Day 2 of 30: Pulling Threads
Have you ever noticed that when God wants to affirm a message to you that He lets you know more than once and in multiple ways? I absolutely love it when God shows up in this way! I call these occurrences “threads”—it’s when God threads together a direct, personal message to you using different people, perhaps bible verses, or other avenues to drive home a specific communication. Threads always give me pause (no pun intended…which won’t make any sense at this point in the story…maybe come back to this line later).
One of the many praise-worthy attributes of God is His patience. I love when I ask God for something, He gives me direction, and then He reinforces His message, forgiving me for questioning whether or not I heard correctly or whether or not the communication actually came from Him. It reminds me of Gideon’s story in the book of Judges where God tells Gideon Israel will be saved by Gideon’s hand. This is, admittedly, a daunting and monumental task so even though the initial message from God was perfectly clear, and even included a visit from an angel, Gideon makes a very specific request to the Lord to affirm His direction: he tells God he will lay out a wool fleece and if the next morning, the fleece is wet but the ground and everything around it is dry, Gideon will be confident he heard clearly from the Lord. And the Lord, in his infinite mercy and grace (as if He needed to affirm His promise), complies.
As if a clear message from God, a visit from an angel, and a comply with a very specific request asking for confirmation weren’t quite good enough, Gideon asks for yet another confirmation. This time, Gideon says—after asking God pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top (I’m loosely quoting)—do not be angry with me, but allow me to test you once again. And so in round 3, Gideon asks the Lord to keep the fleece dry but to make the ground and everything around it wet with dew. And God does. Again. Really???
Why is it that things are always so clear from the outside looking in?
I read that story and I know there are days where my response is an eye-roll at Gideon’s testing of the Lord. Like, He gave you His word. Then you test Him and he complies! And you ask again?? Oh, Gideon…smh. I see myself giving a condescending nod and passing total judgment interspersed with a great deal of pride at how obvious the Lord’s message was to Gideon and how I would have known better.
Then I remember my current situation and I realize God isn’t telling me he will deliver an entire country by my hand. God also isn’t telling me to walk circles around a city blowing trumpets to get the walls to fall and defeat an entire military compound. God is asking me to spend 30 days with Him. 30 days of waiting. That’s all. And yet I question and seek confirmation.
Are you sure, God? Did I really hear from you?
I wonder if part of the challenge is living in twenty-first century America where rest is viewed as lazy and if you’re not productive and busy, you’re nothing. I feel like God has had me in a place of rest for months now so to continue to wait feels confusing. Sometimes I receive it as a gift and am grateful to the depths of my heart that He has created such space for me to take rest in Him, to be loved and encouraged, and to drink deeply from His well during this season. Other times not so much. Instead, there is guilt and anxiety around looming timelines, the need to financially provide, and the desire to simply move on and see what the next chapter has in store. Like Bob Seger, I really want to turn the page. I don’t want to wait anymore. I don’t want to pause (remember the intro?). Not to mention how foolish I feel about His instructions to me and how I may be perceived as indecisive and weak-minded by others (there’s that pride again).
But the biggest thread I see in what God is doing in my life right now is that He continues to shape and develop my trust and discernment: being in close enough relationship with Him to a.) know His voice and b.) trust Him. Even when it doesn’t make sense.
If I had a “life verse” it would be Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Submit all your ways to Him and He will make your paths straight”. I’m not kidding when I say that I have prayed for understanding about something before and have asked Him to give me His word, a verse, and he has given me Proverbs 3:5-6 and I have responded to Him, “Not that one.”
But God is patient.
Can I get an Amen?
If we look at the definition of love given in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, we can insert God’s name in the place of the word love and know He is all the things these verses describe and more. The first descriptive word, though, is patient. And praise Him for that!
I had to laugh when I opened a package from Amazon today. I hadn’t ordered anything so I wasn’t sure what it could be and I ran through all the possibilities of who could have sent something and what might it be as I opened the package. Inside was a book. The name of the book: Wait And See (Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans) by Wendy Pope. The book was from my wonderful friend, Kelli, and it had a card with a note of encouragement. Kelli knew about problems in my marriage, but nothing about what has transpired the past couple days.
I checked out the first couple chapters already and I wanted to share a couple snippets:
When God tells us to wait we would do well to listen. Even if it doesn’t make sense. “When we agree to allow God’s plan and timing to unfold, we begin to align our heart with His heart. The door opens to experience God in deeper, more real ways. When we wait (and abide in Him in the wait) we deepen our knowledge of His character and goodness. We learn to trust that God acts on behalf of those who are willing to wait and see (Isa. 64:4) and that He does immeasurably more than we can think or imagine (Eph. 3:20). As we wait, we find peace in God’s plans and hope in His pauses….Let’s join our God in the wait-and-see adventure. The adventure may take us to the place we have set our hopes on or a place we never expected, but we can have complete confidence to trust Him for an outcome that will bring us good and glorify Him”.
Clearly, I’ll be reading this book over the next 28 days or so….clearly.
How about you? Are you in a season of wait? Are you holding out for an answer to prayer or directions from God? If so, join me. We can bring the book with us for the road.
NOTE: This is what I learned from Day 2 of “The Wait”: 1.) Because the actual, specific words God put on my heart yesterday and the corresponding affirmation of those words in the book, Am I Not Still God? (See Day 1 for more info) weren’t enough for me, God—in his patience and grace—gave me a fleece. 2.) I don’t know what God has in store. I don’t know if he will work a miracle in my marriage or in my own heart, my future plans, and in my relationship with Him, but I know He is growing my trust, faith, confidence, and discernment, and He is taking me deeper into a relationship with Him. 3.) I know His plans for me are good, and 4.) I need to share this with others.