Today's Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For Thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for Thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.”
Psalm 31: 3
King James Version
“The What and How of God’s Leading
“Lord, whatever this day may bring, Thy name be praised.”
In reviewing my life, what challenges have I faced and how did I see God’s guiding hand at work in my life?
”Where God guides, He provides.”
“Dear Lord, I thank Thee for all the trials, through which Thou didst lead me, and by which Thou didst prepare me to behold Thy glory. Thou hast never forsaken nor forgotten me.”
Katherine von Bora
Several weeks ago, I happened to see a historical documentary on the life of the reformer, Martin Luther. Many times he found himself in very threatening circumstances. For many years he remained single, however, he finally married Katherine von Bora, a Catholic nun whose quote begins this section of our devotional. A truly dedicated woman, Katherine provided a great deal of balance and encouragement in Martin Luther’s life.
As I thought about the great hardship this family faced, and realizing that she passed away at the age of only 53, I found myself astonished by her words: “I thank Thee for all my trials.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not certain I could pray to my heavenly Father and truly say, “I thank Thee for – ALL!” “All” means everyone and I still feel so challenged by certain events in my life that saying “all” for me is tough. Do you also feel the same way? As I read every one of your prayer requests and lift each one to Heaven, I find myself saying “why?” And yet, as one Christian writer so eloquently penned, “If we could see the end from the beginning we would not choose to be led any differently than on the path God has chosen for us.”
This is why Katherine von Bora could say, “I thank God for all my trials.”
As we continue our study of Joseph and his family, I want to ask you to do something. I invite you to take a few moments today and ask yourself two questions specifically about your past:
1. “What” challenges have I faced in the past that I thought, at the time, would knock me off my feet?
I can think of 4 or 5 huge events in my life that at the time they were happening, felt so catastrophic I thought they would sink me. Yet, while I was tossed like a little boat on a stormy sea, I didn’t capsize! And what’s more, I didn’t drown!
Now I’m going to ask you a second question:
2. During the times in your life when the most extreme circumstances threatened to turn your world upside down, “how” did God come to your rescue?
As I have reviewed my past and some of the events I thought so painful, what I found is that in hindsight, God was often at work, preparing a way of escape before I even knew I was in trouble. As He promised, before I called, He was getting the answer ready. The solution was on the front burner. He was putting the right ingredients together to feed me at His banquet of blessings.
Just in case you are feeling down right now and the future looks bleak and foreboding and the trials you confront seem to bury any sliver of hope, this week in Transformation Garden is just for you. For every once in a while it does all of us good to say, ‘What’ was the problem and ‘how’ did God fix it?”
Talk about problems – Joseph had them. Judah had them. Leah had them. Jacob had them. Yet, God was present, even when the evidence of His presence appeared to be completely obscured. God was there at work. No matter what happened, He got busy and in the most amazing ways, the “how” of His solutions, although unrecognized, came to pass at just the right time and in just the right way.
As you look in your past and find God’s hand of guidance at work, may your faith in the future be expanded. John of Damascus penned these words I hope we never forget: “God who knows everything, provides for each one of us what will be profitable for us.”
“May he give us
all the courage that we need
to go the way he shepherds us.
That when he calls
we may go unfrightened.
If he bids us come to him
across the waters,
that unfrightened we may go.
And if he bids us climb a hill,
may we not notice that it is a hill,
mindful only of
the happiness of his company.
He made us for himself,
that we should travel with him
and see him at the last
in his unveiled beauty
in the abiding city where
he is light
and endless home.”
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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