Sunday, May 21, 2017

God's Story Over Time

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23  NLT

I have to admit- I love a good story.  Over the past couple of days, I have heard some great stories that illustrate that one of my favorite verses, "The steps of a man are established by the Lord and he delights in his way." Psalm 37:23

My husband's friend, who is in the telecom industry, told an amazing story about being part of the Amazon Kindle 2's launch team. He was responsible for making sure readers could download books without a wifi connection.  The important part of his story wasn't the technological prowess required to accomplish this feat but how God brought the team together.   You see, 15 years before the Kindle's launch, he and a couple of other guys were working as consultants on bank mergers.  They were working 70 hours a week in the very small town of Rocky Mount, NC.  As their consulting days came to an end, the guys all went in separate directions.  Our friend went into telecom, one joined a design firm and the other headed to the west coast.   They never imagined they would work together again.  Yet as the Kindle 2 was being launched, they found themselves reunited on a conference call.  The friendship they had developed over 15 years before meant that trust and commitment were already in place.  They pooled their resources and experience to finish the technological part and then God opened the door for the Kindle 2 to be tried by Oprah's book club.   As they say, the rest is history!

I don't have high tech stories that involve Oprah but I can see just as clearly how God has brought people into my life long ago as a gift that still blesses me today.  My first blog post tells the story of my book proposal being read by a top Christian editor.  Truly God directed my path. 

 This week I was so blessed to hear best-selling author and speaker Renee Swope share about her journey from doubt to confidence.  I was excited to hear her speak because 20 years ago, my future husband and I were in a Crown Ministries Bible Study with her husband and her.  Our group of 6 couples were seeking to know God's Word and how it applied in our lives. Renee was just starting to help out with a newsletter for an organization called Proverbs 31.  I remember visiting her house as she was stapling the newsletters and getting them ready to be mailed. Over the past 20 years, God has blessed hundreds of thousands of women because she was willing to serve him.  I looked back on our prayer log at that time and saw that she was pregnant with her youngest son.  A highlight of hearing her speak, was meeting this great young man at her book table.  In the few minutes we talked at her book table, they shared a bit of his story. The transformation God had made in his heart was evident and I couldn't help but marvel at seeing the fruit of prayers our group had prayed for him even before he was born. You never know how one prayer, one word of encouragement or your willingness to help a friend with a newsletter will bless someone else.

Many years ago, I read a book that examined Christianity, Judaism and Islam from an analytical and comparative perspective.  The author pointed out that both Christianity and Judaism are based in history. You can use outside historical documents to verify the rules of  Caesar Augustus, King Herod, Hezekiah, Sennacherib and King Solomon, and Pharaoh. What is unique about the Bible is that tells the story of God's intervention and role directing the steps of his chosen people Israel and even those who don't honor him like Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar and Sennacherib in the context of time and history.  

One of my favorite Bible stories that show how God prepares us for what is to come in the future is the story of David.  David was secretly anointed by the priest Samuel to be the next king of Israel though he was still very young. His shepherding life didn't change until his dad sent him to take food to his older brothers on the battlefield. After he volunteered to fight the giant Goliath and defeated him, King Saul asked David to live with him.  God used this time in Saul's household to prepare him to be the future king of Israel.   Soon after this, Saul tried to kill David and sent him into exile.  David's path wasn't easy but God used it to hone his leadership skills, teach him to depend on him and develop patience and trust. Even as Saul's men were waiting to kill him, David wrote, 
"But I will sing of your strength,
    in the morning I will sing of your love;for you are my fortress,    my refuge in times of trouble.You are my strength, I sing praise to you;    you, God, are my fortress  my God on whom I can rely.Psalm 59:16 &17

God prepared, protected him and directed David 's path.  Looking back on his life David wrote in Psalm 37:34 "Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
    and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
    you will look on when the wicked are cut off."

God delights in every detail of our lives.  He will orchestrate events and experiences that prepare us for us for what is to come in the future. God takes an eternal perspective and sometimes we don't understand how being a shepherd, defeating a giant and running for our lives could be His plan, yet as an old man, David confidently wrote in Psalm 37:3-6 
Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
   your vindication like the noonday sun.

If you are in a hard time or if you feel like you aren't doing what God called and anointed you to do- hold on.  Wait for the Lord, Trust in the Lord, and Take Delight in the Lord as you continue to do good and commit everything you do to Him.  Over time He will reward you and vindicate you.  

Hearing stories of God's hand of preparation and blessing over time is so encouraging to me.  How have you seen God work over time in your life?  

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