“Crooked Paths, Our Free Will, and a Loving God"
“Therefore, gird up your loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13 (NKJV)
Have you ever encountered sudden difficulties? Your once straight path suddenly became crooked causing you to question God in the midst of your circumstance. Did you then wonder how it came about that you seemingly got off track and came to the point of feeling abandoned? After all, the path you chose to take made no sense and seemed like a dead end… your life seemingly now completely out of control. Do you speculate and wonder how will this all play out, and try to discover and trust that God has ordained your crooked path?
Our Recent Experience…
Our family headed for the mountains to rest, pray, and just spend quality time with each other. We needed that time together because over the past several months we faced many uncertainties and challenges. Our lives seemed to spin out of control. At times I felt completely undone and found myself more than ever before totally reliant upon Jesus to get me through. Truly we all had to lean on God for strength, wisdom, and most of all His GRACE. As we held tight to HIS promises alone, the Word fed our souls, and prayer lifted our spirits.
Can you relate to this? Have you been weary of life itself with its unexpected turns, twists, and difficulties?
For the Scriptures Say….
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” ~~ Titus 2:11-14 (NKJV).
Our Family Outing…
Saturday morning, we headed towards the mountains in Tennessee for a casual hike (or so we thought). Roan Mountain State Park at 5200 feet elevation is right between North Carolina and the Tennessee line. So we all got out of our car and started our trek. We got to the first rest stop on the trail, and we saw a breathtaking and expansive view. Standing on the rock with the mountains in the background we took a family photo, then decided, “Let’s keep going. After all, that was not so hard, was it?”
So, we continued. Well, the wind started to pick up, the trail got steeper and muddier, and of course, it began to get quite narrow. We had to go single file and the kids moaned and complained: "Let’s go back…This is too hard... I'm tired…my legs hurt…I’m cold!”
My husband Chris and I told them to press on, to keep going, and it would be worth it! But as we continued, our trial intensified. The wind started to howl through the trees. It blew so hard that our faces became wind burned and chapped. Our kids' complaining was unending …we climbed and we climbed. Does this sound familiar in your own walk with Christ?Actually for me, climbing this mountain together that particular weekend was truly a representation of the season of our lives in the natural.
But finally, we made it to the top. And WOW! We had a magnificent and beautiful, 360-degree view of the mountain peaks and the valley below. As we stood together we were in awe of the fact that God had created all this for HIS Glory!
We Depend Upon Him….
Sometimes each of our paths seems crooked, unsure, and we feel completely out of control. YET, God in His loving kindness stretches us so that we depend upon Him more and more. Yes, seasons of crooked and difficult paths lead us all to choose Him because HE is faithful to carry and sustain us. For you see, even when it became hard to breathe, the path was steep and narrow, and we thought to ourselves: "I simply can't go on... I can't take even one more step,” God in His grace strengthened our inner beings until we found ourselves literally running to the finish line. Yes! We ran up the final slope of this mountain in His supernatural strength. For when we are weak, HE is still strong!
Finally, after we hiked back down, my middle son looked up at that mountain and said: "Mom, look at what we climbed!”
Your Season of Crooked Paths and Your Free Will…
Can you, of your own free will embrace your season of crooked paths and learn to TRUST in Him? Yes, our Lord is calling to you. He wants to bring you close to Himself so He can wrap His loving arms around you and flood your being with love, mercy, and most of all GRACE!
“And He said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness” ~~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV).
I am grateful, and I praise Him for this season of challenges and uncertainties we just experienced where we were reminded that it is HE who carried us up the mountain. The Lord Himself led us along the cold, narrow, muddy path that seemed to never end as it wound back and around and then upward. Yes, the Lord had ordained our crooked path, in order to accomplish HIS will in our lives. As our pastor said on Sunday, “Maybe you are in the midst of a miracle.” Even though your path is uncertain and crooked, GOD is working.
We live by His Grace. We have nothing of ourselves, YET we have all things through Him. So we let go of ALL that does not belong, and we give all to Him. Only then can we realize that He has paid it all, and that our debt has been paid in FULL. Yes, you are HIS beloved child! Trust His process to bring you closer to His great heart so that you may know Him and experience ALL that He is and has for you!
Pray with Me…
Father God, I praise you for the trials that test our being and cause us to experience You in a way that we have never before. Lord, You are the One who makes ALL things new! Lord, even when we cannot understand Your ways, we trust You with our lives, for You are Sovereign over the mountains, the ocean, and ALL the earth. Your wisdom is infinite, and Your LOVE is perfect for each of us. Your GRACE flows and renews our spirits, and You give us a new song. Father, we give You thanks today. We surrender everything to You and believe and TRUST that You will make our crooked paths straight! In Jesus' Name, Amen!
Meditate Upon the Following Scripture Passages . . .
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials and tests of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance” ~~ James 1:2-3.
“…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” ~~ 2 Corinthians 1:9.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” ~~ 1 Peter 1:6-9 (NKJV).
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why for the sake of Christ I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” ~~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-11.
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