I remember sitting on the floor in Ms. Sammie Lou’s Sunday school class and watching as she made the Bible come to life right before my eyes. Fuzzy felt disciples and Jesus all clinging to the fuzzy felt board. There was also Noah, Moses, Daniel, Queen Esther, and many others. I was introduced to all of them. And I believed. It didn’t occur to me not to believe.
In Vacation Bible School, in the middle of cookies and punch, glitter and glue and games of Red Rover, there were the familiar choruses of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” We took turns reading from the Bible, and I heard about God’s faithfulness over and over again. And still, it didn’t occur to me not to believe and take Jesus at His Word.
As a teenager, I made my way to the altar during a youth revival and publicly professed Christ as my Savior. My relationship with Him began sweetly and tenderly, full of hope and promise. He has remained faithful and true all these many years. I wish I could say the same about me. But, I am fearful when I should be faithful, impatient when I should be patient and profoundly ill-tempered when love is the better choice. My felt board faith has collided again and again with a sinful world, and I’m a bit battered and bruised.
In the midst of global chaos, I need to be reminded more than ever that God does, indeed, have the whole world in His hands. I want to go back to Ms. Sammie Lou’s class and have her tell me all over again about how God parted the Red Sea and saved the Israelites from Pharoah’s army. How He was with Daniel in the lions’ den and rescued him, how Jesus healed the blind and walked on water, and how an empty tomb gives us hope for tomorrow.
I believed it all then, and I believe it today. The seeds of faith were planted long ago by parents who made it a priority to attend church and by a sweet lady with a kind smile and her fuzzy felt board. These seeds grew deep, strong roots that have sustained me through difficult days and many difficult challenges.
During these unprecedented days, it has been increasingly vital for me to draw strength and comfort from God’s Word. A scripture that has repeatedly come to mind lately is Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Joseph is speaking here to his brothers who sold him into slavery and seemingly blotted out his existence in the family. Joseph survived a string of tragic events and found himself right smack in the middle of God’s will for his life. Christian author, Max Lucado, states it this way, “In God’s hands intended evil becomes eventual good.”
In most of the Bible stories I learned as a child, this scenario played out over and over again. When all seemed lost, victory was right around the corner. When evil was cheering, hope was conquering. Quietly, yet boldly, good shows up and defeats the foe. And so it is today. Just you wait and see. He will most certainly take what the enemy means for evil and turn it to good.
In these times of such uncertainty, God is constant and reliable. He is present. He is faithful. He is approachable. Whether you find him in a church building, on your knees at your bedside or on a fuzzy felt board, just know, He’s got this whole chaotic world firmly in His hands, and He loves us. He loves us so very much. He even has the scars to prove it.