Monday, September 26, 2011

SEPTEMBER 26 "IF ONLY....IF ONLY....IF ONLY....."

     ISAIAH speaks it out very plainly and clearly, "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the the way you should go, if only..."  IF ONLY....those are not the best words to hear from a parent, an authority figure and most certainly God.  "If only" is usually a pre-cursor for what could have been.  "If only" you had chosen behind door #1..."  "If only" are the words that haunt us. If nobody else speaks them to us, we often voice them to ourselves; in our thoughts we wonder..."if only" I had taken a different path, if only I had married someone else, if only I had taken a different career path, if only I had or hadn't moved, if only ..if only if only...can haunt us to our grave; unless we just decide to let Jesus take control.  The quicker, the sooner we decide to let go of the wheel and let Jesus take over, the less "if only's" we will have to worry about.
     God is not hesitant to make his point clear (through Isaiah) that if only we had allowed Him to direct us the past, present and future would have been different, and different for the better.  "Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains..." surely things would have been different, would have been better, if only, we had listened and allowed him to direct us.
     God stresses to us in our text that He wants to teach us what is best for us, that it is He who directs the way we should go..., but this only applies if we are allowing him to direct us.  If we have our predetermined agenda of what we think God wants, than He cannot direct us.  We are lousy amateur Providences, we sure do like to play the part, but all we do is set ourselves of course and leave a bunch of "if only's" echoing in our minds. We are trying to force what we think God has for us instead of simply allowing God to guide and direct.  Much of the problems we face concerning this whole issue is that we have a hard time accepting what God's plan is. If we are going to be quite honest, what many struggle with is the simplicity of God's plan, we have illusions of grandeur for our future and have a hard time accepting that God perhaps just wants us, you or I to simply love our wives and raise Godly children for the next generation & be outstanding citizens in our community. For every great and famous Christian, there was a dad and a mom, that were faithful Christians who lived in complete obscurity from the media and the "flood lights" of success and fame.  If we were to mention the names of their children we would immediately recognize their names, but we would not recognize the names or the faces of the parents should we ever come across them. How many times have I mentioned the name of a famous Christian Community Leader and author to my friends and I always get an acknowledgement of who he is, "sure I know him, who doesn't" they respond, but then I ask them if they know who his father or mother was and I always get a blank stare. And according to his own biography, his parents were very faithful Chrisitan Parents and his dad was even the Pastor of a small congregation, but yet nobody knows who they were!
     Could it be that we have a hard time allowing God to teach us what is best for us and direct us....could it be that we have a hard time with it because we cannot accept where it might be leading?! "I have been called to fame and success and I can see this path leading to the mundane and ........", we say to ourselves.  Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes writes, "...for a man to accept his lot and be happy in his work...this is a gift of God".  Those words could be allot more profound than we think.  You ever think about what Solomon is implying here?  For the man who is a great success, famous & influential this scripture may not mean much, but for the man that isn't...And we know, that most people in life will not be famous, will not be great successes and men and/or woman of great influence.  Most of us are on the sidelines watching ONE Quarterback march his team into victory. Thence this scripture that Solomon wrote is not speaking to just a few select people, but rather this scripture is speaking to the majority of the men and women that will pass through life, here on earth. There will be no great fanfare about our lives and can we accept that? Can we accept our lot?  Can we accepts God's leading and God's saying what is best or do we think we know what is best, do we think we have been called to some greatness and fame and somehow, someway we just haven't received the right breaks yet?  Well, in God's Kingdom we don't believe in chance or the right breaks. Any Christian who has made it anywhere or to any place of influence will be the first to tell you "it was not by chance" that in retrospect, they can see God's hand of providence that was leading and guiding the whole way, unbeknown to them.  Those that do enter into their destinies I believe are not the ones who had a preconceived notion of what they thought that destiny was but rather those that were content to serve God, in whatever position, whatever vocation, great or small, in the flood lights or behind the scenes, it was irrelevant to them. They came to God with no preconceived notion other than to serve him and allowed God to teach, allowed God to direct and lo and behold, they find themselves where they would never have imagined themselves to be. "If only" is only a question for those that have never relinquished "their Will" and preconceived notions of his will, back to God himself; and the sooner we do that the less "if only's" we will have to ponder on.