7 02 2012

How many times do you begin tackling a new project by praying something like this: “Dear Lord, please keep me safe and let all go well as I begin this task for you?”  I think that it is very difficult for us to comprehend and accept that all things going well is something God never guaranteed us this side of glory.  As a matter of fact, if we only take the time to do our spiritual homework, we realize that there have been countless individuals who were sold out to God and totally devoted to Him but they encountered one tragedy and tough experience after another.  Does that mean that God was not in what they were doing?  Does that mean that God had abandoned them?  Do we always have to equate God’s goodness with everything coming up roses for me- or is there ever beauty in the thorns?     

Let me share some words straight from the apostle Paul speaking in the Book of Acts.  He is sharing about an upcoming assignment that he knows full well the Lord is behind and in front of and all around.  Acts 20:22-24 reads, “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”  Did you catch the sentence where it actually says that the Holy Spirit warns Paul that he is not going to be kept safe and sound on this mission?  He is actually facing an itinerary that includes prison and hardships?  How many of us would still sign up for that excursion if we knew what Paul knew?  How many of us are still willing to follow God even when it may cost us more than what we will receive personally from it?    

Somewhere along the line- I finally need to learn that the Holy Spirit is my Comforter in the midst of not being comfortable in this world that I find myself living and residing in.  If I find the life of comfort that my flesh seeks daily, I will not need God like I do and I will look to other means to meet my needs and that only results in coming up short of what I was designed for.  And yet, how many of my prayers are still focused on my asking God to take away the pain and protect me from anything that makes my path difficult or creates chaos along my journey.

This life is hard- period!  And if my number one goal is to look out for me, I will be looking away from serving and pleasing the God that I have claimed to surrender to.  His promises are for peace in spite of war and for hope in the midst of despair.  And no matter what trails my feet may tread, I am guaranteed a companion who will never leave me nor forsake me.  God is my promise keeper even until the end of the world- and my world will end!  I can’t sustain it or control it or fix it or hold it together or make it work properly- whatever that may be!  I can trust and follow and choose to obey a God who has promised me that He will work all things out for the good- if I let Him define what good genuinely means.     

This is a lesson that I am presently still learning again and again in my daily doings and it is that truth that while yes God has given us His Holy Spirit to comfort us- He has never given us the drive to be comfortable this side of heaven- because we should always feel a little restless for the simple fact that we are not home yet!  We should be risking it all to gain the life that we can only receive by letting Him lead!  And yes, He will lead us into some very scary terrain- but God is still Lord of it all- even when I can’t see or feel Him like I want to!

If athletes just look to be comfortable- what kind of practice sessions are they going to take part in?  Will they push their bodies to exhaustion, unless they have a purpose bigger than their own selfish gain?  As a Christian, I must be ready to turn over the reins completely to the God who has already given me His word that my story is not going to end in doom and gloom even though there may be some pages in the middle of my novel full of it!  I must hang on to the big finish!  I must not get antsy and attempt to steal the pen from the Master Author who has designed this living document to be a best seller where sales matter most! 

So lead on Oh King Eternal and get me through the hell and high waters that I know are just around my corner.  Don’t let me become done in by the flood, and when my body tastes the ashes resulting from the fire- help me remember that you bought me with your blood.  So in the days of my deep sorrow- please give me a song- so I can still hope in the night season and all the day long.  No matter whatever- God leads His dear children along!!!





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