We just celebrated the traditional American Thanksgiving celebration—a time when we stop and think about the things we are particularly grateful for.
Salvation is at the top of my list.
Family is also way up there, as is ministry and work. This year, good health has definitely also been uppermost on my mind!
COVID has affected many things other than health, of course. It has been particularly frustrating to put many MOV trips on indefinite hold and basically stop planning for awhile. But C.S. Lewis reminds us of a better perspective:
Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which duty can be done or any grace received. (from The Weight of Glory)
I was also fascinated to learn something recently about a particular Hebrew word in Psalm 18:19: “He brought me forth into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (RSV).
When you think of being “delivered,” you tend to think of rescued or saved, right?
But the Hebrew word chalats, translated “delivered” here, has a second meaning. Chalats does mean “to remove, draw out, rescue, to withdraw or be saved.” It also means “equip, arm for war, make strong, strengthen, brace up.”When you think of being “delivered,” you tend to think of being rescued or saved, right? Click To Tweet
The Lord does rescue us from our plights and unfortunate circumstances, but He also strengthens and equips us to bear the trial, the bad situation, the threatening event. It’s as though He says, “Yes, I will take care of you, but let Me also make you strong.” Let me bolster and equip you to not just endure but to come through firmer, more resolute, with a stronger faith in Christ. (See also 1 Corinthians 12:10 and James 1:3-4.)
I heard Dr. Tony Evans make an interesting point recently. Because of the nation’s sin, Elijah predicted no rain would fall in Israel. Eventually he also fell victim to those conditions. God then used ravens, which were considered unclean, to bring food to Elijah for a time (I Kings 17). And then when the river ran dry, God sent Elijah to the widow in Zarephath—an “unclean” person who lived in the heart of Baal-worshipping country. Tony commented, “Never be so ‘spiritual’ that you refuse to accept God’s provision from an unclean resource.”The Lord says, "I will take care of you, but let Me also make you strong." Click To Tweet
God is the actual Provider, the Source, and He uses any and all resources He wants to—clean (holy) or not. Sometimes God brings us through trials in a way we didn’t expect and maybe wouldn’t choose, but instead of focusing on the negative character of the resources or event, we should thank God that He will use whoever or whatever resource or event He wants to, to bring us what we need/to see us through and to make us stronger.
Let’s continue to thank God for each other and our many blessings, and ask Him to make us strong in the trials, knowing, as Psalm 18 says: He delights in us and delivers us.