November 1, 2023
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying. ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”—Isaiah 30:21
The devotion in Mornings with Jesus blessed me. But I quickly rerouted away from its message to: “Lord, I sure would like to write devotions for this and other magazines.”
That is not the path I have for you, I sensed the Lord saying.
“In other words,” I answered, “stay in my lane.”
My thoughts cartwheeled back to the job-path God designed for me early on—waaay back to when I was twelve years old and took on my first “professional” position of employment.
Judy, my older sister by two years, and I were hired by our church to clean it weekly. Our tasks included dusting pews with red-oil furniture polish, arranging hymnals, sweeping and vacuuming the sanctuary, filling the artificial candles on the altar with lighter fluid, and cleaning the basement, including its kitchen. I took the task of polishing pews seriously, drenching the dust rag in oil and slathering it on the wood benches. By the time I was done, those babies glistened with a high sheen. Ah, how I loved to breathe in the smell of that red liquid. Alas, my ardor was less than appreciated. Sweet Christian ladies murmured about excess oil staining their Sunday-best clothes.
In colder months, before we left after the few hours it took us on Saturday to complete our tasks, we were to turn up the thermostat so the church would be warm for Sunday morning services. Oh, and one more duty . . . when Nebraska’s torrential downpours flooded the basement, it was our job to mop up. All this for the church’s faithful payment of $12.50 a month, which Judy and I split. We each socked away $6 in our savings accounts and cherished the leftover quarter that went a long way toward buying candy. Sometimes, we saved those quarters for two months if we wanted to buy the 49¢ 45 hit record at the Five & Dime. (This was our only source of income, as allowances from parents were unheard of in our day. All our work at home was forced labor.)
Back to our job that provided us with such riches . . . A few times we forgot to turn up the heat and did we ever get the stink eyes on Sunday morning as parishioners’ teeth chattered. Unfortunately, that wasn’t our only forgetfulness. More than once we failed to fill the fake candles with lighter fluid, so when acolytes tried to light them, nothing happened. I sat in the pew, squinted my eyes shut, and prayed fervently for God to miraculously set the tapers aflame. He never did. So much for trusting Him, or so I thought. Now I know this was part of His plan to help me see I needed to take responsibility for my negligence, although at twelve, this lesson was lost on me. Still, God kept me on my specially designed path, continuing to teach me things—like just because I asked Him for something didn’t mean He was going to deliver. And that trust wasn’t built on getting what I asked for.
Throughout my life God has provided sometimes challenging but always rewarding job opportunities. The rewards were not all monetary nor in satisfaction received in carrying out my assignments. But what the Lord rewarded me with were learning experiences and the benefits of staying with whatever was expected of me—for the duration of time God had set forth.
As long as I listened to His voice, whether through Scripture, a sermon, or in prayer time, I was able to walk in the way of His plans for me.
Staying Power Verse
The one verse which has kept me in my lane and helped me to keep moving forward is:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.—Philippians 3:13 (NKJV)
When things seemed insurmountable, when things were almost too difficult to bear, when I didn’t think I could keep going, when I didn’t want to carry out an assignment . . . Philippians 3:13 tugged me onward and lifted my eyes to the One who provided the strength.
This staying power has blessed me with wonderful opportunities to live in and for Him in ways I never could have attained without His presence, His love, and His guidance.
- What “lane” has God designed for you? I.e. the good things God planned for you to do long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)
- How have you been blessed when you travel along this path?
- How have you blessed others in your lane along the way?
- How can the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, encourage you, and pull you through the potholes and traffic jams in your lane?
Precious Lord Jesus, we praise You for calling us to walk in Your way in unique and amazing ways. Thank you for redirecting us when we stray off this path by wishing for something different—for wanting something easier or more glamourous. Thank you for blessing us where we are planted.
Thoughts for the Day:
“With one eye on today’s blessings you will have more staying power for the distant goal.”—Henry B. Eyring
“The genius of the Word of God is that it has staying power; it can stand up to repeated exposure.”—Howard G. Hendricks