AFTER OBEDIENCE WHAT?
And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side. . . . Mark 6:45-52
We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as Gods purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not.
The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end. What is my dream of Gods purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea.
It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God. Gods training is for now, not presently. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience; we get wrong when we think of the afterwards. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end. Gods end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present: if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.
There are some days towards the end of my quiet time with Jesus that I will pick up my copy of My Utmost for His Highst and read the devotional for the day and be absolutely awed and how well timed it was with what the Lord was teaching me at that morning or over the past few days. This post was one of those posts.
It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.
Somehow over the brief years of my pilgrimage thus far on this earth I have had my eyes more focused on the end and have had the attitude of bracing my teeth and just enduring what was happening at the moment, thinking that soon this would be over. There would be some change in my life, surely there had to be some grand change that would make everything better. And so the days have slipped by, one by one, each day forever gone. Its sobering to think about. And yet, there isnt anything I can do about yesterday. And my tomorrow isnt even guaranteed.
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14
All I have is today. Right now. This moment. And then its gone. Fleeting minutes.
And here Ive been spending more time thinking about the future than focusing on this day that the Lord has given me.
He gives me one day, one day at a time. Not one week, just one day.
And all of these challenges that I face every single day. They are not something that I just have to somehow survive. But they are means to glorify God! An opportunity to prove my love for Jesus by obeying His commands in the now.
So now I start my day by first surrending it to Jesus and thanking Him for it. And I fix my eyes on Him for that day, to do what pleases Him on that day, to love Him on that day. How true it is, This is the day that the Lord hath made! Let us be glad and rejoice in it!
Im not discounting the importance of the future, especially of eternity. But you see, we never live in the future. We live today. And it is today that effects eternity.
So my goal is to live for Him day by day.
Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Fathers wise bestowment,
Ive no cause for worry or for! fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Powr.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,
This the pledge to me He made.
Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faiths sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
Eer to take, as from a fathers hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ the Lord I stand.
~ Lina Sandell Berg (1832-1903)