You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward…He knows your going through this great wilderness. These 40 years, the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing. (Deuteronomy 2:3,7)
This was the word of the Lord to me this morning. It came after a weekend full of what I would consider set-backs. Last week, I’d made a plan to sort of make a giant leap toward the direction I believe the Lord has pointed me in…and sort of regain some of the ground I feel I have lost since Hurricane Katrina. It is basically just a plan to order my life in a specific and purposeful way both to make things which I feel are currently displeasing to the Lord pleasing, and also put me in a better position to make even more areas of my life reflect His holiness and goodness. I decided to take the whole time change…Spring Forward…as my inspiration and put the plan into action on April 1st. So, early Saturday morning I took a flying leap into what I believed to be the purposes of God…and fell flat on my face.
If Mary Poppins is right and “well begun is half done” then I’m in big trouble.
But then, I know something Mary Poppins didn’t appear to know…that when I am at my weakest and most humble state, God is at His strongest because He is the God of the impossible.
Freshly humbled, but still determined to make good on my commitments to the Lord, I went to service. I was up with the worship team and the songs were so inspired and meaningful to me I couldn’t help but worshipping with all my heart. Failures faded from my mind as it was filled with thoughts of His promises and His ability to work out His sovereign will for my life.
I left, confident that things would be better…the rest of the day would be as it should be and I would go to bed reveling in His wonder-working power…and I went out and fell flat on my face again.
These weren’t huge things I was failing in. They were small commitments I’d made to the Lord either to do certain things or refrain from them. Yet, they were as crushing as if they had been what I deem the gravest of sins because “he who is faithful in the little things will be faithful in the big things.” (my paraphrase of )
In her devotion for this morning, my friend Elisabeth Elliot writes:
Few of us accomplish without delay or interruption what we set out to do. Plans are made and they fail…often we are tempted to quit our efforts all together…[but Paul says] “for it is God who works in you, inspiring both the will and the deed, for His own chosen purpose. Do all you have to do without complaint or wrangling. (Philippians 2:12-14 NEB)
Both the will and the deed…do all you have to do without complain or wrangling.
The Lord is in our plans. Every plan we make has his fingerprints on it – though there is no guarantee that the purpose we plan to bring to pass is also His chosen purpose. His plan may be the failure of our plan to prime us to submit to His purpose. I think the point of that is to submit and pursue the steps you feel called to take…not necessarily the goal you set for yourself. The end of the road may not be the end you envision…that is not the point. I repeat (probably just for myself) THAT IS NOT THE POINT. Obedience and Submission – Realizing whose you are – Dying to self – Glorifying God both in private and before men…these are to be the point of anything we endeavor to do for or because of the Lord.
And sometimes…even my most sincere intentions to please the Lord need to cause me to fall flat on my face before they can succeed. But in order for them to succeed, I need to also be willing to get up and try again.
So…this morning…Lord willing I take another giant leap into His purposes and pray this time I bound into the next step rather than “come to” with my face flat against the floor.