Reflections & Lessons Learned
Articles by Debra K. Matthews

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Welcome! Here's another true Christian story from my collection of lessons learned and things that have really happened to me (including stories about miracles, angels, Civil Air Patrol and God's love and blessings). This is a Bible message on knowing when to work, and when to let God do the work.

Lesson From a Tree House
Copyright © 2000 by Debra K. Matthews. All rights reserved

The Bible has a lot to say about God providing for our needs, but it also talks about us getting out there and doing our part, such as working to earn a living, or setting about to prepare a meal or other tasks. Do you ever wonder, though, when it's time for us to do certain things, and how to know when to just turn it all over to the Lord and let him do the work?

I remember reading about Moses and the children of Israel when they came to the Red Sea. Things looked pretty frightening to them with Pharaoh's army hot on their trail, and a sea and other things blocking every route of escape. At this point, the Bible said:

"And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." (Exodus 14:13, 14)

Then the Lord told Moses to stretch out his rod over the sea, and God caused the waters to divide, making a safe escape route for the Israelites to cross over.

In this case, the Lord did the fighting for Israel. When Pharaoh's army tried to pursue after them, the Lord brought the waters back down and drowned the entire enemy army.

Other times though, Israel was instructed to do the fighting. Over and over again, we see times in the Bible when the Lord fought the battle, and times when he told his people to fight.

One awesome story to me is when Joshua went up against the Amalekite army in Exodus chapter 17. There was a partnership going on in that battle. Moses went up on top of a hill overlooking the battlefield, and lifted his hands toward heaven while Israel and Amalek fought. While he kept his arms up, Joshua and the people of Israel prevailed, but when he let his arms down, Amalek prevailed. So Moses' brother and a man named Hur had him sit on a rock, and then they stood on either side of him to keep his hands up until the Israelites finally won.

One time, when I had been praying and asking the Lord about different scriptures about him doing things versus telling us to do something, I asked him to help me understand how to know the difference. He didn't speak to me in an audible voice. Instead, I had a picture come to mind. It was of a little boy and his father working together to build a treehouse.

Someone once said 'a picture is worth a thousand words,' and that's exactly what this one was to me. As I considered the picture, I thought about how very young the child was, and that he wouldn't be able to do a lot of the work by himself. I mentally pictured the steps that they would go through to get the job done.

I imagined that at times, the father and son would work side by side, putting boards in the proper places and nailing them down. Other times, when the little boy wasn't tall enough or strong enough, the dad would be the one to raise a board high over his head and nail it in place while the child watched or worked on something else.

Then I imagined the father sometimes just standing back himself and proudly watching his little son as he labored determinedly over a part of the project. Sometimes the son would do well, but occasionally the father would see the task was too big for his young offspring. I thought of him watching patiently as the child struggled, and then at just the right moment, when the child would look at his father with that certain look, the father would step in with a loving smile and the two would finish it together.

As I thought about this laboring together of father and son, I thought how very much their building of that tree house is like our Christian walk. Throughout our whole life God works together with us in different ways. Like the father providing the wood to build the house, God does provide us with lots of things; sometimes meeting our needs outright, sometimes by giving us the skills and talents to accomplish things, and of course by helping us find good jobs to earn a living, too.

Some things he lets us do -- as we are able. Some things that are too big for us, he does himself. But for the most part, he's there as a proud and loving father, co-laboring with us just for the joy of being with us and letting us be with him.


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Added March 24, 2000