The God of Amen

The following is an excerpt from Start With Amen by Beth Guckenberger.

________________________________________________________________________

In 1997, my husband, Todd, and I moved to Monterrey, Mexico, to serve orphans and vulnerable children full-time through Back2Back Ministries. Living in a developing country for a long time means you exponentially increase your odds of being robbed. It’s not unusual, and you take extra precautions, but the risk is still there. I say this because it was a ridiculous purchase. As a missionary, I had long carried purses that looked like a combination of army backpack and bohemian sling bag. Why  I lusted one day for a purple Coach purse in the window of a Texas outlet is still a mystery to me. That light-lilac suede was so impractical. I didn’t even wear much purple, but I am sure it symbolized something to me about another world I could live in if I wanted.

I was at my son’s soccer game when it was stolen. Someone shattered the window in my car and snatched it a few feet from where I stood. I should’ve panicked about the credit cards that needed to be canceled or the cell phone I could’ve used to call for help or the pictures of my children I carried in my wallet. But I immediately started grieving the loss of the purse.

After making some police reports, I went home and commandeered my nine-year-old daughter’s dress-up purse and used it for the next month, knowing soon I would be flying into the United States and could replace it with something more practical. I vowed never again to the purple purse.

I flew into Cincinnati, Ohio, weeks later and had only one hour before a speaking engagement, so I searched a nearby strip mall to see if I could quickly pick up a new purse.

My only option was a luggage store. I stepped in and saw a rack with cool leather backpack purses, a bit of a hybrid between my earlier choices and the Coach. I had never heard of the brand, but it looked nice and sturdy, so I took it to the counter.

“That’ll be $276,” the lady said, ringing my purchase into her cash register.

My eyes went wide at the price, I muttered, “No, thank you,” and left the store. I didn’t think about it again, as now I was late to my engagement. I pulled into the place where I was meeting the others, grabbed Emma’s ratty purse, and told the Lord I understood my roots.  I knew he didn’t value or care about purses, and neither would I.

Finally, the evening’s event was over, and I headed to my mom’s house, where I was staying for a few days. I settled into my childhood room and looked over mail accumulated since our last visit. I’d had a birthday since my previous trip to the States, and I sat on the edge of the bed, reading cards. At the bottom of the mailbag, there was a package from my college friend, who had remembered my birthday and sent a gift to my mom’s house. I thought fondly of her as I opened the box, and then threw my hands to my mouth when I saw what was inside.

It was my $276 leather backpack purse. Exact. Same. One. A flood of thoughts came over me as I held it.
She and I had never exchanged gifts so generous before. She didn’t know about the theft, did she?

Is this for real? God picked this out for me before I wanted it today?

I was so sure he didn’t care about designer purses. I had spent a month disciplining my thoughts so I wouldn’t grieve something as silly as a purse. Yet here he was, reintroducing me to himself all over again. I care about everything you care about, he seemed to say.

That night, before I fell asleep, I thought about all the wasted time I had spent wringing my hands over something God already had in the works to redeem. What if when I didn’t like what was happening (a lost purse, broken relationships, poor health, traffic accidents, unexpected bills) I prayed in anticipation of the Lord’s hand, confident of his sovereignty? What if instead of second-guessing him, my prayers sounded more like Amen. So be it. This happened. It’s all good. I’m yours. Change my heart. Take captive my thoughts. All I have is in your hands. Bless the thief. Dear Jesus . . . ?

In this case, I can stretch and pray for the person who took my purse or remind myself mentally of my blessings. I can stretch and be grateful I wasn’t assaulted or trust for future provision. What do I gain from worry or, worse yet, fury?

That night, I committed to Jesus that I would rest in the God of Amen.

From now on, I would start our holy conversations by anticipating his hand.

“Amen,” I began before any other words followed.

More Posts

Creating a Culture of Belonging

What does it mean to belong? In our culture today, we “belong” to a lot of things. But what does it mean to know you belong? That goes a little deeper. Knowing deep down you belong is more than a name on a roster or participation in an event. It

Read More >

Let God Deal With Everything Else

When you hear the phrase “let it go” you almost instantly think of the hit song from Disney’s animated film “Frozen”. But while reading in the book of John this week, the phrase “let it go” served as a great reminder. We pick up the story in John chapter 11

Read More >

What Is the Value of Midweek Programming?

Midweek programs for kids are being cut in many churches. The reasons range from a lack of resources, volunteers, and interest. However, despite these obstacles, the value of midweek programming is substantial. This article aims to explore the significance of these programs and encourages churches to continue, even when it

Read More >

An Anxious Generation — Now What?

“Erosion doesn’t excite people.”

This is what I thought recently while reading a news story about an 1800s farmhouse in England that’s beginning to hang over the edge of a cliff due to seaside erosion. The historical home is about to be demolished to prevent it from careening over the

Read More >
INCM

Get Your Free Prayer Experience Guide!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Get Your Free Creating Moments Guide!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Join the list, and we'll send you more info on coaching.

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Join the list, and we'll send you the INCM Member invite!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Get Your Free Video Devotional & More!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Get Your Free Felt Safety for Kids Guide!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Get Your Free Trauma Assessment Resource!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Get Your Free Policy Review Framework!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Receive Encouragement, Get Exclusive Offers, and Much More

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Be the first to hear about the coaching release in 2020!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.