Death is the pre-requisite for resurrection & today is that middle ground. Death happened on Good Friday & resurrection happens tomorrow. But the disciples didn’t know that Jesus would raise tomorrow, no matter how much He told them. And they knew He was dead with lots of uncertainty on the horizon. This is often how the middle feels – uncertain & tenuous.
I don’t think there’s anyone who is reading this now who isn’t in some middle place in life. We can find ourselves in the middle of: schooling, fighting a disease, a financial crisis, a relationship challenge, a difficult decision & heaps more.
So what do we do in the middle? Here are some suggestions that could be helpful:
1 – community: the disciples held together when they found themselves in the middle & waiting for what was next
2 – faith focus: let’s keep our attention on God who works all things together for our good, as we stay in love with Him
3 – purposeful farming: be sure to plant healthy seeds like patience, gratitude, diligence & others since we will reap what we sow 🙂
All of us have prayers that we are waiting for God to answer. Such prayers can be related to job, school application, health diagnosis, relationship challenges, kid stuff, finances, etc. It seems to me that waiting can be a problem for us, so here are a few ideas for your consideration, while you wait:
Take this opportunity to let your trust in God grow – Prov 22:19
Increase your prayer focus – Phil 4:6
Do little things to make progress – Gal 6:9
Let’s stay encouraged that God is answering our prayers!
Alas, I’m sitting on the floor of the DMV again so there are no thrills & chills here at the moment. My number is 101 & they just called number 75, so it’s going to be awhile but I’ll keep this blog pithy 🙂
I like quick projects & exciting experiences. But it seems to me that life is more about the long-term outcomes than the short thrills & shallow frills. Here are some good things to consider about thinking in more long-term outcomes:
Steady effort creates habits which reinforce endurance
Repetition is a necessary ingredient for excellence
Muscle memory – this happens when we do things repeatedly & it gives us the freedom to learn more things
Incremental progress often lasts longer than speedy results
Let patience have her perfect work that you may be mature & complete #nuffsaid
Ever have to wait at the DMV? It’s a lovely experience that equalizes humanity to those little number strips, as we all wait for our turn to go to the lady behind the window. She knows everything & is all powerful. When I think about it, I want to be nice to her, bring her a peace offering & hope she’ll look favorably on my request. Maybe she’d like a donut with coffee, . . .
It’s possible that my DMV experience is a condensed practice for daily living with God with one major difference: the lady behind the window is human. This means that she is flawed & disconnected from my human existence. Thankfully, God is more than human, integrated throughout our daily living & continuously loving. The DMV makes me appreciate that God is always available, no number required 🙂
Waiting doesn’t seem to be one of my strong suits. Frankly put, I’m often impetuous, sometimes impulsive and infrequently patient. So the idea of chilling out and waiting for something is not appealing to me. And yet, this is exactly what Jesus told His followers in Luke 24:49, “‘ . . . , stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.'” Thankfully, the disciples followed Jesus’ directive and I’m grateful to read about the fruit of their patience and waiting in Acts 2 – the Day of Pentecost.
So in our fast-paced, microwave popcorn and warp speed living, let’s take a step back & consider some of the benefits of waiting for the Holy Spirit:
waiting in a community affords the opportunity to build relationships and grow in our fellowship with other believers
waiting enforces a healthy discipline on a personal level that defies instant gratification
waiting teaches us to let Jesus be the Lord of our time and how we resolve our desires
waiting to be clothed with power and the Holy Spirit is what our world desperately needs from us, as followers of Jesus
Take a minute to grab a copy of Heavenly Help and as you read it, let the Holy Spirit speak into your heart about Pentecost becoming more real in your life!
Have you ever waited to acquire something you wanted? It seems to me that waiting & wanting go together like peas & carrots, almost complementary. Things that I’ve waited for & wanted include: a new coat, a camera lense, opening nightcare in India, surgery on my shoulder & lots of other stuff.
Recently, I read about sin waiting for & wanting Cain in Genesis 4, related to the tension between Abel & Cain about their respective sacrifices. God confronted Cain in verse 7 and told him, “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Sin was waiting for & wanting Cain but God told him that he needed to master sin & not be mastered by sin.
