While it is difficult to explain, and sounds as though I live haphazardly with no plan, (as we have been carefully indoctrinated to believe we must have to be successful), I've lived long enough to know, for sure, there is no such thing as coincidence. Not in my life, anyway. I chose, when I surrendered to Christ's will, giving up my will to His, that I would move about as an empty vessel, willing to do (or not do) as prompted. In this dynamic, while I give up self will, I gain so much more in not just good or better outcomes, but best.
Yesterday, December 29, 2020, once again, I got to reap the benefits of listening, obeying and trusting.
My prayer life has altered in recent years. I do a lot of praise and gratitude and less asking for specifics. I guess, after awhile, you finally learn that His way, no matter how dauntingly tough it might look, will always conclude with something added to us that we will need. So, mostly all I ask for nowadays is to be delivered from evil (He gave us that option in The Lord's Prayer) and to spare us from tragedy, which is not the same as praying to be spared trouble or crisis. God created this world with basic universal mechanics put in place - action/reaction/consequence.
Looking back I realize my prayers to be spared tragedy have prevented quite a few unnecessary reactions/consequences in this strange year of 2020.
A few weeks ago we went to our old houseboat for the weekend. As we entered we noticed a faint burnt electrical smell. We didn't dismiss it because anyone who owns a houseboat knows the first rule is to never ignore strange sounds or smells. But we couldn't find anything specific to isolate the cause.
Fast forward to yesterday. Hubs monitors the temperature remotely (oh modern technology) and noticed the heat was not holding steady. Because he is a man who gets things done, he called our Air Con tech who just happened to be available (coincidence?) to meet him there. He discovered that the condensation pump had, at some point, caught fire. He noted there were signs that the flames had licked the floor joists before it miraculously went out (coincidence?)
So, the lesson for me, yet again, is that God does work in mysterious ways. He allows us to suffer consequences of bad choices, just as any good parent should. He puts us in the middle of character building troubles and tests us over and over again, which refines us.
And then, if we are listening, He lays on our hearts to pray in ways we can't understand why. All we have to do is be tuned in and trust that, as strange as it might seem - there is a plan. He wants us to depend on Him.
As this crazy year ends with so many unanswered questions, be of good cheer, God knows what we should do. All we have to do is PAY ATTENTION!
May your New Year be delivered from evil and spared from tragedy.
The Concept of Divine Control
…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! —Matthew 7:11
Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct in this passage for those people who have His Spirit. He urges us to keep our minds filled with the concept of God’s control over everything, which means that a disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to ask and to seek.
Fill your mind with the thought that God is there. And once your mind is truly filled with that thought, when you experience difficulties it will be as easy as breathing for you to remember, “My heavenly Father knows all about this!” This will be no effort at all, but will be a natural thing for you when difficulties and uncertainties arise. Before you formed this concept of divine control so powerfully in your mind, you used to go from person to person seeking help, but now you go to God about it. Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct for those people who have His Spirit, and it works on the following principle: God is my Father, He loves me, and I will never think of anything that He will forget, so why should I worry?
Jesus said there are times when God cannot lift the darkness from you, but you should trust Him. At times God will appear like an unkind friend, but He is not; He will appear like an unnatural father, but He is not; He will appear like an unjust judge, but He is not. Keep the thought that the mind of God is behind all things strong and growing. Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God’s will is behind it. Therefore, you can rest in perfect confidence in Him. Prayer is not only asking, but is an attitude of the mind which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural. “Ask, and it will be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7).