As hubby and I's long struggle with God's will for our life and our current difficult situation weighs on us, we want relief - immediately. And after much frustration and discouragement, an incident with my toddler opened my eyes a bit.
You see, when she wants something from us, and we don't want to give it to her or give it to her yet, she doesn't hear the "later" or "tomorrow" or even any other option we may give her in lieu of what she wants, all she can hear is the no. So she'll whine and skirm, pout and stomp around to make sure we know she's unhappy - making herself miserable in the process - oh, and us too.
So during one of these episodes this week, I thought to myself: Is that me? Is that me when God tells me no or not yet, or how about this instead? Do I whine to God in my prayers? Am I pouting and essentially making myself miserable, frustrated, discouraged and ultimately stagnant in my life?
Ugh! Oh no!
In the book I'm reading, the author is discussing Lazarus, and Mary's reaction to his death - Lord if only you had come sooner, she essentially says, Lazurus would still be alive. But was Jesus tarrying? Was he leaving them to suffer alone? Or was he waiting for the right moment so that Lazarus' name would go down in history, their faith and belief could be strengthened, and God would be glorified?
Well I'm sure you know the answer. However, sometimes when the answer is right in front of us, when God is telling us the alternative in his "no" or in silence to our prayers, which often translates to a resounding no, are we just too busy bellyaching about the no to see the yes in his answer?
Um, yeah. Very likely.
So fast forward a few days. A young couple in our chuch went to a retreat and came back renewed and all fired up to improve their marraige and work diligently in ministry. Very awesome. We've been dealing with this couple for quite some time, and were'nt sure if they were getting anywhere.
So as they are talking up a storm, out of no where the husband says to us, you have such a beautiful ministry, something really special, don't lose it.
Whoa. It was like someone sucked all the air out of me. Two seconds later they were going on with their sharing going on and on. I wondered for a second if those words actually had come out, or if I was just hearing things. It came from such an unlikely and unexpected place. I swallowed it reluctantly. This just didn't fit in with what I wanted to hear and the direction I had been hoping for.
Then, a group of couples approached me saying that they wanted to restart our choir, one I had directed so long ago, which had been abandoned - and could I direct it again? Grrr....I could feel my reluctance, in my mind I was already listing the reasons why it didn't and wouldn't work.
Yes. I see it all in mind. Stubborn, I was pouting! When called to do the things HE is asking of me, reluctantly I move on with the new plan or project, instead of embracing it and seeing the glory it could bring to God. Instead of adding fuel to this new zeal in these members, I focus on weakness and complications that could lead to its failure. Failing myself to believe in God's sovereignty, and sabotaging it all.
So a quote for those in between times, when you're wondering if an answer from God is forthcoming on any situation you're in, by Cece Winans:
"What you do with yourself between the last time you heard from God and the next time you hear from God is the ongoing challenge of a life of faith."
Regardless of what I want or hope for, I have to press on in the work of the Lord, 'cause it is for Him and not anyone else - leadership, membership or whatever. And I need to remember, going on in God's work, means loving and doing for his people, just as he would, or I would if Jesus incarnate was right in the middle of them.