I need to extend the gospel to my son.  I can’t just love on him when he’s calm and cute … and then not love on him when he’s crying … and still cute (haha).  They say around this time for the next few weeks (or more?) is baby’s fussiest time and then it tapers out.  He’s definitely fussier and crying a lot more than when he was weeks younger, but he’s also becoming more alert.  More smiley.  Noticing the world better around him.  It’s an exciting stage, too, though it comes with his many tears … and a new soundtrack to my life, though not constant thankfully. :]

And was encouraged by this post, Mothers Make Ministers, that another mama shared yesterday on a forum I’m part of.  Two excerpts below:

Consecrate your children, not to make fortunes, but to make disciples. Then even if they’re never ordained as ministers, they will be promoters of Christ in whatever sphere of life they are occupied …

And the greatness of Christian parenting does not come from the sense of personal satisfaction in your child’s maturation nor even the priceless delights – like spontaneous hugs and unsolicited “Daddy, I wuv you” from your daughter (one of my personal favorites). Rather, our greatest reward as Christian parents lay in the possibility that we may actually be raising a fervent promoter of Jesus’s Kingdom.

Big picture, big picture, big picture … though the little picture as of now gets cuter to me on a daily basis.  :]

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When God delays.

July 10, 2012

Distressed, someone asked me this question a month or so ago via text:

God is providing every step of the way, but why doesn’t He give quick resolution?  You know He is good.

And in equal distress, I paused, struggling for an answer — not only for the situation but for an explanation of God’s character in the midst of this particular situation.  If He is good, why doesn’t He nip injustice at the bud?  Why let it flourish for even a season?

I stared at my phone for a while, trying to think of something helpful.  Anything but the screaming Why in my heart.

Then by grace, this answer surfaced:

Joseph in the OT was falsely treated by his brothers and imprisoned by Potiphar’s wife’s false accusation, too, but it was for God’s good purpose for His people.  God’s own Son didn’t get a quick resolution … but something better followed.

We can trust Him and His good plan.

We can trust Him.  He doesn’t delay.  There is nothing that can delay Him — whether unforeseen events, preoccupation with other matters, apathy, helplessness, lack of wisdom, or man’s strength and cunning.  Our God doesn’t do things off-the-cuff.  Our God is not a delaying God.  He is not a heartless God.  He is not a God to be outwitted by evil.

Then why doesn’t He immediately squash injustice and evil wherever it takes root?  I don’t know the totality of that answer.  But from the little I am learning, somewhere in that perceived “delay,” people are saved from eternal wrath — sometimes even the perpetrators of the evil themselves.  And somewhere in that perceived “delay,” His children are lovingly refined in the fire and learn more deeply of Christ, the One who “continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly” (I Peter 2:23), the One who prayed even for His foreknown murderers, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

I think of those whose lies destroy men’s lives.  Even the lives of those I love.  And I wonder, How much of my Savior’s fellowship have I truly savored, that I might pray to clasp hands one Day with the very ones who oppressed and devised evil against me, against my family, as kindred in Christ?

I can’t quite answer that question yet.  But I pray that — no matter what happens — I might be able do that.  By His grace.

Tonight, I was dragging my feet to gospel group.  I wanted to stay home, get some needed rest, read, journal.  But t minus 17 minutes, I dragged myself to the door, to my car, to the road.  And I’m so glad.

We spent time sharing tonight.  Initially, as people shared, my burden felt heavier and heavier.  Maybe I should’ve stayed home tonight.  I have enough going on in my own life.  We were a pretty discouraged, weary group going in.  Raw.  Many cares.  Heavy burdens.

But as the sharing continued, and as faint traces of faith and hope began to surface, I felt my vision widening.  And my heart with it.  Strangely, in shouldering their burdens with them and praying for them, my own became lighter.  Their burdens didn’t crush me, as I assumed they would.  Paradoxical.

And in praying they would remember God’s truths, I was reminded, too.  God’s grace given as the truths I repeat are the truths I desperately need to hear, too.  Gosh, I’d forgotten what that was like.  Somewhere, I slowly bought into the lie that my own little world was enough for me.  That my own mountainous burdens were broad enough for all my roamings.  Little did I see I was only justifying navel gazing.

Sometimes, I wonder what people see when they see groups like ours.  People pouring out their cares to one another.  Closing their eyes and talking to Someone.  Opening their eyes, sometimes a little more cheered, sometimes not.  But there’s a whole invisible kingdom pushing down roots and growing.  Unseen, yes, but sure.  One that is very much here.  In our hearts.  Where it counts.  Through the gospel.

As for our burdens, the reminder comes strongly tonight:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

The eternal weight of glory makes these crushing afflictions seem light and momentary.  That’s crazy, because sometimes I can’t imagine anything heavier than these afflictions.  But perhaps that speaks more to my weakness than to their heaviness.

