Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thought for the Day


by Steve Puckett

You see I had really intended to take a two month sabbatical from blogging and perhaps even from life, but you know how life can press in on you whether you intend for it to or not. I started writing at a furious pace after my Dad's passing and I thought maybe God had some sublime purpose in this writing experience ... and he may yet. That's a part of why I'm back on this page.

Today, pressing down on me is the thought of "intentions." When I say pressing, I mean weighing on me in a way that requires some action and for me the logical action is to write it out into the open.

Here's my attempt at it. At one point in my life I intended to be a physician or a lawyer or anything but a preacher. At one point in my life I intended to avail myself of just about any pleasure that would take my mind off of life in general. At one point in my life I hesitantly accepted my "temporary" preacher role, but spent most waking moments seeking a way to become something else in a related field like teaching.

As I became a more permanent "preacher," I focused my energies on shaping "the church" into what I thought it should be based on the best books, research, education, and "successful" churches that I knew. Surely this had to be God's will and he would pour out his blessings on my efforts.

Then one night in a prayer vigil in a most unlikely place, it hit me squarely in the face -- Intention: This was something that "I intended to do" deliberately, with calculation, forethought, preplanning and premeditation. What "I" intend to do! Lord of heaven, have mercy, what "I intend to do"! Does it really matter what "I intend to do"? Could it take 50 years for God to show me the utter vanity of my intentions? It only took 40 years for God to deal with Moses, but then Moses had something I don't have -- meekness. It only took 30 years with Joseph, but then Joseph had something I don't have -- trust in God in every crisis moment.

Intentions -- I digressed a bit because the part that really hit me square in the face is the absolutely true declaration of Job 34:14-15, "If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust."

Those are convicting words. At any moment during my "intentional" life God could have snuffed me out like a fragilely lit candle. And why wouldn't he? Because it wasn't his "intention." The word "intention" in this text of Job gained power for me as I discovered that the word is really "his heart." If it is in God's heart, he could snuff me out.

However, it was not in God's heart to snuff me out. And the only meaning I can discern in all of this is not just that God loves me in spite of myself, but that God has a plan to work his will and his good pleasure in me no matter what my intentions are or how hard I resist him. (Philippians 2:13)

When I more specifically find out what his plan is and what his good pleasure is for me, you will be the first to know. He's been giving me some small hints lately, but it's much too early to tell. Until then, and beyond, my life rests in his hands and with what he intends to do.

Posted: 04/13/2006

(c) 2006 Steve Puckett.

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