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Posts Tagged ‘trust’

I wasted time a few weeks ago waiting for my daughter to finish work. Walking a few shops down, I found a wall hanging with this statement, “Until God opens the next door praise Him in the hallway.”  My first reaction was, “Yes, Lord I am in the hallway, but there aren’t any doors to open.”

 

I smiled to myself with tears rolling down my cheeks.

 

I’ve stepped out temporarily from ministry, which started a strong tug of war. The two sides pull hard with the intent of winning. On one end of the rope, confidence.  I have made a good decision to rest.  One the other end is busyness and the need to be back in the race.  As I talked to a friend about this struggle, he mentioned a devotional by L.B Cowman Streams in the Desert which gives a wonderful illustration of the periods of rests in our lives.  This is the author’s take on the period called rest:

 

 “There is no music during a musical rest, but the rest is part of the making of the music.  In the melody of our life, the music is separated here and there by rests.  During those rests, we foolishly believe we have come to the end of the song… He (God)* brings a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives, and we lament that our voices must be silent.  We grieve that our part is missing in the music. The process is often slow and painful in this life, yet how patiently God works to teach us! And how long He waits for us to learn the lesson.”  (Cowman pg.43,44)

 

Resting periods in my life (a masterpiece) is part of the grander piece. Sometimes these come as hardships, illness, struggles and trials or the everyday mundane.  These rests are times of silence and solitude in which He uses to grow me in my relationship with Him. God is the composer and conductor of my life and He creates rests for reasons.  Some reasons I see some I don’t, but all are for His glory and honor.

 

I love what Margaret Feinberg said in her book Fight Back with Joy, “Always be suspicious that God is up to something.” Even in the resting there is the hope that God is going to do something wonderful through it.

 

For me there are a couple of reasons for my rest: 1.  to grow closer to Him which in itself brings about rest  2.  To understand better who I am in Him, and how He sees me.  There is probably more to it, but that is what I’m observing now.  How cool is that?

 

Yes, I’m in a hallway right now that has no doors. I sit and wait in expectation when not only a door appears but opens and I walk through.  Praise God.

 

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” Psalm 46:10 (The Message)

 

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It’s been a long time since I have visited Solitude with the Father. Deep down I have longed to be here, but God has had different ideas. Which brings me to the word for my year; Hope.

 

In today’s world the word hope has strayed from its original meaning.  It’s usually associate with a “maybe” connotation.

 

The true meaning of hope is “expectation, expect with confidence.” As I have been studying this word, I found a hard saying by Paul in his letter to the Romans.

 

“…but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character and proven character, hope;” (Romans 5:3-4 NASB)

 

Here it comes.

 

“and hope does not disappoint…”

 

The first time I saw this I froze, tears welled up and a little anger welled up with the tears.  If hope (anticipation and expectation) doesn’t disappoint, then where was the transformation I prayed for last year?  Where is the totally changed person I expected?

 

The only transformation that came was a deep depression, where I would do anything to go to a far away place and be alone.

 

I was praying and in the Word daily, yet nothing changed except the dusk turned to darkness without even a flicker of one star. It was terrifying.  I have fought bouts of depression before, but nothing like this.

 

The last part of verse five says

 

“…because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

 

How could this be because of God’s love? The Holy Spirit whispered to my heart. “Christine, hope is expectation without your expectations to be fulfilled. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open — not set and stubborn. Hope doesn’t disappoint because transformation springs from the love of God. In trials, hope is the expectation of how God is going to refine you.”

 

What I realized, God is going to transform, and grow me in any way He sees fit.  The depression was allowed, why? To show me, now is the time.  The time to take care of deep seated issues, fears, anxieties. I was going to need help with it.

 

It’s been a process.  And it isn’t over yet.  But one thing I do know, because I belong to God as His beloved child, I have hope that healing will come. Transformation will come. Experiencing God in ways I never thought possible will come. Experiencing stillness and knowing He is God will come.  I also know that it may not be in ways I think, but they will come.

 

It’s exciting and scary at the same time. With my eyes, ears and heart open to Him I wait in expectation with exuberant anticipation of what He will do. I have seen glimpses of Him through the dark. In fact, there are little holes He has punctured to let streams of light in.  He will continue to work through the trials to grow me.

 

That is the best kind of hope.

 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts. Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So My ways higher than your ways. And My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55: 8-9

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Why or Why Not?

I am a “why” person.  I need to know the whys and wherefores, the details.   This is especially applicable in my spiritual life, and God’s answers to prayer requests.

The other month I sent a letter out to an individual to ask them to write an endorsement for a manuscript.  For two years God impressed on my heart to send it to this individual.  I have to admit, fear ruled me; however, I finally pushed through the fear and sent her a copy with peace in my heart.

A month later the manuscript was sent back to me with a letter of regret.  Disappointment was definitely my reaction but their reasons were understandable, and sound.  God’s reasons were not understandable.  To be more precise, I didn’t know what His reasons were.  By the way, this is all part of the writer’s life, so I wasn’t surprised.

With tears streaming down my face, and looking to Heaven I said, “For two years You asked me to send the manuscript to her? So I did, and “regrets” is Your answer?  This is the second time you “nagged” me to send this devotional to specific people and in return I receive a rejection or regrets. Why did You want me to do this in the first place?  I was afraid this would happen.”  Nothing. No answer came.

The doubts started to creep in,  “Maybe I wasn’t being faithful in doing what He called me to do, not writing enough, or writing the wrong thing.” or  ‘I didn’t have enough faith that God could do it.”  Even as I write this, “Maybe the reason was because I didn’t send the manuscript two years ago,” comes to mind.

Several friends who had been praying on my behalf, responded this way, “He may not tell you the reason, Christine.  Maybe this was a lesson in obedience and trust.  Don’t be hard on yourself.  Yes, be disappointed but don’t second guess yourself or let Satan in to wreak havoc.” Not what I wanted to hear.  I needed reasons.

After getting over my snit I thought about what was said.  “Trust” could be the reason.  Trusting without an explanation could be the area that needs to be grown.

The next day one of those friends sent me a devotional confirming what they had been saying.  God is good. Although, I did have one other problem, I covered my feelings of disappointment and rejection with “It wasn’t God’s will” or “God is good”.  These statements are true and I believe them, but I thought they made me sound strong and spiritual, when in fact, I was hurting and confused even angry.  Until I took my true feelings of hurt and rejection to God, the emotions controlled my life

Sometimes He gives us reasons, and other times He doesn’t and wants us to trust Him.  It could be that I wasn’t ready yet to receive another endorsement.  Maybe the lesson was pushing through fear to obey.  I don’t know.  And to be honest, this concept will be a struggle for me.  To move the idea of not receiving an answer from my head to my heart will not be easy. But what I do know is that He is good and wants the best for me like any good father.  What better reason could there be?

How about you?  Are you a “why” person like me?  Is God withholding His reasons?  Sit back knowing that He is the sovereign God and wants the best for you.  He doesn’t shrink from our true feelings but wants to love us through them.  I can attest that not knowing is not easy, but He has something better in mind.  Trust Him with whatever the situation is in your life.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,

the conviction of things not seen.”

 

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

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