Arm in Arm with the Lord

As He often does, God has been weaving a theme into my life over the course of the last few weeks. I am a Type A, “make the plan, work the plan, check the plan off the list” kind of girl and there are many times that my desire for control and perfection sabotage my walk with the Lord. I get so frustrated with my imperfections that I forget God is well aware of the sin in this girl He calls daughter. And in my frustration, my default can be to give up or feel like an entire day is “wasted” because of one missed step. In my desire to be perfect or nothing, I forget about grace and I grow deaf to the whisper of the Holy Spirit. I forget that life is a journey WITH God. He doesn’t save us and send us on our way. He walks WITH us. This week was so busy and so full of opportunities for me to fall, but God (I so love that phrase!) has repeated over and over again that my job is to follow His lead and allow Him to make and execute the plan in His time.

My online Bible study of Esther landed on week four and the most quoted verse from the book, Esther 4:14. Like Esther, I can’t let fear or worry or my inability to control the outcome keep me from what God has chosen for me. We are indeed living each moment of our lives “for such a time as this.” Even Mordecai simply trusted that that deliverance his people needed would come from somewhere or someone else if Esther did not speak to the king on their behalf. The phrase “who knows” is supremely rich. Mordecai didn’t pretend to know how it would all work out, but he knew it would because he trusted in Sovereign God. And in verse 16, Esther completely surrendered control to God: “If I perish, perish.”

Esther reminded me of Joel 2:14 and Daniel 3:15-18. The prophet said that repentance may bring a relenting from the Lord – who knows? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God was able to save them from the fiery furnace, but declared that even if He didn’t (who knows?), they would not serve an idol, but would bow only to God Himself. Week Two, Day Three of Beth Moore’s Children of the Light, “A Theology of Walking,” reminded me that this life is a journey of ups and downs, victorious parades, seasons of crawling, sprints, beautiful strides and lots of stumbling, less-than-graceful moments. The merciful grace of God, however, ensures that the Believer is always held by God’s righteous right hand (Is. 41:10). What is it that God requires? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8); to keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25); to press on (Phil. 3:13-14); to know that LIFE, with all its peaks and valleys, is meant to make us look more like Jesus.

When we follow after God, we will know peace like a river and righteousness like the waves of the sea (Is. 448:18). Our peace won’t be like the motionless, stagnant waters of a pond, but the twisting, turning waters of a river, flowing over rocks and rolling over rapids. Our righteousness won’t be automatic and look like perfection, but it will ebb and flow consistently and surely – because it comes from Jesus alone. I found myself, once again answering the question Paul asked the Galatians: “Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort (Gal. 3:2-3)?”

Over and over again God has been showing me that it is OK to not know and just trust – it is BEST, in fact. I can almost never really control the outcomes of my situations and circumstances, but I CAN walk with God and trust HIM with the outcome. I can stop trying to “win” my own favor with God by observing the law and remember that it was won for me on the cross. And that is BEST because as tightly as I grasp everything and every person and every situation, what I REALLY want, in my heart of hearts to simply walk with God: to know Him and to experience Him and not miss what He is doing. And as far as “the plan” goes… ultimately the one I want is the one God has in mind anyway.