I am sure you have heard the saying, “The devil’s in the fine print” indicating often that contracts all seem to be OK until you read the details in the fine print at the end of the page or even next page. Well, let me remind you that God is in the fine print, not just in Scripture, but also in our lives.
I am sure you have heard it said that Scripture is “His – tory”. In other words, from the Garden of Eden through to the Garden of Paradise, Scripture is all about God working through history to bring about the glory of His Name and the eternal salvation of His people.
During my recent time of being unwell I had cause to think about God’s care over us. When you’re not well and struggling to regain your health, you may even wonder at times whether God is even aware of what is happening to you. And before you know it, you become a little anxious and start asking, “Where is God’s healing hand when I need it?” Yes, perhaps some of you are wondering why your Pastor would even admit to these things happening in his mind – well they do. Thankfully, it is great to have a Christian spouse and Christian friends who can remind you at that time of the promises of God’s care for us, especially in Jesus Christ.
Since I had some spare time while I was unwell, I listened to a sermon where the speaker reminded me that that God was in the finer details, not only of Scripture, but also of our lives. This preacher was preaching on the book of Esther, and he quoted a verse… “That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and and read to him”(Esther 6:1).
Notice the detail. “That night” – it wasn’t the next night or the previous night, but “that night” the king couldn’t sleep. Notice also that the king didn’t ask for queen Esther to come to his side or even perhaps one of the girls that belonged to the harem at the king’s disposal to do a dance for him and help him sleep. He asked for the record of his reign to brought and to be read to him. We would probably think, “How boring”.
But when we think about this, and we know the story of how Haman had that very night built some gallows to kill Mordecai the Jew, God had it all worked out already. Not only could the king not sleep, he read about how Mordecai had exposed an assassination plot against the king years earlier and that the king had failed to honour him for it.
And how ironic, Haman who went to the king’s court early to arrange Mordecai’s hanging, ends up advising the king how the man the king delights in should be honoured. Haman thought he was to be honoured, but then it turns out that Mordecai was to be honoured! Read the book of Esther – twenty minutes and it’s done – great little book where God’s name is not mentioned – but He’s in the fine print everywhere.
It was a good reminder for me when I listened to be mindful that God may not always appear front and center in everything we do and see, but sometimes He is just working in the finer detail of our lives. Doesn’t mean we always see it clearly. Sometimes it takes a few days or even weeks or years to see His hand working in the finer details of life. But rest assured, God is working behind the scenes and we just need to rest in the knowledge that He isn’t asleep. He is so directing history, that not only will Jesus receive all the glory that is due to Him alone (Phil 2:9-11), He will also bring us His children safely to share in that glorious future. Let’s be thankful that He is working in the finer details of our lives, even when it isn’t all that obvious to us. JZ
In the past, I occasionally struggled with unrest when things didn’t go the way I hoped for or even planned. Sometimes the changes I would like to see happen would be in another person’s life. Sometimes a work situation was difficult or sometimes a certain character flaw of mine needed to change. As a result, I would awake at two or three in the morning and start thinking about that which was annoying me and it usually robbed me of any more restful sleep. It was not only personally frustrating, but was also having a negative impact on those close to me. Thankfully, over recent years, this has taken a turn for the better.
One of the things that helped me was to stop thinking I had to fix everything, as though I was everyone’s ‘saviour’ but to hand things over to ‘Someone’ who can bring about the change if required. The beauty of giving it to ‘Someone’ else to deal with was that if things didn’t change the way I liked to see it change, I was at rest, for this ‘Someone’ was much wiser than me and I realised that perhaps the change I thought was vital, wasn’t so important after all.
Now you may be thinking, “I would love to have ‘Someone’ in my life that would do that for me. Life would be so much “less stressful”. Well the good news is that you don’t have to go to heaven to find such a person, nor do you have to travel over land and sea. That person is beside you, more than that, He is within you. No, I am not speaking about some new mystical self that you have to find deep within yourself through some form of meditation or self mutilation. Rather, I am speaking about knowing God’s Word and Spirit.
To know what God’s Word says about the One whose promises are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ is extremely beneficial. To know the Someone who has promised never to leave us and now dwells within us by His Holy Spirit (Mat 28:18ff), quiets my sometimes restless spirit. To know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express is a great source of blessing (Romans 8:26-27). To know that we are God’s children in Christ and that nothing can separate us from His love is reason for thankful living (Rom 8:39). To know that we can never fall out of His everlasting arms gives great comfort to my soul during times of trial and hardship (John 10:28-30).
To know that Jesus calls on people who are heavy laden to come to Him, and He will give them rest, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light is so refreshing (Mat 11:28ff). To know that the Apostle Peter, after speaking to the elders of the church, encourages the young men to cast their cares on God, reminding them that He cares for them (1 Peter 5:7). To know that the Apostle Paul on several occasions encourages us to make our requests with thanksgiving known to our Lord (Phil 4:6-7; Col 4:2; 1 Thess 5:16-17). To know that the writer to Hebrews says we can enter the throne room of grace with confidence for we have a great high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses is so encouraging (Heb 4:15-16). To know that our Father in heaven longs to answer the prayers of his children quickly is reason for confidence in prayer (Luke 18:8).
The Psalmist writes that even if his enemies were lined up against him, or if he was travelling through the valley of the shadow of death, his Lord was with him and there by his right hand to protect him (Psalm 3; 6; 9; 18; 23 and many more).
Do you have trouble sleeping? Perhaps it’s time to consider letting it go and giving it to the “Someone” who can take care of it and will make the right decisions in every case. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best or just sit passively by. But it does mean that “Someone” is working alongside of us and He is able to deal with all obstacles. And while this “Someone” who is working on our behalf never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121), we can rest and have peace knowing that all our concerns and cares are in the very best of hands, whether we sleep and or whether we wake. JZ