Never Late



There’s this negative part of you, this part that says: that’ll never happen, and then the rest of you believes it instead of believing in God’s promises.

Just because things didn’t go the way you planned doesn’t mean the lessons you learned while waiting are worthless. If anything, you know stuff now you might never have known had everything gone the way you wanted. You may not know it now– it may not feel like it– but here, in this moment, you are closer to where God is leading you than you have ever been. Closer to that oft wondered-about, yet unimaginable place you know God is taking you.

Don’t ask “what was the purpose of all that waiting”– that fruitless, unrewarded waiting. Instead, trust that God knows what He’s doing, and maybe take some time to realize that you’ve been waiting for something– it’s just been something else.

Maybe something else is better. Or maybe something else just needs a little more work before it’s ready for you. But know this: the things that God has for you are never late or early; they arrive in His perfect time. So keep your heart open to the things He is doing, especially when the waiting grows long.

“For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”

Psalm 105:9

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The Answer is Always Gonna Be “No”

It isn’t that God doesn’t hear. It isn’t that He’s not there or that He doesn’t care…

So maybe things have slowed down. Maybe God seems a little silent. Maybe He seems to close more doors than He opens, and some prayers just seem to blow away like mist on the wind.

I must confess, I’ve been on the tipping point of a bad attitude about my prayers lately. My life has gotten to this point over the last month where, although I won’t say it out loud, in my heart I think: It doesn’t matter how much I pray for anything. It’s not gonna happen. I pray for my friend’s request for a new job– over and over– and over and over: Nothing. I pray for my sisters to find godly men, but our circle of godly, single men only shrinks. It never grows. All the people I invite to church never come. Not a single one.

So this little seed in my heart has been growing: Doesn’t matter what you pray for, Kate. The answer is always gonna be NO.

I didn’t even realize I believed this until something cataclysmic happened at work this week. (Okay, so it wasn’t cataclysmic, but in my negative state– that old God’s-just-taking-everything-away: tears, tears, tears– it felt cataclysmic to me.) We’ve been shorthanded at work, and so getting any time off lately has been stressful, to put it mildly. I have an upcoming invisalign appointment that I need the afternoon off for, and if you’ve ever gone through the process of straightening your teeth, there’s a certain time schedule you optimistically must stick to. I was informed I might not be able to have that afternoon off, and could I reschedule my appointment? Long story short, my dentist is very popular so the next available appointment would have put me a month and a half off my schedule.

And so the first thing I thought was: Please, Lord, work this out. I’ve been doing so good so far. I don’t want to be put that far behind. And the second thing I thought of was actually a million things. Literally, a laundry list of all the prayers God has said either “No” to or “Wait and see” flashed through my mind. Even though I KNOW, I am supposed to take my requests to God and leave them there, trusting that He will work out what is best, panic lodged itself firmly inside my throat.

You’ve said no to everything lately, Lord. You’re gonna say “No” to this, too, aren’t you? I tearfully prayed.

How silly! It’s not even like this would really be life-effecting if I was put behind on my schedule for my teeth– they are just teeth– but this was one more thing to go wrong. This was one more door (a tiny door, yes) that God could slam closed, and I’ve been struggling so much to smile through it all and say: “This is good for me.” But the smile is cracking. The smile is falling from the plaster on my face.

Guess what happened? God said “Wait and see.” I’m not joking. It took me a day and half to resolve this. My boss had to take unexpected time off herself. It was a day and a half of frustrated misery, I am sad to say. Yes, first of all because I was frustrated the appointment might have to be changed and I had to wait to find out for sure, but secondly, I was frustrated because I realized that I really did believe God was just slashing through every prayer request I brought to him.

I was bringing my requests grudgingly. Here you go, God, this is the state of things. Yup, now I’ve told you, I guess that means things are just gonna get worse before they get better AGAIN. I wasn’t praying hopeful. I was praying selfish. After every lesson God has taught me about the power of prayer, after every prayer I have seen Him answer (even this year!), I still forget the lesson. God cares about what we care about, and He is listening, even when He seems silent.

My boss did work something out so I could have my afternoon off for the appointment, but the waiting time reminded me: Sometimes God delays His answer so that we learn the lesson He wants us to see while we wait. I needed to pray faithfully expectant and hopeful God would work things out rather than pray selfish and concerned and woe-is-me. God is faithful to answer our prayers when we bring them to Him. We just need to keep our eyes open for the way in which He answers those prayers.

I challenge you to start making a prayer list. Write you prayer requests down and leave space below them, next to them, to write down God’s answers. I started doing this after God’s lesson with my dental appointment, and I am already surprised by how many have been answered. Don’t be afraid to write down the small ones too. Even the small prayers, with their small answers, are enough to build a healthy faith that God is, indeed, listening and a healthy hope that He will, indeed, work all things out in His time.

