- Just Released
- Sale Bestsellers
- Gifts for Him
- Gifts for Her
- Summer Fiction
- Ministry Appreciation
- Back To School
- Christian Book Award Winners
- Bible Study Resources
- Wedding & Marriage
- Dove Awards Nominees
- Keep Kids Safe Online
- Shop our Bulk Discounts
Read A Sample
Encountering Our Wild God: Ways to Experience His Untamable Presence Every Day
by Kim Meeder
Learn More | Meet Kim Meeder
- Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.
- Ephesians 5:10
Jesus, may Your love within me—transform the world around me—for Your glory.
Our purpose in this life is pretty straightforward.
Jesus said that the greatest thing we can do is love God and love each other. Yet often, as straightforward as this instruction is, our following footsteps seem to gum up in the mud of, Am I going the right way? Am I doing the right thing? Am I in the right place? We get caught in the "analysis to paralysis" of looking down instead of up. When our focus gets tangled in the weeds of challenge, it is easy for us to rely on ourselves instead of God. From this perspective, God is not truly God of our life—we are. While stuck in this trap, we are relying on ourselves for worth, value, love and position. From this place, nothing about us is anointed; it is appointed by our own sinful heart.
When our gaze lingers in a downward position, we get increasingly bound up in our circumstances. But when our gaze lingers in an upward position, we are led by His love and not rocked by the conditions we face.
The mission field is where we are, never where we go. The ministry of love is measured by our understanding of who we are in Him, not what we do for others. Genuine doing is the natural overflow of genuinely knowing who we are in Him, not the other way around.
Loving God and loving people—that is what He designed us to do. How that looks will be as unique as the face of everyone who calls Jesus Lord.
We will never fully understand the perfect balance of what God is doing in and through us. And I am grateful that He does not command us to understand or "see" His master plan; He asks us merely to trust Him for it—and that is not hard.
Often, my wise sister has encouraged me with this simple truth: "If you don't like the current picture of your situation, it only means that God isn't finished yet."
God isn't finished yet.
Every life is a masterpiece in process—and we can trust Him for every perfect brushstroke.
Trusting God for Every Step of His Master Plan in YouOne of my all-time favorite movie moments takes place in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The hero must save those he loves by crossing a bottomless chasm. It is too far to jump, and time is running out. So, choosing faith, he places his hand over his heart, closes his eyes and leans forward into oblivion. The audience gasps as his foot strikes a stone bridge so perfectly camouflaged that it was invisible. There was always a way, but he could not see it.
The simplicity of following our wild God is like that.
We might not always see the way, but it is always there. If we are willing to trust Him, to walk forward in faith, believing that every step is developing His design within and through us, we will see the brushstrokes of His perfect plan.
In 1995, my husband, Troy, and I founded Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. Our ministry has a fourfold mission: Rescue the Equine, Mentor the Child, Offer Hope for the Family and Empower the Ministry. Throughout the past several decades, we have been involved in the rescue of more than three hundred horses. We serve about five thousand visitors each year, most of whom are children, completely free of charge. We help support struggling families with the hope of Jesus. And we have had the incredible joy of shouldering into existence approximately two hundred new ranch ministries throughout the United States and Canada, and over a dozen in foreign nations.
A few years ago, our ranch rescued a young golden mare with a severe wound on her left shoulder. Radiating from a central impact point were three very deep gashes, each measuring six inches in length. It appeared that at one time the injury had been closed with dozens of staples, nearly all of which had failed. The hideous result was a large chunk of exposed muscle, gaping wide for all to see.
The mare was brought to our attention when the family of her elderly owner contacted us. Through their grief, they shared how their father had not come in for dinner one night. When they went out to locate him, they discovered his lifeless body in her corral. He had passed away of natural causes in one of the places he treasured most—beside his horse. Found carefully standing over him was his beloved golden mare. She appeared also to be grieving the loss of the one who loved her most.
With no one left to manage her wounds, the distraught family asked if we could continue the mare's care and give her a new home. That day, the grieving mare came to live at Crystal Peaks.
We decided to name the mare Alulla because her resulting scar is somewhat star shaped. Over the years, Alulla has struggled with several unrelated lameness issues that have often kept her out of our riding program. Yet, in the hope that she would pull through and make a fine children's horse, we have continued to keep her at the ranch. With space at a premium for rideable horses, I often wondered if the ranch was the right home for her.
