greater, grander story than anything we could imagine. And that the purpose of our lives ultimately is not for our story to turn out well, though it will. But ultimately, we surrender ourselves and say, God, what? What's a story you're trying to write? And how can I be a part of that? Which brings us joy and confidence. Even when we feel like people around us or circumstances that we can't control are really messing up our story. We realize it does fit into a bigger capital s story that God is writing and his story is good.
Nancy, why do you think we have such a problem seeing how our stories fit into God's big plan? Why is it a struggle to see that?
Well, we we are nearsighted. We is that the way we can't see far? Is that right? The right term there. And we are so preoccupied with ourselves, our world, our struggles, our problems, our issues are concerns.
And all we can see is this tiny little moment of time that we occupy and we can't see what God sees. We don't know what he knows. This is why it's trusting God to write our story. It's trusting God for something we can't see. We can't see the outcome. We don't know where this is going. We don't know where it ends. We don't know what God is doing. And so if we're just going to focus on ourselves and our pain, which may be considerable, we're going to end up frustrated, disappointed, resenting God, resisting the story he's writing. And so that's why this this resource is a call to step back and look up, even if our eyes are filled with tears and say, Lord, I trust you to hold me, to keep me to do something in and through these circumstances that I can not imagine. But I know that you are God. I know that you are good. And I trust you with a story that you're writing in my life. And sometimes that is just raw, naked faith.
That's right. That's right. Gary, do you member that the old song, if we could see beyond today, as God can see? I bet Chris Fabbri knows that.
Oh, I remember that hail.
Yeah. And it goes on our our present grief. We would not fret each sorrow we would soon forget. It's the whole idea of trusting what we cannot see into the hands of someone that we do trust.
Yeah, well, the book is filled with stories of people who are trusting God for the outcome in the midst of difficult circumstances. What's one story that really inspired both of you?
There's so many. We have our own stories. Nancy talks about her dad, her dad dying the weekend of Nancy's 21st birthday. I talk about the story of my wife Bobby, dying after we were married almost 45 years. So, yes, but in in putting the book together, maybe the most graphic one is sitting with a man who Nancy had worked with for decades. His name is John Refired. And that's the chapter when you're losing your health. You can trust God when you when you lose your health.
And when you're facing death. And when you're facing death. Thank you. Yes. So we were with John and we described what that meeting was like in their living room. He knew he was dying of cancer this day. And two weeks, three weeks later, we were at his funeral. So we able to say, John, what does this feel like? Pretend that you're speaking to people who are right reading this book. What would you say to them so that they're all wonderful? The privilege of hearing these people's stories. But that was graphic.
Well, in the amazement of seeing a man who knows that he's at the very end of this earthly journey saying, I'm not afraid. Yeah, I know. I'm not looking forward to. Well, how are what are these? I mean, he was in bad shape at that point. But to say I know I'm I'm I'm I'm not afraid I'm facing I'm ready to see Christ and to see amazing peace and grace. That was hugely encouraging as we contemplate what might the end of our lives look like. And that's John Reefer died in a way that I would hope to die. And that is trusting God to write his story.
Well, there are stories of people in the Bible who say. Oh, God, at work behind the scenes. And I wonder if, as you spoke with people, if you found someone whose life situation paralleled the biblical story, you know, who comes to my mind is a couple that we spoke with, Leroy and Kimberly Wagner.
He's been a pastor for many years. She's been a longtime dear friend.