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.”

Isaiah 30: 18

He Does Not Hide Himself

Stop trying to work things out before their time has come. Life with God is not complicated; a time for everything, and everything in it’s time.

That’s what my devotions have been reminding me lately. It comes back to the fact that I don’t have to work things out. God has my whole life in His hands, and He is the Master Time Keeper. He can do so much more with my life than I could ever hope to accomplish.

It’s hard being human. No one can tell us what the outcome of this circumstance or that circumstance will be– and maybe if we knew we would not want to go through it. I have no idea what will be trouble in my life and what will be good. But God knows; He holds all these things in His hand. He has appointed a time for everything.

All that’s in this world to torture me– He’s overcome it. He promises me peace in the midst of it.

The points is: God is taking care of me.

How many times have I, these last few week, told myself: it is not your job to figure things out, Kate; it is only your job to trust that God has it all figured out? That’s what Proverbs tells me. “Trust in God will all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5) My understanding will always be faulty, because I don’t see what God sees or know what God knows. I need to remember that He is taking care of me always, most especially when things don’t make sense.

It is God who holds me up when everything else is letting me down. It is God who makes a dwelling place and refuge for my heart in this world that’s trying to break it. He longs to keep those He loves, but He also longs for all of our love. Want Him. Only He can satisfy you. He does not hide himself from those who seek Him. He can be found.

If something is not for me, I know one day I will thank God for keeping me from it. That day may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. It may not even be a month from now, but it will come. Praise God! It will come.

“For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?”

Ecclesiastes 8:6-7

“‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:24-26

That’s All. Just Trust.

The things I’m learning lately: God searches through me and sees and becomes acquainted with everything about me. God is not a God who stands idly by; He is involved. He gets His hands on things. In this case, He gets His hands on the very essence of who I am. He perceives where I settle myself; He knows where I live in my heart, too. He can tell where my heart resides–on Him or other things.

More than that, God understand those purposes I lay out for myself. He knows my thought, my motives, and it goes beyond just KNOWING– We can know many things and the knowledge may never sink in– God UNDERSTANDS in the truest, fullest sense of that word. This isn’t a nodding the head, “I got it,” kind of thing; this is a heart meeting another heart kind of knowledge.

God sees me for what I really am right down to my movement and my motives, and He UNDERSTANDS. He understands why I do what I do and think what I think. He knows me on a deeper level than I even know myself. We’re talking the depths of my heart where I don’t even like to look sometimes.

God knows me so clearly that He sees the words I speak before I even speak them. I don’t think I can understand THAT depth of intimacy– God knows every word I will say! Fifty years from now– if God willing I make it that far– He knows the words I will say, and He’s lost none of those words I’ve spoken since I was two and toddling.

No matter how we try, we do not have the power to understand what God understands. It’s as simple as that. Even about ourselves. About our own hearts. About our futures. About our motives, even.

The way in which God knows us is EXTRAORDINARY in that it goes beyond what we can even grasp ourselves. Take memory: even the most brilliant human has forgotten aspects of himself– his history. Even though we can remember our past, not one of us can recall that past seamlessly. Even in our present, there are details we miss, things we misconstrue. And all of this doesn’t even touch the fact that not one of us knows a single thing about our future.

Despite all this human ineptitude, God sees our past, present, and future as a whole. He sees the whole picture. He understands why we’ve gone through what we’ve gone through. He comprehends the scope of our current circumstances, and He chooses the best path through our future. He constantly makes sure that what needs to happen happens. He sees the weave that He pulls together to form the tapestry of our life. My job is to trust that it is right, and it is going to be all right.

That’s all. Just trust.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know what I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”

Psalm 139: 1-6

6:30am. Last Saturday Morning.

We wait. It’s a theme of life. We circle around it like a drain that wants to swallow us up. At least, that’s how I feel about waiting. It’s some sort of corrosive, life-eating disease. (And that’s why I come around to write about it again.)

What’s more disappointing than waiting for something that never comes? And what’s more exhilarating than finally receiving whatever it is you’ve been waiting for? (Like the kid Christmas morning, who shreds the wrapping from The Gift, the one they hardly think possible.)

This occurred to me at the breakfast table. At 6:30am. Last Saturday morning. Funny, I was eating breakfast and reading God’s Word, but I was also waiting. Waiting to leave.

All week I had been waiting to drive three hours to see my friend, but March is not the easiest month for travel. Snow could blanket us in the night. Temperatures drop after the sun leaves, and roads could become dangerous in an instant. So Friday night, when I would really liked to have left, I waited one more night to be safe.

