Jack And The Umbrella

It was a day of drenching rain.  Umbrellas were a necessity.  I entered my front door holding my collapsed umbrella, then popped it open with the idea to set it on the floor to dry.  How could I have guessed that at the precise moment I pressed the button on the handle of my umbrella, causing it to spring open with a flourish, that Jack would be rounding the corner, meeting it face on!  My poor dog!  He moved so fast that I only saw a black flash turn and disappear.

I also moved as fast as I could to get to Jack to comfort him, to assure him that all was well.  However, where was he?  I stood in the doorway to the living room, eyes darting back and forth to find him.  It was like he had vanished into thin air; but wait, what did I see?  One brown eye and a black ear peeking out from behind the curtain.

“Hey, Jack.  It’s okay.  It’s okay, Jack.”  I went to him, calling out in attempt to soothe him.  It didn’t work.  He was trembling and staring without blinking at the entrance to the hallway.  I could tell that he knew the big yellow monster could appear at any moment to gobble us all up!  My words of constant assurance did nothing to alleviate his panic.

I then had another bright idea!  I would bring the umbrella to Jack and let him see it was harmless. Yes, that would work!  No, it didn’t.  It pushed Jack further into the folds of the curtain, trembling from head to tail.  I didn’t know what to do but wait.  I sat in a chair nearby, every now and again calling out, reminding Jack that I was still there.

Many of you reading this know what I’m going to say, don’t you.  You and I also become frightened at things that may or may not harm us.  We also run in some attempt to hide from the thing causing distress.  We fear the unknown, the things that make no sense to us.  We tell ourselves that if we stay behind the curtain of our fears long enough, the monster of the unknown will go away and leave us alone.  A good plan if life were really like that; situations disappearing simply through avoidance.

As I was calling out to Jack with the desire to comfort him, I said a prayer of thanks to my heavenly Father for never leaving me when life’s unwanted situations scare me, too.  We all know what it’s like to be afraid when our jobs are threatened, when a loving relationship breaks apart, when we are falsely accused, when our once robust health is attacked by disease, when bank accounts dwindle into meager amounts.

It’s a frightening world out there, but hiding behind some curtain of safety is only a temporary action we can take.  Hiding may or may not help — for awhile.  The only certain help that will bring peace no matter the stress, that will instill courage throughout any ordeal, that will fill us with confidence to take a step into the unknown, that will put a smile on our face because of joy in our hearts — is the One called Jesus.  He is always there — omnipresent — meaning it’s impossible for Him to leave us.  He is omniscient meaning He knows all.  He knows what troubles us and He loves to bring us through to safety.

When the umbrellas of the unknown and the uncertainties of life startle us, what comfort to know the One who says, “…Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20

Surrounded By Zebras And Wildebeests

In times of great stress, we yearn for tranquility, for an absence of anything hostile.  In its place we hope for a situation that is void of whatever it is that is bringing upheaval to our emotions.  We tell ourselves that if somehow an end can come to whatever is bringing stress, then we can at last experience serenity once again.

The above is a definition of the peace that the world hopes to gain.  What the world pursues involves getting rid of a thing or a situation.  We tell ourselves — if only we can rid ourselves of the source of our difficulties, then surely peace will follow.  It’s a logical conclusion but not a lasting solution.  At times, it’s no solution at all because the thing bringing distress cannot always be made to disappear as if it were a rabbit stuffed into a magician’s hat.  The rabbit always returns!

Life is much more complicated, but there is an answer.  I was reminded of this as I recalled a lovely memory concerning zebras and wildebeests.  Less that two years ago I experienced a lifelong dream of going to Africa.  I still get shivers of excitement when I think back to those days when my feet walked in that great continent.

One night as I was sleeping in my tent somewhere in Tanzania, I was awakened by a sound I could not identify.  My body froze as fear ran over me.  Ever so slightly I turned my head toward the mesh window.  I had earlier rolled up the canvas covering before I went to sleep.  Wonderfully, it was a night of a full moon.  I am forever thankful for that full moon because it revealed to me the most exhilarating sight —  zebras and wildebeests meandering around my tent!  I could see the outlines of their bodies as they brushed against the canvas.  They were pulling and chomping at the grass.  I never knew munching could be so loud!  I watched the zebras and wildebeests for nearly an hour as they continued to stroll past my tent, eating their way into the black of night beyond.  Fear completely subsided and total joy filled me as I realized, that at that very moment, I was alone in the middle of a herd of wild animals!  My heart pounded with the sheer excitement of what I was experiencing and seeing with my own eyes!  I lack words to fully describe the emotions washing over me during that most unusual experience of animals in the wild of Africa.

