I am gathering each of my plans like sticks. I’m laying them on the altar, and setting them on fire. It’s such an easy thing to think, but such a hard thing to do. If God asks me to change my plan, am I actually willing?
Galatians 2: 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
When I get the most scared and frustrated and restless in my soul, it is usually because I’m living more for me and less for God. I feel all of those awful things because I forget that my plans are not my purpose on this earth. God’s plan is my purpose, and when I committed my heart and soul to God and his son Jesus Christ, I accepted a mission. I accepted the responsibility of being an extension of Jesus’ arm, and the purpose of accomplishing his work and not my own plans.
I was driving last Friday, and I was listening to K Love, or Family Life radio, honestly I can’t remember which one. The host began talking about something that he had heard from a minister that had changed the way he viewed hard times in his life. I’m going to call it “The valley of the trees.” He said that in life, we are always trying to be on the mountaintop. We want success and good times and the struggle to be over. We want victory now, and when we find ourselves down in the valley of struggle, we feel like something is wrong. Why are we down here still looking up to where we want to be. We don’t like or want the valley, because in the valley of struggle, things are difficult. However, in the valley, the trees grow big and tall and strong and the roots grow deep. As you climb a mountain, the trees get smaller, and more and more sparse. Eventually you come to a place called a tree line, where the trees cease to exist at all. Up there, where life is easy, the trees cease to grow at all.
I’m going to add something to this. In the valley of sorrow, is where we find the living water. We find God nourishing our souls in the valley. When things are the most difficult, is where we often look around and reevaluate and judge ourselves. Our human brain always wants to tell us that if we are suffering, it’s because something is wrong and things are not going according to plan. I want to say this though, The plan of God, for His own son Jesus Christ…all took place in the valley. He chose to always remain cloaked in humility, and the only thing Jesus pointed to on that mountain top, was his Father.
I can only imagine the things Jesus could have complained and murmured about, if he had ever grumbled. Think about it. What awful things could he have said of the circumstances he faced and the burdens he bore? Whoa momma…I’m in trouble. I complain way way too much. Do I think I have it worse than Jesus? Oh man, please someone duct tape my mouth shut.
My attitude has way more power than I realize. On Sunday, a friend of mine who is a teacher, shared a testimony about an experiment she had heard about and even replicated with her students. It’s called the rice experiment and originated somewhere in the far East. You can look up the experiment on YouTube. Dr. Esaru Emoto had decided to do an experiment to see if it had any effect. He labeled one jar “Hate,” and one jar “Love.” He then filled both jars with the same kind of rice and water and closed them. For 1 year, he spoke and sent only loving and encouraging words and thoughts to the love jar, and only hateful and negative thoughts and words to the hate jar. After 1 year of this, the love jar still looked good and contained healthy looking white rice. The hate jar however, had turned black and filled with mold. Our bodies are 70% water. Imagine the effect our attitude has on our own bodies. We either speak words of life and love, or misery and death. It has a direct affect on us. I am going to take this down to a molecular level. We are all atoms bonded by gravity and heat and energy and composition. It gets quite interesting if you think about what your body and attitude means for the other bodies and attitudes around us. We are either causing a positive or a negative effect on each other with our thoughts and words. What type of effect did Jesus’ life have on the humans around him? It was perfect love. No wonder just touching him with faith, could heal a person completely. His rice was white, he spoke words of hope and healing and he breathed it into everything around him. Jesus is essentially the perfect embodiment of the tree of life. If we eat of it, we can be healed and filled. I am not saying we will never have to endure hardship, illness, loss or pain. I am saying that we can endure all of these things, if we reach out and keep hold of Jesus.
Phillipians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
These are Jesus’ own words.
1. I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2.Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3.Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
A good tree bringeth forth fruit. It’s pruned almost to where it looks like it won’t ever be healthy again, but it grows back stronger and more fruitful, because God nourishes it to greater health during it’s time of distress. Once it endures it’s time of pain and growth, it comes back stronger and more productive than it was before the pruning. So…these times of pruning in our lives, are not because our circumstances are wrong, it’s because God’s plan is to always bring forth more fruit, and more strength. We are to grow for His glory. He is the vine, and we are the branches. He endures this time with us because we are an extension of him and we either growing for His glory, or we aren’t and we will be cut off.
I have to ask myself constantly, “Am I trying to fit into God’s plan, or am I trying to fit Him into my plan?” If I am to be an extension of Him, I must accept His plan and not be angry and upset that my plan isn’t being fulfilled. Of course my plan would be a pain free existence, eating Bon Bon’s by the beach in Hawaii. Disappointingly and thus far, this has been no picnic on the beach. Don’t get me wrong. There are moments of great joy on peaks, but it can’t be an entire life of peaks. The peaks are small, and the valleys are far and wide. Endure the valley, the peak will come, but it’s not the destination. The destination is the Kingdom of God and the rest happens there. Valleys and peaks are just part of the straight and narrow path to that destination. While we are here, there is work to be done and we are the extension of His arm.
My very good friend Theresa, sent me a text yesterday. She told me about a children’s book author who writes a story about a Farmer and his seeds. Her name is Lisa Terkheurst and the book is called “It will Be Okay.” It’s based on these two scriptures
8. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
9. I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.
It’s written from the perspective of a seed in a packet. That little seed, loves being a seed. He only has ever wanted to be a seed and stay with all the other seeds. It’s seems good to just be a seed. There is an all wise farmer, who loves all of these seeds so very much. He has much bigger plans for the seeds than to just be seeds. He see’s the amazing potential each of those seeds hold. The farmer plants this seed way deep down in the dark where the seed feels sad and all alone and lost because the seed can never just be a seed again. The seed doesn’t quite realize that the Farmer has it all in His control and He will care for all it’s needs and nourish it and prune it until it grows into the glorious tree He knew it could be.
We can either let the Farmer do His great work in us and make like a tree and grow, or we make like a tree and leaf.
If you are worried about the plan and the next step you should take in your life, know this:
Psalm 37: 23- 34
23. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
24. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
25. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
26. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
27. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
28. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
29. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
30. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
31. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
32. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
33. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
34. Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
I never wanted to write. I never thought I would be a writer and yet, God had other plans. I never wanted to be handicapped, or have pain, and yet I see God doing miraculous things in my heart, so I will walk through this valley, and trust His love and that His plan is perfect. I’m finding that God knows who I am and what I need, even more than I do. So here I am
A song I stumbled across on Youtube this morning, sent me into weeping. I felt the words were written just for me today, but I’m sure it also was meant for the ears of so many more than just me. This song is by Switchfoot. I hope you enjoy it. I send my love to you, and some huge huge hugs.