Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: God's Plan

But God…
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will praise Your Name, for You have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” –Isaiah 25:1 (ESV)

As the great ball of lights in Times Square (New York) falls tomorrow night, we look forward to another new year in 2021. But first, let’s take a quick look at the old year.

In the Old Testament, the people of Israel were often reminded of stories of their patriarchs, and how God led them through all sorts of trials in the days gone by. It’s a good place for us to start today.

Here we are, standing on the threshold of another year—a new year that many of us are glad to see approaching. This year (2020) started with such excitement. For me, it was the year of perfect vision with many expectations of going here, doing this or that, but suddenly our world came to the proverbial screeching halt in March. We held on grimly for a few months as we hoped that an end was in sight, and then our hopes dimmed.

But God!

The Lord knows all the plans He has for us, and as hard as it is to imagine, He planned 2020 intentionally. We saw fear and disease, but God saw faith and compassion. We knew loneliness and isolation, but God drew us close to His loving heart. We grieved the deaths of our loved ones, but God gave us hope that we will be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven.

We say we to “trust God” and that means we must trust His plans, too. So, in this year of working from home, interfacing with others electronically, cancelling vacations, limiting face-to-face encounters, ordering everything online, and wasting precious time worrying about where we might find toilet paper, did we ever stop to look for God’s “faithful and sure” plan?

Some of us did just that. A friend of mine who has young students shared her gratefulness for the extra time her family is enjoying. They are living more of life together. Between lessons, chores, long walks, and hilarious science experiments in the backyard, she and her family bask in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to savor every moment with each other.

Allow me time to share a few more stories about how God planned this year for us:

Another friend of mine celebrated her 95th birthday in July. Although she was looking forward to a quiet dinner with her family, instead she was coaxed outside just before they sat down to eat. There she saw a long cavalcade of cars stretching for three blocks. Her well-wishers waited for the signal to begin, and then horns honked, happy birthday wishes were sung, and her admirers spent a few brief moments with our much-loved queen of the neighborhood. For an hour, her friends gladdened her heart, but it meant so much more than a momentary drive-by could ever accomplish. Six months later, we still share our memories of that wonderful day, and our eyes glow with delight as we speak of the unexpected blessing it was to all of us.

A nephew’s employer was devastated by a hurricane, but he managed to keep his business running, even at a loss for a time, and kept many of his employees working.

One of our sons lost his job but was hired shortly after by a company that weathered the storm and has stayed open for business.

Quarantine has a different meaning for many of us now, and so when our other son was sent home at the same time as his children, they worked hard all day on lessons and business assignments, and then used our son’s ordinary commute time to play baseball. When his wife arrived home from her job, all of them were blessed by a few extra moments of rest and relaxation.

But God!

His plans are sometimes difficult to understand, but at the end of this year of perfect vision, a few vital truths stand out: God has given us memorable moments with our friends and families. He has engaged our hearts in prayer for those who have lost jobs, businesses, and health. He has encouraged us to reach for our Bibles as we try to comfort those who are hurting. He opened our hearts to worship as we drew closer to Him. And as we explored the possibilities of this new and different life, He taught us to gaze at the stars, at the sunrises and sunsets, and into the faces of those we love, so that we would worship the One Who made them all.

Let’s Pray: Thank You, precious Father, our Lord God Almighty, for this year 2020. Thank You for the perfect vision You had for this year, this world, and for each one of us. We ask that You show us how we have grown this year, how we have stumbled through our lessons and need to repent, how to find the courage to turn another page of a calendar in order to begin a fresh new year, and how to follow You wherever You choose to lead us. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

During this time of quarantine, Karen enjoys reading, writing, and connecting with friends and family via phone calls, texts, emails, blogs, live-streams, and video conferencing.

She is grateful that the Lord has provided so many ways for humankind to stay in community, even when we are all hunkering down in our homes.

Karen says, “In this unprecedented time, we know that He has prepared us for such a time as this! To God be all the glory!”

You can reach Karen by emailing her at this address:

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