MOST OF MY LIFE I have felt I wasn’t good enough. When I became a leader of retreats or spoke in public, I was consumed with fretting and worry. But one day at a prayer conference, God literally moved my thumb and started changing my heart.
The story actually starts when I was coordinating a women’s retreat of almost 500 women, with 75 more on the waiting list. The room’s capacity was 450. The logistics of accommodating and feeding more women was daunting, even if a larger meeting room became available.
Just three days before the retreat, I picked up the main speaker, who was a good friend. Tami had never been to California, and I wanted to do something special for her. So I took her to San Francisco to ride the trolley cars and feed the sea lions at the wharf. Then we traveled down the beautiful coastline to Monterey. All the time, I continued to fret and worry.
Finally Tami said to me, “You are the one who taught me to have faith and believe in God. You need to trust God!”
I gave her a guilty look. She was right. I wasn’t trusting God.
The weekend went great, and God blessed. But by Sunday morning, I was sick with a virus. I hurt all over! I still felt like I should take Tami to the airport, and all the way she reminded me, “You need to trust God.” As she headed to the plane, she turned around and said one more time, “Janet, you need to trust God!”
I was ready to strangle her, yet God was speaking through her.
Still, with each new event I planned or had to speak for, I fretted over every detail. I was making myself emotionally (and physically) sick.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13, NIV
A few months later I was coordinating a prayer conference for adults with teenagers as leaders. They came with their youth pastor to teach us how to study a Bible passage in a small group setting and how to pray together. As usual, I stressed over the details.
Near the last day, I was sitting in a small group. We were studying Luke 24:13–35—the road to Emmaus. Our teenage leader had us read through it individually and then discuss the who, what, when, and where. Next she instructed us to privately read it again and ask God what He had for us personally.
I prayed for God to show me, and as I was reading, I felt my heart tighten at verse 25. “Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!’” I felt God was saying to me, “Why don’t you trust Me?”
Laying the Bible down with my hand resting on that verse, I bowed my head and prayed.
When I opened my eyes, I was shocked! My Bible was no longer open to Luke 24:25. It was open to Romans 15, and my thumb was on verse 13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (NIV).
God was strongly convicting me that fretting and worrying was a sin. Right there, I confessed my sin and accepted God’s forgiveness. I wanted to fully trust Him all the time.
During the next months, my trust in God grew. I praised Him for His intentional leading and faithful guidance in changing me.
A few months later, I was asked to speak at a Sunday Women’s Day brunch. Again, I began fretting, worrying, and feeling terribly inadequate. At the end of the brunch, I was handed a gift, and tied on the bow was a Bible verse—Romans 15:13.
A short while later Jerry and I were asked to speak at a prayer conference where we used to work and where Tami lived. I began fretting over speaking where we had worked for seven years. I thought, No one wants to hear me.
On the opening night Tami sat in the pew in front of me and handed me a small card with a pretty picture and Romans 15:13 on it. Her note on the back of the card said that she was praying for me.
I was stunned! Later, I asked how she happened to give me that verse. She said, “I don’t know what the Bible verse was. I just had the card and used it to write you a short note.”
God is amazingly personal. He really cares about every detail of our lives. He longs for us to rest in Him and trust Him.
As this world comes closer to the end, chaos and uncertainty are the new normal. Jesus encountered difficult times too. It was His connection with His heavenly Father that brought peace.
Over and over, I have learned that He is faithful and sure. When we pray and read His Word, healing and peace can happen. But I have to admit that I am a slow learner. So in the next issue I will share more of the story.
For now, I’ll leave you with what Tami told me: “Trust God!”