Tracking Number

Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay

The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. —Psalm 121:8 NIV

The verdict was in: My old laptop couldn’t be fixed. My computer guy tried—ordered an internal jack to replace the bad one that was causing the screen to flicker and a too-frequent-for-comfort loss of power. But he couldn’t get into the computer to replace it.

In the days preceding the verdict, I’d prayed about the decision whether to buy a new laptop or repair the old one. I pored through Consumer Reports and visited the websites of companies making the models that were my top choices. I’d pretty much made up my mind which laptop would suit my needs and pocketbook. So when a little “chat with a representative” window popped up, I clicked on it.

I told the rep I needed it no later than Friday. It was Monday. I was scheduled to fly to Colorado Springs the following week for a writing stint, and I needed the laptop in time to set it up and get somewhat used to it before I left.

“No problem,” he wrote. “I’ll schedule it for expedited shipping at no extra cost.”

So I ordered it—a nice, sleek laptop that was half the size and bulk of the old one. And I had enough money left over to buy a much-needed all-in-one printer.

In the confirmation email the company sent me was a tracking number—by clicking on it, I could follow my order en route from the distribution facility across the country to my home. And that’s what I did.

From Tuesday to Thursday, I watched the laptop’s progress from Carlsbad, California, to San Diego to Indianapolis to Pittsburgh to Johnstown to my home. I even had a pretty good idea the hour it would come. I sat by the front window most of the day waiting. When it arrived, I did one big happy dance.

Similarly, God watches our progress from birth to death. We’re all “special orders” to Him. Each of us is the apple of His eye (Ps. 17:8)—beloved, precious, and honored (Isaiah 43:4). Some of us are on an expedited route and will arrive home sooner than others. But most of us, I daresay, are going home by way of ground shipment, which will take longer and will have more “parking spots” and bumps along the way.

Our Heavenly Father knows every stone, every pothole, every mountain and valley, every river that must be crossed. But better yet, he does the “happy dance” when we finally arrive on the doorstep of our eternal home.

Dear God, You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in Your Book. How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking of me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn towards me. And when I wake in the morning, You are still thinking of me! (Psalm 139:16–18 LB) Awesome! Thank You. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 121.

Additional Scripture to savor: Psalm 139, 1 Peter 3:12, Jeremiah 24:6, 2 Chronicles 16:9

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

The Deathbed Perspective, Part 3: Keeping the Faith

Read and reflect on 2 Timothy 4:6–8; Psalm 121; Hebrews 11.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

Today we look at the final phrase of Paul’s deathbed words to the young pastor Timothy: I have kept the faith.

What does it mean “to keep the faith”?

When I hear the word “keeper,” I think of a zookeeper, someone who’s charged with guarding and caring for the animals. I also think of God Almighty, who is my keeper. He protects me, guards me, helps me, watches over me, and preserves me (Psalm 121).

Another definition of “keeper” is “someone or something you want to hang on to, keep, not throw away or lose” (my definition). I knew my husband was a keeper the night I met him.

No matter the meaning, though, it takes work—time and effort—to be a keeper, to consistently guard, properly care for, hang on to something or someone for a lifetime.

Now let’s look at the word “faith.” According to the Bible, “faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it” (Hebrews 11:1 NCV). “Faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses” (Amplified).

Faith, to a Christian, is not just believing that God exists, but believing God is everything His Word says He is. It’s believing the promises we read in His Word and taking them personally. It’s believing God without a doubt—or in spite of it—when the world around us believes only in tangible things.

Now put those two words together: “keep” plus “faith.” Keep the faith. How, exactly, do we keep the faith?

By clinging to it in the storms, the silence, and the successes of life.

Let’s look at those times:

First, keep the faith through the storm. The Gospels record the times Jesus calmed the storm—and His disciples in the process.

But He doesn’t always calm your storms, does He? What do you do then? Lose your faith? Shake your fist in Heaven’s face? Stop believing He cares for you or that He even exists?

God knows there are times you must go through the storm—to grow, to learn, to become the person He’s molding you into. Like the words of the song, “sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes He calms me.” Faith is believing during the deep, dark times when the storms are raging all around, that He’ll never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), that He’s with you always (Matthew 28:20), even if you don’t sense His presence. Faith is not feelings. Remember Zephaniah 3:16–17.

Second, keep the faith in the silence—God’s silence, that is. When your prayers go unanswered, when you feel alone and abandoned. Believe that God will answer in His time, His way, and always for the best. God’s silence doesn’t mean He’s not with you. Keep a journal of your prayers and when and how God answers. You’ll be amazed when you look back and see He was there all the time.

And finally, keep the faith in success—when things are going your way. We tend to forget God then, don’t we? We spit up a quick “thank you” and then enjoy our success as if it were all our doing.

Fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith, Pilgrim, for a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) with your name awaits you at the finish line.

 Dear God, help me to guard, protect, and preserve my faith. Help me to both keep and be a keeper of the faith. Amen.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.