As we had multiple Christmas Eve services, our church was closed yesterday so we decided to attend a smaller church not far from our house. We knew a few folks there and were so blessed by the pastor’s simple message that ended on the idea that we should thank God even in the detours of life. That got me to thinking over our lives as we have moved so many times that it seems that most of it has been a detour. If that is how you feel, then I hope today’s devotional would be an encouragement for you.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, Philippians 4:11-12a ESV
Our two boys were in their early teens when we moved for the fifth time in our marriage. We had just found a local church that we enjoyed attending and there met an older couple named Dick and Chickie. Their children lived far away so they adopted our kids as honorary grandchildren. Whenever they invited us over for coffee and pie, we loved listening to their stories. My favorite was how they met in the hall in Junior High, when Dick slipped a note into Chickie’s hand asking if she would meet him after school. Well one thing led to another and not long after high school they were married and moved six blocks down the street from the school into the house where Dick had been born. Now, I had moved six times by the time I graduated from high school, so when people asked where I was from, I had to decide which place to claim. Just about all my life seemed like a detour and I longed to belong anywhere that would be willing to claim me. But whether we have lived in one house all our lives or moved a million times, today’s verse encourages us to be content. Wherever we are or whatever we have is never the key to our happiness or contentment. What matters is knowing that in every situation we are exactly where God has chosen and have all that we need for now. We just need to remind ourselves that He is our true destination, and He has designed our detour to lead us straight to Him!
When pain pulls down the window shade
Through which our hope might see
What if joy might be the bridge on which
We must cross to be free?
Till God in grace bends down to lift
Our earthbound looking eyes
And, we can see the mountain peaks
Over which His wings can fly
So, no hiding in the corner or
Sailing far across the seas
Don’t miss the path of joy by which
Our faith in laughter leads!
1 Corinthians 10:13b
God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability
but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape
that you may be able to endure it.
Whatif Joy? by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2021 all rights reserved
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13b ESV
Temptation is a bit like the telephone solicitor who begins the call by exclaiming, “Don’t hang up! I’m not trying to sell you anything!” It doesn’t seem to faze them how many times we say, “no thank you,” or “I’m really not interested.” They are determined to sell us something that we don’t want, don’t need and can’t afford. Jesus warned us that in this world we would face all kinds of temptation solicitors.” So, the question is not whether temptation has our number, but rather, what we should do when it calls.
Today’s verse says, that when we are tempted, God will give us a way of escape. Escaping, conjures up in my mind a picture of flinging open the door and running away as fast as I can. But what God really wants from us is not a fearful footrace, but a cheerful acceptance. God has something far grander in mind than learning to grin and bear it. Jesus tells us to have joy because He has already overcome the problems we are in even before we face them.
“But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 b
So, I asked myself this morning. “What if – instead of complaining- what if joy was God’s plan of escape? What if, “For the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross?” What if I celebrated, when I was mistreated? What if I praised instead of complained? What might happen if I chose joy and found, God’s amazing and mysterious way of escape? What if joy is the stream in the desert and a waterfall of life that flows by the path of faith God chose for me today?