And he was hit with he was a strong, healthy, hardworking man. And suddenly, about three, four years ago, he got hit with a debilitating, excruciatingly painful illness that has never been able to be totally diagnosed. And there is no relief and no end in sight to this day. And we talked with this couple about just dealing with chronic, unrelenting physical pain. And as I as we listen to Leroy and as we've walked with him and his wife in this journey, I think of Jope in the Old Testament. We talk about him some in this book, a job had many other things happened to him as well. But when you deal with this horrific, physical, unexplainable physical pain and to see Jobe in the scripture and to see our friend Leroy as a like a modern day example of this, lifting his eyes up with no answers and no hope, he's had to resign the pastorate. They've had financial challenges that have come from that, as Jobe did. And to see him saying, if he slays me, I'm going to trust him. It's it's unimaginable. We've Robert and I have not been in that exact place or anything quite like it. But again, we were inspired by here's a man and his wife who's become now his his caregiver, saying, we don't understand this. We don't get it. But you just imagine, as people like Jobe and people like Leroy Wagner lift their hearts up to the Lord in faith and say, I will praise him. You just imagine heaven applauding. Yeah, because it's like God's character is on the on on trial. And here somebody on Earth saying, I don't understand. But I do trust. And they give God glory in the midst of that. It's it's it's breathtaking.
It's so exciting when you see that in the life of a contemporary individual. That's right. Because sometimes when you read the Bible, you can say, well, that was Joe. You know, that was another culture a long time ago. And those types of things. But in reality, the principles there are in effect right now. And there are people walking with God like that today.
Well, as you know, Gary, Nancy, is nothing if not a Bible teacher through and through. So we decide in this book to have these interludes where we tell stories that are very familiar in the scripture with the emphasis on. So Ruth did know how the story was going to end. Mary, the mother of Jesus, did not know how the story was going to end. Joseph of the Old Testament. Joseph, the Newstead estimate. So these were people who trusted God to write the story. We now see it. They didn't. And so there are interludes in this book that take people back to the word and help them see from this perspective. Now how these people dealt with what they didn't know, but they trusted God for the future.
Yeah. It's so exciting to make that connection between the biblical story and the present day. But many people feel like they can't trust God because their lives haven't turned out the way they expected. You know, I ran into that recently with a mother who just lost a 19 year old son and she's struggling with the questions. You know, how can this be? I mean, I don't understand. How could God allow this? What do we say to people in the midst of that kind of deep pain?
Well, clearly, as you have Gary, with this friend, we we enter with him into their pain. We care. We weep with those who weep.
But also we remind ourselves and each other that the story isn't finished. This is not the end and even things that turn out in ways.
I mean, we're we've been walking with a precious friend through some horrific adult sex abuse issues. And it's inexplicable. It's there's no I mean, it makes there's anger. There's just feeling of helplessness even as you come alongside people. But to realize that in the end, not only can we trust God to right. W r ITV our story, but we can also trust him to write our iji h.t. our story, even though in this moment it seems like there's no way that could possibly happen.
Yeah, I think when we try to walk with people through that, I often sit there and think I don't know how I would respond in this situation if I were gone through this. And that's true. We don't know how we respond. Right. We hope we would practice what we say. We believe, of course, that God is behind the scenes and he's working out his plans through our lives. You know, typically we want simple, uncomplicated, trouble free, pain free stories. That's what we aspire to. But God usually doesn't give us that because we're part of a fallen world. For one thing. Talk about why he doesn't always give us the things we think we should have and the reason behind that truth.
Well, that's a wonderful question. In our research for the book, we spent some time with Stephen Kendrick, who is a storyteller. He's a moviemaker. He and his brother, Alex.
And so that's exactly what what he said. You know, we we want trouble free, vanilla, boring lives for ourselves. But if we read a book or watch a movie, we want the drama. We want the helicopters. I want the helicopters. Nancy doesn't like the helicopter. But that's right. But that's not what happens. We often use the metaphor of the windshield. You're driving through the country and you don't know what's around the corner. But you look in the rearview mirror and you say that's what the Lord had in mind. That's what this was about. It isn't always in this life, as you've said, that we understand why we went through what we went through. It's it's trusting God's providence, even it's Hebrews 11. You know, the folks who died without seeing the promise. So that's that's the experience of trust in God for what we cannot see. But what we know is to be true.
Well, the subtitle of the book is Embracing the Mysteries of Providence. And that's a deep theological idea there. But help us understand a little of what it means to embrace that mystery.
