by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
I looked up at Daddy with wide-eyed, ten-year-old amazement, “I can’t believe you burned down ‘Brookside.’”
The fire had left its devastation — everything around us was black and charred. There were no tall grasses left, no bushes, no wildflowers. ‘Brookside’ was our family’s small farm just outside town, a place where we fished, hunted, played, rode horses, and spent campouts at the cabin dubbed by my parents as “The Last Resort.”
“Oh, Cindygirl, I didn’t burn down ‘Brookside’,” Daddy replied with a grin. “This is what is called ‘controlled burning’ – setting carefully guarded fires to clean out the underbrush and make way for new spring growth. Remember, I’m a forester. This is what we do every year.”
I wanted to trust Daddy, to believe that what he said was indeed the truth.
But the blackened ground didn’t look like it would ever see green again. It seemed more reasonable to trust what my eyes saw instead of what my ears heard. Tentatively I sought to grasp what he had said. “So, it only looks like you destroyed ‘Brookside,’ but what you were really doing is preparing it for growing?”
“Exactly, “Daddy explained. “Those weeds and tall grasses would have choked back the new plants and flowers coming this spring, so we clear that away, and before you know it, this whole area will once again be covered in beautiful green.”
For another moment I experienced an internal battle between what the person I trusted was saying and what I was actually seeing.
I knew that my daddy loved this farm – that he enjoyed walking through the trails and boating on the two ponds and driving the jeep from the brooks that bordered each side of the vast acreage. I also knew that he always replenished the lands that provided wood for his pulpwood business.
Most of all, I knew that he was a person I could believe with all my heart. I chose to trust him because I knew him so well.
And my trust was rewarded with visible evidence — by the very next weekend there were tiny shoots of green peeking up all over the farm!
The psalmist encourages us to “Trust in God at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).
When we are young children, our parents should embody the same kind of safety, refuge and trustworthiness as our heavenly Father. In my life, I was privileged to make an easy transition from trusting a trustworthy father to trusting my heavenly Father. But sadly, we know that is not always the case.
How can we live out the word ‘trust’ when others have betrayed our trust so many times that we have become wary?
In this verse, the word trust is translated from the Hebrew word chacah, a verb which means to seek refuge or put trust in God. Its noun form, machacah, is actually interchangeable with our English word ‘refuge.’ So when we speak of trust, we are also speaking of a safe place to dwell – actually living in a refuge of trust.
As my childhood story suggests, one of the stumbling blocks in trusting is that trust involves saying no to our natural tendencies and yes to what sometimes appears impossible. That’s where faith comes in.
My father was a worthy object of my trust and so I chose to believe what he said instead of what I mistakenly deduced from my surroundings. I could wholeheartedly put my trust in him because I knew his heart.
What do you see when you look at your life today? Is there devastation? Have dreams been shattered? Are resources depleted? It’s pretty easy to trust that what you see must be the final reality.
But you might be wrong.
The burnt-out brush of your life right now might very well be a carefully ‘controlled burning’ orchestrated by your heavenly Father to provide ideal conditions for new growth. Maybe something in your life has to go so that God can replace it with something even better.
Will you trust Him to do that in His way and His time?
Originally posted at http://www.encouragingwords.net/ and shared with permission.
*Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., entered heaven on March 25, 2023. She was passionate about embracing life through deep soul care, courageously touching a needy world. A storyteller who engaged both heart and mind, she delighted in “Helping you Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 13 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her books include the award-winning Dwelling Places (2017 Christian Retailing BEST Award for Devotional), Ordinary Graces (2018 SELAH finalist), Live These Words, Refresh! and Role of a Lifetime. A member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), Lucinda received Mt. Hermon’s “Writer of the Year” award and guest bloged monthly for The Write Conversation and Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Blog. Whether co-directing “reNEW ~ retreat for New England Writing,” pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she was energized by investing in people of all ages. Lucinda’s favorites included tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she wrote from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogged weekly at http://www.EncouragingWords.net/. Lucinda will be missed. Her writings will continue to inspire. Please join me in praying for comfort for her family.