Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Passive Action of Waiting

"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him" (Psalm 62:5 KJV).

"In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly" (Psalm 5:3).

Life is full of waiting periods.  There are the positive waits to reach certain milestones or longed-for events. There are the annoying waits in shopping lines and traffic lanes. And if we live with ongoing pain or illness, there are the seemingly endless waits for medical appointments, test results, treatment plans, and hoped-for relief.

In addition to waiting countless times for treatment and results concerning my own health problems, my husband and I have been waiting for years to find treatments for his tremor and nutcracker esophagus that would be effective without intolerable side effects.  We are currently working with more new medicines, waiting and seeking.

Waiting can be frustrating and difficult because we want action and results now.

Charles Stanley describes waiting as passive action.  In one sense we passively can do nothing. We can’t speed things up or change God’s ordained plan for our lives, including our suffering.  But we can change how we wait.

Instead of waiting in anxiety or frustration, we can wait in peace and hope. We can choose to believe in faith that God’s timing and control are the best for us.  When tempted to give in to frustrations and fears, we can lay our requests before the Lord and wait in expectation. 

This life will always involve waiting. If nothing else, we are waiting to go home to God.  But while we wait, we can act. Will our actions include bringing God our requests, meditating on Scripture, claiming His promises, and looking for signs of His presence – actions that will bring calmness and peace?  Or will our actions of fretting, complaining and anger keep us tense, exhausted, and hopeless?

Waiting can have purpose. It can be an opportunity to strengthen our faith, grow in self-discipline, and show the power of God in our lives to others.

Prayer:  O Lord, You know how tired I get of waiting.  I want relief from my suffering.  I want answers to my problems.  And I want these things sooner rather than later.  Give me the grace to see and use these times of waiting as ways to know and rely more on You.  As I do, replace my frustrations and worries with Your peace and hope.  Amen.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Creation Declares the Power of God in Our Lives

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding” (Job 37:5).

“O Lord God Almighty, who is like you?  You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you” (Psalm 89:8).

I recently enjoyed a day that I will treasure forever. 

We live in an area full of waterfalls.  Because of my back and fibro issues, I am not able to see many of them. But on this day, thanks to God, my husband, a hiking stick, and pain medicine, I made it.

There was a succession of six waterfalls on this trail.  The trail itself was lovely although challenging. The mountain laurel was in full bloom, and falling petals carpeted our way.

Parts of the river contained huge boulders, and the water surged around them and over them into beautiful and powerful falls. But the water between each falls, although filled with smaller rocks, was fairly calm.

We were the only people there and were able to get very close to several of the falls.  I was able to sit on the rocks for a while, listening to the roar and watching the swirling water.  As I did, I thought about my life with God.

Sometimes my life is relatively peaceful.  The small rocks of difficulties and annoyances aren’t too difficult to handle.  God’s waters gently flow over them, nudging me along.

Other times I am faced with huge boulders of pain and suffering, which seem impossible to navigate.  Just as the most powerful sections of the falls were the ones flowing over the largest boulders, so the bigger my problems, the more God pours His power and strength over them, moving me through and around them. 

God’s power is strongest when I need it most. 

Those waterfalls were a spectacular word picture from God, reminding me that no pain or suffering is too big for His mighty power to handle. 

I thank God for the beauty of His creation, and how He uses it to speak to me, if I will look and listen.

Prayer:  O Lord God, I praise You for Your creation and how it displays Your great beauty and power.  Thank you that there is no pain or problem in my life that is too great for Your mighty waters of strength to carry me through.  Help me always to be listening and looking for the ways that You reveal Yourself to me.  Amen.