Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Breakaway retreat with our youth group. All together, there were about 250 people at the camp and we had a fantastic time of enjoying the activities, praising God, singing, and worshiping together. We also had multiple opportunities for our particular youth group to gather as a small group and discuss the things that we were learning. I mention this because the timing of the retreat was a real blessing to me, as I had just received some disheartening news about a job that I had interviewed for, and in one of our discussions, we talked about how God guides us and protects us. Sometimes it seems as though His plans get in the way of what we want to do. As I was talking with the teens, an image came to my mind that I shared with them and they suggested that I share it with others.
Have you ever seen one of those old walking wind-up toys? You wind it up, put it down, and aim it in the direction that you want it to go. It seems simple, except that those things never go where you point them. They stumble and fall down, or start going in the wrong direction, fall off the table, or just run into the wall repeatedly until they run out of energy. They then need to be wound up again and pointed in the proper direction only to run right back into that wall. Sometimes I feel like a wind-up toy. I get all wound up, I’m focused, and I am marching in the right direction. It isn’t long though before I crash into the wall and run out of energy. The thing that I need to remember is that I can no more function effectively apart from God’s power and guidance than that wind-up toy can get from point A to point B without someone winding it up and directing it. I also need to remember that sometimes, God puts a wall in my way to prevent me from falling off the table.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
If we continue to read through Romans 8, we see that God’s plan for us included much more than winding us up, directing us, and protecting us from the occasional calamity. God’s plan, which demonstrates the depths of His love for us, included the sacrifice of His Son so that we might be justified. Christ was tortured, crucified, killed, and overcame death in order that we, His enemy, might experience a personal and eternal relationship with our Creator.
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Praise God for his direction, correction, mercy, and love!