SmokeWhat were your plans this time last year… in 2008?  Have things happened between then and now you didn’t expect?  My guess is there were some surprises, a few things you didn’t plan on, and some things that you wish you had known about.  Consider James 4:13-16…

    Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance.  All such boasting is evil.

There are days we remember a long time for different reasons.  Things like the loss of a job, the death of a spouse, a doctor’s report, birth of a child or a thousand other things.  In the next 365 days events will happen that aren’t on your radar right now… but they will happen.  The question is, “How will you respond and react to them?”

We should take seriously Romans 8:28… “God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose.”

In the next year both good and difficult things will happen.  They all are either caused or allowed by God.  All of them.  And God is working on so many levels we can’t comprehend 1/1,000,000 of why He causes/allows them.  He has a plan and will that is more important than our safety, comfort, and temporal happiness.  Consider two situations from which we can learn about how to understand something about our situations…

     To sustain the Hebrew nation from whom the Messiah would be born, God had to transplant a family from one geographic location to another.  To do that He moved Joseph from his home to the Egyptian Royal Palace.  To do that, He made it so that his brothers hated him and wanted to kill him.  Then He had Joseph sold into slavery… twice.  He had Joseph falsely accused of rape and put into a prison… where he was forgotten for years.  Then… when the time was right… He had Joseph elevated to “Vice-Pharaoh” so that his family could be fed… move to Egypt… and multiply so that they were delivered by Moses… and eventually the Messiah would be born (Genesis 37-50 and Exodus 1-3).

Also consider…

     An economic downturn took place in Israel.  To find work, Elemech… his wife Naomi and their two sons moved to Moab.  (NOTE: Moabites were excluded from salvation by Divine decree according to Deut 23:3.).  While in Moab, the boys married… then Elemech and both sons died.  Naomi decided to return to Israel.  One of Naomi’s daughters in law went with her, Ruth.  Being poor, Ruth went to get some grain from a field.  It just so happened (Yeah, right!) that she chose the field of Boaz… her Kinsman Redeemer.  They married… had a child named Obed.  Obed had a son named Jesse.  Jesse had a son named David… who became the king of Israel… from whom Jesus was eventually born!

God does not do things the way we would.  He causes things to happen in order to bring about His will in ways we’d never consider.  He does things in people’s lives like….

Causing sibling jealousy… plans for murder turned to the slave trade… the innocent being convicted of crimes… and having to wait longer than anticipated to be vindicated (Joseph’s story).

Causing economic hardship to transplant a family… bringing about three deaths to return people to their homeland… picking at random a field to glean grain under His direction… all so the blood line of the Messiah would fit His plan (Ruth’s story).

Here’s the point.  God has a plan that He is working out for His children.  They aren’t aware of what it is, or will be.  So when there are bumps or turns in the road, we trust Him.  “The horse is made ready for battle, but the victory comes from God.”

“We walk by faith… not by sight.”  Seriously, neither of us knows what God has planned and will bring about from one moment to the next.  All we know is that… 1) God is Good, 2) He is in the process of glorifying His name, and 3) We can trust Him.

Put the last year of your life in that context.  And then as life unfolds, do not let go of what we know to be true from Scripture!