As I have thought about that incident many times since then, I realize that it could have turned into something disastrous.  If I had given way to fear, screaming and jumping up in fright, it would have startled the animals and a stampede could have easily taken place.  Instead, finding and hanging onto peace, a most joyous experience took place instead.

You see, although possible danger lurks all around us, in the tents of our hearts, peace and joy are available to take command of our startled and stressed emotions.  This takes place in our spiritual worlds.  Jesus said something most interesting in John 14:27, “I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  What did Jesus mean, it is a gift the world can’t give?

The world defines peace as an absence of hostility or a mastering of anxiety.  We learn mechanisms to either compress stress or we maintain a goal of working hard to get through the thing that causes us to be upset or feel uneasy.  God has a very different definition of peace.  His peace is called in the Hebrew of the Old Testament — Shalom.  Shalom peace means to be whole, safe, sound.  It doesn’t entail removing the stress; but rather, it means to live emotionally whole no matter the fears and troubles of life around us.  It is nothing to do but everything to be.  This peace is something totally God given.

When the Spirit Of God resides within, there can be all manner of chaos in our worlds, but no amount of stress  or anxiety can overpower the peace God gives.  The Spirit Of God always commands peace.  Remember the New Testament record of the time Jesus was in the middle of a dangerous storm?  It is said of Him that, “even the winds and the waves obeys His voice.”

Are the storms of life too hard for the world to handle and bring peace instead?  Often.  Is there any fear or stress too hard for the peace of God to overthrow?  Never.

The Merchant’s Story

Somehow I found myself pulled in by the lure of the crowd.  Sheer curiosity as to the number of people watching; nothing more.  I had already seen a man crucified.  It was horrid.  A man stretched out on a cross of rough timbers, his agonizing scream as spikes were driven through his wrists and ankles.  The thud of the cross as it was dropped in a hole to stand firm in the ground.  I had told myself I would never witness another execution, so why was I now at another one?

Perhaps the scandal of it all, the rumor about the man who now hung between two others; that had to be the reason.  I watched and listened to the murmurs of those around me.  Some saw him as a good man who did no wrong.  Others saw him as a magician who performed tricks.  Still others seemed to hate him just because it was popular to do so.  Me? I had no feelings about the man at all.  It would be nothing more than a good story to tell to my customers as I traveled to sell my wares.

My business was good.  Fifty head of camel had I to pack with lavish gifts to take from one city to another.  Once I had even traveled to Egypt selling my goods both there and again upon my return.  I prided myself upon being clever and shrewd.  Some would accuse me of deceit, but I never took advantage of a poor man.  No, only the rich would I dare to make a shekel or two more.  Why not?  It was every man for himself, right?  I did nothing any other man wouldn’t do if given the chance to advance his wealth.

It was then, upon these very thoughts, that I was brought back to the present moment.  I glanced at the man on the cross and he was looking straight at me; yet not really at me, but through me.  I heard myself gasp and felt my legs tremble.  For a moment I thought I might drop to the ground.  I tore my gaze away but something, I don’t know what, drew my sight back to his face.  His eyes held mine and suddenly, unexpectedly I knew I was naked before him.  He could see me as I am, the good and the bad, and all that was hidden.  I was afraid and wanted to run, yet so drawn to him I dare not move.  His eyes changed then; no longer just seeing through me, but now pleading, yearning, not for his own life —  but for mine.

There were no words to explain the moment.  I was exposed.  Frantically I tried to calm my nerves by reminding myself of my own goodness.  I gave to the poor who sat begging by the temple gates.  I took care of my family.  I was faithful to my wife even when other businessmen in their travels were not.  I played with my children.  Yes, I began to feel better because I was a good man overall.  Relieved I looked back at the man.  “Today you will be with me in paradise,” he spoke to another criminal hanging on a cross next to him.  How ridiculous!  My thoughts raged in not a little inner anger.  What does he mean by such nonsense!  They’re not going anywhere but to a tomb!

