A Word from Tim:
When you wake up in the morning, how many outcomes of the day can you envision? If
you’re like me there are probably many! More than likely this day will go about the same as other days have many times before with only minor variations. This Friday will probably turn out about the same as last Friday, and so on. But the possibilities!!! They’re ENDLESS! If you made a flow chart of your day, how many branches would there be? How many variables from external sources will be thrown into the mix? How many possible twists and turns could you imagine? Can you even count them all? From the choice of the clothes you will wear, to the unpredictability of those around you, to the unexpected challenges that your responsibilities and duties carry with them….all go together to create an almost unimaginable number of ways that THIS day will be unique.
Ahhh, you can see where I’m going with this, right? The age old “free-will or pre-destination” question! Well, yes and no. I can’t claim to know where we fall in that discussion, but I DO know that our God is big enough to work those things out for our good. I don’t think we should narrowly lump everyone into any one category and then place the same criteria on everyone….I believe God is way beyond that! It could very well be that every one of us belongs in a category all of our own in God’s eyes!
I have often felt that God has led me to the crossroads in life (pre-destination) and then
stepped back and allowed me to ultimately decide which path I will take (free-will); as if to say, “I brought you here, now here are the choices. Just know that I am with you no matter which path you choose.”
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power:
for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11 KJV
He brought me forth also into a large place;
He delivered me, because He delighted in me.
2 Samuel 22:20 KJV
God delights in you! Yes, YOU!!! You were created for HIS pleasure! He can’t wait to see what you will do today, just as parents watching their child grow. He may not always be pleased with what He sees, but even so, He never turns away. He watches with anticipation, just counting on the fact that His pleasure in you is not far off. Some of us may disappoint Him for years….but still He has hope. He is long suffering and eternally optimistic.
Your day could have 99 things go wrong in it, and He will rejoice when you praise Him for the one thing that went right! “That’s my child!” He will say, “…did you see THAT Satan? Hmmm?”
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the
ground, and WORSHIPPED, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and
naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Job 1:20-22 KJV
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is
none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and
escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me
against him, to destroy him without cause.
Job 2:3 KJV
Now that’s a proud Papa! (I just love the word “eschewed”…like as in “eschew fly!”)
Job couldn’t have had more things go wrong in his day, but still he praised and worshiped God….Through All of It! He didn’t foolishly blame God for his misfortune but considered that without God he had nothing to begin with! You can’t lose what you don’t have, friends.
I had a friend back in High School who, one time when I asked him, “How’re you doin’?” he said, “Man, I’m so low I gotta look up to look down!” Oh, I thought that was the funniest thing I’d ever heard! But we’ve just covered in the Bible the story of Joseph, who was literally in a pit….a pit with no water. But he had the LIVING water! When he was wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt only his flesh was held captive, his spirit was free indeed!
The prophet Jeremiah was also cast into a waterless pit, but one full of mud and was left to starve to death for simply telling the people the truth – but he was lifted up, LITERALLY!
My favorite part of the movie “Risen” was when Mary Magdalene was being interrogated by the Roman officer. He said, “Tell me where He is and I’ll set you free.” Her priceless response was, “I’m already free.” You can’t free someone who’s already free! You can’t kill someone who is already dead to this life and alive in Christ!!
It’s all in your perspective: how do you look at the situation you are in? Do you count it a
blessing to go through tough times because you rest in the fact that those things draw you closer to God? Do you believe that the ills you suffer are common to all men and that God will always give you a way out and never allow more to come on you than you are able to bear? I hope you do! For it is written:
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB
Now, I’ve heard it said that we shouldn’t bother God with the more trivial matters in life….perhaps those things that He leaves up to us to decide. Maybe so, but shouldn’t we do those things prayerfully anyway? Maybe we shouldn’t expect God to lead us to the “ultimate parking space” at Walmart. Maybe He’s trying to tell us the walk will do us much more good than harm! I don’t want to grab that great spot, then on my way into the store see someone much more deserving of it than I am. Maybe God was saving it for THEM! See? It’s all in your Perspective.
When we are running late for work, or get stopped by a train, could that be God keeping us out of harms way? Maybe we’re just lazy and don’t like to get out of bed in the morning, or maybe God just protected us from harm in some way we can’t even fathom. Perspective!
When it seems our prayers are just bouncing off the sky can we REALLY say they weren’t answered? HOW CAN WE KNOW THAT? Remember, we can only realize ONE outcome to our day….what about all those other possibilities that God can see that we can’t? Maybe you prayed for God to keep you from a particular sin, and the next thing you know you’ve got a broken leg! Could God use a broken leg to keep you from that sin? He’s pretty creative, that’s for sure! So, never be so sure that what you look at as misfortune could be the best fortune you were ever blessed with…. PERSPECTIVE.
Changing your perspective will bring about something that may be missing or rare in your life; something that we may only tend to think about once a year, and only then when there’s turkey and a big meal involved:
If you’ve realized that your perspective has been skewed and some of the things you have thought of as curses are really blessings, then it’s time to give thanks. Thank God not only for the positive things you DO see in your life, but equally for the negative things that cause you to grow in Him and depend on Him. Be thankful for the unseen answers to prayer that may lie in one of those other branches of the flowchart of your day….you know, the ones you didn’t have to experience.
Thank God that He has literally guided you through a minefield of possible outcomes to your day, and has made this day seem just as humdrum as so many other days. Remember, He was with you on those other days too! He just wants you to show Him a little FAITH…
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV
God is telling us that our hopes can be as real as any substance we may hold in our hands! God is telling us that the things we can’t see are even more real than the things we can!
So trust Him, turn your perspective on it’s head when you can’t see a blessing, and walk in faith! You will be glad you did…..and He will be delighted!
How do I know these things?
Because His Word tells us so.
Timothy J. Eagan
Feel free to contact me for further discussion at firstname.lastname@example.org