I just sent out my Christmas newsletter to friends around the country and in it I told the amazing story of this past year – which started out with me feeling distant from God (the reason I started blogging devotions) and ended with me leading a ministry – and in the middle, dealing with DH’s failing kidneys (not to mention the kids and the dogs!).
Here’s what I wrote at the end of that letter:
Well, that’s my story. I hope you are encouraged. I still pinch myself to think how God had this all planned – the “good works, which [He] prepared in advance for [me] to do” (Ephesians 2:10). I keep looking back and seeing the hints along the way. Wow.
I just love Ephesians 2:10. What a great promise.
Even when life seemed toughest (not the recent health issues, but the job issues, the distance from God, the lack of ministry, the paucity of nearby friends), I tried my best (though not always so well) to hold to God’s promise of good works for me – even if they weren’t the ones I wanted. They were HIS good works.
And tonight I read another verse along the same lines:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalm 129: 13-16 NIV
I quote that whole section of Psalm 139 because it’s a beautiful testimony from God about when life begins (and that belief contributed towards our adopting our youngest daughter).
But the part that jumped out tonight echoes Ephesians 2:10.
God didn’t just prepare my good works in advance. He ordained all the days of my life – every work, good or bad. Every second of every day.
Oddly, that does not make me a robot!
Instead, it gives me such comfort to know that God had it all planned. He HAS it all planned! He’s on top of my life. And His plan is good. Romans 8:28 and 32 tell me so!
God’s plan would have been good even if I had never gotten this ministry calling, even if nothing in life had changed.
Because, one thing DID change. I changed. As I wrote my friends:
No, God never hung up on me. He was just taking me through the valley of the shadow of death – and repentance – so that He could anoint my head with oil.
And that oil wasn’t the ministry calling.
The oil was knowing Jesus better, a knowing that came through repentance, a repentance that came when God dragged (or is it “drug?”) me through the curriculum of pain perfectly tailored for me (His work, not mine), a curriculum that eventually lead to the good works for which I was called.
I don’t want to wish the same on you. But I sort of do! It’s worth it!
Amen and Amen.
Hosea 9:1 – 10:15, Psalm 139:13-16, Proverbs 29:21, 3 John 1-15. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).