We used to sing a hymn written by Ira Stanphill entitled “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.” The chorus went like this: “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”
God, my Father is eternal. He is fully present everywhere in and beyond the limitations of time and space. As he was fully active in my past and as he is fully active now in my present, he will be fully active in my future. He is, in fact, fully active there now, preparing all things for my arrival.
A good shepherd will go to great lengths to find and prepare safe pasture for his/her sheep. He/she will look for any evidence of predators like bears, bobcats, lynxes, wolves, coyotes or mountain lions. Modern sheep farmers will conduct regular coordinated and strategic baiting programs, install electrified fencing or erect exclusion fencing that will keep vulnerable stock in well-fenced paddocks. At other times they will use guardian animals like dogs, mules or llamas. They will also make sure their flock has the right food to eat, because they know that cultivating the right grasses and knowing what feed to select is of utmost importance.
God, my Father, is the perfect shepherd. He will go to much effort to find and prepare safe places for me to grow. He is forever on the lookout for predators or situations that might be dangerous to my well-being. He will ensure that all enemies have been defeated before he sets me off to live out his purposes, and he will make sure all protective walls are in place. He knows what I will need and he will ensure that everything is there for my nourishment.
I love to discover, time and time again, that whenever trouble comes, my Heavenly Father has already prepared “a table before me” (Ps. 23:5) in the place of trouble. He is always ready and he always knows what I need. And He is there now, in my future, to supply what I need, when I need it. And he is preparing a table for me there now, to the point that when I arrive there, I will have already become known to my enemies; I will have gained respect there and I will become victorious there – in the very presence of those who would have wished to tear me apart!
He is preparing each situation for my benefit.
When my babysitter calls in sick and I have to rearrange my schedule, precious moments will be given to me, moments of time with my child, moments that will become opportunities to create significant memories – memories that would have not otherwise been made had my schedule not been interrupted. Tomorrow is Monday and the work load for the week is daunting, but he will order my days and enable me to successfully complete all tasks.
He is covering everything beyond my control.
I work on many deals, many of which take a very long time to complete. But there comes a point in each deal where I have made all the necessary calls that I could have made and I have responded to every question posed. I have submitted all necessary documents and have given attention to every required detail. I have given all that I am capable of giving. Now the outcome is totally out of my hands and beyond my control; the results are in the hands of someone else.
While I have sought God’s guidance and counsel throughout the whole process, it is at this point that I am called to assume what I would call a rest to rule posture. Herein I surrender everything to him. This rest to rule posture does not ensure that I get the outcome I expect; it guarantees that, as far as God’s kingdom rule in my world is concerned, the right things are done or the right decisions are made. He is Lord over all. If it works out the way I hoped it would, his lordship has brought all things about; if it does not work out the way I had hoped, his lordship has brought about something in it that is for my benefit and for his glory.
Whether I see “positive” or “negative” outcomes, I am blessed, for my blessing does not lie in what I can achieve or acquire, nor does it lie in whether or not the outcome is what I would deem favourable; it lies in the truth that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)