Close enough does not equal God’s best


Waterfall

The Lord has conquered this whole area for the community of Israel, and it is ideally suited for our livestock. If we have found favor with you, please let us have this land as our property instead of giving us the land across the Jordan River.” Numbers 32:4-5

I was physically and emotionally drained as we made it to our destination. Our youth group hiked Catawba Falls last week.  It was not for the faint at heart. There were two places where you had to pull yourself up with a rope. I am not a seasoned hiker so it was definitely an experience for me!

Every turn and twist on the way up, I looked down. It was so far down the side of that mountain. I was praying that God would deliver us to the top but I wasn’t so sure I would make it. I am a little clumsy so I slipped and tripped and completely wiped out 5 times. If you would have had a camera on me, you probably would’ve made it to America’s Funniest Home Videos!

There is a place on the trail where you can no longer hear the water fall. I felt like we had made a wrong turn and I was frightened that we were lost. A quick text to our youth leader and I found out we were on course so we trudged forward.

You can see from the picture that I made it to the clearing and stopped. The kids went on ahead and could see the full splendor of the waterfall. I could only capture an angle of it. I decided in my mind that I was far enough, I was just fine planted where I was.

The thing is I am filled with regret now. I have seen photos of the full waterfall and they are breathtaking. Why did I stop short? Why would I not push myself to go the distance? Why did I not breathe in every moment of that trip? We were pressed for time but I would imagine most of it was fear and anxiety. Oh, for a do over.

Our verses are talking about the tribes of Gad, Reuben and the half tribe of Manasseh desiring to remain where they were. They wanted to build their cities on this side of the Jordan. They wouldn’t wait for God’s best and His inherent miracles that lie ahead. Instead they settled with where they were. Moses went on to call them a bunch of sinners! Ouch.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you pushed yourself to a place you felt was good enough and stopped?  You realized fully what God said to do but you made the decision to stop and not trust Him for the rest of the journey. Did that decision come with consequences? I have discovered it comes with long term ramifications. It may seem beneficial and appear favorable at the moment but doesn’t most sin? Satan does his job well in making situations appear good enough to stop short of God’s blessings. He doesn’t want you to prosper. God’s Word clearly states the opposite.

I am not sure where you are in your journey today but I can share mine. God has planted a dream in my heart and wants me to trust Him to bring it to fruition. I have traversed almost 7 months into it and am feeling that old familiar desire to retreat. I hear that voice saying, “This is far enough. Do not press on.”

But not this time satan! I won’t listen to your hisses that this doesn’t make any sense and I need to fix the problem myself. I won’t jump ship here and say this is good enough I am settling here. I will, by the grace of God keep going and waiting for His best. I hope you will too!

Max Lucado said in one of his sermons, “While we are waiting, God is working. You will get through this. It may take some time and it may be painful but you will get through this.” God’s best is completely worth the wait. He is working in you through the process.

Don’t give up! Don’t settle! Keep going! It will be so worth anything you have had to face or will face on the rest of your journey to the promised land. You may be at the place where you can’t hear the water anymore but the path ahead is clear. God is reaching out His hand to guide you forward. He is with you and for you. God is love. He won’t fail you and He will bring to pass every promise in His Word and He will fulfill the dream He placed in your heart. Keep moving onward!

I believe in miracles, let me tell you about mine

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“So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.” Psalm 78:7

I saw the title of this devotion on a t-shirt this past Saturday. It was a fundraising event for a young boy in our community that recently received a heart transplant. Just as in the Bible, God is in our midst and performing miracles today.

A few weeks ago in Bible study the subject of miracles surfaced. Someone commented that God doesn’t perform miracles today like He did in the Bible. I disagreed. You see, they take place all over the world every day. They don’t make the evening headlines very often, they save those for devastation and mayhem.

Miracles take place every day in marriages, prodigals, emergency rooms, college campuses, high school sporting events, revivals, the plains of Africa, any roadway, poverty stricken communities, orphanages, resorts and the list goes on and on.

As a result of hearing the gospel, many people are coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Through prayer, relationships are restored. Some walk away from wrecks unscathed. People can recount stories of death or near death experiences. Some love again after deep wounds have marred their perception of what it means. Forgiveness takes place after years of turbulence.

We discussed in Sunday School this week about memorial stones. I did this experiment with a youth group years ago. We were to take a rock and write upon it how God had answered a prayer and the date. All little miracles in themselves.

We were to put them in a garden or flower bed, somewhere visible. Every time we passed them we were reminded of God’s faithfulness as the stones began to pile up. We were reminded that God takes the impossible and turns it into possible and in the process refines us into people of faith and commitment.

So what’s my miracle? Oh friend, there are far too many to count. We would be here for many days if I told them all. I will recount one with my son.

During my pregnancy the doctor’s office performed a battery of tests to make sure he was doing well. One of the tests came back positive for spina bifida. This is a neural tube defect when the spinal column does not close during the first month of pregnancy. We were heartbroken and began to cry out to the Lord.

My doctor referred us to Winston Salem Baptist Hospital to do an amniocentesis. The nurse came in to prepare me for the procedure. She said, “You can legally still abort this baby.” We rejected quickly and soundly. I could camp here but this is not the subject matter for today. I will note that God doesn’t make mistakes. He is the giver and taker of life. His ways are higher than ours and has a purpose for every human being he creates.

After the test was performed, the doctor could not explain a healthy, thriving baby boy in my womb. But there he was! Spine completely closed. We could explain it. A miracle!

So you may say, “The initial test was wrong or a false positive.” I understand your skepticism. God was thoughtful enough to leave a small space at the base of his spine where the skin looks like it is fused together. I believe He wanted me to know without a shadow of a doubt that He heard and answered my petitions. And that He is a miracle performing God. All praise to Him who is worthy!

I want to be sensitive to those of you who were hoping for a miracle that didn’t come. I have had those as well. Those are also faith building times when we trust in God’s sovereignty. Trusting that He knows what is best and that He is always working things out for our good. Especially when we can’t see it. We may never know this side of Heaven why God moves the way that He does. But we can know that there is hope in every circumstance. His promises will never fail which includes the one to never leave nor forsake you. He is with you and will carry you through. I can testify.

If you find yourself in need of a miracle today, I would love to pray with you about it. You can direct message me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and we can discuss it at length. My email button is available too if you aren’t involved with social media.

What about you? What is your miracle? Leave your comment on my Facebook page as a testimony of God’s goodness! Let’s encourage each new generation with hope, declaring God’s miracles and teaching them to obey His commands as our verse states today. Involve them in a memorial stone collecting project so they can see and remember what God is doing today as you recount what He has done in the past.

You are dearly loved! Blessings and peace to you!

Image from pixabay.com