Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Head That Once Was Crowned"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 5:6-8 – For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)
I am getting older, and with age comes an increasing awareness of the need for God's timing, grace, and provision, not just for eternity — what I like to call "pie in the sky when you die" — but also His providential mercy to enable us to get by in the here-and-now. Providential grace comes with a side order of genuine humility to ask God for help and to accept the outcome.
Before the cold weather arrived, I felt convicted to fix my six-foot fence. Six years before, I had fixed the fence where it had been mostly held up by the bushes. I have newish neighbours who have fretted about the state of the fence, and I guess that fixing it was God's prompting about being peaceable.
Off to the local lumber store I went and purchased a new fence panel. Sadly, I am no longer able to get large items onto the roof of the car on my own, so I asked for help from a store employee. As we were about to lift the fence panel onto the car, a friend, John, walked out of the store and offered to help, which I accepted, as he is younger, strong, tall, and willing. Cheekily, I asked if he would come home and unload the fence into the garden. Friends like him are rare, because not only is he willing, able, and a part of my church community, but also this day, he was by proxy God's hands to my aid.
I consider that it was God's love for me, paying it forward as I sought to love my neighbour, by providing this blessing of help at just the right time to move the fence into the garden.
Over the years, I have observed many ways of God's personal provision in everyday situations, and how He has humbled me in the process. Jesus wants to show us how He cares for us — sometimes despite our lack of expectation. This help given was just one example of how God's love has worked out for me: His being there for us, even before we have asked. It is a gift.
I know that my neighbours are pleased, too!
I wonder how often we do not recognize the goodness of God in our lives when we partner with Him in doing the right thing and so find a blessing in the doing. Let us rejoice in these gracious interventions of a loving Trinity.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we give You thanks that at the right time, You come alongside us, seen and unseen. We give You the praise and glory that You deserve because You first loved us enough to come incarnate to pay the price to meet with us where we are today. Amen.