Parallel to Destiny

“Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 AMPC

I remember as a child one day, my family was in our car on the road around Marmet, WV, at the point where the highway runs parallel with Interstate 64. I watch intently as, just across concrete dividers, cars whizzed by in a great hurry on a road much nicer than the one on which we were traveling. I asked my dad why we weren’t on that other road, and he explained to me that it wasn’t really going to the same place we were headed; and besides, it was a “toll road” you had to pay to use. The whole concept of a special road on which you had to pay to ride was huge for a little kid to grasp, but I knew my dad was not going to pay that toll just to satisfy a curious Lisa with her nose pressed to the rear window glass! It would be quite a few years later before I would ever be headed anywhere that necessitated the use of that interstate toll road; and yet, almost 50 years later, I still recall that conversation and the longing I felt to go wherever was special enough to justify paying that toll!

Some of you are feeling frustrated because you’re on one road and you feel as if your destiny is on another. The roads may even be running right alongside one another, and all that seems to separate you from where you want to be is a wall. You may have great responsibilities that seem as if they’ll hold you in limbo forever, and the only thing worse than having no destiny at all is having one that you can see but can’t reach.

Father, I pray for the frustrated and discouraged, that You’ll meet them where they are. It’s a hard thing to be separated from our life purpose by the concrete divider of, as Ecclesiastes puts it, “time and chance,” and we humans sometimes fear we will never fulfill the reason for our being here. We are stuck behind debt, or life events that derail our momentum, or our own sense of inadequacy, or even our reluctance to step out in faith. Our road seems so shabby and secondhand compared to the on on which we see others traveling.

Keep us focused on right goals. Help us to appreciate the seasons, and not to wish away the significant moments on this current path which we find ourselves. Help us to maintain integrity to keep doing what’s good and right even when others don’t see. Help us to see that You’re for us, and that You will finish the good work You’ve begin in us. If we are meant to accomplish a particular thing, we won’t miss it as long as we trust, obey You, and operate on Your divine timeline.

If we make bad decisions, please redeem the time for us. May the detour not be wasted time, and may we come away from that season having learned and having grown. May we be even more determined, but wiser for having to put our trust in Your grace and unfailing love for us.

And Father, help us never lose the wonder we had on the other side of the dream. Keep us humble and grateful when we do at last walk in our destiny. Help us to remember, when we’ve been granted our answers to prayer, to pay forward the gifts which we’ve been entrusted. May we use words like “please” and “thank-you” often, never forgetting those who’ve helped us get onto that new road we once longed to travel.

Thank You for reminding us today that we are in Your hands—the safest, most opportune, most joyful place we can ever hope to be. Our steps are ordered of the Lord. It’s good to trust You. Amen.

Divine Exchange

”To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 NKJV

Ever notice that when God introduces an exchanging of circumstances, the two extremes come into proximity of one another at some point? It’s as if beauty meets ashes in a narrow corridor, and the two have to turn sideways to get past each other.

I don’t have all the answers, but I believe that God in His goodness allows us to actually be eyewitnesses of mercy overtaking our judgment, healing overtaking our woundedness, success overtaking our failure, joy overtaking our heartbreak. He tends not to leave a long pause between the departure of the bad and the arrival of the good in many of our life situations. I pondered that today as I drove along in the rain. Perhaps God does this so that when the blessing replaces the curse, we will know it’s His fingerprints on a divine plan for our restoration…and not just some cosmic coincidence.

“Beauty” may not be immediately in sight tonight, but I pray that the time will soon arrive when you see “ashes” on its way out your door. Don’t be surprised if you hear beauty say, “excuse me,” as it gently but resolutely brushes past the ashes of what once was. It will perhaps be a little bonus gift for you to eavesdrop on the exchange as it occurs.

Your night won’t last forever. God hasn’t forgotten you. He has many more reasons for you to keep getting out of bed, breathing, willing yourself to live!