I should have already understood about giving God permission because He had taught me that same lesson seven years earlier when terrorists killed one of our coworkers when we were in South America. That experience hit close to home for our family because my husband Fred was one of the twelve adults present when they took our friend captive. Fred spent an hour and a half face down in his pajamas on the cold floor with his hands tied to his feet behind his back.
Seven weeks later, they executed our coworker and swore they were coming for the rest of us—-and our house at the mission center was way out on the edge of things. I’ve never forgotten the night when I was afraid to take off my clothes and go to bed because I was sure someone was going to come pounding on that front door in the middle of the night.
Now I had known most of my life that nothing could touch me unless it was within God’s will. However, that head knowledge alone did not give me peace in the midst of that situation. That head knowledge had to get down into my heart so that I was able to say, “Okay, God, if it is your will for harm to come to me at the hand of those terrorists, then that’s okay with me.” When I could say that…and thus give God permission…I was able to sleep in peace.
Somehow I didn’t remember that lesson until after Daddy died. Since then, God has brought me other opportunities to test whether I trusted Him enough to “give Him permission.” Not surprisingly, on some occasions I’ve remembered early on and been able to do that, yet in others it has taken the a long time (in one case, years) to make peace with something He sent my way. I have an idea that is simply our human condition. We learn, and we forget. We trust God, and yet we worry again.
I’ve recently started thinking about this “giving God permission” in relation to my Tangled Strands story. One of these days I should write about the things God has done that make me believe I have His blessing to be working on it. I can do that because I'm talking about hind site—what I have seen Him do. But to claim assurance about what He is going to do in the future strikes me as presumption, and I can’t pretend to know what God’s plans are.
All I know is that, for today, I have reason to believe He wants me working on it. I even believe it is a story He could use to accomplish something spiritual in someone’s life if it gets published. At the same time, I have to keep my heart open to giving Him permission to do whatever He plans as far as its getting published.