GOD’S WILL—TRUST HIM
We say that life is enjoyable if all is peaceful in the marriage and family, we are well housed and well clothed, no conflicts are present on the job and with neighbors, we have no financial problems, all is well at work, we have ample income, and the weather is good.
Then, there are those times, we say, that take our joy away—like disagreements with our marriage partner, trouble with the children, illness, death, going broke, problems at work, getting fired, or dirty tricks. If our hope for joy depends on things turning out right, then we are thinking earthly.
This next group of verses indicate that God wants us to entrust the people in our lives and the events of our lives into His hands. We can do everything possible to make things come out as we judge they should knowing, however, that our thoughts are not His thoughts, neither are our ways His ways. These verses indicate a commitment in advance of accepting whatever happens as from His hands:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail (Isaiah 58:11).
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13).
But as for me, I trust in Thee, O LORD; I say, ”Thou art my God.” My times are in Thy hand (Psalm 31:14).
In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalm 56:11).
Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (Psalm 55:22).
Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on His God (Isaiah 50:10).
Life doesn’t always make sense. I recently talked with a lady, age thirty-two, who lost her eyesight at age sixteen. Another lady in her early 40s, seriously crippled with rheumatoid arthritis, told me of her husband walking out on her.
My friend’s twenty-four-year-old son died unexpectedly. Another good friend lost a daughter in a collision. Yesterday, I heard about another friend, in his early 50s, who slumped down into his chair and died.
I’m constantly hearing about crisis experiences that parents are having with their children.
This is the stuff of life. I have a long list of questions to ask Jesus when I see Him. In the meantime—I trust Him. You do the same.
WHEN THE CRISIS COMES…
Before the crisis comes, when all is peaceful, you can commit your ways and your loved ones into His hands. You can do as those verses say:
Learn to be content in whatever circumstances come along…
Put your times in His hands . . .
You will not fear what men can do to you . . .
Let Him sustain you . . .
When you walk in darkness, rely on God . . .
It’s not a question of if some crisis will come. It’s a matter of when it comes. You will be ready. A football player knows there will be painful physical contact in the next game. So he gets his body ready. You know there is a crisis down the road. So get ready. As Jesus said:
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
GOD’S WILL—TO SERVE
And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, ”If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; and whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:34-36).
The older we get, the more of this world’s things we accumulate, the more acclaim comes our way, the more we realize that there is an emptiness to it all.
Jesus gives us the reason here.
All such activity is marginal in His sight. We find ourselves by losing ourselves in working for His sake and the gospel’s.
James and John, two of Jesus’ disciples, once came to Him with this request:
”Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” And He said to them, ”What do you want Me to do for You?” And they said to Him: ”Grant that we may sit in Your glory, one on Your right, and one on Your left” (Mark 10:35-37).
That’s long-range planning. They were applying for two key positions in heaven. Jesus explained that He did not have the authority to grant that request. When the rest of the disciples heard about it, they began to feel indignant toward James and John.
Then Jesus called all the disciples to Him. Instead of reprimanding James and John, as the disciples may have done, He told them how to be first. His instructions are most surprising to me. He said:
… whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:43-45).
The spirit of a servant.
The happy physician, dentist, counselor, lawyer, builder, banker, husband, wife, father, or mother is the one who gives himself completely to the task. There may be rewards or there may not be. There may be appreciation or there may not be. A servant doesn’t perform services for rewards or appreciation. He serves in Jesus’ name and for His sake. He gives because he is a servant.