Amidst my thoughts the man looked at me again.  Blood streamed down his face from the thorns pressed into his scalp and forehead.  A cruel, mocking crown of thorns.  Even so, there was no hatred upon his face.  My eyes locked with his once more and an overwhelming understanding washed over me.  I had never before experienced — what?  What was I feeling?  What was coming over me?

Today you will be with me in paradise.  Those were his words.  Why couldn’t I shake them?  Today.  Where would I be today?  More to the point, where would I be tomorrow?  What was my destiny?  Again I raised my face to look at the man.  I stared.  I desired something more than I had in my life.  What was that I saw in his eyes as he shifted his head ever so slightly to continue looking in my direction?  He could read my thoughts!  I knew it!  Was his heart calling to mine?  Yes!  He was calling!  He wanted to give me more!  Suddenly I wanted more, too!  I nodded my head and smiled in both shame and incredible joy. I know he knew and he was happy.  Among such cruelty shown him, I knew he was thinking about me on that cross.  I knew he was thinking about everyone ever born and who was yet to be.  It was true!  Son of God!  On a cross for me!

Paradise.  That’s what he promised.  That’s what I received. I finally understood that life in paradise had nothing to do with my own goodness, but everything to do with His.  My life has never been the same since that awful but wonderful day.  I heard amazing news of Him just two days later — He had risen from the dead!  I didn’t need to see him with my own eyes.  I already knew in my heart.  I had already received his forgiveness and his promise.  It should have been me on that cross.  He wasn’t the guilty one.   It was me.  It was you.  What sweet relief.  One day — undeserved paradise.

Happiness Vs. Joy

There is a game that Kyrgyz children play in which they use the dried vertebrae of sheep.  The children squat in a circle on the ground and take turns rolling or throwing these vertebrae much like one rolls dice.  Each bone is shiny from its use.  I haven’t fully understood the object of the game; but one thing is certain, the children love to play.  They shout and jump and laugh.  It’s such a simple pleasure that brings about much happiness.

Every culture knows how to find happiness.  In poorer countries happiness is found in the simple things of life because simplicity is all there is to find.  Nonetheless, it is indeed happiness that lives in the hearts of those playing with old bones, riding horses, cooking simple meals, or among a group of women washing clothes together in a river.  In the western world, finding happiness comes in different shapes: a new car, a trip to the beach, a hike in the mountains, a dream job, a house, new shoes, lunch with a friend.  The list of what brings happiness goes on and on.  Pursuing happiness is a desirable thing and it’s especially good that it can be found whether rich or poor.  Happiness comes whether one is playing with old bones or a nintendo — but what about joy?  Can anyone find joy?

There is a great difference between happiness and joy.  You see, happiness depends on outward stimuli whereas joy depends completely on something inward.  The things that make us happy can be seen, but what makes us joyful is invisible yet it is present.

Have you known people who experience a great tragedy, but amidst their tears and sorrow there is a calm in the storm?  Life gives us all sorrow, grief, and disappointment.  No one is exempt.  Some fall apart in the difficult times.  It may take them a long time to emotionally recover; sadly, some never recover at all.  Others can experience the same difficulties; yet even in their tears and broken hearts, they come through stronger with a peace, and yes, a joy that is ever present in their eyes, sustaining them in their hearts.

How can this be?  Why do some survive life’s hurts with calm and inner joy while others are destroyed?  The answer is simple yet poignant: it’s a matter of what we cling to in the tempest of life’s raging seas.  Some fall to the decks sensing no hope at all; others cling to the unseen Creator of the universe knowing that His love and strength will get them through any storm.  One has no hope; despair takes over.  The other has all hope; joy abides.

The truth of the promise found in Hebrews 13:5-6 reminds us of the hope that can come to any of us: “…’I will never leave you,” God says. ‘I will never abandon you.’  Therefore we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will have no fear.’…”  Another comforting and unshakable truth of God is this: “…Weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning.”  There we have it: no matter the sorrow or the depth of grief or the piercing hurt, joy comes in the morning and all because God is with us.

Obtaining happiness is a wonderful thing.  We all enjoy the circumstances of life that make us happy; but when happiness subsides, we can thank Father that His joy lives on and on.  It is eternal.  Darkness cannot hide it. Pain cannot destroy it.  It is the joy of God that surpasses anything that happiness can bring or that sorrow can give.  Pursue happiness alone and joy will elude us.  Pursue God and joy lives in us.