Well, you know, Providence isn't an Old-Fashioned word. You don't hear it used so much anymore.
And I think we need to bring it back because I don't know that there's any more comforting, reassuring word in the theological dictionary than God's providence, which simply means gone pro before video to see God sees before we do. And he goes before us into our life circumstances to make provision for us before we even get there. And so to trust that God knows what's coming. God is orchestrating the circumstances of this world. And he's got the whole world in his hands. And by the way, if he's got the whole world in his hands, that means he's got us in his hands. And yet the providence of God is filled with mystery because there's so much we can't see and we don't know. So we have to be willing to say, that's OK. If I could see everything. God sees and know everything. God knows I would be God, but I don't know and I don't see.
And that's why I have to be willing to live with mystery, to humble myself and say, Lord, it's enough for me that you see that you know, and I trust that when I get there, you will have already made provision for what I need before I even realize I need it.
Yeah. And the verb there is embracing. Yesterday I was in a meeting and met a person whom I know very well who is desperately struggling with all kinds of pain and struggle. And I embrace this friend, you know, and I didn't say anything. You're a counselor. You understand this sometimes embracing just says, you know what? I can't figure this out. I don't know what to say. You know, I don't even have a Bible verse for you right now. But I'm going to tell you that I love you by embracing this. That's what we do with the truth of the mystery of God's providence. We embrace it. Mm hmm.
There's another hymn that comes into play here. Tis mystery. All the immortal dies. Who can explore his strange design from. And can it be. And I'm getting to the. Before the foundation of the world. You know, the cross was not gods. You know, that messed up. And I just should've done something. No. The Plan A.. For salvation and glory to God was the cross of Christ. And in Jesus, you see him submitting fully to the father's grand design. But we look on that and it is a mystery. And I think that's part of of what you're talking about. That Nancy talk about that the providence of God and and his interventions into, he interposed, his blood for us. Right.
Yeah. Those are at more old, big, old fashioned words that you kind of have to ponder and soak in.
But here's the thing. When you think about the cross, what could be a more horrific story than this sinless, compassionate son of God being falsely accused, maligned, maliciously treated to hang on a Roman cross, to die for no sin of his own? I mean, talk about a story going from a human perspective, not making sense or going wrong. And we look at our own stories and we feel like that's not fair. That doesn't make sense. But God in his providence not only allowed the cross to happen, he made it happen so that the plan of redemption. This is the mystery. This is the amazing grace. So that we could be saved. And Peter talks about the sinless one, that godly one dying for the ungodly so that we might be brought to God, so that he was wounded for our transgressions, so that we might be healed. This is mystery, but it's true. It's beautiful, amazing grace. And so we have to surrender and say at times my story makes no sense. It doesn't seem fair. It's not right in a human sense. But we have to trust that in the long run, God is using all of this as part of a great story of healing and redemption and restoration for us, for those we love. And only when we look back, you know, if it's if we could see what God sees and know what he knows now.
And one day when we do see what he saw and know what he knew, we will look back and we will say, of course. Right. God did it exactly right. We're not going to have second thoughts or second guessing or accusing God or saying you did it wrong. We're gonna bow and wonder and amazement and love and humility and say, oh, Lord, you did it so. Right. And our only regret. I think. It's going to be why didn't I trust you right, when I couldn't see. That's right. Why didn't I trust him more? Yeah.
Mm hmm. Yeah. Well, you know, Robert, you mentioned counseling a moment ago. I think sometimes those of us who are counselors are pastors or maybe just a Christian friend. We sometimes try to give the person a different perspective by saying things like, well, maybe God did this because it saved him from something worse by taking him at a young age. And we're trying to come up with ideas on why this bad thing happen and what God might be doing. But that's not our job, is it?
Yeah, that's right.
