If things don't go the way we plan them or take a turn away from the goal we had set for ourselves, it’s good to remember that it is we who turned, not God. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
One things about winter walks is that they’re never the same. Everything pretty much depends on the wind. If the wind is out of the west or north, I end up walking into the wind for a good part of the time. And, when the temperature is hovering around zero or below, that can make a great difference in my level of comfort. When I put the wind to my back, however, things chance pretty rapidly. It doesn’t take much to go from bone-searing cold to comfortably cool when you are dealing with a winter wind. All you need to do is get your back to it and what had been a hindrance, even life-threatening, becomes benign. Yet, it wasn’t the wind that changed; it stayed the same. I was the one who changed by turning my back to it.
In that sense, I repented (turned around) from the direction I was headed in. The wind did not repent, I did.
Repenting means revising one’s judgment and changing one’s plan of action. God never does this; he never needs to, for his plans are made on the basis of a complete knowledge and control which extends to all things past, present, and future, so that there can be no sudden emergencies or unlooked-for developments to take him by surprise. “The counsel of the Lord stands for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Ps. 33:11). What he does in time, he planned from eternity. And all that he planned in eternity, he carries out in time. And all that he has in his Word committed himself to do, will infallibly be done. Thus we read of the “unchangeable character of his purpose” to bring believers into full enjoyment of their promised inheritance, and of the immutable oath by which he confirmed his counsel to Abraham, the archetypal believer, both for Abraham’s own assurance and also for others (Heb. 6:17-19). So it is with all God's announced intentions. They do not change. No part of his eternal plan changes. (James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.)
In our daily walks with God over the past year, it is good that we remember this rule of thumb: we changed but God did- n’t. He never repents of what He does. God is immutable, totally unchanging. If things didn't go the way we had planned them to or took a turn away from the goal we had set for ourselves, it is good to remember that it is we who turned, not God. Like that winter wind, God is not the one who accommodates us by changing from a vengeful God to a gracious God and then back again. We find comfort or peace in this life by our willingness to stay the course of pain or find another direction to take. As we close out this year and look into the next, it is good to remember that we choose to put God at our back or in our face. We can walk with Him or against Him. Repentance, turning around, is ours not His to do.
We pray. Heavenly Father, The year is rapidly coming to a close and we have a chance to look back on a year of, hopefully, growth. Many times over the past months we have had to walk through days filled with pain, challenges we didn’t want and emotions we had just hoped would go away. But, Lord, like that cold wind on a late December morning, we know there is always something to learn when you challenge us face to face with ourselves, like it or not. Keep us learning and keep us moving in the new year to come. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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