We’ve all been there.
Its 7:43 AM and you are rushing out the door. The commute to work takes roughly 15 minutes if you go slightly above the speed limit. You know, as long as there are no surprises along the way, you will arrive just on time. God is good!
Or am I wrong? Because as soon as you get to thinking “oh yea, definitely gonna make it on time”, BAM! Old lady McGee pulls out in front of you and it’s plain to see she isn’t in any hurry. (no offense Mrs. McGee:))
Now, of course we do what we do. Depending on who you are and what kind of morning you are having you might throw your hands up and mutter something, say a few choice words (shame on you! haha), or say “bless your heart old lady”.
And not very often unfortunately, I have a thought that pops in my head about Mrs. McGee. Here’s how it goes:
“Maybe this was a divine interruption orchestrated by God. Maybe Mrs. McGee is an angel that was sent to slow me down so I don’t get a ticket or worse get into an accident. Or perhaps God is trying to tell me to exercise my patience button.”
Let’s go along with this idea as I share another story.
I was walking along the nature path in our neighborhood one day with the dogs as I made a routine of doing when I came across something I found odd.
The nature trail is surrounded by swamp mostly and something shy of a “river” or “creek”. Typically when I am walking along I see (and hear) ducks, scared as they are, flying off from their safe haven in the water. But this day something was off. I looked to my right and saw a duck that didn’t fly away. I paused and stared as the duck reversed itself as far back into the reeds it could go trying to hide itself.
My first thought was “wow, this is one smart duck”. While all the others are flying off opening themselves up to being shot (if I were a duck hunter and carrying a gun) this little duck is hiding itself from the “hunters”. Sly duck you are.
Then a second thought occurred to me.
What if this duck had a broken wing and couldn’t fly like his little friends. He could be saying to himself “oh great, here comes a hunter and I can’t fly away and save myself. I am left alone here to die.” Sadness and discouragement come upon him. Shame and guilt take over because he must have done something to deserve this broken wing. But what he can’t see and can’t seem to even grasp is that this brokenness he is experiencing is actually God’s protection. This weakness and this time of fracture in his life is God’s way of keeping him safe.
God’s divine protection.
Just like when “Mrs. McGee” pulled out in front of you that morning and when the duck couldn’t fly away during my walk, God is offering you divine protection through your hardship, thorn, weakness, and discouragement right now. That divorce you are going through, the sickness that just won’t go away, the defeat your feel in your marriage, the moments of discouragement as you face daily parenting, that job you really want that just isn’t coming to fruition, that parent that just won’t get better, the baby you really want but God hasn’t yet blessed you with. All of these valley’s of darkness that we are going through, what if they really aren’t a “darkness”? What if, in the big picture of life, it is all God’s protection?
He is stopping you from doing something that could potentially harm you. He is closing the door on a season in your life that has already served it’s purpose. God is offering you an opportunity for growth and to trust in him as he works his plan to give you a future and hope.
That sickness that won’t go away: He’s suggesting you depend on him for healing and take a moment to rest. Those daily parenting struggles: He wants to remind you what really matters in this shadow of a lifetime and that it won’t be like this for long. The defeat you feel in your marriage: He’s wanting you to trust him with the future and the heart of your spouse. That job that you really want that hasn’t come to be: He wants you to know that his plan is greater and he has the perfect job for you but has lessons to teach along the way. The baby that you so desperately long for: God knows the desire of your heart. He knows you want so desperately to grow your family. Maybe he has a baby already set aside just for you and knows you’ll be the perfect parents for him or her.
Ultimately GOD KNOWS WHAT’s BEST!
Go back to the story of Job. In the beginning of the story God and Satan have a conversation:
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?”…But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has and he will surely curse you to your face.” – Job 1:8-11
I challenge you to read the story, which is long but amazing (to say the least). Job is severely tested. All things were taken from him including all of his livestock and children. He was struck with sickness and disease. And while all of this was happening his “friends” were a huge source of discouragement for him.
Yes, Job has questions throughout the whole book but he never loses his faith. We see him constantly reminding himself who God is and what his promises are. What Job didn’t know was that God was teaching Satan a lesson as well. God had this huge confidence in Job and knew he would depend on his faith to get him through.
Ok, but what does this have to do with my “broken wing” and God’s protection.
God has faith in you! This very testing or “thorn in your flesh”, this valley could be God showing his confidence in your faith. No matter what his child goes through he know we will not discount him. We will not give up our faith. Sure we will be discouraged, sad, in turmoil, in disdain, and we will be terrified what lies around the corner. We are going to ask a lot of questions but we are going to hold onto our faith. We are going to wonder what he is doing but ultimately we will know that He is good and he works for the good of those that love him.
Even though we don’t have a clue what is going on right now this is how we need to look at our circumstances. When you are in your discouraged time of life and within those deep dark valleys, when you feel like God has left and forsaken you turn it around and say out loud “Thank you, God, for your protection.”
Consider 2 Corinthians: 12:7-10
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.