Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Uneasiness of the Unknown

I'm not an organized person. I never really was, but now I just try to blame it on the fact that I have five kids. I may not be able to find things in my van or storage room or freezer but planning is something I try to do. Keeping track of schedules, appointments and knowing what's coming just has to be done. It's such an uneasy feeling for me to not know.

But the coming week brings lot of unknowns. We are going to family camp tomorrow, but leaving early because Annie is having her tonsils out. We are waiting to hear on test results and medications that need to be timed right before they can do the surgery. After Mike's hospital visit tonight, there is the possibility of a funeral coming. All these things are swimming in my mind. I have no idea how it will all work out and I hate that.

My desire is to know how everything is going to work out and orchestrate it for my convenience, although I would never claim to be a control freak. The problem is that sometimes we just don't know how things will pan out. There will be twists and turns before we get to the end and that can be stressful.

As I was worrying and wondering about how everything was going to work out for next week, it seems the Holy Spirit was trying to get my attention. Instead of worrying, shouldn't I pray and turn it over to Jesus? Why didn't I think of that?

The Israelites had a problem in the Old Testament. God's chosen nation was taken from the Promised Land to Babylon. They had a strong sense of the importance of the land God had promised them. The temple was destroyed which was the sign of God's residence among them. I'm guessing there were lots of people trying to figure out why and how they ended up in Babylon. It seems that their continued rejection of God played a part, but a lot of it was just plain out of their control. The other world powers were battling and the smaller nations were at their mercy.

Jeremiah prophesied about not only the captivity but the release.

"Thus says the Lord of hosts:
'The children of Israel were oppressed,
Along with the children of Judah;
All who took them captive have held them fast;
They have refused to let them go.
Their Redeemer is strong;
The lord of hosts is His name.
He will thoroughly plead their case,
That He may give rest to the land,
And disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon"
Jeremiah 50:33-34 NKJV

Then in Ezra 1:1, God moves. The new king of Persia frees the Jewish people and allows them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. The captivity lasted 70 years.

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:

"This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
'The LORD , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you-may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD , the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.' " Ezra 1:1-4

It's easy to get so wrapped up in life's circumstances that God becomes an afterthought. He knows the final outcome. He knows the plans and purposes for the detours. What if I looked for Him along the way instead of stressing about the outcome?

As I look back at the ups and downs in my life, I see the detours and unknowns are the times when I've grown and clung to Jesus. What else are we supposed to do when everything is out of our control, no matter how organized we are? Those are the times we are forced to rely on God and not ourselves. Those are the times we are driven to our knees. Those are the times we grow and look forward to our eternal destination with him. When life on this earth is messy, I am all the more eagerly awaiting Christ's return.

So although my problems this week could be worse, it's another opportunity to trust God's plan. And God has a plan and outcome for whatever detour you are on right now. Your redeemer is the same strong, powerful One that redeemed Israel and He will not forget you.

Jeremiah 29:10-14
This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD , "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD , "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD , "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

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