(23) The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. (24) Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24 KJV)
Can anyone tell me what these following people have in common? Corrie Ten Boom, Bessie Ten Boom, Jim Elliot, Amy Carmichael, Perpetua, Gladys Aylward, Richard Wumbrandt, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, John Bunyan, Eric Liddell, William Booth, Samuel (Kaboo) Morris, Augustine, John Wesley and Thomas Jermaine. All of these people God used in extraordinary ways to advance his kingdom! Not one of these individuals named were in the bible. A lot of the times we think that God did his greatest works in the bible times. We tend to think that God has not raised up any more Moses’s or David’s, Peter’s and Paul’s. These remarkable men and women that I’ve named have faced persecutions such as imprisonment, beatings, some had to flee for their lives, while others were martyred for their beliefs. Some led others to safety. While others risked their lives to spread the gospel to communist countries. Many of them were asked to renounce their faith. All of them knew the risk but persevered through trials and afflictions in order to bring glory to God’s name!
As I was watching each of these individuals life stories. The scripture The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord popped into my spirit and mind. How many of us have quoted this scripture. I have plenty of times. If I’m honest I will admit that I quote this scripture only mediating on the good. You know what I mean. I meditate on this verse imagining all of the good places that God has ordered my steps. The favor, the promotion, the desires coming to pass, the godly relationships. As I watched each of these individual stories. I begin to realize that God even orders the steps of a good man, even if those steps leads to persecution. The scripture even goes on to say and he delighteth in his way. Some of you may be thinking wait a minute…hold up! You mean to tell me that God finds pleasure in the suffering of his saints? No, God does not find pleasure in our suffering. He does however delight in the fact that our trials lead others to him. Often times we believe that it’s our testimony of what God delivers us from that entice others to Christ but sometimes it’s what he doesn’t save us from that has the greatest impact on others. Perpetua one of the individuals that I named was martyred with four others in I believe 203 A.D. The Roman Empire wanted to use them as an example of what would happen to those who professed to be Christians. They were scourged and attacked by wild animals before finally being put to death by the sword. Spectators gathered to watch the killings of these five individuals as though they were watching The NBA finals. The Roman Empire had hoped to stop the spread of Christianity, but instead more people came to Christ because of Perpetua and her companions. Their steps were ordered even to death. God used their death more than their lives to bring glory to his name.
(18) Verily, verily, I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walked whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. (19) This spake he signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. (John 21:18-19 KJV)
This was after Jesus asked Peter three times. Do you love me. If so then feed my sheep ( spread the gospel). Jesus was telling Peter in this verse that there was a time when you did as you pleased. You went where you desired, but now you will stretch forth your hand and you will be guided to a place where you would rather not go. No one willingly wants to go into persecution. I don’t care how strong your faith is. The scripture says thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. The word gird means to surround or encompass. The word carry means to support or move someone or something from one place to another. So Jesus was letting Peter know that there will be places/times in your walk with me. Where I’m going to lead you where you would rather not go, but I will encompass you and carry you through. This made me realize that there will be something’s that God will have to carry us through. In other words there will be something’s that we won’t be able to get through in our own strength. Even after telling Peter that he would become a martyr for him. He then told Peter to follow him. Peter could have been like well this life isn’t for me. I’m trying to live not die! Peter’s life was already ordered. It was the reason why Jesus could tell Peter he would die for him. Before instructing him to follow him.
Now the scripture order my steps have taken on a new meaning for me. It is still something that I will continue to pray over my life. Now, however I also pray for strength not to fight where he is ordering my steps. Especially, if it leads to a place where I would rather not go. I’m learning to trust that wherever he orders my steps will ultimately bring glory to his name. Will you allow him to order your steps? Even if it’s to a place that you would rather avoid?