“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” —Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
“Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” —Psalm 97:2
Annie Nance –
In 2007 I was working at a radio station in Madison, WI. The network was doing some “downsizing”, and it was pretty stressful. The workload was increasing, was having trouble with my (then) 19-year-old and our church was experiencing some major spiritual warfare.
In October of that year, I had to drive up to our parent company in Minneapolis for some training needed as I took on more responsibilities. The 5-hour ride was filled with me rotating between crying, singing (loudly) to my Mercy Me and Casting Crown CDs and praying. The praying melted into begging at times. I asked God to comfort me. I was seeking peace and direction through the stress that was building at work.
The training went well and I headed to the cottage, about 2 hours east of the Cities. I was looking forward to some solitude… sitting by the campfire… taking pictures… just spending time outside.
It was a beautiful autumn day… blue skies and lots of colors on the trees.
As I got closer to the cottage, the sun was setting. I had my camera out the window taking flash pictures. I liked how the flash reflected off the birch bark, lit up the blazing leaves and even showed off the pines.
I wound down that gravel road and probably took 20 – 25 pictures.
When I got to the cottage I started looking through the pictures… on the tiny screen on the back of my camera. I deleted many of the pictures and saved the ones I thought turned out OK. I saved only 5 pictures.
Spent the next afternoon on the ATV trails… taking oodles of pictures. It was a fun and restful weekend. Just what I needed.
When I got home I downloaded the pictures onto the computer.
I was stunned when I discovered what was on one of the few pictures I’d saved from my twilight trip down the gravel road. I couldn’t see it on the tiny screen of my camera… I could have just as easily deleted it.
It was God’s way of reaching down and giving me a hug. He was reminding me that He’s always right there with me, in the middle of whatever is going on.
This picture has become my “God’s Speaking” picture…
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem…”—Matthew 2:1
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” —Matthew 2:11
“…Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him”—Matthew 2:2
“May God’s grace be with you all.”—Hebrews 13:25
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” —II Corinthians 4:18
“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”—I Thessalonians 5:18
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” —Titus 3:4-5