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Devotion 17

While My Back Was Turned…

Sometimes life happens when I'm looking the other way. And that makes sense to me. I know that you have been involved in some sort of a creative process and have been stumped. You put it on the back burner and go on with your life.

Suddenly, there it is — the next step in the process or maybe even the solution. I call it simmering. Many of my students felt they did their best work under deadline pressure. At least that's the excuse they gave for waiting until the last minute.

But that's not true. You have to give your creative juices something to work with; and then they mull the different aspects of the project or the problem while your back is turned.

I know that's true from a writer's perspective. Plot problems suddenly have a solution — or the plot may even take a different turn from the one I anticipated.

These strange things occur because the subconscious is turning and twisting all the possibilities while I am concentrating on something else.

It makes sense. Just about everything has a multiplicity of components. And that truth is played out most dramatically in our spiritual lives. For example, we knew God wanted us to bid on the farm even though it was not our intention to do so. Afterwards, we weren't sure what to do with it.

We named it Peaceful Ridge Farm and chose Psalm 121* as our reminder of God's direction in this action.

From the first it was dedicated to the Lord, most likely as a retreat. We thought and thought and thought. Of course, God had a plan for it. The question? How to know what it was?

And while my back was turned, thinking and wondering and solving, I realized God had already been using the property for our/His intended purpose!

As the 54 volleyball players, families, and friends filed passed Jim's kettles of Brunswick Stew and homemade applesauce — all cooked over the open fire — I realized that God had been enacting his plan from the first day.

One of the things Jim and I mulled over was how much we could reasonably expect to do ourselves. What I hadn't figured on was the Lord providing someone to do most of the work for us.

But that's what he did. While he supplied a need for our daughter and her family when they moved here a year ago July, He also gave them the heart to open the farm to group after group from Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg Christian Academy, and Liberty University.

And as an added bonus, He made sure that Jim wouldn't have to find anymore places to plant flowers around the townhouse. Now he will never run out of projects while all the time Doug and Annette take care of the daily running and care of the property.

Don't tell me God doesn't pay attention to details! I didn't need to be surprised. Some of my favorite verses tell me that.

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord,…plans to give you hope and a future….," I read in Jeremiah 29:11.

And how about Isaiah 30:21? "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." That verse was tremendous encouragement to me as I thought about the possibilities of retirement.

Today I read the companion verses to another of my favorites, Job 23:10 *

and realized that Job made that statement when He saw no signs of God on the horizon. What a tremendous example of faith!

Look at verse 14: "For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him."

That's our God. While our backs are turned, while we are preoccupied with the business of living, He is working in the background, preparing us for the "many such things."

Incredible — but true!

ÿ I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth Israel will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper:

the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. (Psalm 121) But he knoweth the way that I take: and when he hath tried me I shall come forth as pure gold. (Job 23:10)


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