A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Golden Gate Bridge with fog
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"The Necessity And Blessing Of Flexibility"
Note: This week we are gleaning lessons from observations we made while walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Message summary: Consider the blessing of flexibility as God brings to pass that which He has planned for us even though it might not be the way we had expected it to happen, in the time frame we had in mind or even as we want it to.
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"We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in Godís hands" (Proverbs 16:1, The Living Bible). "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lordís will, we will live and do this or that'" (James 4:13-15).
On the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge there's a nice visitor's center that has information about the bridge and of course a gift shop. As I was waiting for Brooksyne and Ester to walk across the bridge I saw the sign above which deals with "bridge deck deflection". Essentially the Golden Gate Bridge is designed to sway 27 feet to either side to move flexibly in the wind.
In engineering, deflection is the degree to which a structural element is displaced under a load. It may refer to an angle or a distance. It is a necessary design feature due to varying loads upon the bridge and environmental factors.
Similarly we must have flexibility in life. Things don't always work out the way we plan or want. The character trait of flexibility has been defined as "Not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others.
James describes this necessary flexibility: "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that" (James 4:13-15).
God directs our lives every day, whether it's a day of routine or whether it's a day of upheaval. Flexibility allows us to have peace and assurance regardless. It's during those times of upheaval that we often have difficulty hearing His voice and knowing which step to take next. Uncertainty looms over us and we want to make the right choice or give the proper response. How good it is when we take our concern to the Lord and we hear His voice in our spirit directing us, "This is the way, walk in it".
A proverb Brooksyne quotes often is "We may make our plans, but God has the final say" (paraphrase of Proverbs 16:1). Planning and strategizing short and long term goals is an important part of life, but it is especially reassuring that God's sovereign hand overrules our limited knowledge, as we trust our lives to His care. That's the blessing of flexibility as He brings to pass that which He has planned for us even though it might not be the way we had expected it to happen, in the time frame we had in mind or even as we want it to.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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