When We Are Free At Last

I have often heard people say that if salvation is really eternal, why does the Bible instruct us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”  I prefer the New Living Translation which reads in Philippians 2:12, “work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear (respect).  The next verse goes on to tell us that, “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”  

We want to live more Christlike but isn’t it so hard at times?  Probably we are our own worst enemies, mistakingly thinking that it’s up to our own hard work; however, the verse clearly tells us that God Himself is working in us and giving us His own desires.  What does that mean exactly?  Are we still working for our salvation?

I recently read something by David Jeremiah which explained it wonderfully.  I paraphrase his words.  The concept of our salvation involves three stages:  Initially when we come to Christ, we are saved from the penalty of sin.  As we grow into Christlike maturity, desiring with all our being to walk in His ways and to be obedient to Him, trusting that His ways are for our own good, then He gives us the power to overcome sin.  It doesn’t mean we ever become sinless but it does mean we are able to walk further without falling; temptations to sin are better kept in control because we are walking easily in the power of God to stand against sin.  Finally and wonderfully, one day when we leave earth for heaven, we are then saved from the very presence of sin.  Isn’t that amazing and exciting?  I’m so thankful for that insight the Lord gave to David Jeremiah.

So we see that our salvation cannot at all be earned.  It’s bought by Jesus, paid with His blood, given as a gift.  We may choose to receive the gift or not.  Then we walk on each day, month by month, year by year, learning of Him and His ways, becoming more like Him, beginning to overcome the influence of sin until that long awaited day when we see Jesus face to face.  Only then are we finally free from the very presence of sin.  It will be vanquished forever!  Hallelujah!  We will be free at last!

“I’ll Be Back, Jack.”

Like every dog, Jack watches with anticipation for me to return whenever he sees me go.  “I’ll be back, Jack,” I assure him as he looks at me with somewhat mournful eyes.  If he had his way I would stay with him every moment of the day.

It was the same with the disciples of Jesus.  After the crucifixion, when they finally began to understand exactly who Jesus was and why He had come, there came the moment when He told them goodbye.  We read in Acts 1:9-11, “He was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see Him.  As they strained to see Him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why are you standing here staring into heaven?  Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday, He will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go!'”

As we enter the Easter season, we are reminded of this wonderful fact: Jesus is coming again.  We wait and watch.  We don’t know when He will come, but we know it will happen.   He will return and take us with Him.

When I leave Jack, he looks longingly, but he doesn’t stand gazing after me every moment I’m away.  He’s very busy.  He has hole digging to do, hard work keeping the birds from landing in his yard, and of course, there’s play time with his ball and frisbee.  He keeps busy, but every so often, he takes time to stand and watch for my return.  He looks for the signs: the sound of my car, the sight of me walking toward the house.  Oh, delight, when he sees the signs of my return.

It is the same with us.  We are busy with the things of life, both the mundane necessities as well as the ministry aspects we are involved in: but every now and again, we take time to stop and reflect.  We look for the signs of His return.  The signs are there, of course.  He is coming again.

As the song reminds us, “Oh what a day of rejoicing that will be.”

Asking And Receiving

Throughout the ages there has been much discussion, argument, disagreement, and misunderstanding about the words of Jesus, “ask and you will receive.” I have known many Christians who have become disappointed; even disillusioned with God, because they asked and they did not receive. Some have turned away from God because of it. Others remain quietly despondent but press on with God nonetheless.

Some requests brought to God could be described as selfish, like asking for a boat or a bigger house when neither is needed. There are those who believe to ask for material possessions is a wrong motive. It rather makes me chuckle to note, that often, folks of this persuasion have plenty of unnecessary “things” in their own lives. The counter argument for this is that God cares about our needs but also He loves to give unexpected gifts to simply bless us with extra happiness like good father’s do.

Some requests are brought to God out of a broken heart. We ask that either ourselves or a dear loved one be healed of some terrible disease. We beg God to restore a broken relationship. Single people plead for a spouse, while married people complain to God that the spouse they have isn’t what they had hoped he or she would be. Asking and receiving from God often abounds in disappointment.

