Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Soldiers Of Christ Arise"1 (Lyrics)
Jeremiah 29:11 – "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)
In the summer of 2014, my husband Jim was the lay minister at K-Bar, a recreational vehicle (RV) resort in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, USA. He was also suffering the side effects of chemotherapy, so he sat on a stool to preach, and even though we met in a small room, he used a microphone, as his voice was weak. A couple who attended the services, Ted and Janie, were concerned about his physical issues, and spoke to Jim after church, offering to help in any way they could. Ted was also a lay minister and had served in various churches all his adult life.
The chapel at K-Bar is part of the Eleanor Ferry Resort Ministry that sponsors chapels at five RV resorts in the White Mountains for four months each summer. A week later, we invited Ted and Janie to attend the biweekly Resort Ministry meeting. Ted met the other pastors and gave his testimony. When he finished, the minister at Juniper Ridge said, "Ted, God has a job for you. My wife and I are having health problems and need to leave this week. I think you should take over my position." Unbeknownst to us, Ted and Janie had been praying for a ministry opportunity, but they certainly didn't anticipate an answer that day from offering to help my husband or by attending that meeting! However, they accepted, and eight years later are still successfully serving at Juniper Ridge.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB)
God knows. He knows our desires. He knows our needs. More importantly, He knows that situations in our lives that we don't like can be used for His glory. My husband's cancer led to the answer to Ted and Janie's prayers. It also provided an immediate answer — before we even knew that it was needed — for a pastor at Juniper Ridge.
But there's more: Dale, a former full-time pastor, had moved to Juniper Ridge some years earlier, so this summer, he was already in place to step in while Ted is taking chemotherapy for three months.
As I look back at all these events, I see how God put it all together step by step to provide for Resort Ministry needs that we had no idea would be there. And He continues to do so for this ministry as pastors are needed.
Why are we so often doubtful of His wisdom and guidance or the purpose of events in our lives? God's Word is clear: He never makes mistakes, and we can trust His promise that "I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10b ESV) Instead of worrying, let's covenant to say, "But I trust you, O Lord. I say, 'You are my God!'" (Psalm 31:14 ESV)
Prayer: Father, we know that "it is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you." (Jeremiah 32:17 ESV) Help us to trust You in all our trials, knowing that You can use them for Your glory. Amen.