Friday February 26 – Day 10 – TRUST

 In Lenten Devotional

Friday February 26 – Day 10 – TRUST

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!” – Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

“Woe to the obstinate children,”
    declares the Lord,
“to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
    forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
    heaping sin upon sin;”

This is how chapter 30 of the Book of Isaiah starts.  What a way to start a chapter!  Isaiah (if we assume him to be the author of this chapter) comments on the wayward nature of the Jewish people.  It seems that when the Jewish people were troubled by one tribe or group, they would look for the favour and support of another group rather than look to God.  Most of the chapter discusses the rebellious nature of their hearts and paints a bleak picture for their future.

Then we hit verse 18, and hope begins to shed light on the path of the Jews.

As you know from an earlier devotion in the series, Rose-Frances and I have been watching a show called “Peaky Blinders”.  In it, this English mob when confronted with a arch-rival family, try to team up with another mob family in order to survive.  This human behaviour has been going on for centuries, as I am sure you might have even experienced this in your own families.  In both the case of the Shelby family and the Jews, they did not consult God or carry out God’s plans.  They carried out their own, consulting others and rebelliously doing their own thing.

And that is when the trouble begins.

A plan can be a wonderful thing.  It usually involves a lot of thought and reflection before making a decision on how to act.  It usually happens in advance so that people have a chance to do what they need to do to make the plan a reality.  There also has to be a general consensus on the plan, otherwise it will fail.

There have been plans in human history that were devised by humans and not with the blessing of God. However, when these plans do happen, if they are against the will of God, very shortly thereafter the plans always fail.

If our plans are not rooted in God, they will not grow.

Do you ever stop and reflect on how frustrating it must be to BE God?

I mean, honestly, the sheep analogy fits humans to a T.  Speaking for myself, there are moments where I am just truly NOT thinking and going by a gut instinct.  Usually my instinct is right however I make sure that I pray over that instinct.  I ask these very simple words: “God, is it in your plan that “this” should happen?”

If we go by instinct or just logic, our plans will most certainly fail.

Take for instance the old building on James Street.  We could not pay our mortgage on the building after the renovations and we had to waive the white flag to the bank.  However, something incredible happened: God made it possible that we were forgiven a large amount of the debt.  We refinanced the mortgage and only less than two years before we left the building, on New Year’s Eve 2011, we made our final payment.  We were moving into 2012 mortgage free.

God’s plan was for us as a church to stay in that location until the right time.  The signs and direction that we had to take was very clear.  The writing was on the wall and we responded to God’s plan.  Looking back on it, His timing was perfect.

In all of the decisions we made about the building, I remember all of us praying fervently about it.  We wanted to do what was right in the eyes of God.  If God wanted us to stay, we would have stayed.  The location became just too unsafe for us to continue to use it.  However to this day, I have weird dreams about the old building.  I dream that I am still using the building, even though I know it is falling down and unsafe, and then end up somehow leaving the building again and again.  I miss it, however, losing the building allowed us to try new ideas that we could not do if we were in a traditional church building.

Now, as a church, we operate from one location (we have settled again) but we have been “on tour” for a long time, trying different venues in order to be the “church on the move”.  We want to be in line with His will and being obedient to Him.  Our leadership continues to pray about doing God’s will with our finances and our abilities.

But what about the times when we AREN’T obedient?

Isaiah 30:18 reminds us of what God is made of, even when we are disobedient.

Personally, I can hold a grudge for a long time – just ask my wife!  If someone wrongs me, I can easily stop contact, write them off of my list and cast that person out of my life.  It is a character flaw that I have been working on, really I have!

God is not made of THAT kind of stuff, although God is entitled to feel that ways due to the fact that His sheep can be rebellious, cold hearted and, speaking for myself, darn right out of it at times!

God operates on a higher level than that.

God longs to be gracious to us!

He wants to rise up to show us compassion!

God is a God of justice, wanting to do what is right all of the time.

Can you honestly believe this?  The God of the Universe, Lord of the Starfields, Creator of Heaven and Earth wants to show us compassion.

He certainly doesn’t need to.  He is God and can do what He wants.

But I have realized, over time, that this IS what God wants.

He really WANTS us to wait on Him and for Him.

Waiting on Him with regards to any decision we make.  THIS pleases Him.

As a parent, I love it when one of my children ask for my advice.  When they ask me and I share it with them and we talk it out together, I feel that I am fulfilling one of my roles as their Dad.  I can see why it brings God such joy.  At the end of the day, if I am truly honest with myself, I am most happy when I see my children thriving and happy.  It brings me great delight and allows me to share in their joy.

Is there a major decision coming up for you in the near future?  Have you consulted God fully on it?  Have you waited on Him and His response?  God wants you to trust Him.  To FULLY trust Him in all of your plans, all of your ambitions, all of your hopes.

Trust is one of the main elements in Lent.  We are walking these 40 days knowing that God is doing something about our sin, and is working on our behalf to change the situation.  He does so by giving up His own Son as an act of love for all of us, so that we would listen for His voice.

That we would wait on Him.

That we would trust Him with our lives.

I am sure some of you have been hurt before so badly in your life journey that you have lost the ability to trust.  It is my hope that Lent would be a season of not only returning to God but beginning to take the steps to trust again.  Rebuilding trust does not happen overnight, but takes many many days, months and years. Let’s make Lent a 40 day start of a new journey of trusting Jesus with everything.

It begins with a single step.  May you take that step today as you begin your weekend and know that, as Isaiah 30:18 reminds us, you will be blessed!

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