“Give us this day……….” Matthew 6:11

“Who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time……with persecutions….”  Mark 10:30

From the bible I want to consider an aspect of three lives: Ruth, David and Paul.  While we know the end of the story for each of these people, let’s take a moment to step back into their shoes in a time of their struggles.

First, Ruth.  In the bible; Ruth is described as a humble daughter-in-law whose heart was filled with love and service for her mother-in-law.  Ruth’s own husband was killed, but instead of returning home to her own people, she travels back to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi so she won’t be all alone.  Now here’s want I want you to consider.  Ruth may have felt a calling to be a wife and mother; she may have even been praying desperately for that to happen.  Yet she had lost her only husband and being a poor foreigner she could only daily go out to fields and pick up the scraps left over from harvesters who might have missed some grain.  Ruth continued to pray.

Second, David.  At one point early on, David had been anointed to be future king of Israel by the prophet Samuel; this was before Goliath and other triumphs David would eventually have.  Yet for a time David finds himself hiding in a cave; afraid for his very life because Saul the current king of Israel is jealous of David and wants him killed.  One can imagine that in that cave, or during his other days on the run, David is praying for God to come, praying concerning being King of Israel.  Yet here he is, eating stale bread and running like a criminal. Yet he continued to pray.

Finally, Paul.  Paul, called by Jesus Christ himself; when Paul was Saul the persecutor of early believers, to become an apostle of Jesus Christ.  A Christian group, a church if you will, not a huge building but a growing gathering of people had started in Rome.  Paul had been the apostle to the gentiles and desperately desired to go to Rome to preach the gospel and serve and shepherd the new flock.  Yet time after time the Spirit had blocked him; led him to go in a different direction.  Finally being persecuted in Jerusalem by the Jews who want to see Paul dead; Paul is arrested.  Will he never get to see his beloved flock in Rome?  Paul continued to pray.

Here’s the thing and part of it is a blessing and part of it makes it tough.  We know the ends of these stories.  The blessing is that we know that God was with them through their entire journey.  We know how He sustained them in times of distress and lifted them up to times of great blessing.  Ruth married Boaz to become the grandmother of David.  King Saul died in battle and David became the great king.  Paul left prison, made it to Rome and ministered there two years with that beloved church.  Here’s the tough part.  We don’t know the end of our story.  We’re smack dab in the middle of it.

And an example of a person in the middle of their story is an author who felt called to write a book.  He prayed and continues to pray over that book.  He did write it and it was published.  Most who have read it call it powerful.  However, in total those who have read it are few.  That author prays about the book and its success, not for fame and fortune but to be able to continue writing as he feels called.  He prays constantly and earnestly.  But here’s the point; like David, Ruth or Paul in the midst of their journey, he prays and the next day, nothing seems changed.  Nothing new has happened with the book; like Ruth, it is time to go out and glean again, like David still in the cave.  And this author wonders; what am I doing wrong?  Maybe I misinterpreted God’s calling.  Perhaps I should choose a different path.  How do I know?  That author is the same one who is writing this message.

Yet, Dear Sisters and Brothers, in my more lucid and faithful moments if anything comes through loud and clear in the stories of those three it is this; God had them and their situations; “God had this”.  God had every sequence planned, ever step needed, every day laid out about how to bring Ruth, David, Paul and we can have faith as well; you and I to where He has called us to be.  Personally for me, I must say I don’t know what His ultimate Will for my book is; maybe it will become well known after I’ve departed to be with Him.  Here’s the thing; God has this.  And His this; the this He has in store for me today; is all I need.

So we’ve been taught to pray; give us this day………which is what matters.  But it is not easy.  We are imperfect.  We want to feel certain by having specific knowledge about the next day, week, month year.  We can find ourselves confused, worried, filled with fear, wondering what are we doing wrong; why is God leading us this way.  And we sin.  Thinking we know better, we take the steps we want to take, that the world says to take and we turn from God and His plan.  Then comes the most loving miraculous “this” of all.  When we have sinned and are deserving of eternal condemnation; God turns to Jesus Christ seeing the scars of nails in His hands and feet; and Jesus Christ says to His Father:  “I got this!”  Instead of seeing our sin, God sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself for our Salvation and we are forgiven.

Dear Sisters and Brothers know, where ever you are today, whatever your circumstances; God is saying to you; I’ve Got This.  Whether it is a valley of darkness or a bright mountain top; God has this.  And rest assured that God’s this is the only this we will ever need.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we are filled with praise that in every moment You are with us.  Forgive us when we doubt and fear because of what this world attempts to tell us is truth.  Pour out Your Spirit that we may stay strong in You to resist the temptation to leave the perfect path You have for us that leads to an ever blessed life of closeness and praise to You.  We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

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