Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Little Did I Know…

(submitted by Kerry Patton)
"The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8 NAS
“The Spot”
Weeks ago, following one of the gully washer rainfalls we’ve enjoyed this fall I was ascending the steps eastward out of the Fellowship Hall toward the Fireside Roomof our church.  Arriving upon the landing at the top of the stairs, I looked down at the carpet there.  It had become soiled from a leaking roof that had dripped there multiple times before. Arriving at about the same time was Keith Warren, our Executive Pastor, to whom I said: “That spot looks awful. I may have to bring up my carpet cleaner and give that spot a good shampoo.”  Keith’s reply was very strange… He said: “No, let’s leave it there. I kind of like it!” and he walked away. The encounter was strange not only because of what Keith had said, but because he gave me no indication that he was kidding, nor that shortly he would have the building maintenance team tackle getting the carpet cleaned.  How odd…
A couple of times later I would pass over that ugly spot on the floor and reflect again on how it wasn’t the best reflection of who we are as a church.  THEN YESTERDAY… I ascended the stairs once again and stopped at the landing at that same spot, this time to speak with one of our precious members.  Wrapping up the conversation, my eyes drifted down to the floor where I was standing, and I was quite taken by surprise!  Gone was the stained carpet…it was not cleaned up…it was altogether gone, having been replaced with brand new floor covering…the complete length of the hall! And it’s important, yes quite important to note here that it isn’t like Keith, or anyone else took my idea to fix a dirty spot on the carpet and ran with it!  No indeed – I think perhaps that may have been key to the response by Keith that I found so odd that morning that I remarked that something needed to be done.  For you see, not only was something going to be done, plans were ALREADY IN MOTION…completely unknown to me, long before I even recognized that anything needed to be done. No, not my plan.  OTHER plans…better and bigger plans were underway before I even conceived the idea that something needed to be done!

“…For I know the plans that I have for you…”  
Jeremiah 29:11 seems most frequently pulled up in the scriptures on those events where we or someone else has had their knees knocked out from under them.  When an identity or faith crisis emerges, and we are seeking to find our point of navigation, our life direction once again.  Imagine me in such a situation.  You might pull up the passage and tell me:
“You know brother Kerry, I know this is a very difficult time.  You may be feeling like your life has been completely interrupted.  However, Jeremiah 29:11 says ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
…And that would be true, and very welcomed words of counsel!  But, what I want to do today is to enlarge our vision of God’s hand guiding us…of him making a way for us, and providing for us LONG, LONG, LONG before we ever come to realize that we are in trouble.  Before we ever got lost in that wilderness and accidentally stumbled upon that little creek whose waters gave us the strength to wander further to our rescue…how long had our God been working to make ready that little creek so it would be there for us?  Who did God move across the nation 45 years ago and establish in business in our community so that a service that they alone provide could by His hand in His perfect timing supply a need that we will suffer in the near future?  Are you getting the picture here??

“I know the plans I have for you…” says the Lord.  Ephesians 1:4-5read: 
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will…”

Our God was making plans for us before even the foundations of the earth were laid.  Before the universe had settled into its clockwork network of orbiting solar systems and galaxies…God was making plans for us.  And the things which concern us?  He desires for us to bring them to him…even though he is already on the job of leading us through them.

And finally, rest in the knowledge that God is in control.  He is working your case. No matter the outcome you are in his hands and he will not let you down.  Psalm 55:22reads: “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Oh Lord Jesus, so many times we forget that you are not only with us in the right now, but that you are ahead of us as well.  Ageless and timeless, you see…and move in our future, making our paths straight, and guiding our steps toward the goals you have established for our lives.  Help us to submit to your commands.  Train our ears to hear and know your voice.  And give us faith to always look for your guiding, no matter what our circumstances.  In your name I pray, Amen.

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