Actually, at Bobby's funeral, my late wife on the screen as they were wheeling out the casket to ride to the cemetery, the text except a kernel of we'd fallen to the ground and died, remains a single. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. So, you know, you hold a seed in your hand, you can't see what's inside, but God can. And so that's. But when when you're talking to somebody who's in the middle of it, it's not helpful to to give them all the theological underpinnings of what they're experiencing.
But just to suffer with them and and to say, I I can't imagine what this must be like, but but God is trustworthy. He's proven that down through the centuries. He is trustworthy. And so I'm going to stand with you until you have the opportunity to embrace that truth as well. You know, it's interesting, the old hymn and this isn't this fun talking about old hymns. He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm. So what what is characteristic about a footprint in the sea where you can't see it soon as he lifts his foot out?
You no longer see it. But those are truths that we that we rest in. Even when we don't feel like trusting it, even though we don't understand what's going on. So the choice is to trust him like that or just feel like this is totally random, that nothing makes sense. Nobody's in control. I'd far rather trust a sovereign God who loves me, who made me, and who knows what's best for me.
Well, Robert, let's talk further about some of the men and women in the Bible, because I know you use many biblical illustrations in this book and their stories and and how they didn't see, but then and maybe never saw it in this life. And then some parallels, older how that works today. Yeah.
Not everybody in the Bible had the Joseph in Genesis 50 perspective. Right. But when he was living it, when he was in the pit, when he was on his way with the Midianites to Egypt, he had no idea. But he was able to look back and say, all you guys meant this for evil, but God meant for good. So we went to one of our favorite things to do. And I know you and Chris and Nancy joins me. And this is taking the old old story of Jesus and his love, his word, and lifting up these individuals who trusted God, not knowing the outcome and saying what? What is it about their story that I need to understand? I want to empathize with what this must have felt like in that pit or standing on the auction block in Egypt and and know what Joseph was saying with his brothers right there, Genesis 50. Yeah. You guys meant this for evil. You had no. You had no desire for my good. When you were selling me. But God used all this for his good. So it's that story. Nancy, one of Nancy's favorite stories in the scripture is the story of Ruth and Naomi and Boaz. In fact, sometimes she'll refer to me in a text as both her or her pocket as she loves it that much. So those stories these people suffered. There's no doubt about that. These people wondered, these people doubted these people didn't at times even trust God. But now we read their stories in black and white and we feel such a great sense of relief knowing that God was there. He was listening. He was answering, even though at the time they couldn't see it.
And what they couldn't see that we can see now is that God was writing a bigger story that was leading to a redeemer, to a savior, to the Messiah, to Jesus. And so all of these stories were part of the fabric that God was weaving to bring a messiah who would rescue us all from the story from the pit. The story that that Satan wanted to write for our lives. And and that perspective, I think, is helpful to us as we realize that our stories today are not just about us, but that God is writing course. Jesus has come. But God wants to tell the story of Jesus through our lives, through our stories, through others who watch and marvel that even though we can't see answers, even though we you know, that the I'm watching Randi and Nancy Alcorn who are going through Nancy's cancer. And this has been a very public thing. And he's such a loved author. And watching that, the updates from Randy and Nancy and how they trust God in the middle of not good reports, no one, even just in the last several days. And it humanly speaking, it doesn't look good. But their goal in life is not to have ultimately to have Helfeld. They they want that. They're asking God for healing and health. But more than that, what they want is for Jesus to be seen and loved and magnified and treasured, for people to know that he can be trusted. So they're living their story. But God is writing a bigger story that that we won't see, too. We can look back in retrospect.
You know, Nancy, remind us of the Ruth and Naomi story.
