Saturday, December 21, 2013

He will Act

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 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 act.” (Psalm 37:3–5, ESV)

I remember traveling and coming up to a train track to be stopped by a train, a long, long, very long train. As I sat there counting cars I would get confused about exactly how many I had counted because the train just kept going and going. Others times I’ve tried to limit myself to how long I would wait on something by counting to some out of the blue number, which often gets stretched or doubled because at the end the person or thing I was waiting on still had not come. I’ve also gone hunting and fishing and bargained with God about what how appreciative I’d be if He just brought that one thing I had been out searching for. There are so many things in our lives that we wait on, and among them there are probably countless ones over which we have no control over the manner or the timing of their resolution or whether or not the path would be altered or even blocked.

All of these are indicative of our desire to plan our days and our ways and our hope that they go as we intend. This can be done apart from seeking God and we can even do this to varying degrees in our walk with God. We are wired to have expectations and to look forward in hope. It is also part of our makeup to be disappointed when those expectations are not met and our hopes are frustrated. We expect when we start something that we will be able to see it to a successful end.

This is a great tension with which we live, a tension between waiting with our own desires and trusting God to shape and provide for His desires for us.  Scripture tells us to trust in the Lord, to delight ourselves in Him, to commit our ways to Him—and He will give us the desires of our hearts. Yes, He will act. As we look at Psalm 37 we see where our seeking after God and finding our joy in Him brings us to a point where we also enjoy seeing our heart’s desires met as He acts. Somehow even our disappointments in this process are a part of Him working to grant those desires, and even shaping those desires in ways that we might not have ever imagined.

I know many believers who are struggling with issues in their lives right now, whether it is the loss of a loved one, the imminent losing of a loved one, the loss of a job, or some other significant struggle. It would be so easy for any of these people to cry out to God and ask Him just what he is doing. This is not happening the way we wanted it, nor is probably the thing happening something we would have wanted. It would be so easy to question God’s goodness or even our sinfulness and subsequent rejection.

But to do either of these is to neglect the most important part of Psalm 37 and the rest of Scripture, which is to set our eyes fully on God and in worship trust Him to do His perfect good in our lives. James tells us to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials. This is not because hardship is fun, but because it is through that very hardship that God shows Himself most faithful and loving to us, that He grows us and gives us the ability to endure even more leading to our full maturity.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2–4, NASB95)

Clearly we don’t know everything. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, or for that matter what the next hour might hold though we might often make good guesses based upon our actions and past consistencies. But the reality is that all of this can change in a minute, and in that we can do nothing but trust our good God who holds every minute in His loving and powerful hands.

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it.” (Psalm 139:1–6, NASB95)

Psalm 119 is an incredible psalm about God’s active character and our submissive, trusting, and obedient response, even showing how these go hand in hand with each other.

“The Lord is my portion; I promise to keep your words. I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments. Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law. At midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules. I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts. The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes! You have dealt well with your servant, O Lord, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.” (Psalm 119:57–68, ESV)

God really does know what He is doing with each and every single one of us, and we can know that on those days and in those seasons where things look darkest to us, when the mountains look most steep and unsurmountable, when pressures are weighing heavy on us and time is pressing us in that God is at work—He will act.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (12/21)

My plan for your life is unfolding before you. Sometimes the road you are traveling seems blocked, or it opens up so painfully slowly that you must hold yourself back. Then, when time is right, the way before you suddenly clears—through no effort of your own. What you have longed for and worked for I present to you freely, as pure gift. You feel awed by the ease with which I operate in the world, and you glimpse My Power and My Glory.

Do not fear your weaknesses, for it is the stage on which My Power and Glory perform most brilliantly. As you persevere along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles—and you will. Miracles are not always visible to the naked eye, but those who live by faith can see them clearly. Living by faith, rather than by sight, enables you to see My Glory.

“for we walk by faith, not by sight—” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NASB95)

“Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”” (John 11:40, NASB95)

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