Monday, July 28, 2008

30 Days of Praise - Day 22

I have been pondering something over the last few days. It's something I think about on a lot of occasions, actually.

God gave us free will. In part at least He gave us free will so we could choose Him, and choose to love Him for ourselves. He didn't want to create mindless creatures, He wanted real relationships and real love. So, He gave us free will.

Free will is something we want, it's something people fight for. Many think it's a right to be treasured. But there is a dark side to this gift that God gave us, and that's the power it gives others over our lives. Because just like we have free will so do others, and many use it in a way that hurts or hinders us.

I can have all good plans and purposes, in my life, in my ministry, in my relationships, I can be completely on track with these things, but I do not have the power to assure they stay on the right course. Other people have the power to circumvent my plans or intentions, with a refusal to support or participate, by lording power of position, there are so man ways that the free will of others can hurt, harm or hinder me. (And you too by the way.)

That can be a hard pill to swallow, because no matter how much you choose to do the right thing, it does not guarantee you the outcome you hoped or planned for.

So, as I said, I have really been chewing on this the last few days, watching poor scenarios play out in my life but more around me in the lives of people I care about. I've been watching people get hurt by others' free wills and I have been asking myself, what do you say in those situations? How do you minister to someone in that circumstance?

I was spending time with the Lord last night considering these things and this is the word that came to me, "Sovereign."

My God is sovereign. And yes, people will do us harm, whether it is without intention or done with malice, we will be hurt when others exercise their freedoms. In fact they may even thwart our plans for our lives. They may destroy dreams, but God's plan will stand. God's purpose for us will remain.

If we draw close to Him, hide in the shadow of His wings, then we have the hope that we may find a new dream there, God's dream for us, His plan. And we know His plans are for our good.

"'For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.'" Jeremiah 29:11-13

There is the key, we must take our hurts, our broken dreams, and we must seek Him out, we must call upon Him and allow Him into our pain, sadness and disappointment. And when we do, we have His promise that He will listen to us and be found by us, and then He will lead us into His plans for His life. If we trust Him, we may suffer the journey, but never will we regret the destination.

We have no power over the free will of others, we cannot manipulate, bully or beg another into undoing a harm done to us. What we can do is continue on that right path, seek to trust and honor the Lord and trust His sovereignty in our lives. We can live our lives in such a way as to honor Him, and place our hope and faith in Him. I praise God for that word, and all the truth it holds, my God is the sovereign God.

But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. 1 Timothy 6:11-16

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