Not Easily Tossed or Blown
by Paula Miles, Guest Writer
. . .that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunningness and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is Christ.
On October 3rd, 2017, waves came for our family when our son, Clary, a freshman at Clemson University, was in a serious car accident. In God’s providence, the circumstances of the accident took him down a ravine to the edge of a river basin next to the Clemson football practice field. On that particular day, the team was finishing practice when they heard the collision and saw his car careen down the ravine. They immediately began to pray. Several trainers and student coaches swam to Clary’s aid and rescued him from the car. Because of our personal relationship with many in the football program and their heroic acts, our journey became very public. God’s people rallied around us and we were upheld. Instinctively many began to speak the truth to us in love.
One of the first voices we heard in our initial phone call was from our dear brother in Christ and member of our church who worked with the Clemson football program. His first words to my husband were, “God is good and this has not caught Him by surprise.” Words we testify to that carried us through the next hours, days, weeks and even months.
News of the accident spread in our little town. Many began to reach out to me. I remember in a moment of clarity, during the long ride to the hospital, thinking God has NOT promised me that Clary would be okay. In my shock and flood of emotions, I could hardly remember what he had promised until one dear sister called. I can’t remember her exact words but she said something like this, “God loves you and Clary is His. No matter what happens He will not leave you or forsake you. He will be glorified in this and will use it for the good of all of you because He loves you.” She spoke the truth to me in love. I knew this was where the rubber meets the road. I believed but help my unbelief.
As I struggled in the waves of my circumstances to cling to God’s promises and not be easily blown, one of my spiritual mothers, Barbara Thompson, spoke into my life reminding me that “trust is not an anesthetic”. These words were a balm to my soul. God had providentially reconnected me with Barbara just a month prior to Clary’s accident when I was teaching at a conference in Louisiana. Barbara went on to say, “And when your trust wobbles know that He is leading many of us to trust on your behalf. To weep with you. To lament with you. To be willing to ‘go there’ based on truth. And to allow your doubting and fearful heart to be safe space as the Lord works it out.” Our hope is that God is always working it out. The promise in His word is that He works ALL things for our good and His glory. It was in this context of truth and community that we were upheld and reminded that our God can be trusted.
From the very first moments of this crisis, thinking biblically gave us the strength to walk a difficult journey with our son. Thankfully, we were grounded in truth and interlocked with His people before the waves came. In the days ahead, God’s promises and His people sustained us. He sent many to faithfully remind us of the promise of His presence. I wish I could recount to you all the ways He went before us – providing for our every need. Life-giving words and actions spurred us on and encouraged us to trust the sovereignty and goodness of our God. The cry of our heart became, “God use this for Your glory and make us more like Jesus on the other side.”
Have you grounded yourself in truth and are you interlocked with His people? Pray that God will use this to prepare you for the waves and winds that will come. Ask Him to sustain you in the midst of your overwhelming circumstances and to help you cling to His promises. Thank God for His presence, His very great and precious promises, and His provision for you. Are you able to speak the truth in love to your brothers and sisters in Christ and willing to step into their brokenness to offer comfort and relief? Pray that God will equip you to do that. Pray that He would give you the desire to bring light and life into the dark and desperate situations around you. Thank Him that He uses ALL things for our good and His glory.
Paula Miles is wife to Kevin, a ruling elder at Clemson Presbyterian, and mother of Wimberly Johnson (married to Charlie), Janie, Clary, and Judy. She grew up in Anderson, SC and graduated from Clemson University. Paula has experienced the joy of being both a full time homemaker and a public school teacher. Studying and teaching God’s Word is her passion, as well as coming alongside women to encourage them to understand their unique design and fulfill their individual callings. Paula is on staff at Clemson Presbyterian as women’s ministry coordinator since 2014, is a conference speaker, and serves on the national women’s ministry team for the PCA as a women’s ministry trainer. She enjoys regular exercise, watching sporting events, and investing in the lives of her family.
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