January 27, 2010

You are Gracious, Lord

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18)

I felt like I needed to look up "gracious" today in the Bible, as an attribute of God, to understand just a little how very much He loves us. And Isaiah 30 is a perfect example, because it actually starts thus:

"Woe to the obstinate children," declares the LORD, "to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin" (Isaiah 30:1)

Man, how often have I been an obstinate child? Probably several times a day. I am always making plans and (when I even remember) asking God to bless them. Not asking His opinion or His will, no, I just barrel on ahead doing what I think I need to do.

Isaiah 30 continues on to describe what will happen to the people who ignore God for their own plans. Ouch! But that is the same fate that waits any who do not consider God.

And yet... and yet He is a gracious God. He will forgive us, and guide us back to His path again and again. All He asks is that we listen for His voice, that we would wait on him. Which rather implies that first we would ask Him His opinion, then wait for His answer. Working with God certainly doesn't seem like the most expeidient way at times. But it is the best way; nay, the only way to live a full life, resting in God's will for us.

I have experienced God's gracious council, the few times I have sought it and waited for it. An example: I was debating whether to apply for my church's mission trip, and my pastor suggested I 'put a fleece out' to see if it was something I should do. My normal self would have said "Oh, but the pastor asked if I was going so clearly that means I should." And yet, I told God "Ok, if anyone besides the pastor asks me about the mission trip by the end of the day, then I'll go." And you know what, no one did. So then I had to decide if that was actually His answer. (It's hard for silence to be an answer.) But now, a few months later, I realize that there is no way I could have gone on this trip in a month. My department just lost a person, and we'll be hard pressed to be comfortable taking one or two days off in a row, much less a whole week.

And I have peace about it. There is disappointment, because I do very much desire to go back on this trip, but God in His gracious mercy allowed me to feel peace about not hearing anyone ask me if I was going. Because He knew that I'd be in this situation today.

So God I pray in thanksgiving to you today, for you grace and mercy over my life, allowing me to learn that Your way is the best way, that You do know what's right and good and within Your perfect will. I ask that you would cement this knowledge in my head and in my heart, that I would always know to seek Your wisdom and accept what I hear as Your absolute best for me. Amen.

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