This is My Father's World

But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving.... Daniel 9:9 NLT 

Do you ever stop and think about all the voices in the world that are shouting for your attention at any moment? All the marketing messages trying to pull you this way or that, the friends who feel strongly about something, the trends that grow so quickly that herds of people start to wear the same color or use the same expression seemingly overnight. There’s a lot of what we call influence out there. In fact, these days, a person can make a lot of money as an “influencer.” (If you’re not a big social-media fan, an influencer is someone with considerable power to affect the decisions of their online audience.) It’s easy to find ourselves wondering, Who’s really running the show these days? or Whose world is this, anyway? But we know whose it is. No matter how loud the crowd becomes, no matter what spiritual forces attempt to take over and derail the whole thing, our Maker holds it all in His hands. He’s never surprised, disappointed, or concerned with what’s happening; He knows exactly where it’s all going and how. The hymn “This Is My Father’s World” inspires us to remember that: 

This is my Father’s world: 
Why should my heart be sad? 
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring! 
God reigns; let earth be glad! 

But here’s the thing: We humans can be easily influenced. We’re part of this world, even if we sometimes wish we weren’t. We are swimming in this river called “life,” and the current can be strong. It’s likely there will be moments when we look up and wonder how we drifted so far or how we got so tangled up in something we never saw coming. These are the times we wish we had been more aware, sooner, of how something might affect us downstream. They say hindsight is 20/20, but foresight . . . not so much. 

Just remember this: We are imperfect people doing our best to navigate an imperfect world. Sometimes we just lose our way. We miss the Spirit’s nudge to pay attention, or we hear that still, small voice and forge ahead anyway. We may spend our time beating ourselves up about getting off course and making “that” choice, wondering how we could let the circumstance or relationship affect our heart and mind so negatively. But every moment we lose to guilt and shame is a moment that could have held peace and joy for us. And our heavenly Father doesn’t ask us to sit and resent ourselves for a while before we come to Him again. He doesn’t dole out grace every so often, like only when we really deserve it. Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me . . .” That’s a forever-open invitation. When the world feels overwhelming . . . when we realize that we need to change course . . . when we would condemn ourselves—let us remember that “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17 NIV). That’s about you and me and all of us who would come to Him today. In our Father’s world, grace will always abound. 

Jesus, I just lose my way sometimes. I get swept up in that rushing river of life and end up regretting it. I don’t want to waste the precious time You’ve given me by living under a cloud of guilt and shame. When I’ve drifted, I need to hear that tender voice of Your Spirit calling me home to Yourself, again and again. Thank You for loving me no matter what. Amen. 

Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine: Old-Time Devotions for Fresh Starts 

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