Oh, to be crushed by the glory of our God, not by these light and momentary things.  But this is no ojalá.  One day, it’ll be just as He said.  And His invisible kingdom will be made visible.  We will see it with our eyes.

I can’t weight. :]

God of the process.

August 9, 2010

God is in the process.  I’ve been forgetting that.

With sanctification, with church planting, with relationships, with schooling and work, with seasons of transition, with reconciliation, with healing, and even with things as minute as the time it takes to brush my teeth, I’ve been forgetting that He’s in the process.  He isn’t to be praised and enjoyed only when these processes find their completion.  He’s worthy of praise when they’re still being completed — when I’m still wrestling with sin, when everything isn’t neatly in place yet, when difficulties are still being worked out, when hearts are still being changed, when preparations are being made, when the resolution and the results are still pending.

What would it profit if life was only about instant beginnings and instant endings?  As a creature with an alloy heart, what would it profit if life always gave instant results, instant gratification, instant victory, instant deliverance, instant everything?  What discipline, what faith, what perseverance in love and faith, what strength in quietness, what true joy would be forged?

Wasn’t the metal of Joseph’s character found in the process, when he was still enslaved in Egypt and unrescued by unrepentant brothers, still imprisoned for false charges, still forgotten by those in authority?  Wasn’t Abraham’s faith tested in the process, when he was still without child, still wandering, still waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises?  Wasn’t the real resolve of Noah proven in the years and years of faithful ark building?  Wasn’t the sufficiency of Paul’s God revealed in the persistence of the thorn and the continued sufferings he endured in preaching the gospel?  And what of Jesus?  Wasn’t He proven to be the Son of God, the perfect lamb without blemish or spot, during the 33 years He lived among us in the form of a man?  His incarnation, His humble insertion into time and space, says something of the glory of God as found in the process.

Without the sometimes long and arduous processes, on what canvas would God’s glory be displayed?

The process isn’t just a necessary evil.  It’s where change happens.  It’s in the process that He teaches us to wait and watch, to hope and refine our hope, to trust, and to persevere through circumstances and relationships that often test our limits and tempt us to do the exact opposite.  It’s in the process that we are formed into the image of His Son.  We’d forfeit much if we forfeited the contentment, the patience, and the glory of God in the process.

As someone who loves to cross off items on her to-do list, as someone who is naturally a go-getter, I need the reminder often: He isn’t just God of the beginnings and endings; He’s God of the fullness, God of the processes, too.

Lamentations 3:26.

May 6, 2010

Her Father: Child, child, slow down.

Her, flying about: I’m sorry, Father, I haven’t the time!

Her Father: Child, the tortured soul will find no rest by running to and fro as you do.  Be still, My child.  Be still, and fight your battles in prayer and in silence.

Her: But I have, I have!  I’ve prayed and prayed —

Her Father: — and have not quietly waited on Me.

Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow. Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea. What matter, beating wind and tossing billow, if only we are in the boat with Thee. Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute, while Thou art silent and the wind is shrill. Can the boat sink when Thou, dear Lord, art in it? Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?
(Amy Carmichael)

Wait.

September 25, 2008

I still don’t know who wrote this, but a friend shared it with me during college.

And I emailed this to a friend from our girls’ Bible study group a couple weeks ago. She made me — yes, made me — read it at Bible study tonight. (She had copied it into her journal.) It was a sweet reminder about God’s love & purpose in our times of waiting, so let me share it with you, too …

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, he replied
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate
The Master said gently, “Child, you must wait.”
“WAIT!,” you say, “Wait!,” my indignant reply
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened, or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked and I’m claiming your word!
My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance and you tell me, ‘Wait?’
I am needing a ‘Yes’ or a ‘Go ahead’ sign
Or even a ‘No’ to which I could resign.
And Lord, you have promised that if we believe
We need but to ask and we shall receive.
And Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry,
I am weary of asking, I need a reply!”
And quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
He seemed then to kneel and His eyes met with mine
And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign…
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun,
I could raise the dead and cause the mountains to run,
All you seek I could give and pleased you would be
You would have what you want…
But you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of my love for each saint
You’d not know the power I give to the faint
You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there
You’d not know the joy of just resting in Me
When darkness and silence is all you can see
You’d never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You’d know that I give and I save for a start
But you’d not know the depth and beat of My heart
The glow of My comfort late in the night
The faith that I give when you walk without sight
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask
An infinite God who makes what you have last.
And you never would know
Should your pain quickly flee
What it means that, My grace is sufficient for thee!
Yes, your dreams for that loved one
O’re night would come true
But the loss, if you lost what I’m doing in you.
So be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And how often may My answers seem terribly late
My most precious answer of all is still, ‘WAIT!'”