Remember the Lenten commitment I made? Spend a few minutes with God and the Bible every day? Well, every morning I open the Bible and study before the kids emerge from their slumbers. This bleary-eyed studying won't win any academic awards, but it gets me in the Word and gives God one more opportunity to lay tracks in my heart. ("Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not stray from it." Proverbs 22:6 applies to God's grown-up kids, too.)
This morning's reading in Acts struck me. Acts 5:38-39 says "Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." (Read more here.) A Jewish leader said this about trying to stop the spread of the Good News about Jesus, but it applies elsewhere. Basically:
What comes from God cannot be stopped. What doesn't come from God will fail.
It made me think of my friends and the many things happening in their lives. A friend and her husband want to sell their house and buy one that better fits their family's needs. The house they had their eyes on went under contract yesterday. If that house isn't available for them, it isn't their house. God has a plan for them and that house isn't it. Several friends and their husbands have found themselves in rough marital waters. Wedding vows keep coming to mind. "What God has brought together, let no man put asunder." The couples still love each other and are fighting for their marriages. Let them not put it asunder. God honors that. Other friends and their many situations come to mind and in each circumstance, God has a plan.
I'm looking around at the political world today. This day marks the televised "summit" President Obama has called with members of Congress to discuss health care. My personal feelings are that this is a sham of a summit, but... what God wants, God gets. If this thing (the health care bills the Democrats want to push through) I consider to be a monstrosity and morally wrong is of God, it will pass. If it isn't, it will fail.
That brings up another question, though. Is what we perceive to be a success or a failure God's estimation of success or failure? We live in a small moment. God sees the whole of time. What devastates us in this moment has far greater consequences than we can see and may well work for God's good, even though that good might never been seen by our eyes or might come centuries from now. How else can we explain dying babies (www.laylagrace.org) or miscarriages or senseless death or decades-old legislation that allows mothers to kill their unborn babies or newer legislation that could cripple a country? Are we so mired in our small moments we can't appreciate God has a bigger picture?
On the very small scale, and probably rather insignificant to the big picture, my husband and I have waited for months to learn whether a career project will begin. My darling felt inspired and this proposal poured out of him. Was it God inspiring him? This project has the potential to change our lives. I want it to work - badly. Not knowing the answer sometimes drives my brain crazy. Even when it's not actively in my brain, it's on my mind. Why else have I started chewing the inside of my cheek? Nervous tic, anyone?
Sometimes it takes more dedication to faith than I have readily available to remember that "if it is of human origin, it will fail and if it is from God, you will not be able to stop [it]." By the grace of the Holy Spirit, there lies a quiet spot in my heart. When I feel unable to think beyond the moment, I go there. I rest there. I know, deep in my heart, that "if it is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is from God, you will not be able to stop [it]." So when the world swirls around my head, I have to remember that God has it. He will succeed.
God is right. I need this Lenten commitment.