Our Women’s Ministry Team asked me to speak at their December Christmas gathering back in 2020. At first I was scared to death! I do not like speaking in front of a group of people, at all! My husband can do it fearlessly. Public speaking is not my forte, so I told them I would pray about it and think on it. After a couple conversations with God, I knew it was something He wanted me to do, because He had been working on some big things in my heart during 2020. He wanted me to share them with others to encourage them in the same manner.
However, Covid hit our home that very month, and just a week before my speaking engagement. I was grounded in quarantine with my positive Covid test and not able to share this with the ladies at my church. As I’ve thought about it, it’s not something I can ‘hang on to’ and simply share at another date. It was germane to 2020, so I’m going to share with you what God taught me in 2020.
When I was first asked to do this devotional, my initial thought was to quickly reject it because I’m terrified of speaking in front of people. Even in the midst of a panic in my mind (and thanks to the movie Inside Out, we have a great visual for such moments), I knew God wanted me to do this. He wanted me to share with y’all what I have been learning this year in the midst of my own busy.
It has been a busy year, hasn’t it? Think back over it, even with the quarantine months and the limits on travel or even going out to eat, it’s been a busy, somewhat chaotic, uncertain, frustrating, aggravating, annoying, angering, scary year. It’s been distracting…have we even fully come to grips that we are sitting in December of 2020?
I started the year of 2020 buying an expensive planner. I had high hopes for this planner. My goal was to be more intentional with my life, to write things down the ‘old fashioned’ way with paper and pen. To stay focused in the “here and now” of my life. (You can read the blog post about that here) But when March hit, my goal of being intentional went off the rails. I almost threw the planner away as I commiserated with other planner people on the waste of money it had been.
Then Proverbs 16:9 popped into my head: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps” Proverbs 16:9
Please don’t misunderstand me, this verse wasn’t a comfort at first. It was just another episode in my 43 year life where God and I were not on the same sheet of music, and I was initially grumpy about that. I had plans, you see, I had trips, I had goals, I had a vision, I had stuff that I wanted in the planner that I spent money on! I, I, I, me, me, me. But God… God removed all the plans that I had inked into my planner in order to teach me and remind me once again that His ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts. He is working all things to the good of Kay Duncan who loves Him. And I desperately needed to be reminded that God has not promised me a year of amazing trips to the mountains that I love. God has not promised me a trip with just my daughter to the college she wanted to check out. God did not promise me time spent with family far away from me. God didn’t promise me lots of fun dinner parties with my church family that I love dearly. God did not promise me an expensive planner full of events that I would fill will all my pretty color coded pens and highlighters that I would be able to look back through to remember my adventures.
Do you want to know what these empty pages gave me? It gave me time to reflect on the things He HAS promised, the guarantees of God. Way back in the Garden of Eden, He promised a Savior would come, One that would crush Satan, One whose blood was all sufficient to cleanse us from our sins. He promised Abraham a son would be born to his wife Sarah. Through this promised son would come a people more numerous than the starts in the sky or the sands of the seashore. He promised Abraham a land for his descendants filled with milk and honey. He promised David that one of his descendants would sit on the throne eternally. He promised never to leave nor forsake His children. He promised to send His children a Helper in this world. Every single promise of God has come to be. Every. Single. One.
Through confession, repentance, and faith in Jesus alone, we have these promises to hold, the promises became ours. But just how trustworthy are these promises? If depends on the source of those promises. Who made the promises? (Let them answer) So then who guarantees them? (Let them answer)
Since God is the guarantor of these promises. The very God who is, and was, and is to come. The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. The unchangeable, faithful, Creator and sustainer of the universe. A promise of God is a sure thing, it’s set in stone, it cannot be erased or snatched back from us.
Do we trust him to fill in our planners? He reminded me to make my plans in pencil and to joyfully give Him the eraser.