I honestly think that sin also waits for & wants us as well. Sin wants to control us, creating chaos & destruction in our lives if we cave in to it’s desires. Cain surrendered to sin and lived a vagrant and tormented life. Let’s learn from Cain’s downfall & master sin rather than let sin master us. Indeed, Romans 8:6 says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” Just because sin is waiting for & wanting you doesn’t mean that you have to be it’s victim. Let the Holy Spirit strengthen you on the inside to overcome the seductions of sin!
In an effort to counter-balance my post yesterday with, “stop waiting”, in all fairness, maybe God is doing the pick & shovel work of cultivating patience in my heart with some fertilizer augmenting, maybe. The reason I’m thinking about this possibility is from some recent experiences in a trip to Cambodia for Saving Moses. In this extremely brief trip, I found myself becoming really tense about accomplishing much – a very long way to travel for such a really short trip to get massive amounts of stuff done. Did we accomplish some things? Absolutely!!
But in those conversations I had in Cambodia when someone would say, “I’m happy to do this in the next three months”, or “Let me pray about it” or “Let’s see how this this plays out with some time”, I found myself becoming increasingly uptight. And then I heard this small voice in my heart, “What’s your hurry? Why are you in such a rush?” In my natural thinking, those questions sound like fertilizer augmenting – they smell bad, feel yucky, look revolting & have the greatest resurrection potential for me to grow at this time.
Here are some things to consider about patience, tick tock:
slow change often lasts longer than quick fixes
patience develops roots and roots often last longer than flashy
roots are the groundwork for abiding which facilitates fruit
patience takes my focus off of situations and puts it back on God
I’m trying to be more proactive about taking care of my car so that Reece has fewer things to think about and so I’m learning lots of wonderful new things, which of course I enjoy for the simple pleasure of the love of learning 🙂
With that being said, I drive my car almost everyday & I don’t give much thought to the pressure in my tires until something goes wrong. Of course it’s best to maintain consistent and optimum pressure because my car is easier to steer and drives better when the tire pressure is in the right zone.
I think the same can be true for us with Jesus: pressure is part of life and when we keep our eyes on Jesus, He keeps the pressures of our life in balance so that we can live in optimum performance, but the key for me is focus. Keeping my eyes on the pressures in my life can be overwhelming, but keeping my eyes on Jesus helps me to stay in synch with Jesus so He can make pressure adjustments as He sees fit 🙂
I’ve had an interesting few days and it’s been a bit challenging to keep a good attitude while waiting. On Friday I had a few challenges – I was working on a really big project for Saving Moses and came to a place where I had to wait until Mon for the decision of another person. Also on Friday, I was walking home in the snow from dinner at our neighbor’s house, slipped, fell & super messed up my ankle (nothing cool like I was snowboarding in a terrain park & messed up a jump or missed a rail).
So it was an interesting weekend – waiting and hoping for a good answer & an improved ankle and I’m thinking that Mon will be a great turning point for these brief, but important challenges. When Mon rolled around, my ankle wasn’t better so I decided to get it checked out. The Dr said that if it was broken, that I probably wouldn’t be able to go to Cambodia for Saving Moses next month – grrrrrrrr. Nevertheless, the xray results in the afternoon would let us know something more definite, which meant more waiting. By 8pm Mon, I hadn’t heard anything from the Dr nor anything on the Saving Moses project. Still waiting. Grrrrrrr.
Tues morning rolls around & still no answers & now I’m getting jittery. But when I would turn my heart to the Holy Spirit on these 2 topics, I felt peace. Since this story has now been too long, here’s the short conclusion: no broken ankle and the Saving Moses project has an affirmative answer! And in all of this, I felt God tell me that if I will trust Him, He will meet the points of my needs with His provisions. Luke 21:29 – in patience, possess your soul 🙂
I’ve been reading about Joseph in the Bible & this morning I was going through the part where he translates the dreams of the baker & cupbearer. At the end of his dream translation, he asks them to help him to get out of jail since he was wrongly put there. The cupbearer was restored back his royal position & promptly forgot about Joseph. So Joseph got to rot in jail for probably a few more years.
Here’s my point: sometimes when we’re impatient & neglect to wait for God’s timing, sometimes we settle for 2nd best when we should have waited for God’s best. If the cupbearer would have gotten Joseph out of jail, as he had requested, perhaps Joseph wouldn’t have been available to interpret Pharoah’s dreams & ultimately to save the life of his family & the future of the Jewish nation.
Let’s understand that God knows the times, seasons & purposes of our lives better than we do & He is certainly trustworthy with time, since He made it in the first place ,)