Monday, May 17, 2010

Not Our Ways - Bad News

A very good friend recently told me, "Sometimes God's best plans are disguised by bad news."

It must have been thrilling to be an Israelite and hear that God was going to make a way out of Egypt. I can't imagine what it was like to live in slavery and experience the joy of knowing that God was going to lead the exodus. I also can't imagine what it must have really been like to have left Egypt and then find out that God's "good news" included an "impassable" Red Sea.

It must have been really bad news to see the Red Sea. They said, “is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?" (Exodus 14:11)

But the best plan was the they were going to be free - and that, in the land promised to them - a land of their own! That was still the God's plan - despite the "bad" news. And the best plan came to fruition, too! Israel did get a land of their own - the one that God promised.

But the plan was disguised by bad news. Just past the bad news was the best news: God's best plan.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Not Our Ways - The Scenic Route

The most direct path from point A to point B is... well, the fastest. But that's about it. I can't think of another attribute for that path. As we all know there are other paths between two points other than the fastest. There's also the infamous "scenic route."

More often than not, God doesn't take us down the fastest path. No, God takes us down the scenic route. And He must have planned it that way because the Lord directs our steps (Psalm 37:23).

When I feel like I'm on the scenic route and I'd rather take the faster path, I have to remember that though it may feel like God should work faster, He's really not in a hurry. No, the view is better from the scenic route. The pace is slower on the scenic route. He's taking time to show me wonders that I would otherwise have missed.

The Grand Canyon from a plane is big. But standing next to it - that's altogether different.

What wonders is God showing you through the scenic route?

Friday, May 14, 2010


"For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God." - Romans 8:20

Futile. That's what our days feel like many times. Doing the same thing day in and day out. Work, toil, strain, stress. To get where, to do what? Sometimes it seems like the daily struggles will never end. And that, when we who are Christians have eternal hope in God! I can't imagine what must it be like for a person who does not have hope.

I watch and see that many people live their lives in an effort to escape this futility. I even heard it vocalized, "when I move to such-and-such a place, I'll be happy." As if the next thing attained will finally be what brings ultimate happiness, calm, peace. Yet "happiness" is always one step ahead, one foot out of reach.

It is so perfect that God would ordain this broken world to bring about such deep longing in our souls. The longing to know that this world is not all there is - there must be something more, something greater, someone greater than this. The futility is in believing that the something greater, the someone greater can found within the creation.

It is futile to be able to grasp what will one day be gone, and once grasped, to have the insatiable longing for rest still unquenched. And it is merciful that God would cause this to be so. This longing is there to push us to continue the search until we simply can't believe that this world is the end, until we are convinced that there must be something greater, someone greater who can fill the void.

It is a gift from God that He gives everyone a reason to search for Him. He is the someone greater.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Picture of Mercy - Parking Garage

I was leaving a parking garage the other day. I pulled up to the attendant with my ticket and debit card. I passed the card to her as I noticed a sign that stated "no credit or debit cards." I asked her how she recommended that I pay the $2.25 I owed, to which she recommended cash - which I didn't have.

I was going to have to back up my car, re-park, walk two blocks to an ATM and come back to give her cash. She could have let me through by having mercy on me. But she didn't.

What got me more irked was that I clearly saw her pause, think and waive on the guy ahead of me when he handed her his ticket and credit card. I had been with him not 10 minutes prior. I was sure he owed the same amount, but she let him through.

And so it is with God's mercy. Though we all owe the same debt, He pardons some and makes others pay. The reason for this mercy is given in scripture: that some know Jesus, God's son and others don't. Jesus pays the debt that we owe when we pass through the "gate" at the end of this life.

It's not hard to believe that the parking attendant may have let the other guy through because she knew him. He couldn't pay his debt any more than me, but he received favor - maybe because of a relationship previously established.

I'm thankful for the relationship that I have with Jesus Christ. Some day I will die, I will bring my ticket and will not be able to pay the debt I owe. I won't have to ask God, "how do you recommend I pay this?" He will just waive me through.

Do you know He will do the same for you?

God, we owe an impossible debt that we can never pay back to you. But you freely offer to pay it for us through your son, Jesus. We thank you for that promise and we look forward to the day when we will see you face to face.

P.S. If it be your will, would you please pay for the guy behind me, too...