But God's portrait was not finished yet.
Releasing the Power of the Spirit through "Pray, Listen, Do"Not long ago, I needed to pick up some picture frames for a project I had yet to finish. I'm learning—learning—to practice simplicity in following the Lord. Because my head works in simple ways, I like simple reminders such as, "Pray, listen, do."
With intention, I invite the Holy Spirit to lead, I listen for His answer and then I do what He says. Simple, right?
Lord, where should I go to buy frames today? I prayed as I climbed into my truck.
His answer was strangely immediate: Goodwill.
I was thrilled. Goodwill is like a giant yard sale all the time. I love it.
An hour later I was shopping the affordable aisles of the local Goodwill store. Then, having quickly found several frames, I made my way to the counter.
Not yet resounded in my heart.
I stopped and prayed again. With no instant answer, I took a few nondirected steps around the store. Then I realized this would be a great time to look for a few items of clothing for an upcoming speaking tour in a very warm climate. With little delay, I found a top and a pair of board shorts that would work well.
While moving back toward the checkout counter, again I heard a very clear, Not yet.
Okay, Lord, what else? I thought as I walked back toward the center of the store. Slowly, I had a strong sense that I needed to go look at picture frames again. Now, digging thoroughly through the stacks, I discovered a true treasure for my antique-loving heart. It was a small, very old frame with a rounded cover glass to make the picture slightly magnified and easier to see. Thank You, Lord. This is beautiful, I thought as I added it to my basket.
For a third time, I made my way to the checkout counter. Then I looked up at the rafters and asked, Now?
This time, I felt nothing but release. I realized it was time to purchase the random treasures I had found, so I moved into the next-in-line position.
Immediately, I heard the lone cashier declare to the customer in front of me, "Oh, I don't know how to do this transaction. I'll need to get the manager." With a slightly flustered cry for help, she called for another employee to come up and assist me and the rapidly growing line of customers.
From somewhere behind me appeared the relief checker. She was a small twentysomething woman with bright-red hair and striking blue eyes. In her hasty fluster to get to the checkout counter, she cut in front of me forcefully, nearly knocking my basket out of my hands. It did not take a genius to recognize that she was mad.
In a terse, monotone voice, she asked, "Did you find everything you needed?" It was not really a question; it sounded more like, Back off, lady! I'm not in the mood to deal with you!
A ringing phone stole her attention away before I could answer. While she spoke on the phone, I had a moment to study her. Even though her voice and demeanor belied that she was tired and frustrated, she was still a stunning beauty. The name tag on her blue work smock read, "Angel."
She slammed the phone down with so much force that it sounded like a shotgun. Again, she turned to me and asked in the same emotionless tone, "Did you find everything you needed?"
Hoping she would not beat me with the phone, I ventured an explanation. "Actually, I found more than what I came for. I found some clothing that I'll need for an upcoming speaking event."
Without glancing up she continued, "Great! So . . . what d'ya speak on?"
"Well," I began, "I get to speak about hope." And then I shared a brief explanation of how Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch rescues and rehabilitates horses. We then pair them with hurting kids for free. We also provide support for families and have assisted more than two hundred other ranches like ours into existence around the world.
Still with no eye contact, her dutiful response was little more than a short, exhaled, "Huh."
Feeling lost in a superficial exchange about hope, I asked the Holy Spirit, What do You want me to say to her?
Before the answer came, her rising frustration breached what was left of her fragile restraint. She stood up straight, rocked back on her heels and all but shouted, "I'm so glad you talk to people about hope 'cause I'm sick and tired of the fact that nobody takes responsibility for anything they do anymore. Nobody! And I'm just sick of it! I'm sick of it!"
With my hair blown back and my eyebrows closer to the ceiling, the question I had asked the Lord still hung between us. Then came His reply: Beloved, I want you to point-blank her with what I've done for you.
Jesus, what? Are You kidding me? This girl just yelled in my face! Lord, she's mad. She's not going to receive it. Trust me. Even the guy waiting behind me is mad. Seriously, Lord, this isn't the right time!
My scrambling resistance about timing was met with an internal silence—His smiling exclamation point on His original request.
In seconds, trust broke through resistance. A decision was made to jump into the river of the Holy Spirit and go where He wanted to flow.
Okay . . . I'm goin' in!
