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The years teach much which the days never knew.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Whose Plans?

teacuppamela It’s sure a beautiful Springtime day here in the Snohomish Valley — it’s the kind of day that puts thoughts of rains and flooding to a very distant memory — though such a great possibility  only a few short months ago.  It’s funny how quickly a current reality can totally erase or totally eclipse another, isn’t it?

As I walked around outside for the first time in a week, I stopped at each of the different garden beds and then on out to the vegetable garden where my initial delight was slightly dimmed by the vision of all the weeds… all that needs to be done.  And you know what song came to mind?  The House at Pooh Corner song:  “… So help me if you can, I’ve got to get – Back to the house at Pooh Corner by one – You’d be surprised, there’s so much to be done – Count all the bees in the hive – Chase all the clouds from the sky – Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh…”

And then it stuck me that there’s nothing more to be done than what’s been needed in years past.  Same thing.  From the beginning, year after year, it’s the same thing: we pull the weeds, we till the ground, we plant the seeds and water them well.  Yet, each year I say the very same thing… sort of the inane, “you’d be surprised there’s so much to be done…” statement.  And then I smiled at the thought of counting all the bees in the hive.  But life’s like that — the surprising things that need to be done are generally more than we can do — like counting the bees in the hive.  And yet, has God truly given us more than we can do?  I think we’re the ones who lay on ourselves more than we can do and what God gives us to do is not more than we can do — because if we would remember: it is God that works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.  In that same passage, the following verses admonish us to:  “…do all things without murmurings and disputings:  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” — Philippians 2.14-15

So what does the simple storybook song have to teach me in this?  The things I fret over getting done: I cannot possibly get done.  But what God gives me to do, I will seek to do without murmuring or complaining — for what He calls me to do: He will equip me to do.  Ergo, if He hasn’t called me to do it, He hasn’t expected me to do it and, at this moment, hasn’t equipped me to do it and those frets and expectations came not from Him but from somewhere else!  So then, I have to ask, if I’m fretting, murmuring or disputing over things I’m doing: am I doing what I’ supposed to be doing?  Or, perhaps, am I doing things out of selfishness? fear? pride? envy? guilt?  

Now, there are times when we do things or must do things that we feel we cannot possibly do but we know we’re to do them — I can think of many examples of this, and you probably can, too.  These are steps we take in faith — but inherent in this is the fact that we lean on the everlasting Arms and trust in Him for His provision.  These are the:  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” times.  You see? If we’re doing we’ve been called to do, even if we feel as though we cannot do them,  He’s already there, and by faith, we are IN Christ by the faith OF Christ and HE has said HE work in us to will and do to of His good pleasure.  That’s great and blessed assurance. 

So when I see all that needs to be done, when I think of the many other things that also need doing, I have a couple of options.  I can (and very easily so!) become overwhelmed at all there is to be done –OR– I can observe all these things, and acknowledge they are out there and evaluate them for what they are.  And then, the Lord being my helper (calling to mind again, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” –philippians 4.13), I will do that which He guides me to do and leave off doing those things which are motivated by those other sources that are not of Him.   This is hard sometimes because the spirit is willing, but the flesh is so weak.  We’re so often more controlled by what others think than what God thinks — but, truly, you and  I must consider our motivation when we list out all that we (think) we must do.

It’s been brought to mind so many times for me over the last week as I’ve not been well and have spent so much time in bed… all my fretting over what I shouldda, couldda, wouldda been doing had I not been laid low all these days… all my fretting didn’t get those things done and didn’t get me out of that bed any sooner.   I realized as I was reading in the Book of John several days ago that the Lord had something for me there (and for such a time as this)… something for me to let sink down in my ears, to really take in:  Jesus repeated, on many occasions, that He did only the will of the Father.  And so must I: for the express purpose of being Christlike: doing that which the Father directs–doing the will of God.   As I purpose to concentrate on health, I must also concentrate on motivations — the what and why of all my doings.  I hope you’ll be encouraged as I am for the will and work of the Lord in each of our lives… and that you’ll join me in waiting on His plan and purposes in His time.  So let your light shine…

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Thank you for joining me here today, may the Lord bless you and your home.