Don’t Miss the Boat

One of my favorite traditions at Christmas is going to the Enchanted Forest with my mom. This year, my kids wanted to do the scavenger hunt, so they spent half an hour running around looking for obscure objects like 3 red scarves and a blueprint. ( I kid you not! The Enchanted Forest doesn’t play around!) Ellie and James were having a tough time finding some of the things on the list, so mom and I jumped in on the nightmare fun. I was assigned “toy boat.” Earlier I had spent ten minutes looking for firetrucks that ended up being tiny toys hidden on shelves, so I just knew the toy boat would be hidden in that section as well.  As I scanned the other toys, I didn’t see one. My mom came over and said, “Natalie, do you not see that boat?!!!” I looked to the left and saw this.

boat

A BIG, TOY,  BOAT! My mom and I laughed so hard we cried! I was so sure it would be a small one that I completely missed the big one right in my face. I missed something so obvious because it was not what I expected.

How often do we miss what God is doing in our lives because we have a preconceived notion of what it will look like? God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). If that’s true, why do we try to keep Him in a box, expecting Him to work only in ways that WE think He should?

Maybe the best example in Scripture is Jesus Christ Himself. The Jewish people had been anxiously waiting for God to send their Messiah, but they had their own idea of what he would be. They expected a magnificent, stately, political king. But Jesus “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53: 2) Jesus didn’t fit their mold of an earthly King and yet He was (and is) the King of all Kings. So many of them missed the promised One, because He didn’t line up with their expectations.

As we go into 2018, many of us will set goals and resolutions. And these aren’t bad. But if we are only focused on our own ideas of how things should work out or how this year should go, we may miss out. This year leave room for God to have His way, for Him to do some new things. Ask him to open your eyes to what is right in front you, to the unexpected ways He is working.

Don’t be like me and miss the boat 🙂

Natalie

Plans and Promises

Remember the former things, those of long ago: I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV)

In this post, I shared my verses for 2017, Isaiah 43:18-19. The LORD through the prophet Isaiah tells us, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a NEW thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it!” (ESV) The Jewish exiles were missing out on what God was about to because they were stuck in the past. Sometimes, it can be easy for us to get so bogged down in what has happened, that we are blinded to the fresh new thing God is doing in our midst!

Now, just a few chapters later in Isaiah 46:9-10, we come to these verses, where God tells Israel that they SHOULD, in fact, remember the former things of old. These former things were all the ways God had proven Himself faithful in Israel’s history. And there were many, many instances of His faithfulness. In fact, not one of God’s promises had ever failed! We too should remember the ways God has been faithful in our own lives and take the time to thank Him. He can be relied upon and trusted. Who says Old Testament prophecy has no application for us? 😊

What really jumped out at me from Isaiah 46:9-10 is the phrase “I [God] make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” This is such an important truth: God has a plan. He has had one from the beginning. What’s even more mind boggling is that He has chosen to make parts of it known. We can go all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve disobeyed and plummeted face first into sin. Immediately man was cursed, separated from their Heavenly Father…… But GOD. He had a plan for our redemption. He did not walk away, leaving us to die; no, He had a plan. And the rest of the Old Testament is filled with promises looking ahead to the glorious day of our salvation. God would send someone from the seed of Eve who would crush the head of Satan and redeem us from the curse of sin and death forever (Genesis 3:15).

As we study Scripture, we see hints and shadows of the Promised One in the Mosaic law and the sacrifices, in the things that may seem insignificant, even boring to our modern sensibilities, yet they are anything but. They are pointing to the One to come. When we study the Old Testament in light of the Cross, it changes everything. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:20 that “ALL the promises of God find their YES in Him [Jesus].” (ESV) Is that not the coolest verse ever??

2 cor 1 20

We have reason for GREAT JOY that God has a plan for mankind as whole but what is almost harder for me to grasp is that He has plans for each one of us individually. He cares about me and you, like REALLY cares. Psalm 139 tells us that before we were even born, He knew our names and our days. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that He has a plan for us, not to harm us, but to prosper us. Let that sink in. There are how many billions of people (?) and God knows each one of our names, and He has plans for each one. Isn’t there something beautiful and comforting in that truth?

So even in the midst of our heartaches and suffering, our loneliness and disappointment, we can rest assured that HE is in control and that He is working ALL things out for our good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) We serve a God who has had a plan since the beginning, and it comes to fruition in His precious son Jesus Christ. Not one of His promises have ever failed. He is not about to let us down now.

Natalie