“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and trees of the field their fruit…I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid…I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would o longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” Leviticus 26: 3-4, 6, 13 (NIV)
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.” Psalm 33: 18-19 (NIV)
“[A] faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time…To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” Titus 1: 2, 15-16 (NIV)
At some point in my walk, I wrote “what a wonderful verse” in the margins of my Bible next to Leviticus 26:6. I cannot say what was going on in my life at the time, but I was apparently moved by the Lord’s promise that his people would be able to sleep without anxiety. I have needed God’s affirmations, the assurance of his blessings more of late than I can remember. I am praying for the days of a “head held high” and holding my hands heavenward, in expectation of his deliverance.
Yet in the verses above, a pattern emerges: God’s faithfulness to us does not waver, but his blessings cannot be fully attained unless we are obedient to him. He is, as Psalm 33 promises “faithful in all he does” (v.4). He “does not lie” (Titus 1:2). He is a trustworthy father. But like any good parent, he extols good behavior. And so there is the flavor in these passages of a reward for obedience. This is not to say his relationship with us is that of magician or genie. My wishes are not always “granted” when I ask for them (Oscar Wilde once wrote – “In this world there are only two tragedies: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” Those of us who profess a relationship with God through Christ know too well the pain of a “no,” or an answer delayed). But I know that the Lord’s purposes stand firm forever (Psalm 33:11), and his faithfulness is unyielding. Countless times, God has spared me the consequences of a poor choice, or made something beautiful of my blunder. I am reminded here that I cannot stretch out my hands in anticipation of his blessings when I’m scorning his commandments. I think of the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32) who – though he spent all his had and despised his family – was welcomed back with countless blessings upon the exhibition of a penitent spirit and a contrite heart. It was his ultimate obedience – his return to what was right – that redeemed him from his past.
I don’t want distantly theoretical theology. I want a God who delivers on his promises. In Him, I have that, and more. I have a trustworthy father who “considers everything I do” (Psalm 33:15) – blessing my obedience, lifting my head heavenward.
I’m the mother of three children ages five and under, and have been married to my husband Matt for nine years. I’m the co-author of “When the Fairy Dust Settles: A Mother and Her Daughter Discuss What Really Matters.” (Time Warner 2004) – a project that fueled my singular desire to write more, and often. So I took the plunge with Praying for Prada, a blog dedicated to making the case for fashion in Christendom (thesis: death to self is not the same as death to style). From there, I became a Shopittome.com “Trendsetter,” a style commentator on “The Talk Lounge” cable television show and a contributor to Stacie Donaldson’s ”Sense of Style” column for the East Wichita News. But before all that, I received a B.S. in Journalism, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia. Some might say my professional aspirations have taken a left turn. Me? I’m just doing what I’ve always done. Though now, I’m wearing stilettos.