Psalm 37:30-31 “The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip.” Job 23:10 “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”
It is Day 6 of Lent and wintery weather has created a few days for staying indoors since 2016 began. Yesterday was one of those. Snow reminds me of the need of my feet to be clad with boots for protection. The references to feet in the Bible are many. The washing of feet, feet shod with the gospel of peace, firm footing, feet not slipping, dust shaken off feet, feet following His steps. Feet following His steps closely like Job.
I have friends who give up various things for Lent. Chocolate is common. Sometimes it is dessert. One friend gave up the Words With Friends game because it distracted her away from genuine presence with her loved ones. I should honestly contemplate doing the same thing. Not to mention that I can never beat the one loved one with whom I play this silly game! When comparing common things given up for Lent, a common thing would be only a very tiny shadow of the life-giving sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. I observe Lent in order be reminded of Christ’s huge redemptive work completed out of love for me, shadowy reminders or not. Honestly, I’m still praying about what to give up. I am leaning toward social media… This might take another year of wrestling in prayer…
As the snow melts away after each storm, I confidently gain a firmer footing needed for excursions outdoors. The only reason I would ever denounce the beautiful snow is the impending treachery of slippery walks and roads. When I spend time reflecting on God’s Word in my inner man, I gain the firmer footing needed for the outer world that I will soon meet again. Stillness becomes my close friend, ushering in peace as the gift of God. Like Job, I acknowledge that the Lord knows the way that I take. With each reading of His Word, He exposes the deep and hidden things that steal my heart away from Him. He shows me my need for repentance. I treasure the words of His mouth. That’s where I am on Day 6.
Psalm 37:5-6 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Genesis 50:19-20 “But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’ ”
Joseph’s brothers greatly betrayed him. They sold him as a slave. You know the story. However, God positioned Joseph through over 20 years of suffering for a strategic and divine purpose. Joseph’s pain was not random. The Bible says that God uses suffering to produce perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3-4). God’s Sovereign plan for Joseph would advance the story of redemption and foreshadow the present redemption we have in Christ.
So, how do we react to things intended to harm us? Hopefully like Joseph. When evil occurs, God’s children are called to a special assignment that could go either of two ways. Revelation 13:10 says, “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.” Revelation 13:18 says, “This calls for wisdom.” Revelation 14:12 says, “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 17:9a says, “This calls for a mind with wisdom.”
God’s promise in Psalm 37:5-6 is completely trustworthy. The thing to remember from Joseph’s life is the illustration that God may choose to enmesh us in a completely different culture for a long season. This definitely calls for wisdom and patient endurance. But, the dawn is the result of how He orders our days. And, the noonday sun is the beauty of God’s purposes fulfilled in us. His righteousness will grow out of our dawns and noonday suns, praise Him!
God will always be my “however.”
Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
One of my heart’s desires is the gift of true friendship in Christ. My friend Lisa is a longterm friend in Christ and former partner in ministry. (She is pictured on the left end of the photo.) Our earthly and heavenly friendship has stood the hard tests of time and distance. When recently she sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness” with my daughter Charlotte (also her former student) at a celebration of ministry, the moment can only be described as the delight of my heart because of a bond of friendship that Jesus formed long ago, more than 20 years ago. The eternal impact Lisa has had in my life and the life of my daughter, and eventually my son, is unsurpassed.
I have been to Orlando to see my friend Lisa several times since she moved there. Granted, it is not too shabby to have a friend to visit who is headquartered in sunny Florida!! But, it’s much more than that. In one of her capacities – she is a gifted voice teacher and I was privileged to be hanging around on an afternoon when she taught several voice students. I was blessed to be reminded of how God has used Lisa to lift many hearts and voices many times through the gift of music for His glory!
Because of Christ, His mercy has come through her to me. These mercies in my life are too numerous to count – Lisa’s hospitality, sense of humor, generosity, listening ear, loyalty, co-parenting, prayer, North Carolina accent (I love to hear it), cuisine, “Olive Garden” love, beloved teacher-student relationships, love for the Lord, sense of justice, value of family, beautiful alto soloing (you should hear her sing “Revelation Song”- Kari Jobe), dedicated mothering and sistering and daughtering, Proverbs 31 character as a wife to Alan, undying friendship. Mercies.
A wise woman once told me that people only have 5 or less dear genuine friends in a lifetime if they are fortunate. The ones that are there for you no matter what. The ones you call when you need help. The ones that appreciate you as well as understand your shortcomings. The ones who share Christ. The ones who you can talk to about deep spiritual realities. The ones you know you’ll be with in eternity. The ones that make you laugh and cry. Lisa is one.