Devotional

“The Unplanned Journey”

Lancaster County farm in snow 1/29/19 (Click to enlarge)
Lancaster County farm in snow, mid-afternoon yesterday
(Click to enlarge)
“The Unplanned Journey”
 
Message summary:  Our daily text we has a simple truth, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps”.
 
Listen to our message on your audio player.
 
“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
 
It was not the path I would have chosen
I could see no hope from where I stood
Even though I knew what God had promised
I didn’t see how He could work it for my good
Yet that road where pain was my companion
Took me to an unexpected place
And standing in the middle of the darkness
That was where my heart would learn to say
(Chorus below message)
 
Tim is a friend of ours whom we met several years ago. He is a solid, faith-filled believer who always conveys a joyful disposition and engages his listener in uplifting conversation. Earlier in his career he served as a pastor but for the last several years he has worked in the business world. Yet he remains active in the Lord’s work with fill-in speaking opportunities as he consistently lets his light shine wherever he is.
 
Brooksyne saw a note on his Facebook page yesterday informing his friends that, following a series of tests, he has been diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig Disease). In his announcement he characteristically expressed his faith in the Lord with this statement, “Not the journey Julie and I had planned, but I know this hasn’t been a surprise to God. He’s still in charge and that’s good enough for us.”
 
Unplanned journeys are something we all experience in different ways and in different degrees of severity. We wisely plan ahead but have all experienced detours in life. Karen Peck in her outstanding song “I Choose Christ” writes, “It was not the path I would have chosen.” We’ve all been on paths we would not have chosen.
 
Today we think of some of our friends who are on unplanned journeys, those who recently started and those who’ve been on their unplanned journey for many years:
  • A cousin of mine (Stephen’s) is a career broadcaster and a very kind man. Several weeks ago he accidentally mangled some words on air which some took as a racial slur and has been through the fire since then, due to the social media mobs. He is presently suspended from a job he has had for 23 years.
  • A professor at a Texas seminary who became a friend through Daily Encouragement endured a severe health trial several years ago which set him off on an unplanned journey. He and his wife readjusted and continue to have a vibrant ministry though it wasn’t the kind of ministry they had planned.
  • A friend from 1st grade whose wife has now dealt with MS for many years. They have pressed on and are an ongoing inspiration to many who observe their marriage, life and overcoming perspective.
  • Brooksyne has a good friend who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer just over a year ago. While going through her extensive treatments her husband became very ill and underwent multiple surgeries to save his life. They continue to recover from their fiery ordeal.
We’ve heard Tim preach and have been so blessed by his messages so today I will use his faith statement, as written on his Facebook page, as an outline for a mini-sermon on unplanned journeys.

1) “Not the journey Julie and I had planned.” Over 15 years ago I had a severe intestinal problem which required 4 surgeries and much distress over the course of a year. At that time I developed a phrase I have since used often, “We don’t pick our problems and we don’t schedule them”. Many of us have been on detours in life that we would never have imagined, much less planned!
 
2) “But I know this hasn’t been a surprise to God.” That’s a critically important understanding of the providence of God. Life is full of surprises, many pleasant but some not so much. None of them is a surprise to God so He is not thrown off-course in His guidance and will for our lives.
 
3) “He’s still in charge.” We have often heard or used this as a pithy slogan but when you are in the midst of a fiery trial it’s an outstanding faith statement. Indeed He is still in charge; He’s still on His throne, not wavering in helplessness or anguish about anything.
 
4) “That’s good enough for us.” A hard road lies ahead for Tim, Julie, and their entire family. Of course they know that and it is our heartfelt prayer that the assurance expressed in Tim’s faith statement endures no matter how severe the testing. May the Holy Spirit give them confidence and assurance all the way through.
 
In our daily text we have a simple truth, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps”.
 
I choose Christ when everything around me says give up
I choose faith, I choose to trust
To believe He is good,
He’ll come through like He said He would
Every time, oh, I choose Christ.


 
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when we as believers choose to walk the narrow path of righteousness, we don’t know where it will lead us. But we do know that we never walk alone and that You are there to guide us through every detour we encounter along the way. We might see them as detours that slow us down or require us to rescript the tour we planned for our life’s journey. But You use detours for Your greater purpose to strengthen our faith, to bring us to our knees in prayer, and to help us empathize with others who are hurting. It’s one thing to theoretically tell others that we trust You no matter what, but it is far more effective when we can experientially tell others our sufficiency is in Christ. We pray for those who are beginning a new journey, one they did not map out for themselves, that they will find that You are all-sufficient to meet their every need and that You guide them every step of the way, even their mis-step, for You uphold us with Your righteous right hand. Thank You that You replace worry and fear with trust and assurance. Amen.

 
Brooksyne’s Note: My good friend, Rose, whom we included in the fourth example of one who has endured a tumultuous journey over the past year writes this in her Christmas letter:  “We know and believe that God is faithful, He is our Deliverer and our Healer, and without Him we would not be here. We are far from being strong and able yet, but we rejoice in each new day and the blessings we have.
 
It’s one thing to write such a victorious message in faith, but it carries even more weight from one who has gone through the fire, still recovering from the devastation it brought, and has remained faithful testifying to God’s faithfulness along the way.


Lebanon County church in snow 1/29/19Early yesterday morning we began our travels in light snow to visit the employees at a company in rural Lebanon County.

Dauphin County farm in snow 1/29/19 (Click to enlarge)
By mid afternoon the snow was really coming down as we passed this farm in southeast Dauphin County.
(Click to enlarge)
 
Front window view 1/29/19
At 4:12 in the late afternoon we had a power outage due to an accident up the road. Brooksyne was baking our lunch/dinner combo which was nearly done. So we sat in the dark in our living room while eating our ¾ baked potatoes and watched the birds gathered at the feeders through our front picture window. Ester went outside and played with Mollie who absolutely loves the snow! About 6:30PM the power was restored.



Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“I Choose Christ”  Video  Karen Peck & New River

“Even If”  Video  MercyMe
 
“Like A River Glorious”  Video  Smucker Family
 
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Son of Love;
We may trust Him fully, all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
 
Finally today:

 Leon plowing us out 1/29/19Last night after the snow stopped our neighbor Leon came over to plow us out.
We live in a great neighborhood!
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