ALABASTER JARS

Life in Abundance


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The Right Job, The Right Time

Photo: flickr.com/gtmcknight/

Photo: flickr.com/gtmcknight

by Tonya Mechling

You, O God, know every one of us inside and out. Make plain which of these two men you choose to take the place in this ministry. Acts 1:24.

I had just interviewed within a church organization. I really wanted the position. I prayed I’d get the job, if I were meant to have it. Those hiring for the position were also praying; they wanted God’s help in finding the right person.

As I prayed, I was reminded of the 11 in the upper room. The men had just been through a wringer of emotional events: Jesus’ death on the cross, His resurrection from the tomb and then His ascension into heaven. It had been a tumultuous two months.

I imagine the apostles gathered together, confused and overwhelmed. I picture them clinging to Jesus’ words. The fate of Christianity rested upon their shoulders. As they defined apostleship, they knew that it was time to choose a replacement for Judas. Surely, Matthias and Joseph both had worthy attributes. It would have been easy to follow human logic and obvious qualifications as their criteria. Instead, they prayer in earnest and in submission: Make plain which of these two men you choose.

God chose Matthias.

There is great peace in allowing God to lead in our lives. Although I really wanted the job, I wanted even more God’s will to be done. We have a tendency to pray for things that are not in our best interest, and we are devastated when God says No or seemingly fails to answer.

He does see the future, and He knows whether something will bless us or hinder us. Sometimes, as in Matthias’ case, God says Yes. At other times, as in my desire for this certain job, God says No. As we draw close to Him, we are more and more able to accept disappointments.

If today you are awaiting an answer, be comforted knowing God has already answered your prayer—in His perfect time!

You can find more devotions like this in the Alabaster Jars series. The first book has 53 readings and the second 99. Consider the books as a gift for yourself or someone else. Whether you buy the paperback or the Kindle version, you’ll be making a difference in a woman’s life–100% of the proceeds go towards teaching women how to read.
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The Call and The Cookie

by Fylvia Fowler Kline

Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. Genesis 12:1, The Message.

When our family received a call to go to Nepal as missionaries, I said no. It was the worst possible time–My career that was perched for great possibilities would die; my son’s intensive piano lessons that were preparing him for a future in composition would be jeopardized; my daughter’s academic goals would be crushed; and my husband’s break from the for-profit business sector would make him less marketable when we returned. It simply did not make sense. But God knew better. His persistence grew stronger with my every objection. The signs I got would have put Gideon, Moses and Joseph to shame; yet I refused.

Then, one Sabbath, away from home, Roy and I opened the Yellow Pages to find a church to attend. There were many; so, we randomly picked one and began our drive. Less than three minutes on the road, I spotted a church and suggested we attend that one instead of the one we had picked. Roy refused (his Germanic genes do not allow changes in plans). Five minutes later, I saw another; Roy refused. Another ten minutes went by and there was another church; Roy refused. We were now late for the service.

By the time we got to the church, the sermon had begun. And I was furious with Roy. Just as we sat down, the minister said, “Faith is about setting out on a journey without all the answers to your questions.” Roy nudged me. My response was silence, but I could not help scribbling the quote in my Bible.

The trip back to the hotel was long and silent. I took a nap that afternoon to blot out the irony of attending that particular church and hearing that particular message. I woke up late, hungry and miserable. We ordered Chinese takeout and ate in silence. The meal ended and I broke open my fortune cookie. It said: “You will go to a strange and far away land.”

In that moment I imagined God smile and say, “Checkmate.” After six years of our mission service, life was just as I had predicted—my career took a dive. My son’s music career never happened. My daughter didn’t end up in an Ivy League school. My husband did not find a job comparable to his strengths and experience. Yet we gained more than we lost. Our journey of faith that began with a fortune cookie took us into an experience of complete trust in God. We survived political strife, physical hardships, poor health, emotional trials and dangerous conditions. Every day was an adrenaline rush of miracles, a continual supply of blessings.

When I was able to give up my vision for myself and obey God’s call instead, God’s plans became my plans, His desires my desires. And in Him, I found abundant joy even in the worst of times.