How to reach the heartland (place of strategic advantage), without a roadmap

It’s a never-ending road. Round and round, the same old problems. And then, just when you think you are getting ahead, new challenges wake. No, better. The seeds we plant falling on the road, on the rocks and in-between the weeds. Never any fruit.

When will we ever get there? That place of strategic advantage, the heartland.

I don’t walk this road alone. While I don’t have a roadmap to life, while most days I can’t see further than my nose, and never know what lies ahead for tomorrow, my companion Jesus is a master planner. He knows all the paths ahead.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

It is incomprehensible how with all my failings, faults, and weaknesses the Lord plans to bring any fruit into my life. But then He reminds me He doesn’t need much more than my willingness to say, yes Lord.

In Numbers chapters 22 to 24, we can read a very interesting story about how God worked out a plot to have His people cursed into a beautiful blessing.
What struck me about this story is that when no person was available or willing to speak for the LORD, He simply opened the eyes and mouth of a donkey. Yes, an animal – which had never been taught how to speak, read or write. How much easier it must be to work out his plans, when I take Him by the hand.

This story about the false prophet Baalam speaks volume about many things I see happening these days. How many so-called prophets are using their gift, only for selfish gain?

And the poor donkey. She got beat terribly by Baalam before he even noticed what kind of miracle it was that she could speak. His gift of prophecy was completely redundant, while he was so pre-occupied by lusting after money.

Eventually though, instead of a curse, Baalam blessed the Lord’s people.

God’s way to turn unpleasant situations into good, can also be seen in Genesis Chapters 37 to 50. Here we read about the story of Joseph. His own brothers had him sold into slavery.

This eventually led to God being able to save Isreal from a terrible drought. And while the entire nation became enslaved, this again enabled God to show his might and power when he delivered them from Egypt.

“While you planned bad things for me, God planned it for good so that in the end many lives could be saved”

Genisis 50:20 (FBV)

What a master storyteller he is. We see him work out His plans throughout the generations. This makes for interesting conversations along the way, not just about how He moved in the times the bible was written, but even as directs the life of people today.

I must think of the life of the best-selling author and TV bible teacher, Joyce Meyer. She enjoys quoting Romans 8 vs 28 because it fits so well into her own story. She had an abusive childhood. Much trauma to endure. But now she is well known the world over. Her ministry touches the life of many people. And her testimony helps people overcome their own traumatic past.

Everything does not happen for a reason!

While I don’t agree with the sentiment that all things happen for a reason, (some things are just rotten and downright terrible and this sentiment is just not biblical) God can use even a bad thing for good. He does not create a bad situation, but he can use it.

When darkness seems like your old friend, remember that there is a saviour who suffers it all along with you. I don’t have the answers for pandemics and job loss. Most day’s I don’t know what to say to my daughter’s many questions. I certainly don’t know all the potholes ahead. But, as proverbs chapter 3 verses 5 to 6 puts it – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t try to figure it out for yourself. In everything you do, listen for His voice, lean not on your own understanding. Then He will keep you on track, he will make your paths straight.
(I was paraphrasing from several bible versions here, go read them for yourself)

Admittedly, it’s difficult to listen for his voice in everything you do and not try to figure it out yourself. But in this you can ask Him each day afresh,

“Lord, I trust you today – so that I may hear your voice. Even in my chaotic mess, let me notice when you speak. You have my permission to draw my attention. Help me to walk where you direct.
Lord, I trust you today, to keep me close to your own heart, to keep me on the straight and narrow, not because of anything I could ever possibly do but because of who you are. Help me realize in every situation who you are, bears all my burdens. I trust you to let me never wander off too far from your perfect plan. I trust you will always bring me back into your loving arms. Amen.”

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