There are times when, as Christians, we need to be reminded of God’s work in our lives. This week, I invite you to ponder Ephesians 2:1-10 with me. In this passage, we find what we have been saved from, how we have been saved, and why we have been saved.
I’m getting married in less than five months, and as a young man, I’ve felt the pressure to become independent faster than I had originally planned. Each day reminds me of how dependent I have always been on my dad. As a child, I never worried about going hungry. I never worried about losing my home. I never experienced the electricity or water being shut off. But now that I’m paying most of my own bills and looking for a home of my own, the idea of dependency comes to mind.
I have a planner. I spent $13.00 on it at Gordman’s because I thought it was cute.
I like to know what is happening. At what time. Every day. I like to be in control. So, whenever I lose control, I feel a bit crazy.
I say this to tell you that my life looks nothing like how I had planned it.
Here are what some of my plans looked like: I wanted to move away as soon as I turned 18. I was content with working a 9-5 job, and I had kicked around a few ideas of what I might do with the rest of my life. But ultimately, I was still undecided. I did not want to get married. And I never wanted to go to college. I didn't think I was cut out for it.
If you know me at all, you know that almost all of that is completely opposite now. Isn’t it funny how God works?
Growing up, my mother had a favorite Bible verse. It was all over our house. She would recite it when she felt anxious. She always said this verse was "God’s love letter to her."
It was a verse that was so engrained into my life, that I lost it’s meaning in my heart. You may be familiar with it.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jer. 29:11 ESV).
There have been times in my life when I have questioned this verse.
Something didn’t work out the way it was supposed to. Or my plans weren’t working out right. But that’s the problem.
They were MY plans falling through. They were never God’s.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you." Not "The plans that Jordon has for her life."
There have been many times, at least in my life, when I’ve tried to rewrite that verse. Maybe to read suggestions instead of plans.
This text does not promise us that we will have a say in the plans that God has for us. Or that we will know all of the details.
But it does promise us that the plans He has for us are good. That He has a hope and a future for our lives.
There’s an old proverb which reads, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” In other words, you can provide opportunities, but whether or not people accept those opportunities is out of your control. Take, for instance, the call to salvation. You can give the most robust explanation of the gospel, but you can’t make someone receive it.
But let me rearrange some words in that old proverb until it reads, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t leave him once he starts drinking.” In other words, you can lead someone to Christ, but you can’t just walk away after he or she accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. And while you might agree with that statement, do you really believe it?
“Who is your dad?”
One tiny question and my day is thrown off. I feel ashamed and exposed.
Most of the time, I can answer this question without people knowing who he is. Today was a rare occasion. BOTH men in the room knew my dad. I was shocked and embarrassed. I felt instant shame and wanted to hide.
You see, my dad is not a good man. So, I am comforted when people are unaware that I am his daughter.
I went home, and I was still bothered by the earlier conversation. But then I was reminded of something that I want to share with you.
I have a Father that I can be proud of. And so can you.
“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows - this is God, whose dwelling is holy” (Ps. 68:5 NLT).
THIS Father of mine is One I long for people to know. I don’t wish to keep His identity hidden. I want to share Him and His love for His children with the world.
I’m not sure what kind of relationship you have with your dad. Maybe it’s similar to mine, or maybe it’s much different. Maybe you have never viewed God as your Father.
For a long time I had a picture in my head of a God who was inaccessible - sitting on a throne with His back turned to me, waiting for me to mess up. My view of God the Father was tainted because of my experience with my earthly father.
But that is not His heart for us.
“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him” (Ps. 103:13 NLT).
He is a compassionate Father. His love for us is genuine. He will never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:6). He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). He sent Jesus to save us from our sins (John 3:16).
I think it’s safe to say that He is a God Who cares for us.
He is our good Father.