So much of life is waiting. . .

As a Christian, I am waiting for a lot--for God to do His refining work in me, for Jesus to return, for me to GET how much God loves me and for me to see what He is doing . . .

What to do in the meantime? I have learned much about what the Lord is trying to teach me, tell me and show me through the discipline of daily time spent reading the Bible. So often we make this time harder than it has to be.

This blog was born out of wanting to share what God is showing me and wanting to be an example that daily time with God is not a deep or mysterious thing (well, every once in a while it can be), but simply a time to read scripture and note what jumps out at you that day. We don't have to be scholars or super-holy or ministry leaders to do this. Some days I hit the jackpot and others I come up empty--but only by persevering do I give God the space in which to speak and myself the stillness in which to hear and obey.

As of June of 2017, I've now decided to include parts of our adoption journey, which is, so far, yet another chapter of waiting.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Even If. . .

Today I read one of my favorite passages in the Old Testament, in Esther.  The exiled Jews have just heard about the edict against them--that in months, they will be slaughtered, legally, by the government.  Queen Esther's cousin Mordecai delivers a message to her, urging her to go to the king and plead for the lives of their people.  Esther at first gives all the reasons why that will never work.  Mordecai responds: 
“Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews.  For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish.” (Esther 4:13b-14a)
What stood out to me this morning was Mordecai's utter faith that, whether Esther spoke up or not, the Lord would deliver them. As a Jew, he would have known that the Lord had promised to protect His chosen people.  Mordecai had a plan--Esther to intervene with the king--but greater than his trust in his plan was his faith in his God.

I am thankful that we can see Mordecai's humanness.  "When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry." (Esther 4:1).  He didn't just nod and pray and twiddle his thumbs, waiting for divine intervention. He wailed.  He grieved.  He sought out Esther and had to ask her not once, but twice to speak to the king. Once Esther was persuaded, he led the Jews in fasting for her for three days.  

Mordecai was facing certain death if the edict were carried out as written.  He responded with honest emotion, a plan, and faith in a God who might or might not work through the plan Mordecai had conceived.  Where did his faith come from?  The knowledge of the promises of God to be faithful to His people.

Fast forward to me, a 21st century Christian facing not possible imminent physical death, but the possible death of hopes or dreams or security.  I am going to lose loved ones.  The idea I had in my head of what my life would be doesn't seem to be happening.  I have waited and waited and waited for good things that I want (and, truth be told, believe that I need).  Yet I, too, have promises from the Lord as well.  Promises to meet my needs.  Promises to give me the desires of my heart.  Promises that nothing, NOTHING, can separate me from His love:
 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 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. (Romans 8:38-39)
My plan may not work out.  My idea of how God will work may not be correct.  My desires may not be met in the timetable that I prefer (or at all).  Will I, with Mordecai, have the faith to believe that "relief and deliverance" will rise from God's perfect plan, His powerful execution of that plan, and His purposeful timing in when that plan occurs?  I may not get what I want, but I am promised that the Lord will give me what I need:  "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) 

Ultimately, my truest and deepest needs, for forgiveness and restoration to God, have already been met through Jesus.  Romans 8:32 says:  "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?"  The deliverance of my soul has been accomplished, arising from the cross.  I can trust the Lord for everything else, as well.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Watching My Mouth

I have been reading in 2 Chronicles for the past week or so.  In chapter 32, Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, is trying to take over the kingdom of Judah.  Part of his ploy involves discouraging the people of Judah by telling them that they are foolish to follow their king (Hezekiah) and trust their God.  I have been pondering these verses for the past few days:   
 And he [Sennacherib] wrote letters to cast contempt on the Lord, the God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, “Like the gods of the nations of the lands who have not delivered their people from my hands, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver his people from my hand.”  And they shouted it with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, in order that they might take the city. And they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as they spoke of the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of men's hands. (2 Chronicles 32:17-19).
The last verse, in particular,  keeps coming back to my mind.  What does it mean to speak of God as I speak of the gods of the people of the earth?  Usually when a verse keeps popping into my head, it means that the Lord is trying to tell me something about my heart.  My list of the present "gods of the peoples of the earth" would include money, status, education, success, beauty, and security, to name just a few.  How do I as a Christian speak of those "gods"?

When I speak of them, I shake my head at the foolishness of trusting in these wordly gods.  I might say things like  "Those things can't save you," or  "You will find out that it's not enough," or "You're believing in the wrong things."

However, there are times when I am speaking of my God, the God of the Bible, that I say things like "Oh, He won't do that for me.  The answer to that is always 'no'," or "Yeah, I figure whatever is the hardest, that's what God will make me do," or "He COULD do that, but He probably won't."

Just today I was talking to a friend about a situation in my life, and she suggested that possibly the Lord might be using it to put me more in touch with my emotions and (this is the one that got me) more open with those emotions in front of other people.  My exact response was a sarcastic "Yippee."  Which really means "Great.  Not what is comfortable, not what I was asking for, and not what I wanted."  Which in turn says to whomever is listening, "Yeah, well, that may be what God is doing, but I think it's a terrible idea and I don't like it and what does He know anyway, and (like Sennacherib told the Jews) HE IS NOT DELIVERING ME from this situation either fast enough or in the way I want."
And they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as they spoke of the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of men's hands. (2 Chronicles 32:19)
 Ouch.  Actually, way more than ouch.  Never do I want to speak of the Lord in a way that denigrates His work in my life or His power and sovereignty.  I had to stop and repent and affirm to God that I want to speak of Him as Who He really is.  My correct response to God working in my life, even when it is not in the way I (and what do I know?) desire, is to say "I don't like this, Lord, but I trust Who You are and what You are doing, and I will accept this as good."

Because the God of the universe is not the work of men's hands, and He deserves glory and honor from my lips.