Over the next few weeks, our new incoming pastor, John Butler, will be posting a weekly devotional here on the pastors’ blog.
Dear Beloved at Grace,
Blessings to you in our Saviour Jesus Christ! Marie and I are trying to wait patiently for the day when we can board our flights to Australia to be with you and to begin our journey together in the Lord. Why is it when we think we have this “patience thing” down, the Lord seems to give us additional opportunities to grow in this department?
Waiting involves the future – the unfolding of the Lord’s providential design, the accomplishment of His plans and purposes which He has worked out before the foundation of the world. And what are those plans and purposes? We may know those things which He has chosen to reveal to us:
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” – Deuteronomy 29:29 (ESV)
Basically, God is telling us “I’ve got this. And because I’ve got this, here’s how you may live accordingly.” One of the ways we may “live accordingly” is in hope in the Lord’s working out of His plans and purposes – in part and in whole, in general and in particular, with regard to the universe and with regard to you and to me. God’s plans and purposes are not contingent on anything or anyone other than Himself.
Circumstances, as we perceive them, do not negate the Lord’s accomplishment of His will. The promises of God are based upon, rooted in, guaranteed by the unchangeable, eternal, all powerful God of Truth. Present circumstances never negate the perpetual certainty of God’s Word. Times and circumstances change; God’s promises don’t. God’s promises don’t change, because God doesn’t change. He ever lives; His promise endures.
“Unbelief puts circumstances between itself and Christ, so as not to see Him… Faith puts Christ between itself and circumstances, so that it cannot see them.” (F.B. Meyer).
Given what our congregation has been through, I can imagine a number of us are struggling as we have seen in the midst of our trials a number of our friends leave the congregation. These are certainly heart-breaking, hard circumstances. It is certainly discouraging and disheartening. Our circumstances, as hard as they are, must always be seen through the lens of what God has given us in Christ. God works all things – even and especially the events of the past few years – for our good and His glory.
Beloved congregation, as rough as things have been, Christ Jesus loves you. You are part of His Bride, the Church. He laid down His life for you. He nourishes you with the Word. He meets with you at His Table. Yes, He even chastens those whom He loves.
My prayer for you this week is that you may embrace the God of Hope, the God Who has embraced you in love if you are in His Son, Christ Jesus. I pray that the hope of the Psalmist is your hope: “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
Yours through the Hope of Christ Jesus,