Well, the zoning board in the end granted my request! It was touch and go for a while, as some members wanted to say no, or put restrictions and demands in addition to the ones I’d already complied with. However, one woman member brought them back to the focus of my request, then made a motion to accept it; everyone dropped their objections and voted yes! To God be the glory. Thank you for your prayers.
Today’s devotional was written before the meeting and was very helpful to me in the run up to the decision.
Psalm 37:3 “Trust in the Lord and do good”
[In the face of evildoers and workers of iniquity mentioned in verses 1 & 2, we have these two commands. First, trust in the Lord. That means we have to lay aside our natural desire to focus on these evil people and their negative actions. Instead we are to willfully look away to the Lord, our Rock, our Fortress, our Deliverer, our Shield and High Tower.
These evil people are nothing in contrast to Him. We must remember that He is our security and significance, that this difficult situation is not a problem, but an adventure with Him. When we move into this truth, a lot of negatives drop away and we can dwell in the Light and Truth He gives us.
Then, second, we are to do good in the face of evil. This is certainly a worldview shift away from what is natural. It is a supernatural worldview.
The first good we can do is to forgive those who have done evil. I think of the recent incident where an ex-police white woman came home to find an African-American man in her kitchen. She shot and killed him. Only it turned out that it wasn’t her kitchen, but his; she’d gone into the wrong apartment!
At the end of her trial where she was found guilty of murder, after her sentencing the 22 year old brother of the murdered man got up, went to her, told her he forgave her and gave her a hug. Then he begged her to open her heart to Jesus and be born again!
How different from the world’s way! Compare that to the shootings of the last year where everything devolved into riots, destruction and bitterness. God’s way is much better, bringing healing rather than ever deepening hurt.
Beyond forgiving, each situation may offer a different opportunity to do good. It may be confronting the person in love and firmness. It may be letting go and moving on, which we can only do if we have forgiven the person. It may be praying consistently for that person’s salvation. It may be doing some good deed for him. We need to ask for wisdom in what good we can do.
“so shall you dwell in the land, and verily you will be fed.”
[As we follow God’s way, He will provide for us. The NIV translates this slightly differently: “dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” We have to choose to stay in the land where the evildoers live, but if we do, He will protect us, provide for us, watch over us. I think back to our time in the Middle East with all the negative things that were done to us. We forgave and we chose to stay rather than running, and God greatly blessed us. His way is certainly the best.
Suffering faced can produce beauty in our lives, just as frost brings out beautiful, rich colors in the leaves of Maple trees. But we, like the trees, must stand and not run.
This all depends on whether we look away from the situation to the Savior and see things from His perspective. We must speak to ourselves in the words of Psalm 62:5, “My soul, find rest in God alone, for my hope comes from Him.” As we trust in Him, He will fill us with all joy and peace so our lives can overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:13).