Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Gratitude Project - Day 23

This morning, I woke up a little extra early, because I wanted to spend a little quiet time alone with my God and my Bible. It's been over a week since I've had a chance to do some Bible reading, and I wanted to catch up a little. I've been trying not to rush through my reading, but instead, to look at each verse individually to see what it says to me. I picked up where I left off, in the book of Genesis, chapters 15 and 16.

Genesis 15 recounts God's covenant promise to Abram. A "covenant promise" is a PERMANENT promise. That means, God will not change His mind of forget. God made big promises of great blessings to Abram. He said through a vision, "Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great."

But Abram still had something troubling him. He asked God, "O Sovereign Lord, what good are all Your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since You've given me no children,... a servant in my household will inherit all my wealth."

But the Lord God took Abram outside, looked up in the sky with him, and said, "Count the stars if you can. That's how many descendants you will have!"

WOW! What that said to me was this. I serve a God who is willing to listen to my doubts and questions, and still loves me anyway. When I have something troubling me, I, like Abram, can go to The Sovereign Lord and present my problems, and He will not get angry with me or think me silly or unreasonable. He will listen to me, and then, just as He did with Abram, will reassure me that He is still in control and I have nothing to fear. Thank you, Jesus, for that promise!

"And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith." When God reminds me that He is still in control, all I have to do is believe Him and His word, and trust that, whatever happens, it is in His hands.

Chapter 16 begins with Sarai, Abram's wife, attempting to do what we women often like to do - fix things. Sarai knew the covenant that God had made with Abram. But she also knew her age (very old!) and knew that she had been barren for her entire life. She had never birthed any children, and she could not see just how God was planning to bring about all these descendants that He promised. So she decided to "help" God along with His plan.

She told Abram to take her maidservant, Hagar, as a wife, and have a child by her. She said that child would surely fulfill the promise. But what that showed was her lack of faith in God and her impatience with Him to bring about His promise. Because of this, she caused all kinds of problems in their family, including mistreating her maidservant to the point of Hagar running away.

"The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, 'Hagar, Sarai's servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?...The Lord has heard your cry of distress.' She said, 'You are the God who sees me. Have I truly seen the One who sees me?'"

Even though Sarai made a huge MESS of things when she became impatient with God and His plan, God still kept His covenant promise with Abram. Also, He did not forget Hagar, but heard her cry and had compassion on her. Sarai not only made a mess of her's and Abram's lives and God's plan, but she also succeeded in "helping" to make a mess of Hagar's life. But God loved Hagar and took care of her still.

I am so thankful that I serve a God who can redeem all of my major "messes" that I seem to often make with my life. Why He continues to have compassion on me and love me, I cannot understand. But I am so thankful that He does!

So today, I am thankful for two things, revealed to me through the scriptures. I am very thankful for a God who does not hold it against me when I have doubts or questions or things troubling my spirit, but loves me and reassures me that He is in control. And I am so very, VERY thankful that I serve a God who is big enough to take all of my mess-ups and turn them around for His good.

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“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” ~Dr. Suess