I really enjoyed tonight's Bible study. Most who came participated and put in their ideas and what God is doing in their lives. It's always so special to me when I am in a small group of people and everyone feels like they can open up. Hearing from others helps us learn from a new perspective while also building community.
Tonight we talked about promises, starting with the story of Noah, where God put the first rainbow in the sky as a promise to never flood the earth again. We then dug a little into Abram (later Abraham) and God's promise to make him a great nation. Such big promises, and often when we hear these stories of people in the Bible it seems like it all happened within a few years. When in actuality, it was years and years as in decades and decades until some of them received the promises God made to them.
It took a lot of faith to trust God for Abram, I bet. No one really going before him, he simply trusted God right where he was. No Bible yet written, no testimonies to really go off of, not even a big group to fellowship with, Abram just took God at His word. Did he still have doubts some moments? I'm sure. Did he still mess up and sin? Yes, he did. But Abram continued to walk in faith even when he couldn't even get a glimpse of the promises God made to him.
I encourage you to take some time to read through and study the book of Genesis this week. Delve into the stories of those who went long before us and how God fulfilled His promises to them even though they were human and messed up many times.
Anyways, while reading about Abram, we see God make this amazing promise to him, a covenant with him. Then a chapter or two later we see Abram (in fear) telling the Egyptians that Sarai (his wife, later known as Sarah) was his sister so that they wouldn't kill him to get his beautiful wife. When we read this most of us probably gasp at how quickly it seemed that Abram would come up with such a plan when God just made a big promise to him. "How could Abram not trust God?" Well, we could ask ourselves the same thing.
How many times do you find yourself scrounging up plans to make the things God promised to you happen? How much time do you spend all up in your mind trying to come up with a way to get the things you know God already said He would provide? We are all a lot like Abram and his plot-making.
Just as Abram learned, often times our trying to manipulate outcomes makes the worst come out in us and others. For Abram and his situation with the Egyptians, it ended up causing the Egyptians diseases. Ouch. How many times do we try to manipulate the timeline God has for our lives and others suffer for it? Or we suffer for it? Probably more than we realize.
Here's the thing... We always seem to have a plan in the back of our minds for how we "think things should go" when our Sovereign Creator has already been to the place of our promises long before we've arrived. That's right, He goes before us. He has already made a way, He IS the way, the only way, and He has already gone to the place and time where we receive the promises He's made to us. Therefore, He doesn't need our man-made templates of how we think our lives "could" or "should" go in order to get what He said He would provide. God's a lot smarter than us. All-knowing, actually. He doesn't need our cookie-cutter plans and suggestions.
Back-up plans don't prove trust or intimacy.
Woah. God reminded me of this as I was preparing for the study tonight. What does that mean? It means that having a plan B shows that we don't have trust in our Heavenly Father, therefore we have not fully surrendered into intimacy with Him. We are leaving out a part of our hearts, our lives from Him. Him being Lord of our hearts and lives means surrendering every portion of our lives, even the promises we cling so tightly to. The only One we should be clinging with everything to is the very One Who holds us all together.
Nothing wrong with plans and goals. But let's stop trying to dictate the lives we claim to have surrendered to the Father. True trust, true surrender, and love mean letting go of our back-up plans and idol-making of the things we are promised.
He's got you, friend, down to the very last detail of your life. Don't fret with the plans anymore, He's got it.
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."