Recently, I began leading two different men’s groups I’m simply calling D Group 1 and D Group 2. The first includes four guys who are a bit older than I am, and the second includes a twenty-something and a teenager. We just started Francis Chan’s Multiply, a fantastic study on becoming and making disciples—which is what the D stands for—discipleship.
In our first session, we discussed the question, “Have you ever thought about what the word Lord means?” I thought instantly of my aversion to the word Lord and specifically how people refer to God using the word. (I feel like I’ve written about this before, but a search here on my blog didn’t return anything.) It’s partly because it sounds churchy to me, like something you might hear a TV preacher say. Yet there’s something more, something beneath my conscience that resists using the word myself.
In the Old Testament, when you run across “the LORD” with small caps, the name refers to the Hebrew name of God, which Jewish people considered far too holy to pronounce and so would substitute ‘Adonay, meaning the Lord. Perhaps I ought to fall in line with the Hebrews and begin using the Lord—at the least, Adonai.
Three verses here in Proverbs 16 stuck out at me, partly because they’re similar and partly because I’ve been grappling with the truth they communicate:
Proverbs 16:1,3,9 (ESV)
1 The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. …
3 Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established. …
9 The heart of man plans his way,
but the LORD establishes his steps.
I’ve been reading some difficult books lately, including the one I just reviewed last week, A Cruel Harvest. I’m reading about abuse and suffering and how God is good in the midst of pain. I’ll likely write more about this as I near a sermon I’m to give in February as part of a series we’re calling “Less Like Scars.” I’ll be concluding the series by looking at the life of Joseph and how he saw redemption in the evil that was done to him. In short, I’m understanding how God uses pain to conform us to the image of his Son Jesus.
I am reminded of another passage:
Jeremiah 10:23-24 (NLT)
23 I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own.
We are not able to plan our own course.
24 So correct me, LORD, but please be gentle.
Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.
I’m seeing that despite my dreams and plans that God’s will is sovereign, and it’s his will to help me to become like Jesus. When difficult circumstances arise, the sooner I realize this truth the better. Now, I’ll keep dreaming and I’ll keep planning, but it’s my desire for God to guide my steps, whether they lead to my goals or whether they lead to my primary purpose of bringing him honor not just in what I do but in who I’m becoming.
Even when I don’t understand, I want to continue submitting to Adonai, to the Lord, who is my master, my owner.