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At God's Disposal - By Pastor Thomas Engel

How are you with predictions? Do you have strong gut feelings about how a situation is going to turn out? What is your level of intuition?

We can choose if we are going to eat Frosted Flakes or Lucky Charms for breakfast, but as soon as we walk out of the door to meet our day, we are pretty much leaving ourselves to be vulnerable to events that are out of our control.

It would seem that not knowing future events, especially if these events are looking like they have a doomsday scenario, can possibly make us have cause to live in fear.

But, as much as life does have its uncertainties, we can have a sense that whatever happens in our present-day and in our futures that we will be more than okay.

To use a Scriptural reference here-“read the writing on the wall.” This phrase comes from the story of Daniel, in which the prophet interprets some mysterious writing that a disembodied hand has inscribed on the palace wall, telling King Belshazzar that he will be overthrown.

Usually, when we use or hear this phrase, it is to predict that a situation will not turn out well. I like to use the phrase in a more positive sense that can help me look at any day with confidence that I am in a good place and am going in a good direction.

Some of my favorite words show how we can look at our days and have a strong sense of security about them.

Here are some of those words: astute-clever-discern-insight-understanding-sensitive-shrewd-intellect.

We can also throw in some subjects like critical thinking, logic, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the current popular subject-mindfulness.

Looking at the definition of mindfulness, we see, “The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”

If we are feeling overwhelmed by a situation, and our thoughts and feelings are running on a high level, we, at least, know that we are elevated, so we can begin to calm ourselves down.

As humans, we have a lot going for us. Critical thinking, mindfulness, and growth mindset are skills taught in schools.

Going into any day, we can take a holistic approach, and even be so bold to say, “Hey, whatever comes what may, I have got the ‘stuff’ to make it through with courage and confidence that all is going well with me.”

We are definitely living in tumultuous times that can cause an overload of physical and emotional manifestations. Disruptive events can cause “ripple” effects throughout the community.

After we get through these times, mental health experts are predicting that we will see a rise of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Having anxiety in a difficult time is a natural response.

We can find in Scripture many places where there are fear and anxiety. Our Lord says, “Do not fear.” Jesus urges, “Do not worry.”

If we are hearing in Scripture not to fear and worry, it would seem that there is a recognition that we have things to fear and worry about. Although we will experience things that can cause us to be anxious, we are not to fear or worry about them.

Going back to our holistic approach to these difficult times, it is a good time to start that healthy routine of eating good food and exercise. As Christians, we should be well-informed citizens, but we also need to take a break from our world’s complexities and take a walk and feel the calm of nature. We can “escape” from our problems by reading a mystery novel or putting a jigsaw puzzle together as a family activity.

And then, God has given us a “brain” to help us figure out all of our troubles. When we are mindful of how we are reacting to difficult situations, we are likely to be more reasonable in our approaches to our situations and can find logical solutions.

In reading some articles about PTSD, the mental health experts seem to agree that the best solution to our reactions to difficulties is compassion. We are to help each other through this time, so each day is not a day just to tolerate, but we can have joy in the support that we are giving to each other.

Getting to talk about how we get through these times by our support for each other by showing compassion, we are talking about our lives as Christians.

It is not that non-believers cannot show compassion to others, and to admit, the sharing of care and love looks a lot alike on the surface of believers and non-believers.

Anyone can offer the help of an encouraging word or assistance to another person who is in need of some kind of care.

Anyone can care for the physical and emotional needs of others, but Christians go deeper and also care for people’s spiritual lives.

In the sixth chapter of Romans, verse 22 says, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”

In this verse, we get the whole Christian life. We come into this world as sinners, but God in Christ Jesus has set us free from our sins, so we can have the gift of eternal life. Then, we see that in the middle of this life we have fruit that leads to a holy life.

It is in this sanctified life that we see how the believer’s life of good acts has on the world. Our acts can only be of good use for the world because we are doing these good acts on behalf of God.

I just got back from Indiana. My son and his wife just bought their first house. In talking about the movie, I told my son that I am at his disposal. Whatever he needs, I will help.

At times, we might tell someone that we will do whatever it takes to help. We are giving up our time and devoting ourselves to the needs of others. Words that come to mind are sacrifice-duty-servant-offering-support.

It may sound strange that while we are walking on this earth that we are to be at God’s disposal. We are to serve God, and St. Paul goes as so far as using the word “slave” to show our relationship to God.

A “slave” only does the will of his master. At a human level, slavery is awful because a human master can be mean and oppressive.

But we can joyfully serve God because our Lord can only be good. First, when we think about serving God, we need to know that our Lord does not need our help. God is the almighty who is self-sufficient and does perfectly fine on His own.

Then, we know God’s will for us is to serve Him by serving others. And this serving is all about loving each other. The commandments can be summed in one word, “love.”

We are at God’s disposal to love others as God has loved us. We are to show grace and mercy as we meet others in all aspects of our lives.

When caring for others, God is giving us everything at His disposal. God gives us His complete and powerful love in Christ.

To sum up quickly our lives-after the first humans had fallen into sin, God promised a Savior-we have forgiveness of every sin, and this forgiveness makes us “right” with God-in our righteousness, death will not conquer us-on that day, we will enter into everlasting life.

In between birth and death, we are at God’s disposal to love one another. And God gives us all of the fruits at His disposal, so we can love one another as He loves us in Christ.

The most important words for us today are not long theological words. The words are short and simple-“But now....”

We can never be sure of what is coming next in our lives as far as the specifics. Not knowing all the details of what is coming does not need to weigh heavily upon us. But I know God has all the details in His hands. Here is some spiritual logic. If God has numbered all the hairs on our heads, then we can know He has all the other particulars in His control.

Although these times are difficult, we can still know that what is coming is good because we have God saying, “But now....”

But now, we have forgiveness. But now, we have a new beginning of grace and mercy. But now, we have the best purpose to live a life serving God. But now, we have all the fruits that God has, so we can give to others as we have them. But now, we are looking forward to eternal life.

Bu now, we have a life of compassion that we receive and can give. But now, it is a good time to be alive in a world that is going to God’s good plan for His perfect purposes in Christ.

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