I spent a few hours this week cleaning the garden shed, a neat little space in the stairwell under our deck, and putting the raised garden beds to rest for the winter.
I always have mixed emotions about ending the gardening season but the ground is freezing – it’s time to let the earth rest.
It’s interesting, every season has an end. A season of doubt succumbs to the truth. A time of pain and suffering gives way to healing. Broken dreams die only to be renewed by future promises. Abundance is replaced by want and need, life’s cycles ebb and flow allowing space for us to grow our faith, mature our character, and learn to lean more fully on God’s steadfastness.
As a country, we are in a season of change. For some anger and fear are consuming emotions. For others, there is hope and excitement for the future. Regardless of where you stand on the continuum of feelings, we all must remember that God remains in control.
He causes the sun to rise and set, allows the waters to flow toward their shores, causes the rain and snow to grace the ground, and guides the wind’s current. It is with this same power that he guides our lives and directs the affairs of this nation.
We may not understand what He is doing. If we’re honest, we may not even agree with His decisions. Why would He make changes, why didn’t He respond sooner/later, why didn’t He … But I suggest we have a very limited, earth-bound perspective that doesn’t allow us to fully understand or appreciate His actions.
We see them in hindsight.
Looking back, remembering, and reflecting all help us see God’s work and appreciate how closely He orchestrates circumstance.
Theologian and Pastor John Piper shared,
We look at life from the backside of the tapestry. And most of the time, what we see is loose threads, tangled knots and the like. But occasionally, God’s light shines through the tapestry, and we get a glimpse of the larger design with God weaving together the darks and lights of existence.
We can’t stop God’s inevitable changes. We can’t demand, manipulate, or fret to influence God’s plan but we can find the faith to trust Him, muster the courage to patiently pray, and anticipate seeing Him weave beauty from what we perceive is brokenness and failure.
Romans 8:26-28, encourages us that God is with us regardless of the circumstances.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
The Message (MSG)
BeLOVED, please know that it’s okay not to understand the “whys” of life – it’s human to doubt and question. But please know that God is working, orchestrating, coordinating, each aspect of your life working them collectively into something beautiful.
Please read Romans 8:22 – 37 and reflect on the questions that follow.
22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hopefor it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believersin harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work togetherfor the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstbornamong many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
Take a few minutes to consider the following.
- What encouragement do you find in these verses?
- Is there reassurance in reading, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” What steps can you take to cling more closely to this truth when facing obstacles in your life?
- What did you learn from Romans 8:35-37?