Links Daily Devotional

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God’s Plans

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NASB)

When one of my usual golfers partners or I need to get our game back in shape, we head to the course of least resistance. It’s a muni in our area with wide fairways and large, true greens. That’s about all it takes for us to come away from the round smiling and saying, “Golfing dignity restored.”

It’s a step forward in enjoying the game, perhaps. But it doesn’t do much for honing our skills for the tougher courses we play—those where the trouble is close and the greens demand more precision.

As followers of Jesus, we are often tempted to take the easy way out. I’ll take the tidy, little Christian life, please. All the blessings, none of the discipline.

Ironically, this approach rejects everything we preach about the work of Jesus for us. We recognize that he could have chosen a different course, could have called down the legions of angels, could have said, “I’ll just head back to my Father now.” But he didn’t. And we praise him rightly and roundly for holding to the Father’s will for him, for continuing on to the cross.

It’s one thing to lay all our sin upon Jesus. He alone can bear it. But it’s quite another to expect him to take all the trouble too, while allowing us to whistle our way to perfection in him.

Scripture, we soon learn, is not about how we would like to order the earth. It’s not even about every little appointment we would like to put on the calendar or every little convenience we would like to purchase for our comfort.

Paul pleaded with God to take away “the thorn” in his side. He knew life would be a whole lot nicer without it. Wouldn’t God do this little bit for the faithful apostle?

Apparently not.

And God had his reasons. Paul still had lessons to learn, lessons best taught by way of disturbance. The greatest of these lessons was this: God’s thinking, God’s design, God’s way is best. Whatever we do beyond asking God to make a change—whatever manipulative or managerial adjustments—falls in line with taking God’s place in our lives. It goes the way of self-preservation, even self-idolization. It’s not the way God has in mind, and it’s not the way we’ll ever come to honor him.

Jeff Hopper

January 23, 2012

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