God has continued to shake up my life over the past month. He has opened and closed doors unexpectedly and that is okay, as my life belongs to him, therefore, He can move me through it as he pleases. I also trust that He knows what lies ahead when I do not. He knows his plans for me when I do not. (Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thee camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto all nations.”). No, I’m not a prophet but the other items mentioned in that verse, I fully believe. Therefore, I put all of my trust in the Lord, God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Last Friday he closed a door that I wasn’t, despite sensing his wanting me to; one, that out of reluctance, I kept open despite it causing unnecessary strife. I had my reasons and had taken them up with him and oh, that God…in his perfect timing, did so on my behalf. I was and am fine. I don’t get upset over closed doors for I fully realize that it means another is soon to open. Instead, I’ve stayed in prayer, in the Word and with my eyes focused on Him. Last night, in my bedtime prayers, I asked that He give me a clear message – either as I was reading the Bible that night, or this morning, on what He wanted from me. I desired to know what I was to make of the situation.
Well, as the saying goes, ‘ask and ye shall receive’… Upon waking this morning and opening the daily verse sent to my mobile phone, what was the scripture I saw before me? “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
I let out an amused little chuckle when I saw this verse before me, for I know it all too well. It was one of the first verses of scripture I relished in upon beginning my walk with God. I appreciate how it reminds us not to worry about what we are walking through, because once we are on the other side, it won’t matter. I also adhere to the advice it gives on the attitude we should take when walking through trials – rejoice and be exceedingly joyful. (The definition of joy-ful being “a state of happiness or felicity” in this instance.) I think people sometimes see some of the things happening in my life, look at me and shake their heads, for at the end of the day I take my peace and walk in Christ’s shadow (He who IS joy).
A writer I mentor in Africa, recently posted something on Facebook that was counter Christ-like. Now, if anyone has a right to complain about the injustices in life, it is someone from an impoverished and corrupt country! However, this man, in his late 20’s, is a Christian AND a Christian who believes God has set him apart to use him to lead others to Christ. His attitude in the post was definitely not Christ-like so I sent him a gentle reminder of this; a reminder that he was calling out narrow-minded people yet was being exactly what he didn’t like in others. I stated that his words weren’t matching his heart. That Jesus, although he had his moments of speaking strong words in order to make a point, mostly showed grace and love. I have no idea his response was but hopefully it evoked a kinder spirit within. It is our joy and love that draws people to us and provokes them to want to know “why”, despite our situation.
There are many people who have endured much greater trials than myself, whom I could use as examples, but shall refrain. I see the faces of people who shouldn’t survive this life, but do, and do so with joy…why? Because even if they do not know the Lord, Jesus…they have overcome. Overcoming should give us strength and fill us with joy! God wants us to succeed, to break the chains of bondage and be joyful examples to others.
Thank you Lord Jesus for hanging it all up on the cross; for proclaiming to the world, “It is finished!” I only pray more people would understand what those words mean and that I may be used as a vessel to share the good news with the multitude! I love you passionately for showing me the way, the truth and the light! Amen.
A little EXTRA… “Give me Jesus” is a beautiful piece of worship music. One of the choirs I am in (my home church choir) sang it recently and then to my great pleasure, while at the Jeremy Camp concert this past weekend, this song was his encore. Here is a video of Jeremy Camp not only singing the song but also ministering to the audience. Fittingly, it goes along with the message of this post.