There are times in our lives where we really need to know something. How do we find out from God what we should do? Today I’m going to focus on the how of God energizing in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. First I’d like to give you a small example.
I was running errands yesterday. Here in Montana we have two seasons. Winter and construction. I have been tempted many times to get frustrated this year because my house almost butts up against a huge project on a main road. Traffic is non-existent and slow. Our access to the rest of town is detoured and getting back to my house takes longer than most times. Yesterday, I, out of habit took the road through the mess and was stopped over a huge water pipe they were installing for a long time. Then, they sent me over a steep curb-like bump! My bumpers were almost scratched the way up and the way down. YIKES! To say the least, I was annoyed but determined. Later, as my errands came to an end, I realized I again faced the bump, so this time I asked God. “Should I go around that street the long way or through the mess again?” A thought immediately popped into my mind. “Through”. Ugh! Now, against my five senses knowledge, I would have to trust Him. So I turned and headed through the mess. But, it wasn’t a mess! They weren’t stopping traffic near the bump because they had added asphalt to it while I was busy with my other errands, and now it was a gentle slope instead of a curb like cliff. Wow. That was much easier. Thanks God.
Here is our verse today.
“But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.” Philippians 2:24
This statement sounds, to the outside world, like Paul doesn’t know what’s going on. It sounds like he’s confused, unconfident and just waiting on a hope. I bet even in churches, they teach this and say, you just need to trust Jesus. That has a pathetic, puny ring to it doesn’t it. Where is our boldness, confidence and trust in the one true God to get his minister out of every situation? No wonder the world says Christians are spineless. Where’s their proof otherwise? Let’s look at the full literal translation according to Greek usages.
“And I am confident in the lord that I myself also will come to you soon.” vs. 24
Wow! That sounds a lot better, but it still has that vague “soon” on the end. Does he know or doesn’t he know? How are we supposed to follow THAT example?
Let’s take inventory of Paul’s situation.
- No Cell Phone
- No Internet
- No Phones whatsoever
- No long way radios
- No weather center updates
- No Map Quest
- No car, trip planner, daily planner or otherwise.
- He was in prison waiting to be released.
Travel, sleeping accommodations, and detours due to wild lions all of these had to be considered. Even if he knew the towns and terrain, once he was released from prison and was sure of his travel arrangements, there could be small side trips that God had him do to spread the gospel along the way. “Soon” is a loaded word. A word that the Philippians understood because of the nature of Paul’s ministry and the survival culture of the times. Today, “soon” would never be acceptable. We know our flight times, we book our hotel rooms, we are in “the know” because of MAN’s technology. But “soon” had just as much confidence in it for Paul as I would have today if I said, my flight gets in at 8:00 pm. Could something come up and delay my flight? Oh yes. Would I be wrong to say 8:00 pm?
Okay. Why would Paul have such confidence then? He was in prison. They didn’t have a work-release program where he knew when he was walking out of there. Some jailed in prison back then, were simply forgotten about. How did he know HE would be released?
God told him.
Yup, just like when I heard the words, “go through” Paul heard from God what his next step would be. Think of the comfort for Paul. He had lived and trusted and gained confidence every time he obeyed that still small voice. So here he’s sitting in prison, maybe a little annoyed at the detour, and God tells him, you’ll be on your way to Philippi soon. What joy! What comfort! What a blessing for Paul! Writing it to the Philippians was just a matter of getting them prepared for him. It wasn’t a matter of “if” but a matter of “when”.
This is trust! THIS is the abundant life lived in the high-octane lifestyle! We don’t stumble over our own two believing feet. We walk with boldness. Now Paul is an example I want to follow! That is the Word in action in our lives. This takes practice. Just as a baby takes a timid first step so must you take a step to trust what you know God is telling you to do. Try it. Then try it again. A doctor of Biblical research told me once that it takes about 2,000 times of asking God before you step out with complete confidence, knowing you heard from Him. I could eat up 200 times before breakfast! We make zillions of decisions in our lifetime, how many you choose to trust God in, and what kind, are up to you. Empty your expectations out and ask. He will surprise you.
God bless you today!