Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)
TITLE: What Are My Hands Doing?
By Mike Mattice
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Recently, I lost my job. It was financially devastating to my household. I immediately filed for unemployment compensation, and began actively job seeking. I devised a plan, and charged ahead.
Then, my loving heavenly Father said to me, “Your hands must be empty, in order to receive what I have for you”. I was immediately convicted that my hands were quite full of my own efforts to resolve the situation. I was anxious to get working; and I would have taken any job that was offered me. That mindset can lead me directly away from the path God wants and has prepared for me.
I’m not suggesting that the Lord doesn’t want me to work. I am declaring that He has a job/ career already prepared for me, and that if I follow His leading, He will bring me safely and successfully to my next assignment.
And I know that “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). That’s me! “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
These Scriptures, among many others, assure me that no circumstance in my life catches my God by surprise; and He is using my joblessness to take me to the next phase in fulfilling His call for me. When I was working my previous job, I wasn’t really looking to move on. I was trying (there goes “my efforts” again!) to stabilize and establish my position. God seldom wants me (and probably all of us) to become “comfortable” and “settled”. If we do, we are in danger of becoming like the rich young ruler who was unwilling to pay the cost of following Jesus. The day may come when the Lord says to the comfortable, “Drop whatever you’re doing, empty your hands, forsake all these things, and follow where I will lead you.” He has required that of Abram, and MANY others. Why would He change?
Jesus said that He had come that we may have life, and have it abundantly. I don’t interpret that as meaning all believers are going to be rich. In most cases, I don’t believe it’s referring to finances at all. In Him is real life, purpose, and a joy that passes all natural understanding. Apart from Him, we wither and die, subject to conditions and circumstances. We seek after the illusion of happiness, only to find it elusive and fickle.
I know that, with my hands empty, I can receive what He has for me. And I know that what my God has prepared for me is incomparably good, because He is good beyond compare. May I remain an empty vessel, hands and heart turned toward heaven, desiring to be filled with nothing more and nothing less than the blessings my heavenly Father has designed specifically for me.
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