These verses came to mind when I got home this morning:
Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.
Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. (Pro 23:17, 18)
The other day, when I had briefly mentioned in an e-mail my grief/frustration at seeing things cycle in some local churches, Pastor Mike Sproul of Tri-City Baptist Church in Tempe, AZ, notified me of a series he had just finished preaching called Living Through Crisis. Since I am on a dial-up connection, I was thankful when I saw that the sermons were downloadable (though that takes some time too; but at least the audio doesn’t get choppy). I listened to the first two prior to going to bed yesterday afternoon. . I thought, Wow; I needed this more than I realized. I plan to get the others in today, and then I will doubtless re-listen to the series again.
Anyway, at work, there is some tension. I know, it’s not unique for someone to have tension or witness it on the job. I’ve gritted my teeth and bit my tongue so many times, there are times I wonder how I still have either of these. A while back, the Capabayan posted a reminder about always being thankful. There is much I am thankful for, but I have to admit there are currently some things that are just plain tough to be thankful for.
In the past couple of years, many are the times I have asked God “Why…? How…? Where…? Who…? When…? What…?” Some of those questions have been in regards to the day-to-day stuff, but there are a great many of them that have been in regards to the “life plans,” ya’ know, the big decisions (family–which requires a wife; prior to that perhaps a number of decisions to sort through–career/ministry, etc…). All the while, I have tried to remind myself (in various ways, means, shapes, and forms) that God has it all planned out, even if there are some (or many) parts of “the plan” that I don’t see through what seems like a cluttered path of obstacles. Recently, my pastor broke down the end of Romans 8 this way, and I found it a very interesting reading of the passage:
He had this printed on a sheet of paper (landscape) under these two headings (thus two parallel listings of verses):
- Man’s Questions
- God’s Viewpoint
- Rom 8:31a What then shall we say to these things?
- Rom 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
- Rom 8:31b If God is for us, who can be against us?
- Rom 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
- Rom 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
- Rom 8:38, 39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Rom 8:33a Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?
- Rom 8:33b It is God who justifies.
- Rom 8:34a Who is to condemn?
- Rom 8:34b Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
- Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
- Rom 8:36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
It is very easy to look through our human eyes and not see or even be able to comprehend “how it’s all going to work out.” Even when we are spiritually-sensitive this can be a difficult task, but what wonderful reminders God has given us. look at verses 30 and 38. He predestinated us (destinated before, not after) and nothing that has happened in the past or is happening right now, or that will happen in the future can separate a Christian from God’s love through Christ. Having difficulty seeing “the plan?”
Rom 8:26-28 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Rom. 8:34b Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Wow! Two Persons of the Godhead interceeding for those of us that have received the Lord Jesus as personal Savior! We don’t always know every aspect of God’s will, but They do, and They know our hearts. How neat it is to think that the Holy Spirit “fills in the blanks” of my prayers where I don’t know many of the details. And that Christ, Who loved me enough to willingly die and shed His blood for my sins, is alive today, praying on my behalf–interceding–at God’s right hand!
Does God have a plan? He sure does! He has one for each and every one of us! But we have to trust Him to bring it to pass in His time, and not try to manipulate it into passing in our time.
Scripture quoted form the English Standard Version