Friday, February 26, 2016
During a recent weekend, I was confronted with nine detours. Count them! NINE! I would start out going one way and then have to either turn around or make a small change in my plans. I am so glad I usually am running early or I would have been majorly late.
It wasn't until Monday when I was talking to my husband Doug about how ridiculous the weekend was that this thought hit my mind: "God, are you trying to teach me something? Is there something I need to learn from this?" Do you know what I heard? Nada...zip...absolutely nothing. So I waited.
On Wednesday, I went to Freedom class at my church. Awesome teaching by Pastor Kristen, by the way. Freedom in Parenting.
While listening to her teach, she said something that answered my earlier question. Your plans may change but God's promises never do. Let me repeat that and add a word. Your plans may change but God's promises and purpose never changes.
I cannot count the number of times in my life that my plans...my big plans...have had to be placed aside. Some of life's detours have been sweet and wonderful...meeting and marrying Doug...having my kids...becoming a Grammy. Others have been bittersweet and yet others...I don't want to ever see that path again.
But through them all...the good and the bad...God remains the same. He tells me that He knows the plans He has for me...that He is faithful to complete the work He started...that He loves me with an everlasting love. He whispers in my ear and gives me strength to soar...provides manna from heaven and water from the rock. He promises that He will never leave me...that He is with me always. And when I have no words...He understands the groans of my heart and sends comfort.
My plans will change. There will be detours that will take me to new adventures...and at times down hard roads...and there will be a day that my final detour in this life will take me directly to the Throne of the One who sacrificed His life for me...my Jesus.
God's promises are perfect. His purpose is pure. Someday when I stand before Him, it will be complete.
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Sometimes I wake up in the wee hours of the morning with a thought. Sometimes it takes me down bunny trails. Sometimes it provokes a need to write a list. Today, I woke up with a question...one that compelled me to explore it.
The question isn't hard, but the answer at first may seem heartless. So here it is: What did the Crucifixion look like to all the people who were there on that day? The answer: Failure.
You see, they didn't know what we know. We know about the resurrection. All they knew was Jesus was dead. They believed He was the Messiah but had no understanding of what that meant. They wanted someone who could save them from their present problems. Instead they were in the midst of more problems. They wanted a conquering King...not a dead man. They were crushed...their faith fled...hope was defeated...questions taunted and chased them. As the stone rolled over the open tomb with a final crash of closing, they knew their door for future dreams was slammed shut. Hmmmm.
Then a second question came to mind. Is it by accident that Jesus died hours before the Sabbath? The answer: Not a chance. God had it planned perfectly.
You see, on the Sabbath, Isrealites had to rest. They couldn't work or cook or even go and visit with family and friends. It was a day of rest...both for God and for all Isrealites. So on this day after His death, Jesus' followers couldn't do anything about His death. They had to wait. The were hurting and hopeless and haunted by dreams that they believed would never be fulfilled. All they could do was replay the previous day's disaster over and over again. They knew what Jesus had said...that on the third day He would rise...but they could only see what they saw...His dead and broken body being lowered from a cross of shame. They rested in their unbelief.
So what does this all mean to us here and now? How do we apply these questions to our lives?
I mean really! Haven't you ever had a Friday Failure? You know what I'm talking about. The day you walk into work and get a pink slip. The day your spouse walks out on you. The day you realize that your sweet child is in the midst of sin so deep you know there's no hope. Or how about the day you get news from your doctor telling you the results of the tests you've undergone. And the lists go on. Bills to be paid, empty pantries, foreclosed homes, repossessed vehicles. This is the day your hope flees...faith is crushed...joy is smashed. The day you wonder if life will ever have meaning again. Friday Failures.
And then you have to wait. You're hungry and hopeless and hurting and honestly believe that there's no way you can get out of this. Maybe, you think, God's promises are for other people but not you. It may be days or weeks or even years. Prayers are prayed but seemingly not answered. Tears and tantrums (I've been there...I've done it), promises and deals. And silence seems to be the answer.
But don't forget...But God! You see, Sunday morning did come. We know it but too often forget it. Jesus did arise. He didn't stay dead. He is the Messiah. He is the Promised One. Both two thousand years ago and today.
The truth is not diluted by time, just by our own understanding to be able to apply it to our present circumstances. He still does miracles. He still heals. He loves our kids more than we do. He still is our Provider and yes, our best friend.
Romans 5:8 gives us a wonderful glimpse of God's plan. It says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in that, while we're yet sinners, Christ died for us." Did you see the one word, the one very active word that should give you a sigh of relief at the very least... Demonstrates. It speaks about the now...your present circumstances. God is active in them with His own plan. One that's already been done...Jesus died for us. If you look a couple of verses above, Romans 5:3-5 speaks to our heart and let's us know we are not alone. God hears us. He knows. Hope is available. The Cross was not failure but purpose. His purpose, perfect and wonderful.
Jesus, You are wonderful. Your love for us is perfect. Thank you for providing a plan for us, even when we don't realize it's already in place. Let hope be restored in the hopeless. Let hearts be healed in the broken-hearted. Let faith rise in the dark places of fear. Let joy overflow in all areas despite circumstances. Thank you that you still give sight to the blind, even spiritual blindness. Open our eyes to see Your Kingdom around us, to see how You actively demonstrate Your love. We praise You. Amen