I need to know my future, but I don’t need to follow a horoscope or palm reader’s advice to find it. I need to follow a palm tree. Let me explain.
I am upset, distressed, fractured, dysfunctional, and dubious. I’m facing a major writing disappointment and wondering about the path ahead. Did God really steer me into writing at all? Frankly, at the time I began to write, I didn’t ask myself if I WANTED to write. I simply prayed desperately for a purpose after I suffered a very painful experience. I was given no other elaborate vision but to write. Then, as I wrote my story, I prayed fervently to bring honor to Him. Now the fictional story, which at first flew into my head and then for five years slowly matured and underwent revisions, is again being rejected. Why? Did I imagine myself a writer of contemporary fiction? Am I really connected to God’s purpose?
Today I struggle and second-guess what I thought was God’s direction. I am wondering if it is my own fear, need of comfort, and absolution of false guilt that propelled me to write a novel in the first place. Since I am not a competitor by nature, I also wonder if any of these motivations will be enough to keep me in the competitive race to win at publishing. Are my writing efforts God directed or self-propelled? (By the way, in my book I expose the struggle of false guilt.)
Thankfully, I just learned after reading Psalm 92 that I don’t need to rely on human answers (or horoscopes or palm readers) to find my direction again. The verses tell me it is only a matter of time before my answers will come. The Psalmist explains how things that are not of God fall away. Essentially all efforts, accomplishments, or acquisitions are either of God (Godly) or not of God (wicked) and only God driven deeds will survive.
In Psalm 92 verses 4-9 these two perspectives, “of God” and “not of God,” are described. However, preceding these views is a verse plugging joyfulness. (Yes, Lord, I need to get this attribute fixed in my template!)
“For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your works; at the deeds of Your hands I joyfully sing.”
Here’s a good strategy. I can praise Him for His deeds while I wait to see if my efforts/deeds are under His direction or mine. For me, uplifted lives will be the telling point and reveal if my efforts are of Him. “Lives” equate with readers, readers equate with exposure, and exposure equates with publishing. With the outcome undecided, I will continue to wait. Meanwhile I can sing of ALL the MANY deeds of God. This is good news for my sorrowing self!
“How great are Your doings, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep. A man in his rude and uncultivated state knows not, neither does a self-confident fool understand this: that though the wicked (not of God stuff) spring up like grass and all the evildoers (not of God stuff) flourish, THEY ARE DOOMED TO BE DESTROYED FOREVER.
But You, Lord, are on high forever.
I’m sure I could be criticized here for being too extensive with my application, but considering the picture given, how else should my logic work? To me, things are either of God or not of God. Actions therefore, are, or become part of His kingdom, or not part of His kingdom. This perspective allows for aspirations that seem good, to eventually crumble if they are not a part of God’s plan in the first place. I know that attaching the dramatic word “wicked” to what seems non-designated is the equivalent of painting well outside the usual lines, but doesn’t the Bible give evidence of God’s plan for all human beings and their actions to achieve their eventual destination in one place or another?
The Psalmist continues elaborating on the demise of what is wicked.
“For behold, Your adversaries, O Lord, (people, things or attitudes that keep us from being in synch with God) for behold Your enemies shall perish; all the evildoers shall be SCATTERED.”
Maybe there is a clue here. When we feel shattered, we might be in the process of being scattered. I am waiting to see if my pieces are just pieces and have no hope of ever being more than that (because they are meant to be destroyed,) OR if the pieces are being shaped by God into a new and durable structure yet to be seen.
Finally, in verses 12-15, I find my current favorite aspiration analogy, living life like a palm tree.
“The uncompromisingly righteous shall flourish like the palm tree, be long-lived, stately, upright, useful and fruitful…Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the court of our God. Growing in grace, they shall bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and verdure. (spiritual lush greenness, vitality, rich in trust, love, and contentment) They are living memorials to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises…”
“Thank you God for Your amazing deeds and the works of Your hands. Make my efforts fall in synch with your plans or crumble completely. Help me to trust Your process of constructing me into a stately palm tree that testifies to Your righteousness and faithfulness. Amen”