Devotional Week 42 Thursday
“He was seen upon the wings of the wind…He sent from above. He took me: He drew me out of great waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy…for they were too mighty for me…He brought me forth into a large place; He delivered me because He delighted in me…Toward the loving and loyal You will show Yourself…For You, O Lord, are my Lamp; the Lord lightens my darkness…For who is God but the Lord ? And who is a Rock except our God? God is my strong Fortress; He guides the blameless in His way.”
II Samuel 22: 11, 17, 18, 20,
26, 29, 32, 33,
“Our God does not beat down the storms that rise against Him: He rides upon them, He works through them. You are often surprised that so many thorny paths are allowed to open for the good – how that aspiring boy Joseph is put in the dungeon; how that beautiful child Moses is cast into the Nile. You would have expected Providence to have interrupted the opening of those pits destined for destruction. Well, He might have done so; He might have said to the storm, ‘Peace, be still’! But there was a more excellent way – to ride upon it. God said, ‘I will not shut up the pit, but I will make it the road to the throne of Egypt; I will not dry the Nile, but I will make it a channel to a great sea; I will not prevent the cross, but I will make it the world’s crown’
Say not, ‘I must take shelter till the storm passes.’ Say not, ‘God will sweep it away that I may come nearer to Himself.’ Nay, it is the storm that will bring you nearer. He maketh the clouds His chariot. Leap into His chariot! Go out to meet the storm! Recline upon the bosom of the cloud! Ride upon the wings of the wind! And they will bear you home. Your cross will make your crown.”
Today’s Study Text:
“So the Syrians arose and fled in the twilight and left their tents, horses, donkeys, even the camp as it was, and fled for their lives.”
II Kings 7: 7
“God Will Take Care of You” Part 9
“God Moves In A Mysterious Way”
“Gratefully praise the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God. You are very great! You are clothed with honor and majesty – You are the One! Who covers Yourself with light as with a garment. Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain. Who lays the beams of the upper room of His abode in the waters above the firmament. Who makes the clouds His chariot. Who walks on the wings of the wind…At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.”
Psalm 104: 1-3, 7
How much time do I spend in thoughtful meditation, contemplating the greatness of my Father in heaven?
What severe problems in my life have I asked for my Father to come into?
Do I really believe my Father in heaven is as capable as the Bible tells me He is?
“If the works of God were such as might be easily comprehended by human reason, they could not be called wonderful or unspeakable.”
Thomas á Kempis
“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.”
The words above were penned by the English poet and hymnodist, William Cowper. The poem, “Light Shining Out of Darkness,” contains the famous line “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.” This fact was emphasized repeatedly in Cowper’s own life.
Born to John and Ann Cowper, William and his brother John were only two of seven children to survive past infancy. Tragically, Cowper’s mother Ann died while giving birth to his younger brother John. Planning to be trained for a career in law, William “broke” as he prepared for his exams and thus began a serious time of depression, causing him to try and take his own life at least three times finally ending up being placed in “Nathaniel Cotton’s Asylum at St. Albans for recovery.” Many other times during his life dark clouds of depression rolled over William. And as painful as those experiences were, the poetry he penned during these tragic intervals has served to comfort and encourage many a hurting heart down through time.
While it is the first stanza of this beloved poem which is most familiar, it’s the last three stanzas which came to my mind as I read about a vacated Syrian camp and four shocked lepers:
“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.”
As I pondered these words again, my thoughts turned to the four starving lepers, facing death at a moment’s notice. I wondered what went through their minds as the shadows of the night crept across the desert sand. With darkness encroaching upon them, they quietly slipped into the Syrian camp and to their utter surprise, there wasn’t a soul in sight. The camp was totally empty save for the horses and donkeys. But as for humans – none were present.
