I stepped out unto our patio with our dog first thing this morning and enjoyed the cool of the day. (Well… the warm of the morning since it was already 80 degrees outside!) As I took in the beauty of the trees behind our home, the chirping birds and the flowers and tomato plants lining the railing around our private outside enclave, I was in awe at the contrast in the view from just a few months back. During the winter months the leaves on the trees had disappeared and opened up our line of sight to the CVS store in the parking lot next to our complex and the cooler weather did not allow for the patio plants to exist outside!
But all that was but a distant memory on this beautiful morning. The color of summer has returned in all its glory! While I enjoyed the peace of the early hour I was reminded of a conversation I had with my wife last night. At one point during the evening’s activities I turned to my wife and with much contemplation commented: “You know, we have touched a lot of people’s lives during our years together.” Then like a movie newsreel, the faces of the multitudes of adults, children and youth that we knew in our families, in the neighborhoods we lived in, at the various churches we served at as well as in all the precious memories with our own kids flashed past the screen in my mind.
It was a good feeling to think about all those great times of reaching out to others, seeing them laugh, learn, cry, and grow in their personal lives and in their Christian walks. Then I began to wonder about our future and what the Lord has in mind for us. To look in the natural, things don’t look too promising. If I had had my way, my wife and I would be pastoring a growing church in northern California and would be caught up to our ears in the ministry as we once again entered life alone with our grown children now living successful lives on their own.
But now… well, now things are different. With everything that has happened to us over the last six or so years, I can honestly say that I don’t know what we’ll be doing in another few years or even where we’ll be! But I am rest assured that Papa God does, for He has told us on many occasions that the best of life for us on this earth is not behind us but in front of us!
In the middle of the night last night, I found myself suddenly thinking: “Don’t let the past be the brush you use to paint your future.” But the unique thing about that thought was that I was considering, like on the couch earlier in the evening, all the good things we had accomplished as a husband and wife team for God. It was like Papa God was encouraging me to know that He has plans and purposes that are far better than the best we’ve already experienced!
In Psalm 31:15 the beleaguered Psalmist tells the Lord that “My future is in your hands…” (God’s Word ©) When you connect that with Jeremiah 29:11 you quickly discover that His plans for that future are for you to have His “shalom” peace which includes “safety, welfare, happiness, health, prosperity, completeness, quiet, soundness, contentment, and tranquility” in this life and of course, in eternity. (Strong’s and Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions)
Now, that doesn’t mean that it will always be a piece of cake as I can vividly attest to, but it does assure us that Papa God always has our best in mind and has given us the tools in His Word to overcome any adversity we face through the knowledge of and faith in His Word, patience and I believe an ever increasing intimate knowledge of how much He loves and cares for YOU and me!
So, which brush do you pick up when you want to paint a picture of His plans for your future? It takes the fine-tuned brush of His Word and a personal trust in Him that will not be easily shaken! Put aside the past… both good and bad and “look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near!” (Luke 21:28 MKJV) Have a good day and a great future! Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to paint my future?”