2 Kings 14; 2 Timothy 4; Hosea 7; Psalm 120-122
Yesterday was a day that did not go as planned-sitting in the waiting room at the dentist was not the most conducive to quietly contemplating God’s word, but I managed to at least read. We were out of town for my husband’s work so this was a day that was going to be out of the norm anyway.
I have been doing a study with some sister-friends for the past several months, reading through a book by Mark Buchanan The Rest of God. As we reached the end of it last week we were challenged to pick one thing from the book to work on-I chose the idea of “stopping to number our days aright” in other words learning to redeem the time.
Ephesians 5:15-17 states, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” The idea I took from the chapter, was that we first give our time to God and then to others. Often that means there will be interruptions to my self-directed, daily plan-interruptions that God has put into place for His glory-God’s will for my day may not be what I originally purposed.
I am just not a fan of interruptions to my purposes-I can get rather cranky when my plan is thwarted. So having that in mind, then came yesterday…I spent my time with God, even amidst the distractions (first things first-spend time with God) and then he brought the interruptions to my well laid plans-a husband who rather than having a filling repaired as we expected, ended up having a tooth removed-at 8:30 in the morning with a stomach that was grumbling about not having breakfast I decided to join my beloved husband on a liquid diet-I suppose it made up for the delicious banquet we had the night before of which I am sure was loaded with way more calories than I needed. (looking on the bright side?) We did have a couple of tasks we needed to accomplish, which we did, but our day of rest and play was a lot different than we expected. On our way home later that day we stopped at one of our favorite places in the world and, can you believe it, I grumbled about how many people were there when I wanted to enjoy some solitude in a beautiful environment. Imagine God bringing people into my space! And some of them even had dogs off-leash on the trail! A personal gripe of mine as a former dog owner who always abided by the rules. But these people are people loved by God, and I need to see them that way-not as annoyances to my well laid plans. Attitude check!
And of course it was Halloween so coming home we agreed to meet with a neighbor who is not a believer to share dinner and hand out candy. (Surprise she fixed pumpkin soup which Ken was able to eat-God had us covered even in this.) I have not taken part in Halloween in years and it meant missing our Tuesday night Bible study, but there were a lot of people out last night that God loves, and for whatever reason it seems I needed to be a part of it. We live in a neighborhood that is a huge draw for Trick-or-Treaters so it was a busy night sitting out on the porch, greeting young and old, and sharing in their excitement-in those little brief encounters we tried to just bring joy to others-loving our neighbors where they are at.
I share all of this because it hit me as I read yesterday, and then again in today’s readings, how important it is to spend time with God so that when I go about my day doing His will I will actually pay attention to the interruptions as a part of His awesome plan for my day. When I start with God the day is less selfishly focused and I am more apt to see life’s little appointments as a part of His bigger plan-oh, it may not come at first, I may start off begrudgingly, but I am more aware of my attitude and how I need to correct it. In yesterday’s reading from 2 Timothy 3 is one of my favorite passages, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you have learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (v. 14-17) These verses resonate with me because I have been acquainted since childhood with the Bible, I have had a mother and grandparents who taught me from my very early years to love the Word of God, to read it, to make it an important part of my life-and that encouragement has continued through a variety of others over the years. I love it because I have firmly believed that these sacred writings are able to make me wise for salvation through Jesus Christ and the Bible is truly breathed out by God for us. That through God's word I may be complete and equipped for every good work-even when it comes in the form of interruptions.
In today’s reading from 2 Timothy 4, Paul is acknowledging that his time on earth is nearing an end-What an interruption to his plan when he headed out on this final journey! And yet he saw it all as God’s will and he walked accordingly so that he could say at the end of it all, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (v. 7-8) God has provided us such an incredible example to follow-in Christ, in Paul-oh to be able to say at the end of my time on earth the very same thing. And so I will continue to work on my attitude about those interruptions that are God’s will for my life-to see them as just that, while praying that I would also be wise enough to recognize those interruptions that are actually distractions from His will.
Grace, peace, and mercy,