Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Desolate Places

"Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolation He has brought on the earth."
Psalm 46:8

God is sovereign over all things. His Word says that even desolation is a work of the LORD. Desolation serves a purpose. He uses both the good and the bad to push His kingdom forward; to get the attention of people and turn their hearts toward Him. Destruction that seems senseless to the world on the surface, serves God's divine purposes at the root. He orchestrates every detail, sparing those whom He would spare, according to His master plan. For it is in the midst of destruction and despair that hearts are often most open to the word of the LORD. Desolation leads to desperation, which can lead to doors being open to the gospel.

God's hand can always be traced in desolation, for He is present everywhere. I reflect on the stories that we heard around 9-11. How in His divine providence, some had unexpected illness, delays or appointments elsewhere that dreadful day which prevented them from being in the buildings that morning. He spared whom He would spare. He called home whom He would call home. He allowed to be destroyed what He would destroy. He uses all things for His glory and I trust, though we may never know the details, that He called many into the fold as a result of that day.

I reflect this morning on the recent tragedy and destruction in the Philippines. Once again, God's hand can no doubt be traced. In reading reports from some key Christian organizations that have a presence there, I see God sparing. The IMB (International Mission Board) has a missionary family there that was sent from one of our sister churches here in the Brandon, Florida area. Their story of following the prompting of the Holy Spirit to endure the typhoon with their neighbors - sharing a Dr. Pepper as they floated on a mattress and rode it out - blessed me to tears! God has them strategically placed now for the ministry that will happen in the aftermath. God spares whom He will spare. Read their story here: http://www.imb.org/main/news/details.asp?StoryID=12593&LanguageID=1709#.Uov9WH-9KSN

IJM (International Justice Mission) who works to rescue and serve victims of human trafficking has three offices in the Philippines because the problem is so great there. All three offices were protected through the storm and, at the time the article was written, the clients they serve that they had been able to reach with supplies had all survived as well. Some had lost everything, but their lives were spared. God spares whom He will spare. Read that story here: http://www.ijm.org/news/ijm-brings-relief-clients-living-areas-hit-typhoon-philippines

According to Twitter, the Love 146 round home, a restoration home for child victims of trafficking and exploitation in the Philippines, also came through the storm unscathed. God spares whom He will spare. Each one of these has been spared by God's hand for a reason. May all three be a beacon of hope in a desperate and desolate place in these difficult days, drawing many to Christ.

Sometimes life takes us to desolate places. Maybe not to the magnitude of destruction that we saw in New York City or the Philippines, but a place that feels barren, abandoned or lonely nonetheless. I'm finding myself in such a place right now. Yet I know that I know God is working. He is changing seasons in my life. Orchestrating significant changes. On the surface it doesn't seem to make much sense, but I have to trust the Master's hand. Trust that at the root He is orchestrating His master plan and the pieces will eventually fit together and lead to a place of greater faith, greater peace, and greater use by Him.  

Father God, Your Word says in all things we should rejoice. So today, even though I'm in a desolate-feeling place on many fronts, I rejoice and trust that I am right where You want me. Thank You for the ways You do use me. Thank You for the things You are showing and teaching me in this place. Thank You for the ways You are working around the world. Thank You for sparing whom You would spare. Use all these things, including me, to push Your kingdom forward. In Jesus' name, amen.

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