Saturday, 25 July 2015

Taking a Rock to Church

This morning I took a rock to church. 

No, I wasn't planning on stoning someone. <grin> I was supposed to be giving the children's story during the church service and it was one of the illustrations for my story. During Sabbath School, however, one of the church members became ill and I, being a nurse, was called upon to render my services. I don't think a nurse was required, but when one is ill, somehow having a nurse nearby is a comforting thought to many. So I ended up being otherwise occupied during the church service and asked my niece to substitute for me as a last minute stand-in for the children's story. Which she did willingly. And my rock just sat abandoned on my pew until I could retrieve it after the church service when the ailing church member was taken home by her husband. 
It seems altogether too often that things don't go as we hoped, planned or dreamed. As the poet Robert Burns said,
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley. [often go awry

And while not being able to use my rock for children's story was of no great consequence, there are many unachieved goals that are far more significant. I can look back over my own life and acknowledge that I've had my share of crushed dreams, disppointed hopes and derailed plans. As a prime example, when I was walking down the aisle nearly 29 years ago, I planned on a life of wedded bliss, not the frequently miserable existence of emotional abuse into which it devolved. Life holds many surprises, not all of them pleasant. Along life's road are many forks, detours and hairpin curves. And sometimes, it's difficult not to lose our way. But we have the assurance when our lives seem to get off track, 
If you stray to the right or the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you: “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 CEB
Our heavenly Father knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) and He has a plan for each one of our lives. And even when life seems to be taking us through a detour, He knows how to get us back to the right road. We have His promise:
We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 CEB
Even when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel and question whether there actually is an end to the tunnel, we know that He is there with us in the darkness.
For Thou art my lamp, O Lord; and the Lord will lighten my darkness. 2 Samuel 22:29
I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
So when life forces us off the road at a hairpin curve, He will give us strength to get back on the road and keep on going.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV
My life has definitely not been perfect. No, far from it. But as John Newton said, "Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."