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Entries in Rest in God (2)

Tuesday
Oct232018

Waiting for God's Beautiful Timing

Sally Ferguson, a retreat planner, teaches women how to get away from the craziness of life and wait on the Lord. In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she reminds us of a precious principle for intimacy with God.

"I look out the window at my backyard," Sally says, "where reside two apple trees, one Granny Smith and one Red Delicious. My three year old granddaughter persistently reaches for the miniature fruit, hanging on the branches."

"'Not yet,' I tell her. 'The apples need time to grow and get sweeter. Their colors will change when they’re ready.'"

Growing up in the Midwest, I (Dawn) saw many such apple trees. I know exactly what Sally's talking about. It's a beautiful illustration for patience.

Sally continues . . .

I often expect life to be ready, for me, too.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God has made everything beautiful in its time, but I impulsively seize opportunities that aren’t ripe yet, and wonder why they taste bitter and feel tough.

Why is there such mystery around when things happen?

       Four ways to know when God’s timing is ripe.

1. Do you have a skillset needed for the job?

People have a way of volunteering us for their projects.

While we’re being taught to learn to say “no” for our own sanity, there are times we do need to say “yes,” for theirs.

In John chapter 2, Mary asked Jesus to take care of the punch at a family wedding. Jesus said, “It’s not my monkey, not my circus.” (Not His actual wording!)

But He helped anyway. Verse 7 says He knew what to do, and He helped save the family from great embarrassment in front of their community.

There are times when I know what to do, and need to get involved, even if I think it’s lousy timing.

2. Does it require an act of faith?

Occasionally, I get the most bizarre ideas, yet cannot escape their unrelenting nudge.

Is it me, or is it God’s idea?

The best thing I can do is ask the Lord to make it absolutely clear with my next step.

In Matthew chapter 14, the wind was whipping around Peter’s feet. He had stepped out of the boat to walk with Jesus, but the splashing waves redirected his attention.

When fear crept up, he cried out for help.

Jesus asked Peter to trust Him, but He didn’t change the circumstances first.

Verse 32 says the wind died down when they climbed into the boat. Not before. Not after. But at the right time. Obedience has its reward.

3. Will God get the glory for something bigger than what you could have done?

Matthew 14:33 says the people in the boat worshipped Jesus when they saw what happened.

My impatience demands action. But, when God moves, the “wow factor” usually stops me in my tracks.

It’s at that point I know the result is much more than I dreamt and requires a level of trust previously unknown.

Who am I, to rush God?

Isaiah 5:19 proclaims an indictment on me for telling God to hurry up! He promises He will swiftly take care of things when the time is right (Isaiah 60:22); and He will do it for His own glory (Isaiah 48:11).

4. Do you have peace about the outcome?

Even though we can’t see the future and the outcomes of our choices, we can trust the One who does.

My NIV footnotes say about Psalm 27:3, “Confidence gives us patience to wait for God’s timing and not demand immediate response to our petitions.”

Oh, to have that confidence and complete trust in the Lord!

Why does God appear to be silent when we ask Him to answer our prayers? My friend, Mary Corey said, “It’s to keep us close to Him, when He seems to be taking too long.”

Let the waiting draw you closer to the Lord.

When God is moving, nothing can stop the momentum of His work in our lives. It’s exhilarating to be in that tsunami of change.

However, we have to wait for that to happen. Ephesians 1:9-10 says He is waiting for history to reach its full potential.

Here’s a secret: Mark 1:15 declares the time to be ripe, now, for us to submit to the Lordship of Christ. Let’s act on what we know to do, and wait for God to do His thing.

When we surrender our agendas to Him, He’s never too late.

Are you ready to pause? Use your skillset, faith, trust and confidence in God to guide your resting and waiting for Him to move on your behalf. The fruit will all be worth the wait.

How are you growing while you wait for God’s timing?

Sally Ferguson loves planning women’s retreats. Her coloring book, What Will I Be When I Grow Up? (Warner Press) and ebook, How to Plan a Women’s Retreat are both available on Amazon.  Visit her latest retreat release here.  

Graphic adapted, courtesy of mploscar at Pixabay. 

Thursday
Feb182016

Mount Up with Wings as ... Horseflies?

Rhonda Rhea. Just thinking of her makes me smile. This God-centered humorist never fails to make me laugh ... and think. In this SPIRITUAL LIFE and ATTITUDE UPGRADE, she calls us to trust God in our struggles and learn to soar with Him.

"Unbelievable. First of all, it was the biggest horsefly-looking thing I’d ever seen," Rhonda says. "Was it a bird? A pterodactyl maybe?"

Didn't I (Dawn) tell you? She always has a funny perspective on life.

Rhonda continues . . .

More horse than fly, really. I think I could’ve saddled it. We’re talking about a horrifyingly large horsefly here. I read somewhere that the lifespan of the average horsefly is only a few days. If that’s true then this one had been alive for about four years.

But in addition to being huge, it was scary-strong.

The thing stayed on the windshield of my moving vehicle for 10 miles—during most of which I was clipping along at a speed of at least 55 miles per hour. What even WAS that thing?

He just kept staring through the windshield. Like he was creepily saying, “I’m keeping a compound eye on you.”

Also interesting was the fact that although it looked like he was having a hard time keeping his wings attached to his body, he could’ve just let go and flown away any time. But he just kept hanging on. I kind of wonder if he thought he was actually pulling the car.

How often do we struggle? Flapping our flimsy wings, thinking we’re hauling some heavy-duty situation along ourselves, acting for all the world like everything depends on us?

Hey, fellow-horseflies! We’re not pulling the car! It’s too heavy. It’s too big. It’s too…it’s just too “TOO.”

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.  

He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31, HCSB).

The Lord knows our struggles. And He knows exactly what we need to be able to persevere, to overcome, to experience victory—to fly. He will strengthen us at our every weak place.

Horsefly wings? No thanks. How about that set of eagle wings instead. The key? It’s trust. “Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength.”

The word for “trust” in Isaiah 40:31 is a word that includes the idea of looking eagerly for, lying in wait—expecting.

Oh blessed thought, expectantly knowing that the Lord will be our strength? That activates our strength! And it’s that trust that can launch us into victorious flight. Fifty-five mph? That’s nothing! No flapping and sputtering either. Peacefully soaring.

There’s nothing that’s “too anything” for our never-tiring, ever-trustworthy God.

Poor horsefly, he never soared. Before he finally let go and took off in a new direction, he looked a little like he’d taken a ride in a blender. We have choices too. Struggle to lift the car on our own and take a ride on blender blades, or let go in peaceful trust and let the Lord be our strength. And then…soar.

O Lord, let us trust in You in every struggle and soar in Your strength and peace!

As far as the bug on my windshield, I hope he doesn’t blame me for his lack of soaring. What if he decided to take revenge? It’d be like, an eye for an eye for an eye for an eye….

Are there struggles/obstacles weighing you down, keeping you from soaring? Ready to trust of the great God of the universe and let that trust outweigh all those temporary things?

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist and the author of 10 nonfiction books, including Espresso Your Faith and Join the Insanity—Crazy-Fun Life in the Pastors’ Wives Club. She also coauthors fiction with her daughter, Kaley Faith Rhea. Their first novel, Turtles in the Road, releases this fall with two more completed and coming soon. Rhonda speaks at conferences and events all over the country and she and her daughters host the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ airing in mid-Missouri.

Photo in graphic from Morguefile.