There have been many times in my own life when I felt like God wasn’t really working that much on my behalf. I’m sure we all have had times when we wondered if God had forgotten about us. The Bible tells us of God’s love for us and so today I thought we could talk about how God shows His love and protection for those who are followers of Christ. The Psalms is a wonderful place to read and be reminded that God protects and cares for those who love Him so we will start there.
The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:7-10, (New International Version or NIV).
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2, (NIV).
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. Psalm 145:17-20, (NIV).
There are many more passages about how God protects the ones who love Him in the Psalms but I chose these three because they really are representative of His protection and that is what I want to focus on. God does have our best interest at heart when He directs our paths. Proverbs is filled with much wisdom and so we go there next.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6, (NIV).
The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. Proverbs 11:5, (NIV).
Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3, (NIV).
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9, (NIV).
A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? Proverbs 20:24, (NIV).
As you can see we humans may think that we are in charge of our lives, but the truth is that God will be directing you where to go. After all He is the one who decided which family, which country, which ethnic group, you were born into. He gave you the skills and talents that you have developed after being given the opportunity to develop those skills. God is the one who opened the door of opportunity for you, didn’t He? Yes, I believe that we humans think we are the ones making the decisions about where to live, where to work, where to live out our lives in this world, but the truth is far from that. Let’s dig a little deeper here and see what the New Testament has to say on the subject.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:1-10, (NIV).
Jesus is to a Christian the vine and we as Christians are the branches, but who does the gardening that makes us grow, bloom, and yield delicious fruit? God the Father is our gardener and God is the one that takes us where we need to go and helps us achieve what He wants done. So who is in charge of your life? Who is in charge of mine? Yes, God the Father directs our path and puts us where He wants us to do His work.
God was that You that gave me the thought to go to Bible College? God was that You that gave me the money to pay my bills this month? God was that You that made me late getting out the door this morning which caused me to be a few seconds later than I usually would have been and I stopped at the stoplight in time to see that maniac driver run the red light? I could have been killed had I not been a few seconds delayed this morning, God was that You protecting me? God was that You who helped me arrive safely when I got the phone call that my Dad was in the hospital dying and I drove two hours in a fog of emotion not really knowing what I was doing but just wanting to get there as soon as possible to say goodbye? God was that You who sent the nurse into the room at just the right moment so that I got the oxygen I needed to keep on living? God was that You that sent someone close to me to medical school to help my own loved one understand a complex disease process? God was that you who called me to a tough marriage? God was that You who made my childbirth bearable? God was that You that gave me children who are the exact opposite of me and keep me constantly on my knees in communication with You? God was that You that gave the opportunity for me to adopt such a lovely boy from China? God was that you who sent a friend to my door at just the right moment when I felt so down and discouraged? God was that You who helped me through a difficult divorce? God was that You who sent me back to college? God was that You who helped me to where I am and who I am today?
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9, (NIV).
I see the pattern of God working all through my life and I am sure that you can see the threads of God winding through your own life if you are a Christian. God cares deeply about us, each and every one of us, and we see that every day in our lives if we take the time to look. I love that and I know that God is directing my daily life and I am so thankful for that knowledge. Aren’t you?