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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

Reverse! Reverse!
Date Posted: July 3, 2008

"God uses reverses to move us forward" was the message I recently read on a church sign. Hmm . . .

Perhaps that's why I sometimes feel like I am slipping. Ha! I guess this little proverb made me think of my driveway in winter. We live near the top of a hill, so we see our share of drivers attempting to forge their way up the icy brick street. Then there is our driveway. It slopes downhill from the street - great for coming in. It's the getting out that is often a challenge. There have been many times when I have gone to back out of the drive only to find I don't have enough momentum to conquer the slippery slope. Then I have to reverse my path and get a running start to escape the dual pull of gravity and ice.

Reversing my direction, taking a deep breath and gunning the gas pedal usually will get me out of the drive. Then the hill on the street must be dealt with. There have been times, when backing out of my drive and pointing my car uphill that I have been stuck - unable to go onward and upward at all. In rare cases when it was so slick I could not even maneuver back into my driveway, I've had to back all the way down the hill. (That amusing show of watching a driver struggle up the hill from the comfort of my living room loses most of its humor when I am the driver!)

Regardless of the delay or the detour, I have always been able to move forward and get where I needed to go after these "reverses."

I don't know if God is trying to teach me a lesson through my icy driveway, but it seems that he uses reverses of all kinds to get our attention. The Israelites didn't exactly reverse, but rather went in circles for 40 years. It certainly got their attention so they were able to move forward into the Promised Land.

Jonah, going the wrong direction and trying to literally hide from God, was given a traumatic reversal order via the stomach of a big fish. Jacob experienced a bit of a setback after his wedding night to Rachel. Yes, "When morning came, there was Leah!", Genesis 29:25. I imagine he took a few steps back - literally! Jacob had to start all over again and work to obtain Rachel as his wife. Yet God used Leah's son Judah to bring about the lineage of Jesus. Not to mention that Leah was a good wife - faithful both to God and her husband.

Joseph was a well-loved son of a successful rancher, yet God allowed his brothers to reverse his fortune and make him a slave so that he could eventually save many lives. As Joseph tells his brothers in Genesis 50:20, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

And what about Paul? Aside from being completely reversed in his theology after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), Paul experienced setbacks nearly everywhere he preached. He acknowledges in 2 Corinthians 11:24-26, "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers."

Yet, through Paul's reverses, God's message was spread to much of the known world and was preserved for us today.

So perhaps I need to view reverses a bit differently from now on. Rather than a summer with no work, I should recognize time off as an opportunity to do all those things around the house that I never get around to doing. I can let God lead me to complete a few writing ideas which He has inspired. I can simply spend time with my family or sleep late. I can spend more time in prayer thanking Him for all the reverses that have propelled me forward into His will - even those I have yet to recognize.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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