The Road Ahead

Being Your Own God

Part 1 – Written by Kathleen

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek. He hath sent Me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord ….” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

I have a white erase board on my pantry door that lists every appointment we have scheduled over the next 5 weeks.  It doesn’t start on any specific month because I update it weekly.  This way I always “know” what is going on.  No unexpected surprises either! I am a planner and I love organization so this is how I function best.  Some might say I crave knowing where my life is going next.

But today, I am wondering how many times in organizing, planning and taking control of the things to come, I have become like my own god. I know there have been times when I have wrongly concluded that it can’t be Almighty God’s plan if it somehow caused me to struggle, test my faith, or stumble in my walk.  This misplaced conclusion, even though I always knew deep down in my heart that He has a wonderful plan for my life. He has always had a purpose for me! And He has never failed me. I just have to be still and know that He is God.

In fact, He is God even when the world constantly throws burden after burden at us! Moreover, He is my only hope. I just had to learn that while there can be no escaping disappointments and letdowns in life, I can remain confident that I always have a heavenly Father who loves me enough to have built a bridge of redemption. The Bible repeatedly shows examples of people overcoming the burdens of the day because of their faith. By trusting in the Lord God and Saviour, they were triumphant. (Hebrews chapter eleven for example elaborates on this point).

This might explain why on this particular day, I made a decision. From this point forward, I have decided to put God first in my life, starting every day (before my kids wake up) watching a Bible study. Thankfully, my church community has provided me with absolutely amazing resources to make this happen!

Today was day one. After screening two videos, I really felt God’s message was this: “Just because life doesn’t go the way you or I thought it should, doesn’t mean I was not there for you … and it definitely doesn’t mean that I wasn’t using the situation to fulfill my plans and purposes in your life.”

What am I learning? In the past, I made my own decisions for everything I have done.  I walked my walk and chose every step according to my own personal needs and goals. I chose to follow — or sadly, not to follow God in my planning. You see, up to this point in my life, I feel like I have been my own god more times than I have trusted Him.  Yet, in my biggest disappointments or failures, I have always asked, “Where are you God?” or “Why me, Lord?”

As I thought about this further, Mary’s circumstance came to mind. Here she was pregnant without having known a man. I am sure at the time she felt more than a little messed up. Still, SHE FOUND GOD’S FAVOUR. The Lord God who created us in the beginning was able to use her in spite of her disappointments.

He has a plan for us even when our life is messy, scary, and we don’t understand why He is doing it this way.  That manger scene was not just the orchestrated one we see on Christmas cards.  And her journey? Remember, she travelled to Bethlehem on a donkey!  If you think that was what Mary planned for her first pregnancy, you are wrong.  She had the same dreams we do, with a doctor and nurse nearby and a comfy bed!  She was about to give birth to the King of Kings and I am sure she herself was planning a “glorious” arrival in a room worthy of a King’s arrival – in any place BUT a simple stable.

However, that was not the plan. Still, she chose to follow the ways of God, even if it was hard, messy and didn’t make any sense. Why? Because our Lord and Saviour is caring, organized, and all knowing!  As such, I am slowly realizing that I don’t want to be my own god anymore because, like Mary, I believe that if I trust Jesus first, bigger things will follow.  I want that favour with my Lord. I want to fulfill the destiny He originally planned for me — even if or when He messes up my five week calendar.

Yes, life can be messy, difficult and many times I just can’t understand His intent or purpose. However, today, I have finally come to one realization — that is, even in the midst of life’s burdens, God’s handiwork on my life — in whatever manifestation that might take — is totally okay with me.

Seeking Favour

Part 2 – Written by Kathleen

“So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.” (Proverbs 3:4)

Have you ever wondered how your life compares to the women in the Bible? Lately, primarily because of Christmas, I have been focusing on Mary and wondered if she experienced similar questions about her future.  Here she was — young and single, having never known a man.  Indeed, she was just beginning her life, making plans for a wedding – and I am equally sure excited over her recent engagement to Joseph.  Then smack dab out of nowhere she discovers the humanly impossible. She is pregnant!  Woah!  This was not supposed to happen. In fact, how did it happen? Certainly, this was not how Mary was expecting her life to unfold.  This is not how Mary planned her future.

But as the Bible states Mary was blessed among women, and in that role, she had found favour with the Lord. More importantly, she had been chosen to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Now, in my mind, I have always thought that Mary just went with the flow. I thought that she just accepted God’s plan for her life without question. I don’t know why I came to that conclusion but thinking on her situation now, I was pretty naïve.  Clearly, the Angel wouldn’t have begun by saying, “Do not be afraid” if Mary was calm, cool and collected.  She was more than likely terrified!  She was an engaged and very pregnant virgin!  For this, she could have been stoned to death.  Worse, her soon-to-be husband whom she loved may have cast her aside. There must have been times she worried if she would even have a future.

However, Mary trusted the Lord with all her heart. Just because He didn’t come into this world the way we thought He would, doesn’t mean He wasn’t going to fulfill His salvation plan. The plan of redemption intended to bring men and women back to their Saviour was decided before the foundation of the world was shaped. Decided before we were formed inside our mother’s wombs. He who knew no sin would become sin so that we might have life everlasting.

Mary also knew – even in the stable — that the Lord covers us with His grace daily, blessing us beyond our imaginations in every aspect of our life. He is the worker of miracles, the healer of our bodies, and the One who gives us hope at every turn. Mary already knew that He is the only One who willingly wraps us up in the palm of His hand – His cloak of protection and never lets us go.

I can attest to her faith. I experienced His protection yesterday. I was picking up my husband from work and a tractor trailer came into my lane. There was a vehicle pulled over at the side and he had to go around it.  I didn’t realize he was coming over so I didn’t move.  However, I sure took notice when he was suddenly right beside me in the lane. Another six inches and I wouldn’t have a side view mirror anymore.  Another 12 inches and I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

The enemy wanted that.  The enemy would have been happy with those 12 inches.  It would have fulfilled his evil plan to destroy my life. The good news is that his plan does not matter when we entrust our lives to our Lord God and Saviour.  Mary knew that and through her example, I am learning this too.

The enemy tried over and over again to destroy Mary.  There was no baby he wanted to see miscarry more than baby Jesus.  He whispered temptations and lies into her head and I am sure there were times she had doubts.  She was not sinless because there is only One without sin.  But SHE FOUND GOD’S FAVOUR. The Lord God who created us in the beginning was able to use her in spite of her human failures and He is equally willing to use us too.

Even when our life is messy, scary, and we don’t understand why He is doing something a particular way, we can be assured that we are where we are intended to be.  That manger was not just the orchestrated scene that we see on Christmas cards.  No. And her journey for the census? Remember, she travelled to Bethlehem on a donkey!  If you think that was what Mary planned for her first pregnancy, you are wrong.  She had the same dreams we do, with a doctor and nurse nearby and a comfortable bed!  She was about to give birth to the King of Kings and I am sure she herself was planning a glorious arrival – in any place but a simple stable surrounded by animals.

But even in her own uncertainty, she chose to follow the ways of God. Why? Because she knew that our Lord and Saviour loves us beyond measure. Like Mary, I want that favour with my Lord. I want to fulfill the destiny He originally planned for me. And I want to continue being wrapped in His cloak of protection. Jesus never fails!

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