Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Well Preserved

I was about to speak before a group of unknown women when the lady sitting behind me found out I had a son of 23 years. She leans forward and whispers in my ear, "You are well preserved, my friend, well-preserved." I've been described in many ways but have never heard that one before! Needless to say, it tickled my funny bone.

Having just gone through the canning season where every manner of produce is put up and preserved for the winter, I got to thinking on that thought even more. The process of canning food consists of many things, but perhaps most importantly, sealing food within a jar holds back spoilage or decay.

There is coming a day, perhaps very soon, when the LORD "will gather the lame...assemble the exiles and those [He] has brought to grief. [He] will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation." (Micah 4:6-7) I am encouraged to think that God preserves those who are His, keeping us for that day when we will dwell with Him in the heavenlies. Although, contrary to the rules of canning, He does not choose the perfect. Instead, He chooses the lame, the weak, and the outcast.

Last week my children were off school for fall break, but nothing went as planned. We met one disappointment after another, from sickness to conflict to frustration to a funeral. The week seemed a smorgasborg of trials and I found my heart becoming angry and bitter with the unfairness of it all. But by the end of the week I realized I'd been fighting . . . resisting what God was bringing my way. My hope had been in my expectations rather than in the Lord.

When at last we made it to Sunday, my focus was drawn to Naomi from the book of Ruth, and her long journey to Moab, away from the land of blessing. Yet, years later, she took the road that would lead her back to Bethlehem, back to obedience and fellowship with God. El-Shaddai, her Great Provider, had dealt with her for the purpose of preserving her as His own.

I am so glad that God preserves me through my trials and my wanderings. He not only creates and redeems, but He sustains. Seasons change. Circumstances are unreliable. People let us down. But God is my strong tower, the One who holds back the decay in my life and the tendency towards evil, because I am sealed as His own.

This gives me great hope as I pray for others as well, those who are struggling to find their way and who have settled in a land of rebellion or disobedience. I know that God has the power to turn their hearts back home, back to the land of blessing, for He has preserved them in His grace and love. I can pray a prayer of faith rather than worry for He is trustworthy.

Well-preserved? By all means! I am held secure in Christ, and nothing can shake that fact.

"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  
He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, 
and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, 
guaranteeing what is to come."  
2 Cor. 1:21-22

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