That was the text update I received today from my son, who jetted off to Atlanta today and then onto sweet home Alabama for a few days. He turned 21 on Sunday, and even though he's grown up a lot, he still has a lot of growing to do. In just a couple of weeks, he will head off again to Tampa, where he will spend all summer doing a ministry internship with a group of devoted Christ-followers. This fall, he will complete his last semester of college and graduate with his Bachelor's Degree in Ministry. And who knows what The Lord will do next?!?
Even though I don't know the answer to that question, I'm thankful that He does! I've been spending some time in Psalm 139 today, where David wrote out a prayer for God to examine his heart and see what was really going on inside it. If you've ever done that, you know it can be a scary thing, because sometimes He will find stuff in there that we don't even realize has taken up residence in there. David knew that asking God to reveal those things would bring him before God and, hopefully, closer to Him. As he reflected on how God felt about him, he knew that God knew what would happen next. And for any of us who wonder what might be ahead of us, it's helpful to know that He knows the answers to all of our questions. Read this portion of David's prayer:
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:13-16)
It's the last verse in that passage that really gets me! When (if) I stop to remember that ALL of my days are ordained for me, it reassures me because it means that I don't have to worry about what those days may bring. I parenthetically added "if" because I know I don't always start there; sometimes I have to remind myself of that. But when I do, I remember how He feels about me and that He already knows what He has in store for me. I wish I just always started by remembering that truth; maybe then I wouldn't worry whenever the future gets cloudy.
When we spend time in prayer with Him, we should do it like David did. We should want to do this daily, and ask God to search us and work in us so He can remove any wickedness that is there. We should recognize that He sees us and, therefore, knows what we are doing or saying or thinking - because He knows us that well. We should be thankful that we cannot go anywhere that He isn't there with us. We should reflect on what a great job He did when He created us. We should bring our requests and desires and concerns before Him. And, last but not least, we should ask Him to remove any sin from us, so He can lead us to everlasting life.
I don't know what the future holds for my son, but I'm praying that God will watch over him and keep him and train him and mold him and grow him - so he can become more like Him! He still has a ways to go, but don't we all? It comforts me to know that God ordained all of his days "before one of them came to be". When I look back over the last 21 years, I'm amazed at all the ways God worked in his life. And someday, I'll see what He intends for him down the road. But until then, I'll trust Him to guard him and guide him - to take Him from where he is to where He wants him to be. I'll keep asking God to move in his life and move him to minister to those around him. I'll keep trusting that God sees so much further ahead than I can, and that He knows what will happen when those days come.
David taught us how to pray like this, and our task is that we should pray like this. Start with this prayer model for yourself, and then let it spill over into the lives of those you love. If you and I will do that, we'll never be surprised at how God shows up, but we will continually be surprised at what happens when He does!