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What can you count on?

A lot of us think we can count on something, then find what we have been counting on falls apart right before our eyes or underneath our feet. I lived in Alaska for about three years and absolutely enjoyed it - but I came to appreciate not everything 'beneath my feet' was to be believed. One day as I was getting off the bus on my way to the local shopping mall in Anchorage, I ventured across the street on a cold, wintery day. Being from Arizona and not really familiar with this snow and ice, I had absolutely no idea what was to happen next. I was crossing a street, saw a puddle and imagined it to be just like any other puddle I had experienced. Can you say 'pothole'? Imagine one as deep as your kneecap and you can picture me there on the main drag in Anchorage. Up to my knees in cold, brown, icy mush on one side, while the other side of my body was precariously slipping around trying to get out of it! We think we can count on stuff to always be as we have known them to be, but when our world falls apart and we are precariously 'slipping around' trying to regain some form of 'footing' in life, we can get a little twitter-pated! Life isn't going to always be as we have known it (2020 should be proof of that). Life isn't always going to be as 'predictable' as we might imagine. It also isn't going to be without hope. I could have been both legs in that hole, up to my knees in the mess, but I wasn't! I had some footing left with which to rescue myself. How many times do we find ourselves one foot in, one foot out, thinking we can rescue ourselves? Maybe one too many....

This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. “I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

God has plans to take care of us, but we don't always walk within those plans, do we? We like to walk a little too close to the line on occasion, sometimes putting ourselves in rather precarious situations that we really have no way of avoiding now that we are that close to the edge. God's plans deal with both our present and our future. They include provision and protection. We may not understand them fully, but if we can just get hold of those two thoughts for a moment, maybe we would be able to stand a little stronger when we find ourselves 'one foot in' and 'one foot on the edge'. God's plan is to protect us, but we all know protection includes doing what we know to do while he does the rest. I don't understand how a vaccine will prevent or reduce the effects of Coronavirus in my body - at least not fully - but I do understand that the vaccine will help protect me. So, I get the vaccine. I do my part and I let the vaccine do what it is intended to do. I get the injection, enduring the immune responses of my body setting up within me, revealing to me that the vaccine is doing the part it is designed to do. God's plans are like that - we do what we know to do and then we trust him to do the parts only he can do.

His plans for us are also to provide for us - not because we earn it, but because he loves us enough to make a way where there is no way to be found in the natural. He isn't going to abandon us into our state of misery, worry, and anxiety. He isn't going to leave us alone, even when we plead with him to just abandon us in our misery. Job is an example of that one, for sure. Sitting high atop a pile of dung (just another word for poop), he is scraping at boils that are festering with shards of broken pots, and all he wants is to be out of his misery. What does he do next? He makes his misery worse by sitting in the dung, scraping away, complaining all the while that he has been abandoned and left to suffer this horrible end to his life. Even a couple of his 'friends' get an invite to the 'pity party' and add fuel to his misery by telling him he must have done something pretty horrible to deserve his present circumstances. If I ever hold a 'pity party', remind me not to invite those guys! 

God's means of working aren't always going to be easy for us to understand, but two things remain consistent through all of time - he provides and he protects. We might find ourselves feeling like our world is crashing in on occasion, but he hasn't abandoned us into our misery. Look at what our response to 'the world is ending' kind of fear and anxiety we are experiencing should be - we are to go looking for him - seek him with everything that is in us. When we want him more than anything else - we will be sure to find exactly what we are looking for - HIM. Just sayin!

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