When I attended catechism classes in 7th and 8th grade, I distinctly remember two lessons. I do not remember which lesson came before the other, however, I have thought of these lessons often over my lifetime… even if I didn’t always believe or abide by the pastor’s instructions.
God stands beside me
Pastor Etzel said to our catechism class, “God stands beside you. Be careful of what you say and do because God hears and sees you.” This must be a common lesson in the catechism instructor’s book. My friend of 38 years, Mary, who is nine years my senior and who also was instructed in another Missouri Lutheran church this same lesson on how we should ask ourselves the following question before we act:
“If you knew God was standing next to you, what would you do (or say)?”
“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load.” Galations 6:4-5 NIV
I am certainly God’s daily disappointment. Even though I try to ask myself that question, my actions and reactions are often done without a moment’s hesitation. I like to think, however, my intentions always come from a good place, but I know that isn’t always true.
“Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
God has a plan for me
The other lesson from pastor’s catechism class was that God has a plan for my life. In fact, the pastor said, “God has a plan for you and it is already written.”
“Really?” my younger self said at the time. Even today as I look back on my life, I am beginning to finally understand what the pastor was trying to tell his impressionable class.
Last week’s reading of God’s Word revealed the following annotation next to Genesis chapter 11, in part:
“Although there is no scriptural reference to Job during this period of time, there is compelling evidence to believe that an important historical figure named Job should be included come the ancients. His home is in the land of Uz…. Job is a righteous man… However, disaster strikes Job when a series of disasters strikes him…. Even worse, all his children are killed, he is stricken with a terrible, painful disease… Job nevertheless maintains his faith in God. As a result, his wealth is restored to double its original worth, more children are born to him, and he dies a happy man.” (This excerpt is taken from page 22 of The Daily Bible in Chronological Order, NIV translation, Harvest House Publishers, © 1984.)
The author of this annotation, compiler, F. LaGard Smith writes in the same annotation that Job’s story is a story of great faith, and his apparently successful struggle with the reason for his struggle is one that has comforted generations of fellow-sufferers. “That fact alone might well have something to do with why he was called upon to experience such adversity.”
Could God’s plan for my life be a source of comfort to others?
While Job’s life ended well for him, will my story of faith end as well as Job’s?
What am I doing with my life?
“Work hard to show the results of our salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in You, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
Dear Lord, I give You all the praise and glory. Help me to break free from the selfishness in thought, word and deed that prevent me from reflecting your holiness. I pray for the light in my darkness that my life may reveal a story of great faith for others who may also find comfort in You.
I pray this in the name of Christ, who is the true light. Amen
May I pray for you?
The Prayer Journals is my personal spiritual journey in conjunction to writing my spiritual memoir. My posts in 2018 are a series of posts relating to this theme. If you have just joined The Prayer Journals, I hope you will take the time to explore previous posts on this site.
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