While Sara is wrapping up a very intense time of writing, thank you for praying for her. She is so grateful for your encouragement through your comments, tweets and Facebook messages. If you haven't taken the time to follow Sara on Twitter or Facebook, click on over and join her! We have another fun giveaway in store for you in the coming days and we don't want you to miss your chance to win. In the meantime, be blessed with the following archived post from 2008. ~ Sara's Team
Yesterday morning, I woke up and grabbed my copy of "My Utmost for His Highest." Sometimes I read this for my devotion for the day, sometimes I read "Daily Light" which is a devotional I learned about from Ruth Graham that uses only scripture, pulling verses together which is pretty neat.
So yesterday, before I even got out of bed, I started reading the entry for the day.
Here was the verse:
"And all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished... And they understood none of these things." Luke 18:31, 34
That struck me because I don't think I ever think a whole lot about what went on with the disciples as they were following Jesus around during His ministry on earth. Can you imagine what it was like after Jesus was crucified, rose again and went to Heaven? We know that the Holy Spirit was with them, and they were empowered by that. Still, the thought of doing God's work on earth on their own must have been a little overwhelming.
When we are in relationship with God, we don't write the blueprints to the plans. We don't send our orders up through prayer and ask God to deliver. Or, at least we shouldn't. Something that I've always remembered from going through Henry Blackaby's "Experiencing God" study so many years ago is that we need to see how we fit into God's will - not the other way around. It's the difference between good and great - we can do many good things on our own, but only the great can be experienced when we follow God's purpose.
Oswald Chambers talks about how from every standpoint, when you look at the life of Christ, it was a failure. Except from God's view. "...what seemed like failure from man's standpoint was a tremendous triumph from God's, because God's purpose is never man's purpose."
God's purpose is never man's purpose. Somewhere along the way we've gotten it into our heads that we will always be favored, our lives will always be rosy and God will never let bad things happen to us, and if bad things do happen, then God is punishing us. But I don't believe that's the case. The Christian life is not a call to the good life - at least not by the world's standards. Yet, how many of us still aspire for the big house, the big cars, the big investments and stock options? I think that's just human desire. But that's not God's desire. His desire is to grow us in Him. He wants us trusting Him, leaning on Him, serving Him. But so often, I think we look at it the other way.
God's purpose is never man's purpose. And He uses us most when we are at our least. When we are swinging without a net, when we are running without our good shoes, when we are just trying to make it through one more day. (Click on the Keep Reading link for the rest of this post...)
I always thought I would sing for ministry. A lot of people don't know this but my degree is actually in music. During my college years, though, God deliberately and clearly changed my purpose to His. Instead of encouraging people through song, He wanted me to encourage people through words. Left up to me, I would have done the other. Even once He had me pointed in the direction of writing, I often tried to figure those next steps out on my own. I thought I'd write for a Christian organization, making a good salary, and winning awards. For the rest of my career. :)We like things to be sewn up with nothing left undone, don't we? We like knowing the "rest of the story." We like mysteries, only when we can figure out or be told what really happened by the end. (But I'm convinced that God likes to offer twists to the story.)
The Christian life isn't like a sixty-minute CSI on tv. We may never know some of the answers for why things happen. But if we follow God's direction, His leading, we can be sure that His purpose will be achieved.
One more quote from Oswald:
The call of God can never be stated explicitly, it is implicit. The call of God is like the call of the sea, no one hears it but the one who has the nature of the sea in him. It cannot be stated definitely what the call of God is to, because His call is to be in comradeship with Himself for His own purposes, and the test is to believe that God knows what He is after. The things that happen do not happen by chance, they happen entirely in the decree of God. God is working out His purposes.
How is God working out His purposes in your life today? See, I almost wrote, what are you doing today to help God work out His purposes? But I don't believe it's up to us to do. I believe it's up to us to observe. To recognize. To stand back and say, "OK God, work Your purpose in my life." He wants us to simply be.
See, I may not understand why God allows my husband to be sent to the other side of the world for a deployment, leaving his family at home by themselves. I may not understand when bad things happen and service members are killed in combat, leaving families and loved ones to grieve. I don't understand why military marriages are put in such stressful and straining situations such as deployment multiple times.
But I do know this: I do know God cares. And that He loves. And that He wants to grow us in Him. When we decide to put His purposes first, that's when we can experience His peace. His love. His hope.
Ask God to continue to work out His purposes in your life. And trust that He will.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:34