Saturday, January 11, 2014
BUT GOD JUST MIGHT HAVE OTHER PLANS
So here I was reading J Vernon McGee on Psalm 21 and I got all the way to vs 6. Then McGee said something that threw me way off track: He said, “But God…”
My friend, Casey Lute, wrote a book with that name. It was a study of the simplicity of God’s mighty work among those in the Bible and among us in the world today. One thing he hoped for was that people would find comfort in these words… and Jesus did. Jesus knew all about “But God.” And Jesus knew that no matter what happened He was safe in His Father’s will.
McGee was discussing the prophecy spoken of in Hebrews 5:7 concerning the answers the Father had for His Son’s prayers:
“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard…”
Then McGee expressed what many of us feel about losses and pain in our own little world:
“How was He heard? He died!”
“But God raised Him from the dead.” And I am thinking, even as Jesus prayed, He knew that His Father had a better plan: a willful, necessary plan that would bring us the Salvation that nothing else could ever bring. He accepted His Father’s will and went willingly to His death knowing that the Father’s long term plan was the best plan of all.
The question for us is, “Do we live life according to “But God?” Do we accept the direction God has for us, no matter what? Do we even care what His plans are as we plead for a change in what is happening to us? Do we find the Peace of God within us as we seek to live through our troubled earthly life? Or do we wrap ourselves in misery, accepting misery as a way of life and a comfortable place to be?
Sometimes misery is the easy choice and for many it is actually a comfort: a safe place to be; "we wouldn’t be there if God did not want us to be there," so we will suffer in silence and be a martyr for Him. Looking for the Joy and Peace that He offers is just too hard, so we relax into our discomfort and stay there waiting for Him to rescue us from our misery.
Jesus did not rest in His discomfort. He took that discomfort with Him into the Joy and Peace of knowing that all that would happen was well planned for Him by His Father. And He knew that the safest, most comforting place He could possibly be was in His Father’s will.
He did not come without first asking His Father to remove the pain that He would suffer. (And I believe that is the pain of the separation necessary for completion of His task, not the physical pain of the cross. But that is just me.) Jesus discussed this whole thing thoroughly in His prayers in the Garden. But in the end He came willingly and peacefully forward to do what needed to be done.
This sets a simple pattern for us: Feel the pain, grieve the loss, but settle things with God about being willing to recognize and rejoice n His will. Praising Him in our pain is difficult; but the results are fantastic. The fruit of the Spirit will grow strong in us as we submit to the agonies of this earth while keeping our eyes on the eternal Joy and Peace that will be ours some day.
How willing are we too suffer pain and loss with grieving and sorrow; and yet keep our hearts set on that great hope that lies before us when we will be removed from pain and suffering, and we will Rejoice in the Glory of God forever. And how many of us are intent in walking through this life with a “But God” attitude, knowing that He wills to make all things right for those who love Him, and believe in Jesus Christ. No matter what!
May we remember, even in the worst of pain, God’s Love and God’s plans for us exceed any pain we may ever feel. May we remember that God not only hears our pleas, but wants to hear our every pleas, and that He never “does not hear” our prayers.
God heard Jesus’ every prayer and answered each and every one of them, even when it was with “My plan is better than your plan.” And He hears our every prayer, too. But God sometimes has other plans for us than those which we are seeking. And His plans are the best plans; and they will bring peace to us and Glory to Him in the end.
May God bless us with confidence in His will for our lives, even when things are not going our way. May we remember that God sometimes has a way planned for us that we do not see and may answer our prayers with “But I…”
And may we pray that “not our will, but thine be done.” Amen