God Is Sovereign over Delays

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

rabiulis, Flickr Commons; traffic jam

rabiulis, Flickr Commons; traffic jam

I cannot take credit for the fact that a friend sent this to me in the midst of a wait that is testing my patience. OK, so I know it, it’s basic growth and experience—in the end God chooses the best path for His purpose. Even so, the timeliness of this post had me sit up and say, “Yes God, I hear You. Thank you.”

Irritation, frustration, anger; all are tapping on my mind when the following text appears in my inbox:

No one likes to wait, but have you ever wondered why? It’s because delays show us that we are not in control. Someone or something else is calling the shots. Although we may be able to identify the immediate cause–like a traffic light or the long checkout line–ultimately the One who controls all our delays is the Lord. Since He is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth, even our time and schedules are in His hands.

This means that in every delay, we are actually waiting for God in one way or another. You might have thought that the expression “waiting upon the Lord” applies only to seeking guidance from Him or an answer to prayer. But it can mean so much more when you remember that He controls all your day-to-day inconveniences and frustrations.

In the Christian life, learning to wait is vitally important because until you do, you’ll never be able to walk in obedience to God, have an effective prayer life, or experience the peace of resting in His loving sovereignty. We must learn to trust His judgment–about not just the big events in our lives, but also the trivial ones which cause us to become irritated, impatient, or even angry. If we’re sensitive to His instruction, each delay has a lesson.

The next time you face an unexpected or unwanted wait, remember that it comes as no surprise to God. He wants to teach you patience and increase your faith. He’s more interested in developing godly character than He is in making sure your schedule runs according to your plans.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit http://www.intouch.org.

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Light in Darkness

24_Master_Christmas Countdown
2:00 A.M, Christmas Eve: I have just started this post. I will not renege on my 25-day commitment to blog through Christmas. My daughter finished up some pecan pie cupcakes with whipped cream maple frosting just a few hours ago and my home smells of Christmas. The dining room table is flooded with apparel to imprint with Christian designs and I wearily question what I am doing. My daughter offers, “you will figure it out mom”, (I am thankful that she can be an encourager). There are gifts to wrap, cleaning, cooking, sleeping and primping to do before this evening when we have a celebration service at church and family gathering that will follow. Tomorrow I host dinner—It’s all good.

My thoughts have been reflecting on others this Christmas. For every joyful engagement announced during this season, there is someone suffering the pain of divorce. For every newborn in “Babies First Christmas” footed pajamas, there are parents with terminally ill children and some that are mourning loss. When a Facebook posting appears in my News Feed of elaborate meals and fanciful baking, I am reminded of a soldier in the military away from his wife, or husband, and children. Many all over the globe do not have sufficient food to sustain them. Regardless, I will enjoy the evening ahead.

I imagine that the mourning parents of the Sandy Hook tragedy would want others to enjoy their children and families this Christmas. Otherwise, it would be victory for evil to steal more joy from this season. Still, we do not forget.

Most of us have experienced tragedies and despair. There was a period in my life when I gave into despair and became overwhelmed with living. I was numb with indifference and non-responsive to the world around me. My response to the darkness in the world was to withdraw and close it out. But, this response is not acceptable for a Christian—God wants us to give Him our burdens, turn from darkness and to reflect Light in this dark World.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. John 16:33

Jesus came to earth for our mourning,
I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13 (NASB)

Jesus came for the unloved,
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

Jesus felt our tiredness,
… but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

Jesus knew rejection,
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39 (NIV)

Jesus came to give Hope,
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 (NIV)

Jesus came in compassion,
The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. Proverbs 24:16 (NLT)

Jesus comforts the lonely,
… the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

Jesus will restore you,
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18  (NASB)

Jesus is Peace!
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace … 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV)

Whatever your need, Christ overcame this World and Peace is in Him.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Let us walk in the Light of the Lord. Isaiah 2:5

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Update, Monday 12/25, noon EST, a share from Auntie Em:

‘Machsi’, Adonai is my ‘Refuge’

20_christmas-countdownYou are my hiding place.
You always fill my heart,

With songs of deliverance.

Whenever I am afraid,

I will trust in You.

~ Selah lyrics
        

You are here Lord, right? Can I come and hide with you, if just for a while? Can a just curl up and call you Dad and sob in your arms? Can I rest my head against you and hear your heartbeat knowing you are sheltering me from the storm that is raging and whirling about me? At times Lord, this world is too much for me to try to process and you know I always try to process everything! You understand me, right?

Your Word says you know my innermost thoughts and even those of my enemies— I want to stay with you. I am safe here.

But Lord, I know your Word states that nothing can penetrate my camp because “you have hedged me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me”¹. You Lord, shared these Words so that I would know to be secure in You. I trust You are with me.

“…Adonai is my Rock, my fortress and deliverer, the God who is my Rock, in whom I find shelter, my shield, the power that saves me. my stronghold and my refuge…”²

Your name is Refuge, ‘Jehovah Machsi’.³

¹Psalms 139:5
² 2 Samuel 22:2-3;
³ Hebrew name for God, Jehovah Machsi – The Lord my Refuge (Shelter); Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— Psalm 91:9 ESV