It Came to Pass

This is another wonderful devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada

It Came to Pass

“But it came to pass within a while after…” Judges 15:1  KJV

PearlsOfGreatPrice-JoniEarecksonTadaWhen I was talking with an African sister in Christ in a small Ghanaian village, I was impressed with her quiet, humble spirit. She wore brightly colored tribal clothes with a turbanlike headdress. Although I guessed she was young, her hands were weathered and lined. After she shared her testimony, I asked what her favorite Bible verse was. A knowing smile spread across her face and her eyes lit up. Without hesitation, she replied, “And it came to pass.” I gave her a puzzled look. She added, “Everywhere you look in the Bible, there it is, my favorite verse.” It was a familiar phrase from God’s Word, but I had never heard anyone claim it as their favorite. I asked her to explain. 

“Joni, it is a hard life we live in our country. The weather is harsh and our crops sometimes fail. It’s at those times we don’t know where the next meal is coming from. We have no money, nothing to offer our children. But we have God!” she said in a hearty voice. “And we know he will take care of us. We can look at the misery around us and know that God will see us through. Then we can smile and say, ‘It came to pass.'”

“And it came to pass” reminds me of 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you.” I don’t face drought and failing crops, but I am in a wheelchair; it’s why I appreciate the words, “After you have suffered for a little while.” Our troubles are but momentary according to 2 Corinthians 4:17, and very soon hardships will be behind us. What hardship are you facing? Thank the Lord that you’ll soon say, “It came to pass.”

Lord, keep me from a complaining spirit. Give me the courage to trust You no matter what I lack in life.

Blessings,

 Joni and Friends
www.joniandfriends.org

Pearls of Great Price
Copyright © 2006

by Joni Eareckson Tada
Published in print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

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God Leads a Pretty Sheltered Life

This is a great piece from the Bible Nerd blog that will really make you think.

God Leads a Pretty Sheltered Life

At the end of time, billions of people were scattered on a great plain before God’s throne. Some of the groups near the front talked heatedly – not with cringing shame before God’s throne, but with embittered belligerence.

“How can God judge us? How can He know about suffering?” snapped a brunette, jerking back a sleeve to reveal a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp. “We endured terror, beatings, torture, and death!”

In another group, a black man lowered his collar. “What about this?” he demanded, showing the rope burns. “Lynched for no crime but being black! We’ve suffocated in slave ships, been wrenched from loved ones, and toiled ‘til only death gave release.”

Hundreds of such groups were visible across the plain. Each had a complaint against God for the evil and suffering He permitted in His world. How lucky God was, they all seemed to agree, able to live in heaven where all is sweetness and light, without weeping, fear hunger or hatred. Indeed, what does God know about man? What does He know about being forced to endure the trials of life? After all, God leads pretty sheltered life.

Read the rest here.

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The Enoughness of Enough

Last week I read this great post by Mary DeMuth, and since “enough” is my word for 2013, I asked her if I could repost it here for you to read. Mary graciously agreed, so hold on to your hats [or shoes or tablets or phones or whatever you’re holding onto right now] because this is profound stuff! Thank you again, Mary!

MaryDeMuth-EnoughnessOfEnough

The Enoughness of Enough

I noticed the little voice at the thrift store as I gathered clothes to try on. I had a panicked sense about me, worried if I didn’t crawl through everything there, I would miss something. I tried on my clothes, bought several items, and went home feeling guilty. (Have you ever had purchase regret?)

I received disheartening news from a publisher. Their words confirmed the demise of one of my books. I thought of my more successfully published friends, and felt the hole deep down. I’ve wrongly thought that finding a certain level of success in writing would be enough. I’d reach a milestone and rest a bit, happy at the accomplishment. But another mountain of achievement always looms, stealing the joy of rejoicing in the accomplishment. Click to tweet this.

I’ve wanted wood floors as long as I can remember, but none of our homes have been decked with oak. It’s absolutely silly, this desire, especially in light of my friends in Ghana and Haiti whose floors are earth. I know we have so much. Why pine after pine?

My enough is broken.

The enoughness of enough hasn’t yet satisfied me. New (to me) clothes won’t fill up a heart. Instead, they’ll steal from our bank account. No matter what I achieve as a writer, there will always be another literary carrot just a little further ahead, stealing my temporary joy. Once the wood floors grace my home, there will be other home improvement items luring me–a new cooktop, different counters, an arbor out back.

I feel like Jeremiah aimed a verse at me this week: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me,  the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” *Jeremiah 2:13)

I’ve forgotten that Jesus is my enough. Instead, like the Achiever that I am, I have dug cisterns til the cows came home, only to realize they hold nothing. The water rushes through, temporarily satisfying, but never really filling me up.

I’ve become like Solomon. “And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

The solution? I have to stop. Rest. Revel in the now. Be like the Apostle Paul and learn the secret of true contentment, of being okay with lack or gain, all my strength coming from Jesus.

It’s not easy, though.

We live in a culture where there’s no enoughness to enough. Materialism and consumerism demand that we feed our desires constantly, never satisfied with the now. And it spills over into our businesses and ministries. If we revel in the enoughness of enough, then we’re not forward thinking, or we’ve lost our edge. We must always, always be shipping.

When will it end? Should we live on a treadmill, never stopping, never celebrating, never breathing a holy exhale long enough to simply say, “Thank You Jesus?” I hope not.

I’m, of course, preaching to myself in this post. But I have a hunch you’ve been there before, too. Will there ever be an “enough” in your life? What is enough?

Let’s decide together that there is enoughness to enough. To stop right now and be counterculturally CONTENT. Who’s with me?

Q4U: When have you truly felt you had enough? What messes with your feeling of enoughness?

Please do yourself a huge favor and visit Mary’s “Uncaged” site at http://www.marydemuth.com/

AnnaSmile