Thinking back over the past four months, I see God’s sovereign hand in all that transpired. God’s sovereign hand led me to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in Louisiana with my sister-in-law and family. Then, orchestrating my return just in time on January 24, to spend the last 3 hours of her earthly life next to my sister-in-law. The Lord’s sovereign hand placed me there to join in song with my siblings, singing, “In the Sweet by and by we shall meet on that beautiful shore!” That is the greatest comfort of all, seeing Jesus, and knowing she will be waiting there for us!
But the truth is, my thoughts will sometimes lead me down a dark, dark corridor exposing all sorts of anxious feelings. So, I remind myself of God’s sovereign hand and His choice of verses laid on my heart toward the end of last year: “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice. Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:4-8).
As I repeatedly work my way through these verses, how exciting to see that I am rejoicing in the fact that we will see her again. I am rejoicing in the fact that she knew Christ as her Savior and I do not have to wonder where she is right now. A “forbearing” spirit (as my NASB puts it) is just having a gentle spirit. And why? Because the Lord’s return is near! That is great news and something else to rejoice in, considering our Savior is not far off and His return is sure! So, do not grow anxious but pray with thankful hearts to God. And there is nothing better than the promise of peace standing guard around our hearts and minds. But it takes work to actively condition the mind to dwell on truth and purity and that which is praiseworthy and to actively trust His sovereign hand.
These verses enable me to trust His sovereign hand:
“He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me.”
“Don’t lean on your own understanding.”
“In this world you will have tribulation.”
“My plans or not your plans.”
“I have come that they may have life.”
“I’m going to prepare a place for you and then I will come again.”
“Do not fear but be strong and courageous.”
With Resurrection Sunday approaching, I am drawn to the ultimate sacrifice made on behalf of mankind and the loving invitation to accept the free gift of salvation that death accomplished. Nothing in this life is more important than getting that right. And as we draw closer to the celebration of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior and King, I am reminded of how easily I can get sidetracked by what is in front of me. Whether it is my work or my food, I want nothing to take the place He deserves in my life. I need to leave behind and strive for; not for acceptance, or salvation, but for serving my Savior from a heart of gratitude for all He accomplished on my behalf.
A month of “no sugar, no dairy fast” (March) is just what I need to remind me where my strength lies, and in whom and for whom I have the privilege of living this life.
Trusting His sovereign hand each day this month!