“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8
We were not the typical parents trying to encourage our oldest daughter to learn to walk. We literally raced her; we wanted to complete the writing of our doctoral dissertations before she walked. She beat us – running across the floor in February (she skipped the walking steps stage) when we still had 4 weeks left to write. Oh well, some competitions you just can’t win!
In April 2009, we defended our dissertations. A four year journey finally complete. Ahhhh….finally. That night, Chad asked me, “What are you thinking about? How do you feel about everything?” I answered about some idea I wanted to launch. He said, “No, I am asking you about the 4-year doctoral journey. Please, let’s linger here just for the night before rushing off to the next goal. Let’s celebrate!”
Oh, celebrate? Well, okay! I am not against celebration, but my personality is result-driven. I love the finish line of projects. I love checking items off a list. I love the feeling of working hard and completing a goal. So earlier that day, I had the feeling of accomplishment when they said I passed. In my mind, I crossed the finish line. My head was up, looking for the next race to run. Chad wanted to look back on the finish line – I mean not forever. He just wanted a day!
One of my favorite verses is John 17:4, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” I love that Jesus knew why He came and knew when He finished. In short, He knew His purpose and did it. Jesus glorified God by completing the work set out for him. A lofty goal for all the redeemed!
A Screeching Halt
2020 then came. Covid hit and wrapped its greedy claws on every culture of the earth. I struggled because the purposes I thought God had for our family and ministry were stalled, blocked, and barricaded. In 2020, we had scheduled 5 international trips. In 2021, our family planned to travel in and out of countries for 6 months for a vision we felt God gave us to serve and minister and equip and empower church planting movements. The cancelations were confusing. Had we heard God speak? Had we misheard the direction?
Chad and I have done many prayer-walks since this time, and we have uttered in our frustration, “Are you finished with us? Is it over – the days of travel, moving in and out of countries for your purposes? Are we finished? Is this all?”
But in Psalm 138:8, we see David proclaim, “the LORD will fulfill His purposes for me.” Again, David uses the word LORD which means “Yahweh, I AM.” When we are God’s child, we can live with the confidence that God is still working out His purposes for His redeemed for His global purposes in the world. Nothing can thwart God’s overall plans.
Humble or Arrogant?
Some people claim, “Oh, God can do it without your or my help.” Well, of course God can! I think people think this comment makes them sound humble. I think the statement is arrogant. You see God reveals through Scriptures and church history that He has chosen to work through His people to complete His global mission on earth. To claim “God can do it without your or my help” seeks to negate the plan God has put into place. He wants and delights to work through His people – HIs workmanship.
David realizes this and claims, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.” David’s phrase propels me to proclaim that power-hungry leaders, plagues and pandemics, distractions and demonic powers – the idols of our day cannot and will not have the final word! Due to God’s enduring love, God will continue to work out His purposes through His servants who want to live out His heart on the earth.
David shows me the position I must be in for God to spread His Good News throughout the earth – bowed down. Though God is highly exalted, He looks on the lowly and lifts them up! Nothing can thwart God’s purposes in our lives if we live surrendered. We may get bruised and bloodied, tired and worn down, but God will fulfill His purposes through David and now through us.
Don’t Waste Your Time!
Then David says, “Do not abandon the works of your hands.” The statement almost looks misplaced – David has just said God’s purposes will be fulfilled in David because of his unfailing love. Before that, he has expressed that God preserves his life because he is mindful of the humble. But in this last phrase, it’s like a wavering man reminding God, “Uh, it would be a big waste of your time since you have invested so much in fashioning me and molding me. I am your work. Don’t throw me out!”
I love that! We see that living with intimacy before the Lord includes statements of praise, hope, courage, and certainty. But David is still human. He pleads one more time, “Oh, don’t abandon me. Let’s finish what you started in me. Please.”
We truly believe God had revealed to us a vision for serving church planters among the least reached. It has been delayed due to the world’s events. But God. The question we are learning to ask in this regard is not “Why?” But rather, “How do you want to move this strategy now?” God has begun the good work. My result-oriented personality has taken a hit because of the constant roadblocks, but God is not finished yet.
Paul says in Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God is building His church. Because I am one of those stones, He will continue what He has started in me. Jesus will complete what He has started in you. No political leader, no disease, no nation, no church tradition can stop what God intends to do in each of us.
The fulfillment of God’s purposes in our lives rests on God’s character yet again – God’s enduring, steadfast love. God loves to spread His kingdom through the redeemed – so God will continue to mold His masterpieces as He works through them. God loves the world; therefore, God will continue to unfold His Good News throughout the earth, regardless of circumstances. God’s steadfast love will propel Him to accomplish His purposes through His people – the works of His hands.
Sister and brother, humbly go to the Lord. He will not abandon you – His masterpiece. He will fulfill His purposes in you. His steadfast love will see you through.