And Saturday, even though I woke up at 5:30 and would’ve loved to rush off, I waited to leave until I had exercised, showered, eaten breakfast, and spent some time in God’s word. I did it because I knew all of these things are good for me, and it would be a more profitable day if I did them. If I had rushed off before breakfast, I would have been hungry. I would have missed my time with God (and putting Him first always makes things better. Including, but most especially, my attitude.)

Then it dawned on me. All those times I want to rush ahead, when I think God’s not moving things fast enough, He might be making me wait because there’s something important I need to do in the waiting time. “You need to eat something, Kate. Enjoy the food. You’ll need it for where I’m taking you.” I’m wise enough to slow myself down in order to make sure I have everything packed and ready for a trip. God is infinitely more wise to know when to slow things down in my life so that EVERYTHING is in the proper order for where He’s taking me next. Just like we wouldn’t rush off on a road trip without first fueling our car, God doesn’t allow us to just rush off at life without first fueling us for the task.

Waiting isn’t meant to be just an empty SOMETHING we must endure. It’s often in the waiting when God speaks the loudest and moves our hearts the most dramatically.

“I believe I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalm 27:13-14

No! Know.

Put down your week, and trust Him. Put down your disappointment, and trust Him. Put down the thing that didn’t happen, and trust Him. Put down the things they said about you, and trust Him. Put down your plans, and trust Him. Put down your dreams, and TRUST HIM.

I love to talk, but the ironic thing about talking a lot is that you rob yourself of the chance to listen. Those worries, those work-week complications, those preoccupations and distractions, they’re all chatter. A monologue in our minds droning over the things God might be trying to tell us, in His word, in our circumstances, through our friends. And like talking too much, if I let my inner monologue run away with me, I miss the chance to listen to God.

Sometimes I wish for silence. Put down the words, and just trust Him, Kate. Just sit for a while and see what He says. No wonder in the psalms, we find: “Be STILL and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10) Generally, the words we use in our heads to make sense of the things that don’t make sense become just chatter. So God tells us to slow down. Be still. And what? Try to figure things out?

NO! He gives one command.

KNOW.

Focus on the one thing in all the chaos and chatter that does make sense, the one thing you can know for sure. God is God.

And what do you know about God?

He is love. He is faithful. He is merciful. He is infinite. He is sovereign. He is powerful. He is gentle and just and true, and He cannot be changed. And the list could go on and on. My advice for myself is this: Put down the week– everything that happened and everything that didn’t– and focus on what you KNOW about God, and trust Him. He’s fighting battles for you. So be courageous. Do not tremble or be in dread of ANYTHING, for He is with you.

And God is God.

“Be strong and courageous. Do no fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave your or forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

Love Story

Let me take you through the journey this week has been. We’ll start with a verse and leap through the connecting thoughts God has been polishing inside me through it all:

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest.” Luke 12:25-26

Today, I’m letting go. Things are not for me to hold onto anyways. I know where things go and how they end when I try to keep them in my heart longer than they’re meant to stay. So I have to believe that God has heard my prayers and that He’s taking care of the things I care about.

After all, holding on to dreams that God has said “No” to or even “Wait till it’s ready,” only means we tear ourselves up and bruise our hearts against the inevitability of God’s plan. Holding on to something He wants us to give to Him will not change the outcome; it will only wound us for no reason.

Thankfully, God does not grow weary or faint!

That’s good because I can be a troublesome child sometimes. I’m pretty sure I tired my mom out when I was little with my stubbornness, with my inability to learn the lesson. You see, when I hurt, I think I’m hurting because of one thing– it’s symptoms are quite clear to me– but God knows exactly why I hurt. He knows the cause, even if all I can see are the symptoms. Mostly, the hurt comes from the greediness of my heart. Always grasping. Always wanting. Never satisfied.

I grow weary at times, from how silly I am, how easily disillusioned.

Some things in life are necessary but not fundamental. Those things which are fundamental are the things that, if stripped from your life, would change the very essence of who you are as a person. We need to understand that it is who we are in our personal walk with God that makes us into who we are everywhere else. To think we can separate any part of our life from that is foolish. I am mature enough in Christ now to know that those non-fundamental things– He could change them all tomorrow.

The most important thing about me, the most fundamental, is this: I am chosen by God. He’s put his hand on my head and said: “I want you. This one is mine.” Open palm to my forehead. And that’s a gesture I need to learn to lean into. As the song says: “You’ve seen the depths of my heart, and You love me the same.” He isn’t taking me on this journey to disappoint me. If anyone were to ask me what makes me most uniquely me, I hope I would say that it’s this. If anyone were to see me dancing down the sidewalk and were to ask why I dance, I hope I would say it’s this. “The God of the universe loves me.” I’m living the greatest love story ever.

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

1 John 4:9-10