Scheduled! That’s my life, and probably yours, too. My calendar shows a full week, with more things certainly to be added as the day goes on. Then, there are the interruptions. This morning my computer updated and getting it fully functional took an hour that I had not planned to spend doing that! One of the risks of having a busy life is forgetting to give the Spirit the place of priority. We can become so committed to our plans that God gets squeezed into a little box that is shaped around our preconceptions. Yes, the God of the universe allows us to put Him into a box of our own making, but what a foolish choice to make. We know that we are here to discover and fulfill His purposes, but are we responsive when He changes our agenda? While we know that He is in charge of our calendar, living that ‘truth’ is hard.
When life takes a sudden turn, when crises arise that interrupt our carefully laid plans, do we ask, “what now, Abba?” or do we grow angry, doubtful, or fearful? 30 months ago, the Sovereign Lord interrupted my life and brought change that still is without explanation. I pray for faith to listen, learn, and follow Him into a future He has prepared. I know, better than ever, that my life is not my own.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says that he is in prison, not for some crime, but for preaching the Gospel. He had not blocked out a year in his calendar for that! But, he said that he knew that God’s plan was working out in spite of the interruption of his agenda. “I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.” (Philippians 1:12-14, The Message) Paul saw the Spirit doing something through his difficult situation that he not anticipated. He is willing to be used of God and set aside his plans.
Are you willing to pause, listen, wait, and change course when He interrupts? We comfort ourselves with this familiar verse, but it is not all wonder and glory that is involved. Sometimes those “all things” of which Paul writes are hard things involving pain. Yet it remains true that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:28-29, NIV)
Before you assume that everything happening to you and around you is “God’s will” please know that the sins of others and or own willfulness introduce situations into our lives that do not line up with the perfect will of God. And yet, in the mystery of faith, we see that even in situations that are born of sin or evil, our amazing Father can go to work and when we turn to Him, love Him, seek His forgiveness and walk in the Spirit, He is big enough to work in all things to accomplish His ultimate purpose in us. The Psalmist sang, “Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.” (Psalm 23:4, The Message)
Frustration will come today – big and small. It might be a computer that decides not to compute for an hour! It may be a boss who hands you a notice of termination! It could be a diagnosis of cancer! It might be an opportunity made available to you that existed in your dreams for years! Seek God’s rule and constantly remind yourself this is HIS day. Thank Him for the promise that He is working in it for your good to accomplish His purpose. When you’re tempted to complain or curse, to desperately attempt to hang onto control of your life, look up and pray: “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, NIV) When you confess Christ Jesus as Lord of this day, surrendering control to Him, you will know greater peace and a beautiful devotion will emerge in you.
Here is a word from the Word, practical and life shaping from James.
“Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” (James 4:10, The Message) “And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.” As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil.” (James 4:13-16, The Message) “Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time. ” (James 5:7-8, The Message)
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way,
He works in ways we cannot see,
He will make a way for me.
He will be my guide,
Hold me closely to His side,
With love and strength
For each new day,
He will make a way,
He will make a way.
By a roadway in the wilderness
He’ll lead me,
And rivers in the desert will I see.
Heaven and earth will fade
But His Word will still remain,
He will do something new today.
God Will Make A Way
Moen, Don © 1990 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (c/o Integrity Music, Inc.)
CCLI License No. 810055