The fingerprints of God
In that day sing to her, "A vineyard of red wine! I, the Lord, keep it, I water it every moment; Lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day. Fury is not in Me. Who would set briers and thorns against Me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; And he shall make peace with Me." -Isaiah 27:2-5
This passage came into my inbox Tuesday morning as I sat anxiously in a classroom with 120 equally nervous people. It felt like a mirage though, like one of those out of body experiences or a "pinch me" moment.
The day had finally arrived; the first day of law school orientation and electric excitement and tentative small talk buzzed around me.
I read those first few lines though and they filled me with the most awe-inspiring peace. Right there in the midst of dozens of strangers, I had a God moment. Through out the day, that feeling stayed with me, overshadowing first day jitters and the nervousness.
I saw it in the people I met, the conversations I had and even the paperwork I received.
I, the Lord, keep you. I water you every moment; lest any hurt you, I keep you night and day.
I am that vineyard. You are the vineyard. Safely nurtured and cared for by the Almighty - around the clock, through changing seasons and all of life's ups and downs; 24/7, 365 days a year protection, guidance and unconditional love.
They told us at orientation that we had made it - our hard work and perseverance put us in those seats, but this passage reminded me that although I may have done the physical work of school work, extracurricular activities and standardized tests, I was by no means there on my own merit or ambition. I was in that room, because my Father led me there.
Yes, I'm one of those people who doesn't believe in coincidences, because I see God in every nook and cranny of my life. He waters every moment of every day of my life - my comings and going, my dreams at night and thoughts during the day, the people I meet and the places I visit. Nothing is too small or mundane for my Lord.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." -Jeremiah 1:5
I believe in callings and destiny. Many people say that's naive and delusional, but I call it something else - faith.
"Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen....By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible." -Hebrews 11:1 & 3
As I spoke with my future classmates and professors, I got to share bits and pieces of my background and my family story...and some of the pieces began to fit. Like a trail of bread crumbs or a jig saw puzzle, the beginning of a story, a life, began to unfold in my mind and through my conversations that day.
I finally understood what it meant to see the finger prints of God in your life. It's humbling and inspiring.
During orientation, they piled us with advice, information and reminders. There were big, scary words used and intimidating study requirements and horror stories shared. In fact, I was prepared to be intimidated and terrified of what's to come, but my heart kept echoing these words from Nehemiah 8:10:
"Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
Before I even applied to law school and even after I was accepted and committed to attending law school, I was petrified of it all. My family, friends and mentors believed me in though and told me I could do it - they pointed out my strengths, spoiled me with reassurances and showered me with blessings.
But, every night, in tears I echoed the words of Moses in Exodus 4:10: "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." Law school is for smart people and contrary to popular belief, I am by no means a genius. I've made it this far on prayer and hard work. I also thought law school is for the talkers - the speech and debate kids who can talk through anything when I can barely string coherent sentences sometimes.
And every single time, with quite grace and patience, the Lord reminded me of all the exams I aced because of His help. The generous financial support that payed for my phenomenal undergraduate education. The mentors who gave me the proper advice or connected me to job opportunities.
Over and over, He showed that He is my strength.
"But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all earth." -Exodus 9:16
It's not about me - how smart I am, the connections I try to seek out or any other human effort I can make. It's about God and His work in this world. I am a mere vessel for His use.
This scares a lot of people, because we like to believe we have control of our lives. But, I think by believing in our own efforts and coincidences, we belittle God.
Yes, we have free will. God never has and never will force us to do anything we don't want to. We have a choice - to accept or walk away from salvation; we can choose to sacrifice things in the name of the Lord or we can hoard our idols and possessions; we can follow His commandments or we can dismiss them and do our own thing. Either way, life will go on - good and bad things will happen.
Sometimes, we'll make mistakes and get off God's path into the woods - maybe it's by marrying the wrong person, committing a sin or saying no to a God-oppportunity. At which point, we figure we're doomed. But, that also belittles God.
He is not a God of concrete plans and no second chances. He is a living, breathing, powerful King that tends to our lives night and day. He'll walk us through our self- imposed detours and mistakes. He gives us strength and forgiveness. In His master plan, it's never too late to fulfill your destiny.
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. -Isaiah 40:31
That's why I have complete confidence that the Lord will walk with me through every moment of law school. Yes, I'll have to study really hard, fail often and learn a lot of new material, but I won't be doing it alone. He is my strength and joy. He has already planned out the people I will meet, the professors I will have and the mentors I will meet.
Finally, I can now think of law school without having a panic attack or fighting tears. I also don't need to foretell the future or decide on a career path. He's got it all under control and I will humbly attempt to follow along.
God has a plan for your life too. You might look around and in frustration point out that you just don't see it. You might laugh cynically and call me crazy, lazy or naive. And that's okay. Sarah laughed when God told her she would have Abraham's baby in old age. A lot of God's warriors both in the Bible and through history didn't immediately jump aboard God's plan for their life. But, in the end, His will will be done. You can be a part of it, but it's your choice.
Take a moment to look back on your life. Where do you see the Lord's fingerprints? And, if you're feeling His calling right now, say yes. He is your strength and He will tend to your every matter - even the littlest things in your life - and lead you to everlasting life.