It would seem to me that someone would have said: “What’s going on here?” I ask you, “Has this ever happened to you?” When I read this story of the “empty camp” I remembered a time, many years ago when Jim and I had been in business for about five years. Our Advertising Agency was growing rapidly and we had just gotten a call to go and meet with a large organization. This account was just what we needed to financially help push our business forward. I can still remember nearly every detail about that meeting. We were asked by the prominent C.E.O. to meet with him personally – most always a good sign when making a sales pitch. To say the meeting went well would have been an understatement. The three hours we met flew by and at the end, as we said our goodbyes, the C.E.O. noted that he would be seeing a lot of us in the future. Just as we got up to leave he asked us a question we answered honestly and when we walked to the car, we never gave “that” answer much thought as it pertained to the fact that we were Christians.
After waiting a week and not hearing anything, I called the gentleman who had his secretary relay a message, “He had gone in a different direction.” Now this happens all the time with sales but there were so many specific indications that he wanted to hire our firm and we had prayed that if it was God’s will, things would work out. They didn’t – at least not the way we had hoped for.
Several weeks later, we also lost a huge account and we felt that it would have helped us so much had we gotten the potential new account.
This is the way I looked at the situation. This was my vantage point. We had just lost a big account and then the new business we were so excited about didn’t work out either. This wasn’t a good situation in my opinion and from my view. Remember, this was Dorothy’s perspective!
Since I was around for God to “make it plain” to me, let me tell you what God was doing for us at the time that we didn’t know anything about! After attempting to make an appointment with another extremely large organization on five different occasions, right in the middle of the changing agencies saga I finally got a date to see the head of the department we would report to in this potentially large organization. The reason it took so long for us to get in to see this lady was that she was busy bringing together a group of “chapters” all over California so that when I thought I was going to make a proposal to one potential client, by the time I met with all the people, the group was 13 and within a year there were over 30 clients and at the largest point there were nearly 300 organizations we ended up working for. Now God knew that with this massive growth in our agency, we couldn’t have added a completely new client to the mix. What’s more, we found out that the potential client we thought was so perfect for us – wasn’t perfect at all. After one year with a different agency, the organization fired the agency leaving them with over $100,000 in projects they were never paid for. The fact is, we were saved from a catastrophe that could have sunk our small company. I can’t tell you how often Jim and I have said, “Remember when we just thought we had to have “_______ client” and how God saw the big picture and protected us from someone who most likely wouldn’t have paid us!
I just have to believe that the four lepers walking through the Syrian camp must have said to themselves, “What’s happened here? What has God done?”
If you’re at all like me, then you want to at least get a little glimpse of what’s going on. Wouldn’t you like God to make it plain – sooner than later? I believe there are times in all our lives when we may “rush ahead” of God. We want to find out what our heavenly Father is up to.
We need to constantly remind ourselves that not only will God do for us exactly what is best, but He’ll work the perfect plan out on His timetable – not on mine or on yours. Why? Because God’s view takes in to account not only the short-term but His long-term view of my life and this includes getting me back home with Him for eternity. Praise His Name!
“Lord of my heart’s elation,
Spirit of things unseen,
Be Thou my aspiration
Consuming and serene!
As the foam heads are loosened
And blown along the sea,
Or sink and merge forever
In that which bids them be.
I, too, must climb in wonder,
Uplift at Thy command,
Be one with my frail fellows
Beneath the winds strong hand,
A fleet and shadowy column
Of dust or mountain rain,
To walk the earth a moment
And be dissolved again.
Be Thou my exaltation
Or fortitude of mine,
Lord of the world’s elation
Thou breath of things unseen.”
“Lord, I have been so defeated by circumstances. I have felt like an animal trapped in a corner with nowhere to flee. Where are You in all this, Lord? The night is dark. I cannot feel Your presence.
Help me to know that the darkness is really ‘shade of Your hand, out-stretched caressingly’’ that the ‘hemming in’ is Your doing. Perhaps there was no other way You could get my full attention, no other way I would allow You to demonstrate what You can do in my life.
I see now that the emptier my cup is, the more space there is to receive Your love and supply. Lord, I hand to You this situation…asking You to fill it from Your bountiful reservoirs in Your own time and Your own way.
How I thank You, Father in heaven, that Your riches are available to me, not on the basis of my deserving, but of Jesus and His worthiness. Therefore, in the strength of His name, I pray.” Amen.
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
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