The last few weeks have been a great reminder of the way God works in our lives. We often wait for things hoping that what we long for will happen. I am a great believer in “longing’. After all it is our longing that draws us near to the Lord and it was His longing for us that led to creation and all that followed. So..as we long for things..we may start to hear things that bring discouragement. We may believe that God has said no.. when in truth He has not. We may find ourselves tested.. when nothing is happening or even worse when things are all happening in the wrong way.. do we trust God? In my life I have seen this testing happen over and over again.. as though the enemy works overtime to bring discouragement while the Lord is working behind the scenes on our behalf. We have to make some pretty important choices.
Will we trust in the goodness of God when everything around us says that is not true? Will we believe that He knows the desire of our hearts when everything is taking way too long? Can we walk in faith when we have no sight? I believe the answer to all of these questions needs to be yes. If we are followers then we follow in His steps no matter what our circumstances and we trust that Romans 8:28 is true every single day of our lives. The older I get the more I have the more memories I have of God’s sovereignty over every difficult circumstance and the easier it is to believe that He will continue to provide and deliver as I wait on Him and do not give up.. That in itself is a huge!
I am thinking of you as I write this.. wondering if you are struggling the same way I do when I cannot see ahead… the uncertainty causes anxiety and worry. I doubt if I will ever totally overcome in this area, but I have memories and that is helping. I remember learning how people often give up right before the blessing.. so I won’t give up. I remember how the Bible talks about perseverance and how there are so many examples of God coming through at the last minute and rescuing His people. I have many memories of that in my own life..He has been there for me over and over again. So I want this post to bring you hope..we cannot live without hope and we cannot live the abundant life without our God. Trust in Him.. wait on Him..remind yourself of every single time He has come for you and know that He will do that again and again.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)
Everything I am reading this week seems to direct me back to the word “longing.” It reminds me of my childhood and the deep desire I had for God. He was not acknowledged in my home but I knew He was real. The culture was different..more people openly acknowledged God in a way that has disappeared. This only deepened my longing for Him. I never heard the gospel and had no idea how to connect with this God, but my heart was being drawn by movies, music, and Christmas trees, something was happening that I could never quite understand.
He was pursuing me and I was longing for Him..looking back I can see how He planted seeds in my heart throughout the 29 years without Him. Finally we were introduced and I was free to live life fully knowing He loved me and wanted this connection as much as I did. Over 30 years have passed since that time and I still long for more of Him. Advent may be the season of longing, but our entire lives can be filled with that same desire..that same sense of anticipation.. as we live knowing that He is with us and His kingdom is here now.
We cannot see Him, but His fingerprints are unmistakable. As we look back we see how He has appeared over and over again in our lives..there are rescues, interventions, and miracles we experience in our daily lives. We need eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that remember.
My prayer for you is that this season increases your desire to grow closer to Him.. to see His mighty hand at work in our world. We all need that hope that only He can give. Let’s ask Him to help us live in the “already” and the “not yet”..to embrace this season as He prepares us more fully for the next. Our hope is in Him as we wait for all those things that He has prepared for us.. both in this world and the next.
“I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.”
I grew up knowing absolutely nothing about the church calendar. This is no suprise considering I was raised by Jewish atheists who did not attend any religious services. The surprise is that even after I became a believer…over 30 years ago.. I still learned almost nothing about the church calendar. All that is beginning to change.
God is drawing me in a new direction and helping me discover the beauty of knowing the season we are in and embracing it fully. With help from my daughter I was introduced to two great resources..the Mosaic Bible and Living the Christian Year by Bobby Gross. Both of these books offer readings and scripture to enrich the seasons of the historical Christian church.
I wanted to pass these along to you..in case you are interested in taking this journey with me. We are sure to discover new insights and be encouraged in our faith as we travel on this road so well worn by those who have gone before us.
Here is a quote from the Mosaic Bible on one of my favorite topics. .longing and waiting.
“Waiting doesn’t resonate well in our culture. Our spending habits serve as one good example. Because we need it now, we rack up outlandish debts we have no plan for repaying. The Christian life is..and always has been..filled with waiting. ..it seems that God teaches us the most poignant lessons when we pay attention to the ways His kingdom is upside down from ours. Perhaps God wants us to feel strongly dissatisfied with the imperfections of our current state and long for what is to come.”
“Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.’
And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.”
How much do they matter? They make all the difference. How do you feel when someone knows about something that really matters to you..without you telling them? Personally I absolutely love it. God is so good at that very thing. Lately I have been noticing the way I will have a small desire and the next thing I know..I realize that God does something to show me that He knew all about it.
We were going out for dessert in nearby town..one that we rarely visit. As we were driving I thought of an old friend.. he pastors a church in that town. I thought..wouldn’t it be great to see him. It was a quick thought and I didn’t dwell on it..I wasn’t even sure where he lived. We met our friends in a wonderful frozen yogurt shop..as we were enjoying our yogurt..my husband said..”look who’s coming in the door.” I turned around and there was our old friend with his two beautiful children. No Way! It was God.
This morning my daughter called to tell me about a kitten she was considering adopting. I was surprised because for weeks I have been thinking about the fact that our family is catless and feeling very sad about it. I kept bringing it up to my husband and wondering why I had such a feeling that something was missing. Suddenly we were in the car.. in the holiday traffic..driving to see the most darling little Siamese kitty. He is spending his first night with my daughter’s family … my new grandcat..only 5 minutes away. God knew.
So when something small comes through your mind..a small desire or want..don’t be surprised if God shows up and surprises you with the very thing you were longing for. He wants us to know that He is aware of all of those things that we hold in our hearts..every little detail..every potential opportunity to show us that He is with us..that He loves us..that we are not forgotten.
“The Lord is my shepherd.. I have all that I need… Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.”