Daily D – Psalm 139:16
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. PSALM 139:16 (NLT)
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
We recently suffered a couple of financial setbacks. In the vast scheme of things, they are minor. During the Christmas season, however, they are not insignificant. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt?
Homeowners know the joys of having a place to call home. They also know heating and air conditioning systems fail, most often at the worst possible moment. They get to replace big-ticket items like washers and dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers, disposals and water heaters, again, usually when they had other plans.
On and on it goes. Things happen. Life happens. Well-built machinery wears down and out. Sometimes good stewardship plans are interrupted. For example, you plan to keep a car up to a certain mileage, say one hundred thousand miles. Then at eighty thousand something happens and suddenly the cost of the repair is greater than the cost of the car. That has happened to us on more than one occasion.
In moments like these, our values and our faith are tested. Our faith, on good days, says, “Where God guides, God provides.” Whenever I say that in a sermon or a Bible study, someone always says, “Amen.” It rings kind of hollow when someone discovers they have five grand worth of emergency expenditures. Sometimes people require space to inhabit and experience their grief before you and I come along singing songs about sunshine and daffodils.
One of the hallmarks of maturing discipleship is something called Recovery Rate. What it means is how quickly we recover from setbacks. How quickly do you get back on that horse? How quickly do you step back into the batter’s box? How quickly do you say, “I’m sorry”? How quickly do you confess your sin and begin again more intelligently? You get the idea.
This verse paired with Ephesians 2:10 and a couple of dozen others we could mention remind us that God is in charge here. Not only does he have a wonderful plan for our lives, but he intends to fulfill it. Our choice, indeed our opportunity, is to trust him with our setbacks and losses.
We can trust that he who brought us this far will continue leading us forward. We can trust that he who has known us from eternity past and to whom we belong for all eternity to come, loves us dearly, and seeks our highest and best. We can trust that as he has always provided for us, always guided us, that he will continue doing so now.
Our Father in heaven is never surprised. He is never caught off guard. Never once has he said, “Well, I didn’t see that coming.” Even when we rationalize things to the point where we do not tell ourselves the truth, God sees right through it. (See verses 11 and 12 in this psalm.)
So here we are, and here you are, with unplanned and untimely setbacks. What do you believe about God? What do you believe about his provision and guidance? What do you know to be true? How will you align yourself with this truth?
Let’s not live our lives as empty balloons. Our Father in heaven who saw us before we were born, who has known us since conception, who planned us before the world began, has a plan and purpose for us. When we know and live that purpose, we become wonderfully inflated with his presence and power and become a delight to everyone who sees us.
God does some of his best work through our setbacks. What wonderful beauty will he bless the world with through our present difficulties? Let us remain faithful, continue to trust him, and seek his direction as we step into these new adventures. Someday soon, we will have stories to tell of God’s amazing grace. Those stories will encourage many. They will strengthen other spines. They will inspire people to faith and wonder.
The LORD is my shepherd. I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).
I will trust my shepherd to know the way, go the way, and lead the way into his preferred future for my life.
Our Father, you own the gold in every mine and the cattle on a thousand hills. You who created all things out of nothing. You know all about my troubles. My problems are opportunities for you to do what only you can do. I will faithfully follow wherever you lead. I will trust you to provide as you guide. You always have. You always will. Thank you that we never have to walk alone through the unexpected challenges of life. Amen.
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Jeremiah 35:12-14 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.”
Psalm 78:70-72 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
Jeremiah 23:20-22 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.