In Spite of All That

dee582866cdec2124e392edcd129db6e.pngIn addition, Josiah removed the mediums, the spiritists, household idols, images, and all the detestable things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. He did this in order to carry out the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the Lord’s temple. Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his mind and with all his heart and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him.

In spite of all that, the Lord did not turn from the fury of His great burning anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had provoked Him with. (2 Kings 23:24-26)

We can do what we know is right and still not get the results we want. In fact, it happens often. God’s perspective is bigger, broader, and more complete. We connect two things together–our good efforts with a bad outcome–and declare it (and even God) to be unfair. But we often connect the wrong things. We don’t complain too much when our bad collides with grace and results in what seems to be good. We have a need to explain the unexplainable and connect the dots in the wrong order. It’s like we try to make a picture out of the thousands of dots on the page without an idea of which dot follows which. But we certainly try. And sometimes, we force the dots to create a picture that looks beautiful but is nowhere close to what the picture is supposed to be.

Instead, we could be faithful and patient. And let God do what He does best: connecting the dots to make the picture He knows is the most beautiful for us across our entire lives.

Please, Lord

3024e395ac2b9db1b490bc9e10fe0b78.jpgThen Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord“Please Lord, remember how I have walked before You faithfully and wholeheartedly and have done what pleases You.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (2 Kings 20:2-3)

God remembers. Asking Him to remember is more about us than Him. It’s us recalling what we’ve done and how we’ve trusted Him (or not) and acknowledging that He knows everything about us in the past, present, and future. It’s our humility and boldness in His presence. And it’s an essential part of our faith.

Spend some time with God today, recalling your journey with Him, settling into His presence in the present, and trusting Him with the future.

Give it all to Him. Give yourself to Him.

God Alone

daily-image-022813Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord:

Lord God of Israel who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are God—You alone—of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth. Listen closely, Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, Lord, and see. Hear the words that Sennacherib has sent to mock the living God. Lord, it is true that the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but made by human hands—wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. Now, Lord our God, please save us from his hand so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God—You alone. (2 Kings 19:15-19)

No matter what, God alone is God.

No matter the frustrations, trials, pain, suffering, grief, betrayal, or anything else. He alone is God.

That’s difficult to fathom at times. I want to try to explain everything within His perspective and will. But I can’t. First, it doesn’t all make sense. I don’t understand how everything fits together. Second, if I could completely understand everything about Him and His perspective and creation, what would that say about Him…and me?

I don’t know why one person dies while another person lives. I don’t know why one person suffers physically, another suffers emotionally, and another seems to skate through life relatively unscathed. I don’t know why some people lash out at others yet are the first ones to cry foul when something similar happens to them. I don’t know why being called to a humble, higher road is exhausting and feels unfair at times even though it is also the most rewarding. I just don’t know.

But I know God. And I trust Him. And I am thankful for Him.

The Right and Wrong of It

imagesHe did what was right in the Lord’s sight, but not like his ancestor David. He did everything his father Joash had done. Yet the high places were not taken away, and the people continued sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. (2 Kings 14:3-4)

Just because we continue what’s right doesn’t mean we get rid of what’s wrong. Both are important. Submission must be toward fully right, yet it is always a process.

Make a move today.

We Like What We Like

problem-with-idols-the_std_t_nvHowever, they would not listen but continued practicing their former customs. These nations feared the Lord but also served their idols. (2 Kings 17:40-41a)

Yes.

That’s us today.

Even those who acknowledge God and even try to follow Him well also like their own comfort zones, looking to and trusting their own idols of their lives, of culture, of this time or place.

Listen to yourself today. What do you focus on even more than God? What do you trust, perhaps more than Him? Who do you immediately run to? What do you prefer to do in your own strength? How do you rely on yourself or others more than Him?

Be honest. Until you are, you will not change and grow as God intends.

Sight and Blindness

girl_covering_eyes-300x199 Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the Lord opened the servant’s eyes. He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

When the Arameans came against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Please strike this nation with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness, according to Elisha’s word. Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will take you to the man you’re looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. When they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open these men’s eyes and let them see.” So the Lord opened their eyes. They looked and discovered they were in Samaria. (2 Kings 6:17-20)

God opens our eyes, and He blinds us to what He doesn’t want us to see. But it is always for His purpose, not ours. We don’t get to see when we want and turn aside when we don’t. And visual sight is not the only sight He gives us or takes away. We can trust Him to highlight or downplay what is around us. We can trust Him to guide our journeys in His wisdom so that we share in His wisdom and experience His presence. But we can also put on our own blinders or put something under a microscope He doesn’t intend for us to miss or focus on in a season or situation.

Let Him open your eyes or blind you today. He will likely do both.