Seeing God’s plan, when you are in a jam

Have any of you ever fallen victim to a highly addictive game? Their developer will sell it as a brain training game; I would say soul destroying, time wasting, anxiety inducing game would be a more accurate description! As you can probably guess, I’m speaking from experience. First came Angry Bird, then there was Candy Crush, both of which had to be deleted from my phone after near misses with the wall… That’s the phone and the wall, for clarity.

Last year my middle son introduced me to a new game he was playing on his phone. It took me approximately 3.5 seconds to relapse into my old addictive ways of being hooked on this new brain trainer. The game is called, Let me out. This is not some shameless plug for the game, in fact, I strongly recommend, for your own sanity, you stay well clear. The game itself is rather basic, with basic graphics. The aim of the game is with your birds eye view of a traffic jam, moving one car at time to release your car that is stuck in a jam. You need to be able to calculate which cars need to move where to allow you to drive out freely. The key is usually in the movement of the first vehicle, which allows all others to move freely, with every level the challenge becoming slightly harder. Every so often you will have an easy level to lull you into a false sense of security before the next level being twice the difficultly. You get it… well you will if you have ever been hooked on a game of its type.

It’s been a long time since I have played it as I had to delete it and the temptation of losing hours to this game on my phone. Just the other day I was watching my son play it. As I watched him move the various vehicles around in his attempt to get free the thought came to me how similar this is to our lives.

I’m not saying that God is playing some addictive game with our lives. However, God holds the plans to the future. When we are away down here, sometimes all we have is a view of what is obstructing us moving forward or breaking free, and sometimes we don’t even see that, but we don’t see the other things that are blocking movement. We don’t see the obstacles and obstructions that need to be addressed, or moved, or broken down first in order to move the main one right in front of us. But God does, because God sees the whole picture and plan and we don’t.

Confession time. Of all the wonderful gifts and talents God has blessed me with I can tell you that natural patience was not one of them. I know it is a fruit of the Spirit that can be developed but it does not come naturally or easily to me.

When I was a kid I was always routing around trying to find presents before Christmas and as an adult, before I knew Christ, I would run off to “fortune tellers and psychics”, willing to hand money over in a bid to hear what lay ahead in my future. As a Christian, I have cried out to God on numerous occasions for insight into the plans he has for me and my life. Oh how great would it be if he would just plop down on the end of my bed and read out this five year plan to me.

Firstly, if God did appear at the end of my bed, I would probably be so stunned that anything he had to say to me wouldn’t even go in and, secondly, it would probably be beyond anything I could comprehend, not to mention it would scare the absolute you know what out of me, and then there is all the human unbelief thrown into the mix. The whole exercise would be totally pointless, besides, God left us the Holy Spirit to do all the guiding and counselling.

Sadly so many of us so often fail to recognise or consult the Holy Spirit in our deep desire to know more. But I don’t want to get railroaded into a whole Holy Spirit debate, that’s a whole different discussion. For this blog, I want to focus on trusting God in our jams.

I have to say that this is an area in which I feel like I’m a bit of veteran. Well not always the ‘trusting’, the being in the jam part, yes! In my experience, I have found two different outcomes to jams of life I have encountered. I have done the whole try and fix this jam myself, which usually is exhausting and pointless, and I end up coming back and asking God to guide me when I’ve exhausted every possible avenue myself. Then there has been, less often I confess, sitting tight, trusting God and waiting for him and his promise of working all things together for our good.

There are way way too many examples in the Bible for me to list all of the different stories that show God was working while people were waiting, so I will just go for the whole Bible. Right back at the beginning when Adam and Eve came into agreement with the enemy, God had a plan to put things right again with the promise of a saviour. He worked that promise that right through all the lives of the people we meet in the Bible, from a man that built an ark, through the infertile couple, through sibling rivalry, through a favoured son sold into slavery, through a baby in the bulrushes, through children in the desert, through wars and famines, temples raised and destroyed, kingdoms raised and ruined, through good kings and bad kings, prostitutes and outcasts, illegitimate children, a virgin birth, through treason and mockery, slander, betrayal and deceit, through all this God had a plan to buy our freedom, ever since from that fateful day in Eden.

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.””

Genesis 3:15 NKJV

There is no jam in your life that God doesn’t have a plan of escape for you. You just need to ask yourself can you trust God and all his infinite resources to work things in your favour, to allow your life and his plans to align, or are you gonna try to rely on your own very limited wisdom and insight to find a solution to your problem?

