And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
This was a bad week for us from our small perspective. One close friend died and we got news that another couple we loved were getting a divorce. Then yesterday I was in terrible pain from a small workplace accident. We were talking about going to the emergency room but decided to pray and wait for morning. My plans seemed to have come apart and yet as my wife prayed for my badly bruised ankle a peace overtook me. In spite of all I am overwhelmed by gratitude for the life God has given. Today is the day we celebrate the birthday of our oldest son! We have each other still though 44 years to pray together as we pass through deep waters. Just like you I do not understand in the heat of my painful moments why God would allow it to happen like this but he does and then works it all together for good. Just like a corn field needs someone to plow it up then disk it down. Someone has to turn the earth upside down before it can look good right side up! God is still and always so good!
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. Luke 15:20 ESV
Jesus told this story not just to eulogize one father long ago but to explain how God is looking for us today. Imagine with me God getting off His throne, walking out the door then looking down the long road from heaven to earth. He is not watching to find out what we have done wrong (He already knows). God is looking to see if today is the day we have decided to come home.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,I have kept the faith
2 Timothy 4:7
No medal winner can receive the prize simply for having run. Being able to run faster will only be of value if the race has been run all the way to the finish line. My high school coach used to tell us, “Run through the tape, not to it.”, And coach would always be there waving his arms for us to run our fastest and cheering us on. Paul in his writing to Timothy sees his finish line. He knows that he is running his final lap. He is pressing toward the mark but Timothy is still some distance behind him. Timothy still has a race to finish as do we.
There is a tape for us all to run through. No matter the miles that still lie ahead, no matter what difficulties life has in store. When we look to the end we can see Jesus Christ waving his arms and cheering us on. Everyone who loves him and runs the race to the end is promised the prize in He has in store. !
But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you or turn back. Wherever you go I will go, wherever you live I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. Ruth 1:16
Ruth and her sister in law both started on the road to Bethlehem together. They were both determined to be faithful to take care of their mother in-law. Both of them kissed her and both shed tears, but Ruth had a faith in God that went far beyond tears.
Yes tears are precious to God and He treasures each one as it falls. But what is more precious than tears is our faith. God waits quietly for our decision. He won’t pressure us to choose His parh or promise that the journey will be easy. But in that moment that our hearts believe and trust Him totally a miracle occurs and our hearts become one with His. We choose Him more than our tears, our personal interests or emotions. We choose a future that begins and ends with Him and that will make all the difference!
Two roads diverged in a wood and I
I took the one less travelled by
And that has made all the difference!
Robert Frost The Road Less traveled
There are souls just like a city street
Filled with bright bustling crowds and never still
Others have the neatness of a suburb’s tidy rows
They pass by with friendly waves and smiles
And some are more the long country roads
Walking quietly on as clouds brush against the hills
Our God has made us each for our own call
Some to our Jerusalem – some to the towns beyond
And some to the ends of the world!
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8