It’s that time of year when I invest some time planning for coming months and reviewing the year past. I like to remember the ‘wins’ the moments when I see God at work and I try to learn from the flops and failures. One of the things that brings me joy is taking note of how ‘things have worked out’ and not because I forced circumstances to my desires, but because I walked in daily obedience to the Lord of life. In those moments, my hope for the future is renewed for He knows all of my tomorrows. It is not fate to which I resign, but rather faith that is my choice.
Years ago I was ‘certain’ that I belonged on the staff of a church in a state far away. They offered a position to me that I felt I could fill. As Bev and I began to prepare to relocate, uneasiness grew in me. I even became physically sick! Finally, I gave up my dream and said, “yes,” to obedience to the Spirit. About six months later, that church fell into major conflict and disarray. The Lord spared me from being drawn into that mess and likely becoming unemployed and broke!
I do not believe in fate. I do believe that Faith is not just an idea, but a way of life. We are assured that when we “keep step with the Spirit,” He always leads ‘in paths of righteousness.’ The Word tells us that “If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24, NIV) What a promise for each of us, who respond to His leading, who love His ways. WE never walk alone.
Peter heard Jesus talking about going to the Cross. In love, he could not understand how such a terrible thing could be allowed by God so Peter “took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him.” (Mark 8:32, NIV) “Don’t talk that way, Jesus. What purpose could such a thing serve?” We, from our point in time, know that the Cross was the plan of God. Peter’s good intentions earned him strong correction. “Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.” (Mark 8:33, The Message) Let’s make sure we listen before we speak, understand before we declare what God’s will is.
Disciples need a heart that obeys without argument, without hesitation. Even as I write that line, I want to remind you that none of us should allow fear of somehow missing God’s purpose to paralyze us. He’s a big God who is perfectly capable of guiding and keeping us and that is reason for us to live confidently. The thing that we need to guard against is stubbornness.
As you look back over 2016 and forward to the New Year, don’t resign to fate. Choose to walk in faith in the One who knows tomorrow.
Our word from the Word is taken out of Psalm 37.
“Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (Psalm 37:1-7, NIV)
Father, I thank you for the promise that You will always guide us.
I am often tempted to walk by fate! Teach me to walk by faith!
Open my eyes to the possibilities that exist in Your purpose,
And keep me from seeing only the ‘obvious.’
My greatest joy is to do what You want me to do, to be where You desire me to be.
Make the way plain, Lord, and gently, yet firmly, keep me in the center of Your plan where there is great joy, wonderful peace, and blessings for this life and eternity.
In Jesus’ Name, I ask this today. Amen.
‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus;
Just to take Him at His word,
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know “thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him.
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus.
O for grace to trust Him more.
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus.
Just from sin and self to cease.
Just from Jesus simply taking,
Life and rest and joy and peace.
© Public Domain Louisa M. R. Stead | William James Kirkpatrick