“My time is not here yet, but your time is always opportune.” This is what Jesus said to his brothers in John 7:6, replying to their advice about His visibility and their marketing wisdom. And there’s lots of value in thinking about the right timing, alignment, relationships, resources, etc.
It seems to me that in our modern world, we don’t have much appetite for patience, refinement processes, aging, maturation and stuff like that. We want the results, but not the time that goes into having the results. And yet I see such massive value in the actual process, time spent, maturation journey. There is timeless wisdom and value in looking at life for the long view and not only the short-term gains. Indeed, since God is the author of time, we would be wise to trust in God’s timing and processes, but most of all that God deeply loves us!
As much as I don’t want to admit this, I’m concerned that I have a disturbing pattern in my life: leaving things half done :/
While I don’t leave everything half done, there are definitely things that I don’t finish, such as: not completing my bookshelf project, starting innumerable books but not finishing them, doing half of the ironing, writing part of a story, etc. Of course this could be very discouraging if I let myself quagmire in this awareness, but I have a fail-safe solution: God doesn’t quit!
In Philippians 1:6 it says, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Be encouraged that you’re a masterpiece in the making & the Holy Spirit is continuing to shape & grow you, never quitting, getting discouraged or giving up on you! God’s not finished!
I have this mindset that says miracles, resurrection & supernatural living are like an on & off switch, with immediate results. But this morning, I was reading in Ezekial 37 about the valley of dry bones. It became really clear to me that all these bones didn’t go from lifeless to resurrected without going through a process. When you read this chapter, you’ll see that:
sinews were connected.
flesh (muscles) formed on the bones.
skin covered the flesh.
Ezekial was required to prophecy breath / life into these corpses for them to come alive.
If you’re like me, we both have dead areas in our lives that desperately need divine resurrection. Let’s be open to the reality that resurrection can be a process & the Holy Spirit is the breath of life to ignite the culminated process 🙂
On Wednesday nights, our midweek church service, my family usually has frozen pizza for dinner because it’s a quick & easy meal. Pop the frozen disc in the oven & less than 10minutes later, voila we have dinner 🙂
Maybe Moses had the same mindset, initially, when he confronted Pharoah about letting the Israelites go & worship God. Maybe Moses thought this liberation experience would be fast & efficient. But alas, the liberation process was exactly that, a process. This process happened over the course of a few years & included massive destruction to the status quo, hardship, death, thirst, frogs, hail, Pharosh growing increasingly resistant, grasshoppers, drowning, plundering, . . . . And I haven’t even started to talk about the mental transformation that God cultivated in a nation of people entrenched in a slavery mindset.
Let’s appreciate that God is growing us through not only the miraculous but also the process, which isn’t always lightning fast 🙂
Today I had a blast!! I got to work out & play some basketball for the first time since having shoulder surgery 8weeks ago. Truth be known, it was pretty pathetic but I was excited nonetheless! I TOTALLY love getting to shoot some ball, I like having good carido endurance & I’m super eager to get back to some swimming. All of this with the ring in my ears of the word, “pacing”.
I tend to want to do things fast, furious & full on – but this technique also comes with a greater potential for injury & that’s no bueno.
There’s a lot to be said for pacing & going through the various processes in life. I’m reminded that God didn’t make the world in one day, but rather made the process & timing so that creation would be wholly functional & healthy for us.
If you’re the impatient type of person like me, letting cool our jets & celebrate the journey & process 🙂
My son & I were talking this morning about being sensitive to people and their needs. In our discussion, I was reminded of the story when Jesus came to Martha and Mary after their brother Lazarus had died, landing in possibly one of the darkest moments of their lives. If you remember, Martha & Mary had sent to Jesus before Lazarus died, asking Him to come & heal their sick brother. Despite receiving this information, Jesus waited where he was and purposely came to Martha & Mary after their brother died. Jesus’ delay was extremely disappointing to Martha & Mary (“If You had been here, he would not have died”). Nevertheless, Jesus had a really insightful conversation with Martha about resurrection & if you have some moments, I’d encourage you to read John 11 to look into that chat between the two of them.
After talking with Martha, Jesus connected with Mary who was a virtual basket case from her grief, disappointment, anxiety and loss. Jesus listened, watched, observed everyone’s grief and didn’t reply with a cliche’ quick fix answer – “Oh he’s in a better place now,” nor did Jesus try to change the subject, distract everyone with a miracle, discuss theology with the attending religious leaders, or do the All Knowing God answer. After taking everything in, Jesus wept. When you read to the end of John 11, we see that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead so there’s a really unexpected and extremely happy ending to the whole story – but Jesus didn’t raise Lazarus from the dead before He experienced the grief through which everyone was going with the death of Lazarus.
I often find myself in the predicament of needing more time & less work. Deadlines, responsibilities, demands, schedules, timelines and the like seem to eat into the 24 hours in each day with nibbles, bites and giant chomps. I used to think that God messed up with the 24 hour thing until I read in Genesis 1:31 about how God said that everything He made (including time) was very good. So here are some helpful thoughts about time being very good:
time is our daily reminder that while we are limited & finite, God is not & God knows the beginning from the end
time helps us to get things done – sometimes pressure is good
there are many people in the Bible who only grew into their destiny because time was an essential ingredient: Joseph, Moses, David, Jacob, Hannah & lots more 🙂
time is an integral part of what God established with the whole Sabbath rest principle
Lately my kids & I have been trying some exercise at a climbing wall. We go & put on the harness, the elf-y looking shoes & I’ve even thought of trying some of the chalk stuff. We’ve learned how to strap into the safety rope & we’re enjoying trying to scale different walls. Frankly, I don’t think I’m any good at this sport – my upper body strength is super sad, among many other challenges. But its fun to laugh at myself & try to get better than the last time.
I recently had an interesting chat with the supervisor for the climbing wall. We were talking about listening to God & following His voice. The supervisor guy is really nice & has a great heart. I’m amazed listening to him and hearing how God is directing his steps. Here’s a few take aways from our conversation: following God requires faith, my friend sometimes has a hard time trusting that he’s hearing God. A second take away is that following God isn’t always about the long-term destination. It seems to me that following God is often more about the one step at a time rather than the 5-10 year strategic plan, complete with SWOT analysis [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats]. Like learning about the climbing wall, I have to have confidence / faith in God and take one step / hold at a time 🙂