~ by John Piper ~
A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God
Sometimes when I participate in this weekly "In Other Words" meme, it feels suspiciously like someone was reading my mind. Even though I know in my head / brain / mind that God IS in control, that He DOES have a plan, that He WILL make a way through the maze that is before me, I tend to forget all of this when things look confusing. While I am over here working, doing everything that God has brought into my life, and believing that this is His work that I am doing - I STILL keep asking, "Are you sure? If this is REALLY the right way, why are there still obstacles in my path?" Why do I think that just because I am committed to living a life of obedience, that honors God, that somehow MY path will be smooth and easy to walk? If I know anything about history, it should be clear to me that there have been many who have gone before me, diligently seeking to do His will, who suffered great difficulties for that decision.
Do I REALLY believe in the sovereignty of God? I mean, enough to just let go of all the worry, fear, anxiety, and panic at the thought of tomorrow? Just recently I had one of those days when I was questioning myself again - I don't think I really question God, but then perhaps I do and I'm just too much of a coward to admit it - but I was wondering if I should be working on something different than what I am currently doing. Should I go back to teaching? Maybe; I got a call from a local community college last week inquiring about my availability to teach a class this summer. Should I stop trying to build a ministry that seems to be reaching more and more women every day . . . . and go get a "real job" that will pay a regular paycheck and maybe even provide health insurance? Perhaps; I am sending out my resume every week, just in case. Just a clue, please, just a clue, that's all I'm asking.
But then I am confronted with the quote for this week: even when I can't see the pathway in front of me (or in my case, I usually see the pathways all too clearly, and there are so many that I get confused, give up, and just go take a nap?), even when I am totally clueless, "God is plotting for my glory." I love that! He is "plotting;" He is intentionally planning and setting a course to bring me to the place where HE wants me to be. And how do I know that? Because when I am suddenly jerked into the reality that is right in front of my face, I discover that I have, indeed, been "blind" as He has revealed His grace and His plan.
"You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light . . . as for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. he is a shield for all who take refuge in Him." Psalm 18:28-30
Now, with my eyes newly opened to this truth, I see all around me the evidence of His leading and blessing the work that I am doing. I see that, even though we are not wealthy, we still have a home, and a car to get us to the grocery store where we can buy a few groceries every week to feed our daughters, who have had a winter coat, boots, hats, and mittens all winter. I see that, so far this month, all the bills are paid, almost all on time, and we have even been able to take the girls out for a hamburger a couple of times this month.
God has brought some surprising gifts into our lives recently, rebuilding relationships and friendships, providing employment during the recent economic struggle that so many of us have been through, and providing a church family that has been so loving to our family. In addition, my eyes have been opened to the treasure that I have found in those who are helping me build the Ruby for Women ministry. My assistant editor, Amanda, seems to be able to read my mind and takes care of details before I even have a chance to say anything to her.
I am blessed by the work of Katie who just quietly takes care of all of the graphics projects at Ruby for Women; I am totally amazed at the generosity of Sheila as she has invested hours and hours into trying to help us figure out how to get the Ruby for Women magazine into print; Jackie and Lynda have just taken care of so many of the day-to-day website responsibilities; Beth and Lynn continue to write and cheer us on; and all our other writers and contributors just keep sharing their gifts with the Ruby for Women community.
Today I refuse to be blinded by my own fears and anxiety; I choose to remember and believe that God is, truly, plotting for our glory. Today I will focus on all of the gifts, and I will refuse to let the uncertainty keep me from treasuring the blessings that God has brought to me, and that are right here in front of my face! Thank you to all of you who have responded to God's call to help build the ministry of Ruby for Women. I love you all!
"Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice." Psalm 18:4,5
If you would like to participate in this week's "In Other Words" meme, please visit Loni at Writing Canvas. You will be able to find the other participants, and if you want to write on this quote, please leave a link back to your blog so we can stop by and visit you!