Of course, we probably all understand that many times God says, “no” because He understands that what we ask for is not good for us. On this matter I often recall an incident of many years ago. My cousin was visiting us as Christmas approached. She had her little girl with her. At one point during the visit I could see the toddler speaking to her mother. I didn’t hear what the little girl said but the mother’s response makes me laugh out loud to this day. She said with a look of sternness and dismay, “I told you, you are not getting a chainsaw for Christmas!” The little girl was about three years old at the time. What a hoot! I’m sure you and I are hoots, too, at times in what we ask God to give us.

The question of, why do I ask but I don’t receive, has been dealt with in volumes of books and in endless discussions. Therefore, I will not attempt to write a tome of thought on the matter; nor will I conjure up every argument I can remember. I will just share one verse that is often quoted during discussions. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 What a lovely, encouraging verse.

The thing that often comes to my own mind when I consider this verse, in relation to our requests to God to give us what we want is this: There is much meditation on the last part of the verse that tells us that God will give us our heart’s desires. I find not so much meditation on the part that says we are to delight in Him. An interesting note to pay attention to because it is the first instruction. Delighting in God comes before asking Him for anything. Do you think that part is often forgotten?

What does it mean, anyway, to delight oneself in the Lord? I looked it up in the dictionary. To delight means to, “please someone greatly.” Well, that puts a whole new look upon the matter, doesn’t it. Why should I expect God to grant me my heart’s desire if I ignore Him, never think about Him, except in times of trouble, or spend countless hours blaming Him for everything from personal dilemma to the world’s chaos.

What if we spent more time just in getting to know Him? What if we took time everyday to read His love letter to us in the Bible and then meditated upon His words? What if we talked to him, not only when bad things were happening and we needed His help, but just to say thank you for a lovely day: the sunrise, the sounds of birds singing, a friend’s laughter, the enjoyment of a neighbor’s visit. What if we took time to ask God to help us to understand His ways and then to give us the strength to walk in those ways ourselves?

If we took time to truly delight ourselves in Him, I wonder what desires of our hearts we would receive?

 

What Slipped Out Of The Book

I picked up a book the other day and flipped through its pages. As I did, a tiny piece of paper fell to the floor. Instantly, I recognized the hand writing to be that of my mother. Curious, I picked it up and began to read. As I did, a smile came to my face and my heart warmed. My mother had seen something that day that obviously touched her deeply; so much so, that she wrote down her thoughts. I want to share them with you now. She wrote:

“While driving along a country road I saw a beautiful little colt eating lovely green grass. She had eaten herself to the other end of the field from her mother. As she looked up, fear was in her eyes. The loving mother looked and whined to call her colt. How happy the little colt was to see her mother. She galloped as fast as she could to her mother’s side. What joy and peace to be in the shelter of her mother’s love. Aren’t we the same way when we wander away from our Heavenly Father? We lose our peace and joy, but our Father waits with open arms for our return to Him. He is a loving, forgiving God who is always there. Such love hath no man.”

When I read the above, I took a moment to thank my Father in heaven for the mother He gave me. My father often said that his ministry was all the more successful because my mother was at his side. They were indeed a terrific pastoral team, but even then, their effectiveness came because they were never a duo, but a trio, with God Himself in the middle, leading the way.

There may be those reading who, like me, are single. It doesn’t matter, because any partnership with God is a powerful force that can stand strong amidst any storm in life. Like the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”

The example of my godly parents encouraged me to always be looking up in times of joy or despair. Not everyone has had the example of godliness in the home; even so, never forget, relationship with God Himself brings the Holy Spirit to reside within. He is our teacher and guide and comforter all along the way.  Therefore, one person plus God is always a majority.

Training Jack

Our dog, Jack, has a morning routine. I let him outside after sweet wake up cuddles. After about half an hour he comes back inside and eagerly looks up to the shelf where we keep his peanut butter sticks. (It’s a healthy alternative to rawhide; much better for your pets.) He gets his beloved peanut butter snack, throws it in the air a few times, rolls on it in his happiness, and then devours the tasty morsel. After that, Jack and I head outside for a rousing game of frisbee. It’s a vigorous start to the day for both of us. We love it.

Once in a while as the day progresses, Jack comes inside and glances up hopefully at his bag of peanut butter sticks. “No, Jack,” I tell him, “Only one peanut butter stick a day.” What does he do? He immediately finds another toy, contenting himself with his other playful selections.

