Devotional Week 5 Friday
“Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy, anxious and worried about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater in quality than food, and the body far above and more excellent than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?
Matthew 6: 25, 26
Feeling The Way
“Feeling the way – and all the way up hill;
But on the open summit, calm and still,
The feet of Christ are planted; and they stand
In view of all the quiet land.
Feeling the way – and though the way is dark,
The eyelids of the morning yet shall mark
Against the east the shining of His face,
At peace upon the lighted place.
Feeling the way – and if the way is cold,
What matter? Since upon the fields of gold
His breath is melting; and the warm winds sing
While rocking summer days for Him.”
Today’s Study Text:
1. “And it shall be that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear.”
Isaiah 65: 24
2. “He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.”
Isaiah 30: 19
3. “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’”
Isaiah 58: 9
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” Part 5
Providence – English Definition: Care or preparation beforehand. Foresight. Divine direction. Occurring as if through Divine intervention.
“Providence is the care God takes of all existing things.”
John of Damascus
How has God’s providential care seen in my own life?
“Knowing that I am not the one in control gives great encouragement. Knowing the One who is in control is everything.”
“God often takes a course for accomplishing His purpose directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe. He brings a death upon our feelings, wishes and prospects when He is about to give us the desire of our hearts.”
In Transformation Garden, as I’m more than certain you have noticed, I draw on the thoughts of other Christians down through the ages whose lives have been touched by many of the same challenges you and I face today. I’ve chosen to do this because the tough questions that perplex my mind have noticeably been found to puzzle others as well.
As we read the Psalms we find this probing point made to God: “Behold, these are the ungodly who always prosper and are at ease in the world; they increase in riches.” Then the author, Asaph, goes on to make this inquiry, “Surely then in vain have I cleaned my heart and washed my hands in innocence?” But Asaph doesn’t stop by asking God, “What’s the use of being Godly when it is the wicked who are prospering.” He continues by lamenting his plight in life, “For all the day long have I been smitten and plagued, and chastened every morning” (Psalm 73: 12-14, Amplified Bible).
I have empathy for poor Asaph – the choral director and Psalm composer. The fact is he makes some good points. Why is it that little children die all because they don’t have clean water – a problem which can be solved by for as little as $500 in some countries. Yet at the same time, a multibillionaire calls out others for “not living more modestly,” while he tries to decide which of his 5 mansions he wants to sleep at each night.
When I bump up against what I call the “Why?” questions in life, how thankful I am that my gracious heavenly Father points me to the “Who” at the center of my world. If I will lean the weight of my perplexities on my heavenly Father, a fascinating thing will happen. I will see my Father’s hand at work where before I saw only darkness and confusion.
If there is any single point we can take away from the study of the lives of Elijah and Elisha it is this: God’s providence, His guiding “Hand” is always at work on behalf of each of His dear children. And just because I don’t happen to “feel it” or I can’t “see it” doesn’t mean He is absent. The great poet, Robert Browning, as he neared the end of his life observed that “I have lived, seen God’s hand through a lifetime, and all was for best.”
Whether carried to heaven in a blaze of glory like Elijah or suffering from an illness which kept him bed-ridden like Elisha, there is no doubt that the power that filled their lives at the height of their ministry on earth was indeed the same power which kept them faithful to the end. And as E. Stanley Jones pointed out about his own life, “Everything that happened to me helped me along in my Christian life.”
Several years ago, a business colleague asked me about my past education as they knew my original college degrees were in the medical field and then in Business Administration. They wanted to know if my education in fields unrelated to what I was doing at the time proved helpful at all. I had a quick answer for them because it was a question I’d asked myself. The answer was that the class I benefitted from most was Statistics. At the time I undertook study in the area, I only added the class because it happened to be a requirement for graduation. However, years later, the principles which I learned in that one class became the foundation for how I “statistically” handled the data from our company clients, which I might add, just happened to be critical to analyzing the failure or success of each campaign. Little did I know at the time that the creative way I was using data retrieval would end up giving us the competitive edge over much larger and well-financed companies.
Whenever I have come to some apparent brick wall in my life, I’ve looked back on what I thought was a meaningless statistics class and thought to myself, “I didn’t know the “Why?” but thankfully I know the “Who!”
The faithful prayer warrior, George Müller, who learned to rely on his heavenly Father for everything in his work and life underscored an interesting element in God’s providential care when he wrote that “God not only orders our steps, he orders our stop.” If there is anything we need to remember it is this as witnessed in Elijah’s life. His chariot ride to heaven did not arrive one minute too soon or one minute too late. Praise God that His faithful servant Elisha could say the same – even on a bed of illness. And the fire God ignited in his heart as he left the family business to take his front-line place of duty in Israel, was a fire that burned ever so brightly as he challenged King Jehoash to get a backbone and to pursue to the end. In the words of one of my favorite authors, A.W. Tozer, “I do not know why God does some things, but I am convinced that nothing is accidental in His universe.” And to these words I say, “AMEN!”
Let saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guide His children well.”
“Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.”
“Thou alone knowest best what is for my good.
As I am not my own but altogether Thine,
So neither do I desire that my will be done,
But Thine, nor will I have any will but Thine.”
“God never does anything to you that isn’t for you.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus