“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
~ Deuteronomy 31:8
You know those times you plan things and all the while you’re planning it, you’re doubting your ability to follow through or misstep to failure, whether everyone will be blessed by what you’re doing. I could make a forever list on why not to do something. Yet, you recognize the God-prompt, yet possibly second-yourself that it truly is God-prompt or just wishing dreaming that God would give you a call to action.
The day before the cookie decorating day that produced all those cookies in the photo four years ago, we’d found out my husband needed a new aortic valve. The initial heart center sat on the test results for a year. We were told that day his valve was severe aortic stenosis a year before; It left us wondering what its condition could it be now. He was sent home with directions to not move, not stir himself up. By 4:30 that day, we had an appointment on the 21st with a different heart group at St. Thomas Group in Nashville – and the decorating day that produced the cookies was the in-between day.
God knew I would need to keep my hands and heart busy on the day in-between. We were surprised but He wasn’t. . . He was already steps ahead of what we knew. . . which is why weeks earlier he’d dropped this idea into my heart to build friendship, to fill my home and heart, to mix, bake and find space for laughter.
I baked a hundred cookies that night, with dough for 50 more. You see, I’d invited a family with as many kiddos as mine over to decorate cookies. . . the day before the cardiologist visit – cookies to take to a local assisted living at lunch time to share and sing Christmas songs. We cut out more cookies, talked birth order personalities, baked some more, talked spiritual gifts, laughed, made icing, had fun with decorating points, made a huge mess, and delivered the results with Christmas songs and time spent with the residents.
God knew before we did that I would need to be busy like that, surrounded by friendship growing and my boys – none of whom had no idea of the challenge we were walking through.
God is with us before we even know we need a miracle. He was that day and so many other days before. He’s not just with us in the wait. He planned ahead of time for how to live in the hard walk towards the “All is Well (2 Kings 4:26) of God’s plans, even though those plans don’t always look like we want them to look like. Just as He was in the waiting room with me a few weeks later, just as He held the hands of the team of doctors, just as He prompted me to set up a Cookie Decorating Day and infused my day with the sweetness of mom-talk and the laughter of our kids – He’s in it all, my friends. He prompts us to His plannings because He knows what our hearts need – not just one dimensionally, but holistically.
Remember, God planned our Savior’s birth from the beginning of creation – and Isaiah announced the plan 700 years before Jesus was born in a manger. Mary and Joseph were called to a Holy work, a hard work, a salvation work they didn’t yet fathom. I bet their journey to that moment was paved with God-promptings designed for their good.
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call his name Immanuel.”
~ Isaiah 7:14
God’s not a procrastinator. He knew where the shepherds would be. The choir of angels had been long prepared. God knew what the condition of the world into which His son would be born. He knew the challenges Mary would face because she said, “I am the Lord’s servant. . . May it happen to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38), though Mary probably didn’t realize, but she knew God enough to trust to say, “Yes.” He knew what riding on that donkey to Bethlehem would feel like for a pregnant woman. He knew her mama wouldn’t be there to help her. He knew what the manger smelled like. He knew Joseph would feel keenly uncomfortable as a mid-wife. He knew the shepherds in the fields that night were shepherds taking care of the lambs for temple sacrifice. He knew Herod plotted evil things. God knew all these things long before.
“And there were shepherds residing in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Just then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord! And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men
on whom His favor rests!”
~ Luke 2: 8-14
God sent His son to save you. He’d planned since the creation of the world. He’s into the details. He knew His son would be tempted, just like the Adams and Eves of the world. He knew some of His son’s family, friends and neighbors wouldn’t stick, would abandon Jesus, even betray Him. He knew His son wouldn’t give up, would suffer to redeem bring us home.
Yet, just as God knew all this, so He knows and loves you. He planned all this for you, for me. Don’t forget God is a detail God. A Holistic God. God loves The Big Events as much as He loves The Everyday Ordinary. Not just famous people’s everyday ordinary – He passionately pursues the everyday ordinary of the everyday ordinary me and you. . . because we are His, designed to be in His Family.
So this Christmas Season and in 2023, if God prompts you to do something – do it, no matter how uncomfortable you feel, how unsure of your welcome or how you will be received. Maybe you even doubt your ability. Do what He’s asking you. He’s paving the way for reasons you cannot fathom, but are to your good and to the good of those you may yet know nothing about.
“The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the LORD upholds his hand.”
~ Psalm 37: 23 – 24, ESV
There won’t be a Remember Me Monday Link-Up this week – I am praying that our Savior fill the holes in your heart this season, that His spirit fill you, that your days sound with laughter and you see God’s wonder all the places you go, that your ears hear the words you long for, that your arms wrap around friends and loved ones, that you hear feet walk through your doors with abounding joy, and that God surprise you with His very special brand of joy. Merry Christmas!
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Instaencouragements,
Legacy Link-Up, Recharge Wednesday
Faith on Fire, Tell His Story, Grace&Truth
Let’s Have Coffee Wednesday Celebrate Your Story
Scripture&Snapshot, Sunday Scripture Blessing