There are times, too, when I go outside to discover that Jack has, once again, been digging trenches along the fence. “Jack?” I look at him as he drops his head in a dip of shame. I patiently explain, yet again, why this behavior is unacceptable. He sits with sad eyes and head drooping. When the instructions are over I go inside. A bit later I return and ask, “Jack, where’s your ball?” Oh, happiness again! He finds his ball, trustingly brings it to me, and runs far to receive the pass.

This dog’s trust in my love for him warmly touches me. He knows I love him when I tell him yes, and he knows I love him when I tell him no. It never seems to occur to him that I could easily give up on him, give him away, or simply ignore him, doing nothing more than tossing food and water his way. No matter his naughty trench digging or ripping up his blanket — again! Jack knows all is well and that play time is just around the corner.

If only we humans could be a little more like a dog when it comes to the One who watches over us and keeps us in His watch care. Our heavenly Father knows what’s best for us, not some of the time, but all of the time. He knows when it’s in our best interest to say, yes, and equally when it’s in our best interest to say, no.

When we’ve dug trenches of bad behavior He will never turn His back on us. There may be a time of discipline, but never because He’s getting fed up with us. It’s always because He seeks to train us into His own beautiful likeness.

I know Jack is a good dog. He’s still learning and one day he will no longer be digging unruly holes or tearing up another brand new bed, leaving white foam all over the place. You and I get stronger, too, in our walk with God — as long as we listen to His instructions and continue trying.  Above all, we must hold on to the truth that He loves us unconditionally. We may be tempted to give up on ourselves, but He will always continue to fill us with His own peace and hope.

Instead of despairing when our Father tells us no, I do wish we could be a little more like a faithful dog, knowing without a doubt, He has our best interests in His heart every moment of every day.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; so not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all your do and He will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3”5-6

Which Road To Travel?

Remember what it’s like to have an idea, a thought, a desire to do a particular something?  A part of you feels excited.  Another part is scared.  You don’t really know if it’s the best route to take.  In your heart you know you only want God’s best.  You want to follow His will for your life.  The only problem — you can’t figure out if you should attempt to climb the summit of Mount Unknown or not.  You might be successful or you might very well come crashing down in full view of everyone watching.  What in the world should you do?

Uncertainty is such a part of life’s journey.  We may wonder why God doesn’t just drop a sign from heaven to instruct us clearly in the way ahead.  Why does making decisions have to be so difficult?  I’ve had those same thoughts myself along my own journey through life.

First of all, there is actually beauty in not knowing because the right road could still have some dangerous pot holes ahead.  If we knew the right way and all it held, we might just slink away in fear anyway.  Not knowing but trusting anyway builds our faith and our stamina in God.  Even so, how can we know upon which road we should proceed?

God’s Word tells us in Proverbs 11:14 that there is safety in having many advisors.  In other words, when unsure of a way to go, consult with those whom you see as walking closely with God.  Look for advice from others, just be careful that the advisors you choose are those whose own desire is to seek God in all they do.  I have often, over the years, sought counsel and advice from those more experienced than me who walk an obvious path of keeping God first in their lives.  They have been a huge blessing to me along my own life’s paths.

Last, but by no means least; in fact, the best comfort of all, is Jesus Himself.  We read in Romans 8:34 that Jesus “is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”  How about that!  He is “pleading for us.”  When we don’t know the way to go, Jesus is coming to Father on our behalf, asking His Father to show us the way.  When we are troubled, Jesus is coming to Father on our behalf, asking His Father to send His own comfort and peace into our troubled hearts.  He literally, because we are His own, holds us as His own, before His Father in heaven; who by the way, is our Father in heaven, too. Father loves us so much that He gave His Son’s blood to purchase our freedom.

So, are you wondering today which way to go?  Seek God’s people to stand with you, and take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus is bringing your needs to His Father.  With godly advice and the truth of Jesus leading you — walk on.  He will close the doors you should not enter and open wide the ones in which to proceed.

Every road taken with God is not always a safe one, but it’s always the best one, and it’s the one that brings ultimate joy when the journey is complete.  Never fear the unknown for when we get to our tomorrows, we discover that Jesus has been there all along, planning our route.