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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Believing in the Desert

I am in this place where the horizon is just plain empty and I find I have to trust God each day to fill my hope tank. I have experienced first hand the scripture, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Prov. 29:18)

As mere mortals, we literally cannot survive without hope. Hope that God cares about us, has a plan for us, and hears our voice in times of distress, anxiety, and pain. It is in times such as these, when God is silent and we have a ceiling full of unanswered prayers, that we learn to trust in God’s providence. I know I am. Knowing and trusting in a providential God means that I haven’t missed the boat, I haven’t screwed up to the point of no return, and that there is a purpose for my life. He may be silent, but He is there and listening to my every word.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I heard the word “providence,” it was just a fuzzy Christian word that contained no personal meaning. However, I have come to understand this past year what God’s providence truly means to a believer. And this knowledge of God's providence gives me a deep peace and assurance that all is well in spite of my feelings. I am beginning to see what my natural, unregenerated spiritual eyes cannot. It means that on those days when my hope is lost and I can barely get out of bed to face another day of disappointment or drudgery, my God is still in charge and still on His throne. Foremost, it means that how this all turns out isn’t really all up to me. "Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” (Isa. 49:23)

What a relief to know that God doesn’t need me to accomplish His purposes. “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:11) There is someone in authority over me who has control of the reigns. In an age where independence and personal accomplishment is lauded, this may not be welcome news for everyone. As a Type A personality myself, I have pushed open many a locked door, determined to make my own way in my own strength. Trust me, it didn’t end well. However, if God says his purpose stands forever and His word tells me He has a plan for me, I can let go and just rest.

God wants us to go His way, not because He is some power-mongering, controlling God, but because His ways are superior to those of mere man. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.” (Isa. 55:8) Going our own way always ends up at a dead end. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Prov. 14:12)

We have an enemy who we are not equipped to fight in our own strength, in our own, “flesh and blood.” This enemy wants to kill, steal, and destroy us. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12)

There is a secret to successfully surviving this life and it is not depending upon our own strength, abilities, talents, financial status, education, or might. God will light our path in this life ahead of us and protect us from our enemy behind when we surrender to Him and acknowledge that He alone is the master of our life. “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” (Isa. 58:8) I don’t know about you, but the knowledge of knowing that God “has my back,” gives me great assurance.

Are you in a place of hopelessness today? Let me assure you that you have not placed your trust and hope in a small God. Tell Him you don't know the answers. You don't know the way out. Just surrender to His providential will and rest in the shadow of His wings.  If you are relying on your own strength, how is that working for you? Deep down you know you don't have all of the answers and that your are just playing a role in a play called life. Stop perpetuating the lie and memorizing your lines. Trust in Him alone. Trust in the one who created you and knows the number of hairs on your head. You won't ever want to hold the reigns again. In fact, God will set you free!

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