Now, Robert is referred to what's fascinating because, of course, this word mother in law and daughter in law and both of them deprived and lost their mates and a Naomi lost her two sons. And Ruth, a foreigner coming to Israel and just so many strikes against them. And a lot of listeners will be familiar with pieces of that story. But the thing that strikes me is the different ways that these two women responded to their trouble. You have Naomi, who repeatedly is basically say and understandably from a human perspective, saying God has afflicted me. God has forsaken me. God's hand has gone out against me. God has not lived up. God Almighty has not lived up to his name in my life. So you sense tinges of resentment or, you know, just not sure God's doing it right. Then you see Ruth, who has as much reason to doubt God but bear. Boaz says of her that God under whose wings you have come to trust. She saw a god she could not see as being trustworthy and. Ultimately, God not only provided for her a husband to end up in that. This isn't just a romance. This is actually a means of survival for someone to meet her needs and rescue her for her mother in law from destitution. So you see God writing that story in a beautiful ending, giving her offspring. That led up to the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, which also see God changing her mother law to a woman who knew that God could be trusted. And I just wonder we don't imagine in the moment all it is that God may want to do through our willingness to trust a God whose hand we cannot see or understand in the moment.
You know, honey, in that text. And it happened. You see that over and over again. That is like like if you were coming in from left field, you wouldn't really realize that that is God writing that story. But it didn't just happen.
Yeah, it wasn't happenstance or the chance. All these details and we can see that because we're looking back. But they couldn't see it at the moment.
I like the reality. You mentioned that even beyond taking care of them physically, there was a picture of Christ to come, our redeemer. And of course, they would they wouldn't necessarily have seen that. You know, we're was looking back, you know, I don't know this song. It's so it's a contemporary song. But there's a little phrase in there that says when you can't see God's hand, trust his heart. Mm hmm. And that's really what we're talking about in the heart of all of you would trust in God's heart.
Yeah, that's true in human relationships. You know, marriage. This is going to be a surprise to you. Gary, so fasten your seat belt. Marriage can be hard work and part of it is learning to trust each other, you know? Why did you say it that way? What did you mean to say when you said that?
And you step back and you say, boy, forgive me for my response, but I trust your heart. I know you. I know you love me. I know you want the best for me and for our marriage. So trustworthiness is something that has contemporary implications all the time.
I like you bringing in that little marriage part. There I go. This is a marriage program.
Here's a hypothetical question. If you could go back and change any of your story, Nancy, would you do it?
And this doesn't count like the first year of marriage. Come on, sweetheart.
This is this is radio. This isn't like therapy with Dr. Jack to go for.
You know, I'm not I'm going to answer it this way in the moment. There were many moments when I would say when I would have said I wish this story looked to different the weekend of my 21st birthday when I got the call that my dad had had a heart attack and was dead before he hit the ground. Would I have want to have what? I want to have rewritten that in the moment. Of course. But I will tell you that looking back with a little bit of hindsight, I have now not with the vision I'll have one day when I'm with the Lord. I would honestly say the only thing I would write differently is that I would trust him more. I wish I had worried, less stressed, less fretted less and trusted more. I just I, I don't see yet all the reasons for everything he has done. But I've seen enough to convince me and I know him now. After fifty five plus years of walking with Jesus. I trust him. He's got a track record and I just know that he is good and he does good. And so no, I there's not anything I would know. I don't see the outcome of all of it yet, but I trust that he knows what he's doing.
And the one thing I would want to change is just that I would oh, for Grace to trust him more. Since recording all songs. That's right.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. How about you, Robert? As you look back, is there anything you would change?
Well, the quick answer is I can't. And, you know, a lot of people, a lot of people ruin their lives by groveling and what cannot be changed.
So and I would totally resonate with Nancy and and honestly, back to the scripture that was on the screen at the end of Bobby's funeral. Except a colonel, we'd fall to the ground and diet remains the single see. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. I, I was caught up in what I think a lot of men are caught up in. Bobby was an aggressively eager student of the Bible. And so she was an early riser.
I was an early riser so often I would wake up and she's in the word already. And I got lazy. I kind of let her be my Bible reference friend. And when when Bobby stepped into heaven, the Lord really spoke to me and said, now the batons in your hand, you cannot be lazy anymore. It's time for you to go for it. So Nancy and I have had this conversation, and I. I regret not being serious enough about time and the word every morning. This was Nancy's dad every morning for an hour in the word for no other reason than just to soak in it and to learn and to listen and to trust God. It wasn't preparation for a talk or a sermon. It was just for the purpose of knowing God and his word.
