Have you ever felt torn between what is and what should have been, could have been or would have been if such-and-such had not taken place?
Have you ever been plagued by the “if-onlys”? If only I had not done that … said that … gone there. If only I had said that … done that … gone there.
Have you ever been desperate to be in two places at the same time?
Have you ever been deeply disappointed that your life has turned out differently than you had dreamed?
Have you ever longed for deep peace and contentment, yet they both seem to be elusive?
The Apostle Paul testified that in spite of beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonment, robberies, pressures, fears, betrayals, hunger and suffering of every conceivable type, he had learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11).
How could Paul be content in every circumstance? He was content because he had abandoned his life to God. He knew ultimately God was in control. And while God’s will could possibly be delayed, it would never be thwarted. Paul expressed it this way: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21, NKJV). The secret to contentment is to be totally yielded to God. To climb up onto the lap of your heavenly Father by faith, let Him wrap His arms of love around you, and then just nestle down into His will.
These thoughts have swirled in my mind as I continue to remain at home, caring for my husband. The interesting thing is that while my heart is fiercely strong to continue in ministry outside my home, God has given me great peace to be at home as I rest in His will. He has whispered in my ear, reassuring me that I have …
A DESIGNATED PLACE
What place did God designate for His people? Give phrases from Genesis 12:1, 5-6; 13:14-17; Exodus 3:7-10; Deuteronomy 11:8-9 and 1 Chronicles 16:18.
How was this place described in Deuteronomy 11:10-12?
Do you think God’s people could have enjoyed the blessings He had promised in any other place?
Read the story of the child Samuel in 1 Samuel 1:1-3:21.
What was the place God designated for Samuel? See 1 Samuel 1:21-28, 2:11.
As a result of being raised in the temple, what was Samuel’s experience, and what did he become, according to 1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-4:1?
Do you think Samuel would have fulfilled his destiny as a prophet in Israel, and the first judge and kingmaker, if he had been in any other place?
What message did Jesus give to the women after His resurrection in Matthew 28:8-10?
What did the disciples experience as a result of being in the designated place? See Matthew 28:16-20.
Where are you today? Ask God to confirm to you that this is His designated place for you at this time.
Turning this thought around, what is our Lord’s designated place today? Consider Ephesians 1:19-22.
A DESIGNATED PORTION
Read the story of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 4:4, 9:1-13.
Did Mephibosheth deserve or earn the portion given to him by the king?
Put Psalm 16:5-6 in your own words. What do you think it means?
Relate this to Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 and Ephesians 4:7, 11-13.
Are you discontented because you desire someone else’s portion? How did Jesus address this in Matthew 20:1-15?
What portion of blessing has He withheld from you? See Psalm 84:11, John 1:16 and Ephesians 1:3.
Who is our ultimate portion, and what does this mean to you? Read Psalm 73:26 and Lamentations 3:22-24.
What did Paul pray for in Ephesians 3:14-21? How does this encourage you to rest in God’s will, which includes a designated portion?
Turning this thought around, what is the Lord’s designated portion? See Deuteronomy 32:9.
A DESIGNATED PURPOSE
Skim through the story of Joseph in Genesis 37:39-50.
Briefly describe some of the injustice, betrayal, and suffering Joseph endured.
How did he describe his designated purpose in Genesis 50:20?
Do you think he could have fulfilled his designated purpose if he had struggled against and resisted God’s will?
Do you and I also have a designated purpose? Consider Ephesians 2:8-10.
When we do the good works He has assigned us, what is the ultimate result? Read Matthew 5:14-16, Ephesians 1:11-12 and 1 Peter 1:6-7.
If you also are experiencing difficult circumstances, how does Romans 8:28-32 encourage you to rest in His will?
Turning this thought around, what is the Lord’s designated purpose? See Matthew 1:21 and John 17:24.
A DESIGNATED PERSON
Who has been designated to remove your sin and reconcile you to God, according to Acts 4:10-12?
Who has been designated to open Heaven for you? See John 14:1-6.
Who has been designated to intercede for you and be your advocate in Heaven?
Who has been designated as the go-to person between you and God?
Who is the designated Person in John 14:26 and 16:5-15? List at least three things He is assigned to do for you in these verses, and in 1 Corinthians 2:9-12.
What else does this designated Person do for you, according to Ephesians 1:13-14? Romans 8:26-27?
In what way is the one designated Person also three in One, and what unique role does each play in your life? See 1 Peter 1:1-2.
How does this give you confidence as you rest in His will? Consider Romans 8:37-39, Philippians 1:3-6 and Jude 24-25.
Turning this thought around, who is the Lord’s designated “Person?” See Ephesians 1:4.
I am learning to rest. If my father goes to Heaven this week, this month, this year, or remains for a long time; if my husband regains his health and independence, or returns to the hospital in another series of crises; if my relationships are gloriously reconciled or remain broken; if my prayers are answered the way I have prayed, or continue to give no indication they have even been heard; if my ministry dries up or flourishes; if my financial resources remain sufficient for my needs or evaporate in medical expenses … like Habakkuk, I will rejoice in the Lord as I let go of what I want, when I want it, how I want it, and I lie down in the arms of my heavenly Father. Turning the thought around, when Jesus prayed from the cross, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46), that’s what He did—He lay down in the arms of His heavenly Father. ©2014 Anne Graham Lotz
The Scripture quotation marked NKJV is taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.