Discovering Their Ways - Encouragement for Today - January 22, 2018

Mesu Andrews

January 22, 2018
Discovering Their Ways
MESU ANDREWS

“He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.” Psalm 103:7 (NIV)

My week began in a house with five other women — three complete strangers and two I’d met briefly months before. Five were writers and one an avid reader. We’d all left our “regular lives” to hide away for a week.

The activities were simple. Read and write. Read and write. Read and write some more. But the way we accomplished those goals were as different as the lives we’d left behind.

Psalm 103:7 says, “[God] made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.” I don’t remember how long ago I realized the term “ways” was different than “deeds,” but I do know my week of writing with five strangers was a beautiful example of this concept that still shapes my work, my home and my understanding of God and His Word.

Though my soon-to-be friends and I spent seven days in identical activity (deeds), our form and processes (ways) were vastly different. One gal wrote alone in her room each day; another sat at the kitchen table amid noise and activity. I wrote in the basement, morning and afternoon, but my brain turned to mush by 5 p.m. Another new friend slept late and didn’t start writing until the rest of us went to bed. Our activity (writing) was the same, but our methods were as unique as the sunsets we watched together each evening.

My daughters had introduced the ways vs. deeds concept to me years earlier. Even as a pre-teen, our eldest focused on completing a goal. Sweep the floor. Wash the dishes. Make your bed. Set the table. Get it done, and get on with life. She had people to see, movies to watch and sports to play.

But for our youngest, life has always been about the journey. How does that vacuum work? Look at those bubbles in the dishwater! I think I’ll try a new pillow arrangement on my bed. Why must the forks go left of the plate? On my best parenting days, I tried to avoid imposing my ways on their deeds and offered space for individuality within the spectrum of my experience.

More recently, while waiting in an especially slow grocery line, I assessed the ways and deeds of the clerk. Impatience reared its ugly head. My next thought couldn’t have been my own: What if I pried my fingers off other people’s ways and gave grace (unearned kindness) for them to do it differently? For my spouse, children, aging parents, church leaders, bosses and co-workers — could I “let” them do a project or activity without “suggesting” my way?

Then that little voice inside my mind grew extremely uncomfortable. Could I “let” God do as He wished without imposing my way? Why was that so uncomfortable? Let me share just one example.

My grandma had suffered for weeks in the final stages of stomach cancer. I’d been shaking my fist at the sky, asking God why had He not taken her quickly. Not long after, I got a call saying my grandma had regained consciousness 30 minutes before she died, and she’d led her favorite nurse to faith in Jesus. In that moment, I realized an important lesson.

God sees with a telescope, and I look only through a microscope.

He revealed His ways to me that night. I don’t believe my Heavenly Father gave my grandma cancer or that He wanted her to suffer. But I know God redeems even the worst things in this world for eternal value. I can trust in His goodness, His wisdom and His love. His ways are always best — even when my microscope can’t see them.

Dear Lord, please reveal to me Your ways as I become more aware of Your deeds. Help me trust Your goodness when I don’t understand Your holiness. Thank You for being a God I can know. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 55:8, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” (NIV)

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
In her brand-new biblical narrative, Isaiah’s Daughter: A Novel of Prophets and Kings, Mesu Andrews weaves an epic love story into real characters from Scripture. King Hezekiah and his wife wrestle through their confusion with Yahweh and His prophet, ultimately embracing the unshakable hope offered in His Word.

CONNECT:
Enter to WIN a copy of Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews. In celebration of this book, WaterBrook & Multnomah will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, January 29, 2018.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What can you do today — an activity or new approach — that will reveal the ways of someone you love rather than just their deeds?

© 2018 by Mesu Andrews. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks WaterBrook & Multnomah for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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Matthews, NC 28105
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