It is uncanny, seemingly coincidental, and a little unsettling that the readings this week in the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan and my 31 Days of Praise devotional appeared to be preparing me to handle a surprise attack at work.
In Numbers 27, I read that five sisters approached Moses and demanded that he give them the inheritance that traditionally would only be passed to the sons because there were no sons. (Okay, no big deal, and kudos for the rights of women.)
Then Psalm 70 bursts out with an urgency to have God’s deliverance from enemies; and Psalm 71 goes on to plead that God would keep the praying soul from being put to shame. (I’m still not thinking there is anything for me to ponder too deeply at this point; my life has been relatively calm for a while.)
Then comes Isaiah 17 with lots of descriptive judgments such as calling the nations chaff (a lack of value, stability, life) and being caught up in the whirlwind of God’s rebuke. (Hmmm…am I about to feel the divine correction of God?)
Isaiah 18 isn’t much better. The first word is “Woe.” I’m wondering what the line, “And when the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches.” (I’m starting to sweat as I worry what is about to be lopped off.)
Surely the New Testament will bring a hope of mercy, but no! We are urged to “be sober and be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (Now I’m looking over my shoulder to see what is about to pounce on me.)
I calm myself with the assurance that my devotional is focused on praise, so I expect to find comforting words. You can imagine how I felt when I read, “Thank You again that You meant for good the terrible things that happened to Joseph…,” (remember he was sold into slavery by his brothers and thrown into a pit a couple of times) “…I’m glad Lord, that You are the same today – well able to work things out for us, to turn evil into good.” (I’m not kidding, I’m quoting!)
So I’m certain at this point that all these readings must have something to do with my life or else I am not listening to my God who speaks through Scripture.
And then the bomb fell. I learned from a coworker that the person who works closest to me had gone to our supervisor to say that she was working harder than me and that it wasn’t fair. The coworker’s words were, “She’s gunning for you.”
Now had I not read Scripture, prayed over the Word, sought the Lord for wisdom, and accepted whatever He has prepared for me, I think I would have returned to my flesh-like ways of defending myself to my supervisor. Instead, I repeated the comforting words of thanksgiving from my devotional, “Thank You that I can safely commit my location and situation to You. I can ‘be willing for You to shift me anywhere on life’s checkerboard, or bury me anywhere in life’s garden, gladly yielding myself for You.” I think my submitted attitude to God helped me to submit to my supervisor and find favor in her eyes. What a relief we have in the promise of Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”
A thousand times better than taking Xanax!