Let me give you a little marriage tip here, since this is a marriage program. And it's not really on a subject and trusting God to write your story. But I think it'll bless a lot of listeners.
Robert is. I'm not an early riser. Robert is. So he's up in the word before I am each day. And he will text me two or three verses, not not just the reference, but actually writes out the verse and sends them to me in a text. So when I wake up, I've got two or three scriptures from the word from my husband, and I can't even tell you as a wife what it does. It's a very simple thing. But to know that he has been with the Lord and in his word and that he's loving me in this way by washing me with the water of the word. And it just gives me it starts my day with the Lord in a sweet way. But it also gives me a sweet sense that I can trust that my husband is listening to God. And so when we have a different perspective or we're dealing with an issue, I know that here's a man who's not self-sufficient. He's not trying to do it on his own. But he is. He's with the Lord. He's in the word. And that just builds a lot of trust in our relationship. So that's a little free tip there.
That's good. Yeah. We also said we also celebrate months. We don't wait for years for anniversary. Okay. So we celebrate mass.
So that's only way we can catch up with our friends who've been married forever.
It's like you and Carol say they've been married for 30 years. You say, oh yes, we have we have 30 anniversaries too.
Yeah. Right. We just celebrated our 47. That's a reason. That's good. And I like that.
So, Robert, we're talking about this concept. Of course, the whole book is about this, that many times the story we're living, it doesn't always make sense to us.
We don't always even feel like it's fair. And yet if we can look beyond that, that God story is bigger than what we're going through and that God wants to use even what we're going through in a positive way for his kingdom. But how do we how do we take that leap to act on the belief that our story is a part of God's bigger story that he's writing?
I think it's pretty simple, Gary. You you make a decision. Every life change begins with a decision, sometimes a single decision. I'm going to move to Memphis. I'm going to marry this lady. I'm going to trust God. And you don't do it because you feel like it necessarily. You do it because you believe this is what God has called you to do.
There are so many things, Philippians 213. God is at work within you. This is the old living translation living paraphrase. God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him and then helping you do what he wants. So you trust him to help direct your desires. So, you know, you say, all right, you talked to a college guy. And you say, well, tell me about your love life. Well, there's this young lady, and I'm I'm really in love with her. And I'd like to marry her. And I say, well, have you prayed about this? And he says, Well, yeah, of course I've prayed about this. My parents prayed about this when I was a little boy. You say, OK, so you've prayed about this? Yes. Do you love her? Yes, I do. Do you think she's fantastic? Yes. Is she beautiful? Absolutely. So how does God change our minds? He changes our minds according to his will, by changing our desires. God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him. What a great way to live God's will. Directs my desires. Directs my passions. Directs my heart. That may sound like an answer to the question you didn't ask like a politician does, but that's that's the way, you know, God's will.
And I think you grow to trust him as you saturate your mind and your heart in his his character. It's if you don't if you're not in his word, you're not going to know him. And if you don't know him, you're not going to trust him. To know him is to trust him. And that's why it's so important. Before we come to these crisis points in our lives that we are.
We're getting to know him in his word, and I find that every time I say go back to the scripture, it it takes the chaos of my circumstances and clears the fog and shows me the simple, stabilizing truth that keeps me sane in an unjust in an insane world. So it spills back to.
I asked a group of the thousands of women the other day how many of you would say, honestly, you do not have a consistent time in God's word, and almost all the women in that room raise their hand. These women who came paid to come to a Christian conference and I'm gone. No wonder we have a hard time trusting God. Yeah, because we don't know him. So to know him is to trust him. And that's why I say, you know, get to know him while things are going well. And then when the bottom falls out. That's right. You got to you got to know where to look and where to turn.
