Blessings around the bend

I am overwhelmed by the goodness and power of our Almighty God.

This morning during our ladies Bible study at church we were discussing the sovereignty of God.

One interesting illustration given was about a stoplight which controls traffic in a construction zone. This light is provided to stop people from a head-on collision with oncoming traffic hidden by the bend in the road. Sometimes a person is tempted to ignore this light, assuming that no one is coming and becoming impatient waiting for the light to turn. As a sovereign God who knows the future, He asks us to wait on Him rather than barreling forward because of His great love for us.

The point was then made that God is good to not reveal the future to us for if we knew about the tragedy that lies just around the bend we would spend our lives fretting rather than living each day in itself.

While I do wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, I can’t help but think once again about our human propensity to dwell on the negative, on the coming trial, rather than the coming joy. Several years ago, God revealed to me that when I spend my time fretting about today and about what the future might hold, that I’m missing out on the HOPE that comes from looking forward to the joy that might lie hidden just around the bend. I don’t want to know the future because I wouldn’t want to know that my son was going to die tomorrow, but also I would miss out on the HOPE that comes from waiting expectantly for the JOY that God might have waiting for me tomorrow.

Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:24-25) Remember, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) If we could see what was just around the bend, whether tomorrow or a hundred years from now, then we would have no need for HOPE, no need for FAITH. God grows our faith, our trust in Him, by having us wait upon Him.

This makes me think about Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Over the years I’ve heard all kinds of people quote this to mean that God is going to give us lives filled with chocolate and roses! This always upsets me because this passage was written to a people who are living in exile in Babylon. In the verses that follow, God proceeds to warn the Israelites of the many trials they will go through! And yet He promises to RESTORE them. He promises that when they return to Him, when they seek Him, that He will be found by them and return them to their promised land. This is like the “blessings around the bend.” Joy was indeed going to come in the morning, even though they were in the midst of years of trials. God KNEW the plans that He had for them. His plans indeed were for their good. His plans indeed were to give them a future and a HOPE!

So, the next time when you and I are in the midst of despair, when things look bleak and hopeless, remember that God holds the future and that He is worthy of our trust. May we be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:5

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.” Psalm 130:5-7