Leaning into the plow of "pray, listen, do," I looked directly at her fuming blue eyes. Before I spoke, my silent prayer was, Holy Spirit, lead me.
"Angel, I agree with you that everyone needs hope in their lives. I'll never forget the day I found genuine hope. I was nine years old. It was the same day that my dad murdered my mother and then killed himself. In my grief, I cried out to Jesus—the Author of hope—and He's been in my heart ever since."
Angel reacted as if she had suddenly been struck by an unseen arrow.
She stiffened instantly while drawing in a quick breath. Her previous passive glance in my direction crashed to the floor. With her shoulders drawn up toward her ears, she did not move; she did not breathe. She stood frozen in place, seemingly locked in time.
It felt as if minutes had gone by. Gradually, she began to exhale. Her small shoulders returned to a normal level. In what looked like slow motion, her eyes rose to meet mine.
When our gazes locked, her eyes were flooding with liquid sorrow. Before a word was spoken, two huge tears streaked down her cheeks. She began to speak. Her voice was scarcely audible. It was no longer the monotone drone of a frustrated woman. It was the high, broken plea of a little girl.
"When I was twelve," she began, barely audible, "I saw my mom kill herself right in front of me." Her nostrils flared hard. She fought to stifle a sob. Then she continued with no voice at all, "I've never told that to anybody."
Without a word, I opened my arms in the universal gesture of, This hug's for you<. Not waiting to go around the counter, she launched straight over it—right into my arms. Collapsing into the embrace of a complete stranger in the checkout line of a Goodwill store, a little brokenhearted girl was introduced to Jesus' love.
The Holy Spirit will always lead toward truth. And when truth is revealed, there is freedom.
I held her for a long time, whispering encouragements from one former orphan to another.
It was within that moment that a beautiful piece of God's profound picture dropped into my view. I leaned back from my new friend so I could look into her face.
"Angel, I would love to have you come to my ranch. I have a very special horse that I'd like you to meet. I think that the two of you might understand each other perhaps better than anyone could understand either one of you."
Her eyes were leveled on mine. Although still wet with tears, her eyes looked profoundly different. They looked . . . hopeful.
I continued, "Not long ago our ranch rescued a horse that watched the one person on this earth that she loved the most die right in front of her. When her master's body was discovered in her corral, she was standing over him. Even though she could not stop what happened, she still loved him very much."
The young woman before me nodded wordlessly in subconscious understanding.
Continuing to tell Angel about herself through Alulla, I proceeded, "She's a precious horse that just needs someone to help her know that she's going to be okay. Do you think you can help me with that?"
Still trying to process all that had happened, Angel blinked her beautiful eyes a few times before she responded quietly, "Yes . . . I would love that."
After a quick exchange of contact information, I walked out of the Goodwill store with my bag full of treasures. I glanced back at the real treasure standing behind the counter. She was demure, yet beaming with an unmistakable radiance.
"I'll see you soon," I called to her.
"Yes, you will," she called back.
Climbing into my truck, I realized how our all-knowing God had woven horrific threads from my life into something beautiful, something redeeming. It was His plan all along to seam together the loss of my parents, reaching out to Jesus and the rescue of a wounded, brokenhearted horse into fabric that would enfold around and bring comfort to a wounded, brokenhearted girl.
My sister was right. If we do not like the current picture of our situation—the painful parts of our life—it only means that God is not finished yet. As the Master Artist, He does not waste a single brushstroke . . . ever.
"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (Ephesians 2:10).
So we can do those good things He planned for us long ago.
Our pain always has a purpose, but only when we give it to Him—all of it. When we keep our pain, it hurts. When we give our pain to Jesus, He is the One who makes it into something beautiful, something that can become the healing bridge from the brokenhearted to His heart. Only Jesus can do that.
There are no coincidences. His plans for you were forged long ago. In God's hands, not a day of your pain is ever wasted. In His timing, He will use every single one—if you're willing to trust Him while you walk with Him toward the completion of the masterpiece He is painting within you.
It is so easy to get entangled in all the "purpose" questions about life. But the Spirit of the living God leads each of us into "all truth" (John 16:13).
You want to know God's will for your life? Easy. You pray, you listen, you do (see Colossians 4:2; John 8:47; Ephesians 2:10).
This is the wild simplicity of our God.
Search Chapters:Browse More Chapters