In these days of impending doom, I was very encouraged by the following devotional in EDIFIED! Hopefully you will, too.
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
The last few days of my time in the States in June (2002) brought one disaster after another. The almost new starter in my van went bad and the replacement one I had installed in PA cost twice what one did in CT. I got a sore throat the last night there, the beginning of a cold—and I didn’t have time to get sick.
My plans to return to CT on the 17th were foiled by the decisions of others, making me wait until the 18th, so I lost one day of work in CT. My computer seized up and wouldn’t allow me to send email.
When I finally did leave on Friday for CT, I realized I’d forgotten to give an important item to someone and had to return to do that. On the way home the traffic was the worst I’ve ever seen, with numerous slowdowns, including going 10 miles an hour for 24 miles!
At the one gas station stop I made, someone was in the single bathroom for a long, long time. Then I locked myself out of the van by accident, with the keys inside. I was late in getting home, losing three hours of good work time. And the materials I’d ordered two weeks ago hadn’t been delivered yet! Then when we brought the pickup truck over to unload the roofing I’d brought, it ran out of gas halfway there. Then I realized that I’d forgotten the charger for my computer in PA, and since I was leaving for Germany Monday morning, there probably wouldn’t be time to get it.
In each of these happenings, I was weak: things certainly were beyond my power to control. And in each of these happenings the Holy Spirit said to me quietly, “Don’t complain; this is an opportunity to praise!” He had to remind me because I’m a slow learner–and with His help in each instance I did praise, for our God is Sovereign and Good, Wise and Strong. Everything that happens comes with His full knowledge as well as His purpose and grace. The chance to be weak, to appear foolish or to have plans foiled, are opportunities to give Him glory and to honor Him through the praise of faith.
As these burdens came one after another, with His help I carefully lowered each one before Him in praise, and was able to stand upright, unencumbered by self-pity, anger, frustration, disappointment, or complaining. Each event then became a step up in my walk with Him, an opportunity to take up His grace, to rest in trust and to rejoice. What a privilege to walk with such a God! What a privilege to go through difficulties so we can honor Him with praise.
And as I praised, He worked all out, true to Psalm 50:23, “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”
I never really got sick. At the gas station I could get back into the locked van because the back door was not latched but tied shut to accommodate the roofing I was carrying. The building materials arrived early the next day and were exactly enough for the job. God sent people to help. All the work got done. The computer straightened out with a restart. The charger arrived an hour before I left for the airport, and He enabled me to be completely ready for the trip.
What a God we have! Even if things don’t work out as we desire, we can still praise Him for His wisdom and for how He will use this. Truly, Knowing Jesus is Enough for Joy.
Prayer: “Lord, help me to always think in terms of Psalm 50:23, praising you in and for all things, knowing that you do what is best and I can trust you. Amen.”