It's like the country boy who said you pack your lunch before you're hungry. You know, you gotta be in your backpack. You got a sandwich there. You're not hungry yet, but you're gonna be. And that's that's a great confirmation that God really is caring about your future. And it's a great discipline to pack that lunch, to be ready for whatever comes good, bad or indifferent. Because you've trusted in his word you've you've spoken. And it is Dancy said, that's become part of the fabric of your life.
You know, that reminds me of my wife Carolyn's experience when she had cancer seven years ago. She said, you know, there were times in which I was so weak that I could even pray. But the verses that I memorized through the years just floated through my heart and through my mind. And they were my. They were the source of my comfort. You know, just that just those verses floating, floating through my life and in my heart. And so so she she's been on a campaign, essentially, and make sure the children learn to memorize the Bible.
So, yeah, memorizing verses and these old hymns, you know, come every soul by cyno press. There's mercy with the Lord. Only trust him now is the way that verse ends. He will save you, can save you.
Now you know the truth of God planted in our hearts by memorizing and daily time. And the word is so important in us for us to experience what we're talking about today when we're in those hard places. Well, I have an idea. There's someone listen today who has had a diagnosis or their spouse walked out on them. Are they've been out of work for a year or more. And they're listening to us talk and maybe they're saying in their hearts. Yeah, but you don't know where I am. What do we say to those those individuals who are listening today who can't figure it out? Why God's allowing this to be a part of their lives?
Well, what they said is true. We can't understand. And we also can't figure out why God does what he does. If we could, we would be God. There's a statement I heard John Piper say years ago that has really stuck with me.
And I've shared it with many people over the years because it's encouraged me so greatly in difficult times. But he said, in every circumstance of your life, God is always doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and you do not know. And we may be able to say, oh, yeah, I can see one or two things God might be doing through this. But he said God is doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and you do not know. So you trust him for what he knows and what he sees. But also, you lean in. You cast yourself on him and you say, Lord, I cannot handle this. But you have said that Your Grace is sufficient for me. So by faith, I'm going to trust that you have for this moment the grace that I need. God's not going to give me grace. God is not going to give that person who circumstantially described Grace for what's coming next week or next month or next year. But he does give grace for today. And at the end of the day, that's all I need right now.
Absolutely. Absolutely. I heard a pastor responding to the individual who said, I just I don't know. I don't know how I can handle death. I just don't know how I would face that. He said, God doesn't give dying grace. Oh, non dying days.
Wow. That's what he gives grace to die on the day you die.
You don't need that now.
You know, it's been sweet to see how these stories of people we met with in this book, how their stories are still being written. Right. And I got to just say one quick, sweet one. And one of the women who told us her story about longing for a mate, a desire that was unfulfilled. She's 53 years old after the book was published. She got engaged to a widower who came into her life 10 weeks from the day that they met. They got engaged. They're getting married in just a few weeks. And she had no idea when this book came out that God was still writing. She assumed she'd be single for the rest of her life. And and she could have been and would have trusted God with that. But so many of these stories we see, God is still writing. He's still writing mine. He's still writing Roberts. And ours and yours. Chris and Andrea. And Gary and Carolyn. And that's where we say, God, you really can't be trusted for the next chapter.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, this has been a delightful hour, and I really appreciate you all spending it with us. And I really do believe that our listeners, I hope they sense how important, how helpful this book is, because it's it's scripture. Yes, it's scripture stories, but it's stories from people today who are experiencing the reality of God as they walk through difficult places. So thanks for being with us today. Thank you, Carrie.
Robert Waregem, Earth and Nancy DeMoss. Waregem must have been our guests on this summer. Best of broadcast from last fall.
The book we've been discussing might help you understand how much God has been involved in the events, the good and the bad of your life. Go to five love languages dot com to find out more about. You can trust God to write your story. Embracing the mysteries of Providence again. Go to five love languages dot com. And next week, another outstanding conversation from the past year with Kim Erixon about surviving.
Sara don't miss should be a great discussion. Thanks. Today to our production team Steve WEC and Janise Todd. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for.