Each step I take/ You make a way/ And I will give you all my praise./ My seasons change, You stay the same./ You’re the God of all my days.”- God of All My Days, Casting Crowns
“All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.”- Psalm 25:10 (ESV)
For part of his military service in the army during World War II, my dad William (Bill) Henning was stationed at Red Bank, New Jersey. Due to its close proximity to Manhattan, Dad enjoyed occasional weekends there. On one of those visits, he struck up a friendship with my mother Elinor’s twin brother, Elmer. He served at the Navy Fleet Post Office there.
Imagine Dad’s surprise when he ran into Elmer at the Lutheran Service Center, located at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in New York City. Because Elmer wasn’t alone. That weekend Elinor came up from Washington, D. C., where she worked for the Navy Department, to see Elmer and his wife Clara.
Bill and Elinor next met “by chance,” as Mom put it, after the war at Elmer’s home in Milwaukee. Mom stopped in Milwaukee on her way back to Chicago from her vacation in Colorado. Since taking a job with United Airlines, she now lived in Chicago. While Mom was there, Dad traveled from his native Chicago to visit Elmer. After a year and a half of dating, they married.
In the seventh century John Climacus, a Egyptian Christian monk renowned for leading people to deeper levels of Christlikeness, advised: “Fight to escape from your cleverness. If you do, then you will find salvation and uprightness through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Thus, Climacus identified one of the greatest barriers to experiencing Christ’s presence and power in our lives. That barrier consists of our need to completely figure God out in advance of what He’s doing. This represents our attempt to control Him and predict His next move.
However, as Brian Jones points out in Finding Favor: God’s Blessings Beyond Health, Wealth, and Happiness, God’s vision for His people involves serving Him wherever they are. And that spans from the end of their driveways to the end of the earth. Therefore, Pastor Jones underscores, God wants us to view every area of our lives as holy ground. Furthermore, through all seasons, holy work occurs on holy ground. Hence, we use every ounce of our beings to consecrate holy work as an act of worship. As Brian notes, “Holy ambition honors a holy God.”
Throughout his life seasons, Dad walked on holy ground as fiancé, husband, father, chemist, provider. To sustain his journey he, like all of us, needed only one thing- the favor of the Lord. As a result, like the great men and women of the Bible, seek the favor of the Lord before anything you do. With God’s favor, Brian exhorts, victory’s ensured. Without it, you’ve already lost the battle.
Finally, even though we rarely find God’s favor understandable or predictable:
“[God’s] favor rarely gives us what we want, no matter how much we squint, make threats, . . .but it always gives us exactly what we need.”