Sunday, September 18, 2022

God's OTHER Plans for Your Life

I hope you will not think it impertinent of me, but I'd like to link to today's message by Chuck Swindoll at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, TX. I visited this church a few years ago when my good friend Harold Hoehner, New Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, passed away and Stonebriar hosted his memorial service. I am not using hyperbole when I say that, in modelling Christian preaching, Chuck Swindoll has been used by God in my life in perhaps more ways than any other Christian leader. Not a Sunday goes by that I do not watch the Sunday morning service at Stonebriar, because I know I will always be challenged and edified. Chuck's message today was no exception. It's titled, "Responding to God's other plans." If you're anything like me, you've not always found this easy to do. I will give you one example and then be done. 

That God understands and cares about the most intimate details of our lives is perhaps made clearest when we experience the loss of someone we hold dear. It's during such trials that you have to learn to trust God completely. These are days when you feel overwhelmed by life and when nothing makes sense. Looking back now, I now know that Becky's passing was a very special time in my life. When your spouse dies, you begin to discover that God's love has no bounds. His love is unconditional. As Paul wrote, "Neither death nor life ... nor even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love." In his sermon today, Chuck says we have to let go of our will and accept God's. His plan doesn't just happen by magic. You discover it as you draw closer to God each and every day. 

Last month I discovered this truth in a very intimate way. For the first time since Becky died, I was able to sleep in our bedroom. For years I've been sleeping upstairs, using the downstairs master bedroom and bathroom for overnight guests. "It's better to put guests there than in my small upstairs bedrooms," I reasoned. But that was merely an excuse for the real reason I couldn't sleep in the same room where Becky died. Finally, God gave me the courage to do so, and the peace I've felt ever since has been overwhelming. I don't tell you this as a way of bragging. Far from it. It took me nine long years to take this step of faith and healing. But take it I did. Does that mean that God was dozing or negligent when he took Becky home? No. It means he had other plans. 

Pastor friend, do yourself a favor and visit the Stonebriar service some Sunday on Youtube. Today's message might be a good place to start. Christ said that each of us is to be a light to our own corner of the world. Chuck Swindoll, now 87, is a bright spot in so many people's lives, mine included. And for that I am grateful indeed.