Have you ever tried hard to do something (or not do something) but God had other plans?
That's been the start of my 2009. For example: every time I've set out to write or do anything on the computer, God seems to have other plans. I sat down to work on a devotional for a dear friend of mine, wanting to write about peace (my word for 2009) or fear (something I've seen God do amazing things in setting folks free) or just about anything but what I ended up writing.
But I needed the reminder. So I thought I'd share, in case you needed it too...
Blessed Be Your Name
Those words are found in Job 1:21 and in a popular song by Matt Redman. We sing these words at our church. But sometimes they're too painful to even whisper.
So painful that many times all I can offer are tears.
One Sunday, over ten years ago, I sat in my Sunday school class excitedly waiting my chance to share the happy announcement of my first pregnancy. Everyone celebrated and congratulated. Then a friend sitting to my right quietly shared about their recent miscarriage.
The silence in the room stole my breath and heartbeat. But the husband turned to me, looked me straight in the eyes, and said these words from Job 1: "The Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be His Name."
The grace he gave with tear-filled eyes and a heart tuned to God allowed us all to celebrate and grieve, as well as praise the Lord in both. That moment in time will stay with me forever.
Over the years, I've had a turn in my friend's shoes. And his quiet words challenged me. It took a long time for me to offer the words of Job 1:21 as a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Many more years before I would see God use that pain for good and turn it into a memorial stone.
He started that process through my writing Healing Promises, which required me to revisit that painful time and Job 1:21. Then God put me on a TV program to talk about Healing Promises. Before the show began, one of the production guys got me set up with a microphone. Something about the man was so familiar, but I couldn't place it.
Then I went on air and started talking about Job 1:21. On the way home it hit me. The man who helped me with my microphone was the same guy in my Sunday school class who first showed me how to live Job 1:21.
Long story short, I was able to get in touch with the man and we talked about that Sunday school class, the verse in Job, and how God worked through him to prepare me for things well beyond my understanding.
And so now Job 1:21 is a memorial stone~ a place where I return and remember the faithfulness of God, how He prepared me, sustained me, and in time turned my tears into rejoicing.
How about you? What verses serve as memorial stones in your life?
I pray you'll keep your heart open to where the Lord will use you to share those verses. And in sharing, may the Lord use you to shine a light along the path for someone else to be drawn closer to Him.