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8: 28 NIV

I know which seems like the most obvious choice, but I also know our human nature, combined with an enemy who constantly chases our tail with lies and betrayal, while we live in a world that thrives on convenience. You want something now, you have instant access to it – food, tv, shopping, you name it, we rarely have to wait on anything these days, why should we wait on Gods plans to prevail? The only answer I can give you is because they are worth the wait. His plans are so much better than we could ever think or imagine. They are eternal plans for our good, and they are worth the wait for the everlasting glory they hold.

“Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.”

Ephesians 3:20 TPT

Cheaters Prosper??

The title seems rather ridiculous, I know! But I know it’s a thing… I know sometimes it seems that cheaters prosper, while those who try to live their life right by God the best they can seem to suffer the penalties.

In our house, we have a strict no phones at the table policy, which I must admit if it’s anyone that breaks the rules, it will be me! Bad Mummy! In an effort to create a bit of family time that didn’t involve the kids staring at screens, we have a few games at the dinner table. We will play while dinner is cooking and also kind of mid eat/after meal.

We have a few different games, mostly involving rolling dice and moving counters or building brick towers and dominos (my favourite). My youngest is ridiculously competitive and such a sore loser. This will often drive him to cheat (playfully) at the game. He will quite obviously skip two rows in a game, or go up a ladder he is nowhere near, or magically drop the dice a small inch to the perfect number, hold the Jenga tower in place, or add a domino to somewhere it’s not meant to go. He does it quite openly and, most often has to rectify his cheat, but the odd time he makes a move that we miss and he will prosper and usually win. It’s all done with a bit of fun and let’s face it, no lives are at steak, so it’s not that big of deal… like who hasn’t been tempted to cheat on a board game?

On a more serious note, lots of us are tempted to cheat in our real life to prosper, to lie on the CV to get that job you want, to keep that money just fix your taxes, to get that boy you want just be more promiscuous. All these things may involve what we consider winning, but it’s only in the short term. It’s a hard pill to swallow when dishonest, immoral behaviour seems to be not only consequence free, but a cause of advancement.

Joseph in the Bible could tell you a bit about that. Joseph would have had many reasons to feel abandoned by God. He’d been sold into slavery by his own brothers, now working in Potiphar’s house he had managed to work his way into favour again. Joe, who seems to have been a bit of a stud muffin, found himself batting off the advances of Lady Potiphar, who I would imagine would have been perfectly groomed and stunningly beautiful. Regardless, Joseph wasn’t willing to sacrifice his morals for a quick fumble and so he fled. Turns out lady Potiphar doesn’t take rejection too well and runs off to the hubadub with a big fat lie to ensure poor Joe gets slung in prison. Well if she can’t have him, no one else should, eh?!

“But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”Genesis 39:8-9 NLT

Ultimately, Joseph’s honor to his master and God cost was prison… mmm, have you ever felt like that? I wonder looking back did Joseph ever think I should have just done the dirty deed with her and saved myself years in prison. Probably not!

Joseph knew that by staying close to God and honouring God and his law that he would see his promises come into fulfilment, and he was right. God used that time in prison to train Joseph to be the greatest leader of his time, that saw a whole nation through seven years of famine, a nation that surely would have been wiped out had it not have been for that time in prison while God prepared him for his destiny. If Joseph had just forgotten God and gone off and had a quicky with potties mrs, who knows what would have happened, probably death of Joseph and a whole nation starved to death.

God doesn’t give us these moral guidelines to be a party pooper or spoil our fun. He wants our pure, honest hearts surrendered to him and trust his plans for our life, so he can prosper us, even when it feels like we are in a prison or at a dead end delay. We need to keep our hearts pure and cling on to the truth and promises of God. We need to take our eye of the momentary pleasure and think about the eternal effect.

If others are advancing through dishonesty, impurity, and sin, we need to pray for them, not from a self-righteous, moral high ground, but because it is really heart-breaking that they would sacrifice their eternal glory for momentary pleasure. It is not something we should envy and yet so often we do.

“Come to God through the narrow gate, because the wide gate and broad path is the way that leads to destruction—nearly everyone chooses that crowded road!”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:13‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Will you join me today in asking God to divert your heart from the attraction of advancement through deceit. Will you pray with me and ask God to purify your heart and keep your focus firmly on him, his will for our lives, his vision, his dream, and eternity with him.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