Whose will?

“The will of God will not take you where the peace of God will not keep you.”  A few weeks ago I quoted that from a television program. In that statement is the desire of all of us, isn’t it? To live in God’s favor; to have peace and contentment; to know that our choices are inside His will.  “The will of God will not take you where the peace of God will not keep you.”  Until recently I had a misconception about that statement. I narrowly thought that the will of God was something I prayed about and acted on. You know – plan your work, work your plan and pray God’s direction and ultimate approval on the plan.  I was taking to heart what it says in Ephesians 6:6 “Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart.” 

How many times did I pray and ask God to show me what to do, make His will unmistakable, then wait through the act to see if the plan fell into place. Can anyone relate? Here’s where my original concept derailed. The will of God is not dependent on my prayers, no matter how sincere or fervent. God’s will is exactly that – God’s will. His will does not depend on how elaborate my plan or how detailed my prayers are. God’s ways are not our ways and despite our best efforts things don’t always work out the way we want them to.  Look at Proverbs 14:12 “Even in laughter a heart may be sad, and joy may end in grief.” We never want bad things to happen – never. But what happens when they do?

The way to acceptance is claim Psalm 33:4 “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” If I believe that and live within that belief, I can be at peace with whatever circumstances come my way and there will be a test. The test – will this make me better or will I be bitter? Bitter creates regret, anxiety, turmoil, instability, exhaustion and depression. There is no peace in bitter.  There is no comfort in bitter.  I hope I never allow seeds of bitterness to germinate because God’s will didn’t follow my idea of His will.  If it’s God’s will, peace will come. I need to remember the nature of God is love and faithfulness Psalm 86:15 “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” We might not understand the why, but we need to acknowledge that when God acts, it is His will. God has a purpose, in fact God is the ultimate multi-tasker and there will be more than one purpose. 

“The will of God will not take you where the peace of God will not keep you.”  Proverbs 3:3 “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”  Sometimes God allows bad things to happen to good people. These are times to become spiritually stronger and shine the light of Jesus from the inside out – that’s better.  What can I do with the circumstances now? What can I learn from this? And the ultimate question, how can I use this for better?

My heart’s desire is that I will always seek to do what is right and within God’s will.  I will never again limit God with the illusion that His will depends on my plans and specific prayers. I hope at the end of my life I will be able to say as David wrote in Psalm 18:21-24 “I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me;  I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.”

I was having a sleepless night and turned on the contemporary Christian music station. Some of the most encouraging lyrics are sung to beautiful music. It was like a soft comforter for the soul. Here’s one of the songs … I hope it speaks to you as it did me.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ohvhmGSfxI

Precious Lord, take my hand

Precious Lord take my hand, lead me on, help me stand.  I am tired, I am weak, I am worn … how many times in the past several months have the words of that song played through my memory. How about yours? Even before this accident slammed me into total inactivity, there were many times when I found myself fervently praying for strength to stay the course, keep priorities straight, and stuff 36 hours of effort into 24.  Precious Lord, take my hand –lead me …

Mornings – first thing – is prime time when my most meaningful chats with the Lord unfold. Before contaminants of the day have a chance to paint scenes into the hours ahead; then is the time to get centered and steadfast. Notice this appeal from the Lord in Isaiah 48:17 ““I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” This is not a magic act – pray and everything falls into place; pray and only good comes to you.  Acknowledging faith and reliance on God gives hope and helps us to keep going when we are so worn out we want to give up.  Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Life is busy – too busy. It’s not easy to know what is most important or if we are keeping our priorities straight. I’m always in awe of individuals who have that priority thing working like a machine with all the gears, cogs, and belts running in synchronized behavior. My machine is more like a jalopy that slips a gear here, suffers a flat tire there – tell me you can relate.

Right now I’m sidelined. I wish I was ready to tell the story of what happened, but I can’t articulate the event just yet. I know that I came dangerously close to death – very close. Laying in the street with a punctured lung I remember saying over and over “can’t breathe, can’t breathe” and someone telling me they were trying to help me as they positioned a chest tube. I wasn’t praying in those moments but I know God was reaching down and guiding every single movement of the cast of characters on Mackinac Island.  Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” I’m not the picture of vibrant health right now, I get exhausted easily, but I’m fully alive and living proof that God is the God of the impossible.  That I am not totally incapacitated is a miracle and I admit that.  Before God, open mind, open heart I have acknowledged that is only because He still has things for me to do on Earth that he didn’t whisk me to heaven that day, August 31st.

You know?  I don’t have insight into why all this happened or what the future holds. None of us knows what a day will bring. We pray for safety and comfort. Despite the setbacks and stressful issues, we anticipate that life will be good.  More than anything else promise yourself that you will begin each day with a fresh perspective and ask God to color in the details with His best.  Remember these words from Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence;  for out of it spring the issues of life.”

Precious Lord – take my hand – lead me on – help me stand.  He was there for me when I couldn’t move away from the horse fast enough to escape injury – He is here for me today when I am in the healing process. He is in every detail of your life too. So I end with this passage from the Message translation today.  Be assured that God is in every detail of every life.  Joshua 23:14  “Know this with all your heart, with everything in you, that not one detail has failed of all the good things God, your God, promised you. It has all happened. Nothing’s left undone—not so much as a word.”

Back soon

I hope to be back in a few weeks. I think the chest tube will be out Monday. Can’t wait till I am stronger and can write about the amazing things God is doing through this ordeal. Thank you all so much for your prayers. That is how the healing will continue. One doctor today told me to please give the Island another chance. Silly guy. I’m still planning to visit Mackinaw Island. I might just need to develop a love of shopping and fudge. 😊 Very sore today and tired. I’m thankful that Gods power is never diminished. It’s in unlimited supply no matter how often we ask, how extreme the request, or the number of people asking.