Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Yesterday seemed to be about enjoying God's providence in spite of unmet expectations. It began when I was at the office. I had a 5 year old whom I made a promise to, but the promise kept getting delayed, as needs within the church, both in serving for the Sunday message as well as serving people who needed help kept calling me. Though the promise was delayed, the boy received his promise of time alone with Dad (with four boys, each one covets such time!). At the end of the day, we were supposed to go to a baseball game. The boys had been looking forward to it for weeks. We all dressed in baseball jerseys, got our gloves, piled in the car, and prepared to drive a few hours to enjoy family time at the game. Yet, a serious mechanical failure, which could have got us or others injured or killed, got us temporarily stranded in the fast lane shoulder of the interstate, and then, taking care of our car and finding a ride home delayed us to the point of missing the game.
Through it all, I saw God's providence. In the delaying of my promise to my youngest son, I was able to serve with someone and serve others. In the mechanical failure, no one was hurt, we were rescued unscathed, with no damage to other vehicles, we were protected from harm by police officers and brought to safety, we saw the love of friends who came to our rescue (driving probably over an hour, and working, even manually, to get our vehicle towed home). Things did not go as planned, but God's providence was everywhere. Disappointment abounded; but we still spent time as a family, and were abundantly blessed by God through friends and emergency workers.
In life, we can view it through the lens of disappointment and loss, and we can dwell in disappointment and loss, or we can view it through the lens of God's goodness, even as things that happen are not good. We can rejoice in all circumstances, as Paul directs us, we can sing while we are imprisoned, and we can praise even as we are sick, or in prison, or beaten down, or killed. Life is lived by whichever lens we view it through, praise or pain. Rejoicing in all circumstances helps us see God in all circumstances, so I will choose to see God. I pray you will join me. Let us choose to Rejoice. Philippians 4:4-13 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.