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Chapter 2 Discussion Continued

posted Nov 2, 2011, 8:59 AM by Lynn Squire
Proverbs 16:9 “A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

Joab and Sarah worked hard to build the farm they had. What does Proverbs 16:9 say about our plans?

We often don't realize when we've put our plans ahead of God's. We walk along in our chosen career path, counting the blessings, not recognizing the pitfalls of pursuing comfort and riches ahead of God. Are comforts and riches evil? Not at all, but we do need to take care they don't direct our hearts away from God.

Today many people have watched their livelihood, their homes, their hopes be washed away by flood waters or ripped away by tornadoes or tsunamis or toppled by earthquakes. Like Joab and Sarah, many of these people worked hard to build what they had. We find watching the devastation to lives difficult, and we question God.

Yet, I've heard stories of people who have praised God despite the devastation they have experienced. I've listened to testimonies of people who have sorrow mingled with hope reflected in their eyes. These anticipate seeing God's mighty works in tough times. 

Perhaps, deep in their hearts, they'll find a sense of relief as they see a new beginning with a clearer understanding of God's power and love.

As I read through Job, I see that He states many true facts about God. He knew God and knew the right answers, and yet, God allowed hardship to come. I'm sure Job had plans to do this, that, and the other thing...all of which were not motivated by wickedness. Then, puff. All that changed. Was God cruel?

God desires a right relationship with each one of us. He desires to be first in our lives. He desires for us to grow in an understanding and knowledge of who He is. He desires us to seek Him with all our heart and strength. What He offers us surpasses any wealth we can obtain here on earth. When we are stripped of all our possessions, what are we left with? Our faith in His goodness. Our hope for eternity. Can we find joy in those times? I believe so, when we discover that all of our being, all of our heart is wrapped up in Him. That is faith.

When I look over my life and see the times when what was important to me was stripped from me, I consistently find that God had stood before me with open arms. Yes, losing what I treasured was painful, but what I gained when I ran into His arms made those treasures look like garbage. I think this intimate knowledge of God can only be gained through hardship.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal Saviour, there is no way to obtain that joy and comfort unless you run to God through faith in Jesus Christ. 

I am moved by tragedy in ways book knowledge or study can never move me. That personal experience of God, of His provision, of His sovereign goodness in the darkest hours of my life, cannot come unless I face tragedy with faith and hope. When I learn to trust Him in every situation I can "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1:8).

God knows each and everyone of us better than we know ourselves. He knows what mountains He must move so that we can taste and see that He is good even when others say He is not. We don't all require the same lesson plans. Only God knows which ones will reach our hearts and cause us to trust Him more.