God is never caught off guard

Whatever we face in the year ahead, we can be sure that God is working for our good, says Joni Eareckson Tada

You can sense it, almost feel it.  It’s as though someone has pushed the fast-forward button on life.  Maybe it’s 24-hour cable network news, or everything now on the 3 - or is it the 4G – network. 

I was toying with my husband’s IPad last weekend and I discovered you can even play Scrabble on high speed – it has a built-in beeper to let you know when your time’s up (while it plays your favorite ITunes list).  Life is different than it was even five years ago.  We seem to be riding the head of a missile, barrelling through life at breakneck speed. 

And our zoom-zoom culture has an impact on our picture of God. 

We’re moving so fast that when we bump up against a trial, we try hard to remember that God is going to “work all things together for good”, but we have this idea he is not in front of us, but behind us, armed with a dustpan and broom.  He’s become a ‘reactionary’ God with a repair kit, standing a few anxious paces behind, watching to see what happens and, if hardship hits, he jumps into action and quickly throws us a rope.  Little wonder our confidence in God feels fractured.

Hit the stop button!  God's principal activity in your life is not behind you.  Our imaginations may conjure up that image of God – especially because life seems to be lived so fast these days – but it’s not a biblical picture.  God's Word tells us that the Lord goes before us. 

In Psalm 23, we are reminded that the Lord leads us.  In Psalm 25, we are told he guides us.  In John 10, Jesus assures us that the Shepherd goes “on ahead of his sheep.”  In the Living Bible, Psalm 139:3 says, “You chart the path ahead of me, and tell me where to stop and rest.”  Everything that happens to me in my wheelchair today was planned long before the book of Genesis. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).  Amazing!  God has been thinking about you and his design for your days before there was ever night and day. 

This powerful truth was such a comfort to me earlier this year when I underwent surgery and chemotherapy for breast cancer.  Oh, the comfort of knowing God is in charge!  That fact was underscored by the many e-mails and notes I received from readers of Woman Alive, and each card was a reminder of Deuteronomy 31:8, “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."

That’s good news for me as I get ready to turn the corner into a New Year – will cancer poke its sinister head back up in 2011?  Whether or not, I have every confidence God is out ahead, commandeering every tiny detail to suit his own ends and purposes. 

This is good news for you, too, in our fast-paced society.  So remember, friend, the Lord is never caught off guard by your trials.  Jesus is not at your rear flank, backing you up with a box of Band-Aids.  Rather, he leads you, stepping out ahead and blazing a straight path.  And you can be sure that if he has gone ahead, he has planned every event so that it fits miraculously into a pattern for good in your life. 

Best of all, he will give you the power, grace and endurance to meet every challenge.  Quadriplegia . . . cancer . . . whatever!  So join me in following our wonderful Saviour as he goes out ahead into a bright New Year!