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Archive for the tag “God’s faithfulness”

Right Now

Last Saturday, my friend and I sat chatting about our current job situations. She made this comment: you need to be content where you are before the next thing will come. My friend had gone through a layoff situation and gained new understanding about contentment. Enjoy the moment; relax even while facing the fear of the unknown. I had my own desert season to gain understanding. As I was contemplating these things, I realized I haven’t relaxed and enjoyed the moments. I get frustrated more times than not when I contemplate the future. My financial picture is not matching my future spending habits. And I don’t know how things are going to come together – God’s plan and my future well-being. I realized I am not as content as I thought I was.

Beth Moore recently spoke on “Wednesdays in the Word” (Life Today.org) about the “God who sees.” Beth spoke about Hagar and two questions God asked of her. “Where have you come from?” and “Where are you going?” We are usually caught in the “right now” between these two questions. I tend to get frustrated in the right now because I want to know the answer of the where I’m going. I want the vision that God has for me. I want to know that the right now moments will come together even when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to know that I am not stuck in the right now – there’s a plan to move me to the future “going.” I would like to rush ahead to the fulfillment of the plan without going through the prep work.

God gave Abraham a promise that took years to fulfill. The promise was not given with the timeline. However, when things didn’t come together on Abraham’s time schedule, Sarah and Abraham made other arrangements. The couple decided Sarah was too old. They thought since the child didn’t happen right away, then God must have left out a few instructions so they needed to improvise to help God out. Note to self: our plans are not the best plans.

The promise must have included another party, and Hagar (Sarah’s maidservant) seemed to be the obvious choice. Hagar had Abraham’s son Ishmael. Jealousy arose in Abraham’s camp and words were said. Hagar took off to parts unknown. Hagar wasn’t privy to the promise God made to Abraham. God promised Abraham He would make Abraham into many nations and kings will come through his line of descendants. Sarah’s son, Isaac, was the blessing of the promise (covenant). But Ishmael would also receive a blessing – “he would be fruitful and will greatly increase his number. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation” (Genesis 17:20). God always fulfills His promises. But it is always done His way and not ours.

After a disagreement with Sarah, Hagar took her son and left the camp. God found Hagar in distress. She was in the midst of her right now moment when the future looked very bleak. God came to Hagar and revealed part of the plan. God instructed Hagar to go back to where you came from and wait. Wait for the fulfillment of the plan.

Drats. We’re supposed to wait for God’s timing and not ours. We have to surrender and wait. Be content in the right now. There’s always a reason in the wait time – the moments in between. God has to do the preparation in us and in His ultimate plan. The landscape needs to be arranged for the fulfillment to move God’s plan forward.

Hagar encountered the God who sees. Hagar was sent back to receive the blessing. The blessing is in the “right now” moment. God opened Hagar’s eyes a second time when she came to another desert place. God gave her a well to quench her thirst and reminded her of the promise to make her son into a great nation.

We all have a dry, desert place in our lives where the promises seem to be a long way off. God always sees where we are and knows where we are going. He knows we grow impatient in the waiting time. But if we surrender, be content while we wait; we will see God’s provision at His appointed time. Contentment truly is the way to the richer blessings of tomorrow even if we don’t see how it will come right now. Abraham is our example of God’s faithfulness. Right now, God is in the preparation phase and He is faithful to complete the work He started. It’s a guarantee!

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. Hebrews 11:11-12

The Decision

When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God provided guidance by a cloud in the day and fire at night. The cloud settled on the tabernacle when they were supposed to stay. They always knew where God wanted them at any moment in time because of His way of guidance. When the cloud lifted from the tabernacle, the Israelites packed up and moved with God leading the way. After crossing over to the Promised Land, God went before them and drove out the other nations. The Israelites had gained God’s favor from the first call of Abraham out of the country of his birth. God showed him the land that He would give His family. And God was faithful to fulfill the promise. The promise had nothing to do with the one who received the promise but the One who gave the promise. God’s goodness is the only reason that the Israelites had what they did. It was all about God’s glory being revealed.

Wouldn’t faith be easy if we could see God’s guidance so visibly? But faith is not about seeing, but believing in something that has yet come to pass. Some days I long for a cloud to guide me or see a burning bush to tell me the things I need to do. I know we have something better. We have the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. But sometimes, I don’t hear His voice or feel His presence guiding me. I was reading the passage this week from Numbers about God moving the camp of Israelites from one place to another with the cloud by day and the fire by night. The desire once again came over me to have that type of guidance.

In my quiet time yesterday morning, Psalm 25 was used to illustrate God’s timing and the importance of waiting for His guidance. We are told that God’s ways and timing are not ours. Charles Stanley wrote in his devotional the requirements of waiting are faith, humility, patience and courage. The courage comes when we have pressure to act we wait upon God instead of following the wrong advice. “You cannot charge ahead with your own plans and at the same time be fully surrendered to God.” When doors of opportunity come, we always have to see if the opportunity is from God. The opportunity may come from our enemy which keeps us from the path that God wants us to take upon His time. The enemy likes to keep us distracted and away from God’s plan. Psalm 25:2 is a prayer from David about keeping his enemies from triumphing over him. David humbles himself before God; knowing that he is totally dependent on God. There is nothing that David desires that doesn’t come from God.

We don’t know the future. Our plans will ultimately fail if they are not in alignment with God’s will. We come back to faith. Our faith requires stretching and taking a few risks even when it seems wrong in the short-term. Decisions about the future are very scary. And I am at that place right now. I keep asking God to show me His ways and I want to make sure the opportunity that is before me is from God and not a distraction keeping me from doing the things God has in mind. I want to align with God’s plan. But I also don’t want to stay when God is obviously saying to move. Decisions at cross roads are important to wait upon clear direction from God. It’s not always a choice between right or wrong. Sometimes the decision is between good and best. David knew the secret to a successful life. Humbleness. Prayer. And thankfulness for all God has done. Things we all need to learn on this side of heaven!

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5

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