Your Morning Coffee 08/16/2023
Welcome to your morning coffee! May our Heavenly Father help us to see His answers to our prayers more clearly. Father, so many times we ask you for things and you lovingly say either "no!" or you answer with what we didn't know we needed. We are so shortsighted and foolish sometimes. And you see all and know all and can do all. But you do not demand perfection, you command and enable obedience and repentance. Help us to trust your help in our lives. Help us to see your help in our lives. In the name of Jesus and by the Spirit, help us to entrust our daily living to you, so that you will be praised Father! Amen.
Your Morning Song: "Weary Traveler" by Jordan St. Cyr
Your Morning Scripture: Philippians 2:12-13
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed,
so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
for it is God who works in you,
both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
One of my daughters has been really struggling with her behavior lately. As it is with all children, as they grow, they push boundaries, they talk back, and they act out. They are struggling with sin as we are, but without the wisdom and experience and teaching that we've received.
So I sat her down, and we talked about how she was struggling. And then I mentioned God. Had she asked Him to help her obey? Had she asked Him to help her do what is right? (She is old enough that she has trusted and believed in Jesus as her savior and had a few years to grow in that).
Her response was sharp and bitter.
"I ask Him for help all the time but He never helps," she said, crossing her arms and slouching, her face twisted with anger.
I said nothing for a few moments, and just sat with her. And then I explained the truth to her, carefully and slowly and in language that was easy for her to understand.
She was wrong. And she was missing two very true things.
She wanted God to control her and make her do the right thing. She agreed with me that this was what she wanted. But God doesn't work that way. He will not control her. Her choice to obey Him is gone if He makes her do it. He makes her able, He makes all of us able, but He makes none of us obey Him. He will guide, He will comfort, Hew will encourage, convict, and discipline, but He will not control our actions to the point of making our choices for us. He will not do for us what He has made us able to do ourselves. We must choose to obey Him. He cannot obey for us. That is not obedience. That is compulsion at best and possession at worst. But in no way would that be obedience as He desires.
And she was wrong that God had not answered her prayers for help. She wanted what is ultimately an evil thing from God. Instead, God answered her prayer for help in a rich, beautiful, deep, and abiding way. He gave her me, her father, who loves God. And I am patient with her, gentle, honest, loving, and always ready to walk with her through her struggles. And her mother is no different. And her friends and family love God and encourage her. And she has the Bible, and she can sing, and she can pray, and even her very breath is a gift from God. Her whole life and every fiber of her being, though broken by sin, has been reborn and will someday be made externally new as well. Her very life is an answer to her pray for help.
God was being kind to her by not giving her what she wanted, but instead giving her what she needed. Instead of wanting God to control us, we should rejoice and rest in how He is at work in us, comforting and convicting us as is needed, so that we even have the opportunity to obey! And as His saved children, our salvation is the foundation upon which we must struggle and strive to obey Him, sharing in His delight when we do, and saying sorry and accepting His forgiveness when we don't. And we should do all of this with a fear and trembling that acknowledges the impossible greatness of God, and with a trust that this great and terribly powerful God is perfectly good, and loves us.
And His work in us and in our lives to help us obey Him will lead us into the greatest place we could ever be, His joy and delight.