I currently get two devotionals emailed to me daily.
1. Church of the Apostles and 2. Henri Nouwen Society
Today, both posts (copied below) are about waiting on God. Appropriate since I am in a forced waiting period. I had surgery on my right wrist and elbow almost two weeks ago. Talk about shutting down the busyness of life! I am right-handed without use of my right arm. I am home, alone with only my journals, Jack Russell, and my computer (I am now officially a Pinterest groupie – making lists of all the things I want to do).
I’m waiting to be better — to be able to do the dishes, dry and style my hair (which I have never enjoyed or been good at). To clean the fallen leaves from the pool. To exercise — which I have put off for a year and a half in the midst of my chaotic life changes. To rearrange furniture so the house will comfortably hold all 5 children at Christmas. To work in the yard. All of these privileges will be done with a little more gratefulness and bounce in my step — once my body allows! Absence of ability also makes the heart grow fonder! But I’m waiting for more than just physical healing.
I’m not sure what the next season of life looks like for me. We recently moved to Tallahassee from Atlanta. We bought a business and a house, and “remodeled” both! Neither is quite where we’d like. I’ve been working full time for a year and a half. Because of surgery, I ‘ve cut my hours drastically. I don’t plan to ramp back up. We’ve decided my passions and gifts lie elsewhere, but where exactly? I’m not sure. What I will do next is still a question.
I feel called to be my husband’s helper, at home and at work. Different than the work partner that I was. I feel called to join a church body, but unsure of which one or if God wants us to join Him in starting a new church here in Tallahassee?
I feel called to hospitality, encouragement, art, beauty, evangelism, stillness… all these “callings” are vague and conceptual. Basically, I am just waiting. Waiting on God’s voice, so that I am sure to follow instead of rushing ahead and asking for His blessings, as I call my plans back over my shoulder. I’ve gone that route one too many times.
I entered into my first marriage prayerfully, but my prayers were all spoken in demonstrative and politely imperative sentences. “I am marrying this man. Thank you for sending someone to me. Please bless our marriage and our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
God was faithful, and despite my independent attitude, He blessed me in so many ways — especially with three amazing children. The marriage, however, did end. He used some tough circumstances to draw me closer to Him and to teach me what it means to be His child. He does use all things for our good when we love Him and are called according to His purposes. And I did love Jesus back then, but I didn’t understand much about surrender or waiting. If so I would have asked more questions. Listened. And waited for Him to speak. For Him to move. For Him to beckon me to join Him.
Waiting is hard, but today’s devotions give me comfort and perspective. They encourage me to be “active, alert – yes, joyful” and expectant in waiting! I will trust that God is preparing me like he did Paul, “—softening his heart and positioning him so that he could be used.” I didn’t know “ten years passed from the time Paul encountered the risen Christ to the time God commissioned him to ministry. Ten years!”
There’s nothing profound I can share with you, except compassion and empathy in understanding the struggles we all have with waiting. The consequences I have known when I rushed ahead, and God’s relentless pursuit of my heart — no matter what. Hopefully, these devotions encourage you today, as they do me.
November 19, 2013
The Triumph of Grace
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D. (Church of the Apostles)
Reading about the apostles of the New Testament, our views can be skewed somewhat by knowing the entire timeline of their ministry. We read highlights and letters, dramatic bits and pieces of lives that proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus along with the power of the Gospel. The days, months, and years they spent waiting for God to do the impossible in a post-resurrection world seem mere pauses in a flurry of God-orchestrated activity.
Regardless of the vision we may have for our lives or the direction we have been led by the Holy Spirit, we cannot expect to get ahead of God’s timeline. After Jesus left the earth, the disciples spent a substantial amount of time waiting for prayers to be answered as well as wondering when God was going to rescue them from dire situations. We, too, must be willing disciples, waiting patiently for God to work in our midst.
God’s plan oftentimes has curves we never expected. Ten years passed from the time Paul encountered the risen Christ to the time God commissioned him to ministry. Ten years! During that time, the Lord was preparing him—softening his heart and positioning him so that he could be used to impact the church in the first century and for generations to come.
Waiting on God can be difficult at times. In our anxiousness to see Him move, we have a tendency to try and prod God along. We want to see His glory here and now. Yet, God does not let us venture into new territory alone. He prepares the hearts and minds of those we are to encounter on our journey so that the fullness of His plan becomes apparent in the aftermath.
Prayer: Lord, quiet my heart and help me to remain patient as I wait upon Your plan to unfold in my life. I trust in Your faithfulness and Your power. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).