Author, Pastor, and Seminary President Chuck Swindoll had this to say in today's devotional from Insight for Living [emphasis added]
"John Pollock, in his splendid book The Apostle, states, "The irony was not lost on him that the mighty Paul, who had originally approached Damascus with all the panoply of the high priest's representative, should make his last exit in a fish basket, helped by the very people he had come to hurt."
That about says it all, doesn't it?
Just to set the record straight, our lives are not caught "in the fell clutch of circumstance." Our heads are not to be "bloodied, but unbowed." You and I are neither the "masters of our fate" nor are we the "captains of our souls."* We are to be wholly, continually, and completely dependent on the mercy of God, if we want to do the Lord's work the Lord's way. Paul had to learn that. My question is: Are you learning that? If not, today would be a good day to start. Now is the time to humble yourself under His mighty hand. If you don't, eventually He will do it for you. And it will hurt. In His time, in His way, He will conquer your stubborn independence.
God is never pleased with a spiritually independent spirit."
At a difficult time today, I needed a bit of encouragement. I asked God to help me refocus my mind on Him and off my circumstances. I went to lunch, planning to read a little from my latest issue of Civil War Times Illustrated. Once in the lunchroom, I found I couldn't concentrate on my magazine. I thought to myself, "I need something more productive than this, God" As I was walking past a co-worker, I noticed he, too, was reading...a Bible. I have never seen this man reading a Bible before. He and I have never talked about anything remotely religious before. But there he was, with God's word on the table, not 30 seconds after I'd prayed my prayer. I then recalled that I had a couple of books in my truck. I'd planned last week to sell them at a used book store as part of a forced downsizing I'm undergoing, but never got by there to do it. I had no idea what books I had, but I thought at least one of them was by Max Lucado, who is always good for an encouraging word. It turned out to be Six Hours One Friday. And there I found the encouragement I was looking for:
Your life is not futile.
Your failures are not fatal.
Your death is not final."Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
I shouldn't have even had that book anymore. I'd tossed it in the truck to sell last week. But there it was. Because last week, God had known I'd need it this week. I thought I'd gotten busy and not sold it. I thought it was still there by accident. God doesn't deal in accidents.
Recently, I read Psalm 50:14-15:
"Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you have made to the Most High. Then call on Me when you are in trouble and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory."
I'm trying to do more "thanking." I'm doing it now. And there's a certain vow that I will be keeping, as long as it is mine to keep. And I have called on Him many times lately. And I, right here, right now, give Him glory.