“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability— and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow; let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
Accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
This describes the spiritual place I’ve been since July when we moved to North Carolina. In suspense -meaning not sure where I fit into the Body of Christ in my local community or how that will look practically.
Bill and I felt led by God away from one local congregation and drawn to another. God graciously confirmed that we were on the right path and in the right place on Sunday, 9/08/19. That prophetic word was desperately needed because it’s a big leap of faith to leave what you have known, leave where you are comfortable (Florida) and jump into the unknown.
But I know our God and His nature. I know He never disappoints.
It’s the waiting and the transition that is stretching my personality. The discomfort of walking into a room and not recognizing faces. The awkwardness of putting yourself out there, over and over again. For an extrovert, that’s easy. For this introvert, not so much. It can be downright painful, mentally exhausting and requires faith.
Don’t misunderstand. Bill and I are busy about the Father’s last assignments, writing our respective books diligently, praying, studying. We know He has need of us. We know some of the vision, yet there is more we cannot see yet.
So pray for us. We need your prayers and faith to support us as we transition.
- Pray God shows us why He brought us here, that He would make it plain (Habakkuk 2) so we can write that vision and run with it. We are not those who go off half-cocked into a project, seeing just a hazy glimpse.
- Pray for divine friendships – one or two married couples we can socialize with, confide in, laugh and pray with to feel a godly connection.
- Pray for our writing. For Bill’s historical novel to have the right ending that is anointed and touches readers through the redemptive thread he is weaving. Pray for my edits to go smoothly as I complete the second revision to my devotional which is troubling me. The formatting is messed up! I can’t proceed to finish the edits on my new book until the Lion edits are done.
I made a decision to post blogs weekly but between juggling my two book projects, I’ve fallen short. Instead of a new topic, I opted to just tell you where we are and ask for your prayers.
Looking back at Chapter 14 (Trust in the Slow Work of God) from Lion in My Garden, I realized that our youthful energy and enthusiasm over a new project tend to pressure a person into short-sightedness and impatience in both natural and spiritual matters. Twenty-first-century culture reinforces instant gratification. But spiritual growth is not instant, nor tidy. In fact, it can be arduous, longer than planned and tedious. The spiritual journey is simply that – a journey, an expedition, a pilgrimage. It is not a quick sprint at top speed for a short distance.
True commitment to Christ is a life-long contract. Our spiritual marriage means that we pledge our sincere commitment and faithfulness, and God pledges to faithfully honor His covenant promises (see Genesis 17).
Too often, we lose perspective along the way. We can’t see the forest for the trees because we are too close to the problem and need to distance ourselves from it temporarily in order to gain perspective. This is one reason the Lord reminds us to pray daily, often and without ceasing. Because He is a hard taskmaster? No, because He knows that the secret to maintaining momentum in the long journey is found by frequently going to the higher elevations found only in the place of prayer. We do this to gain His perspective on our circumstances. Looking down from Chimney Rock State Park, southeast of Asheville, North Carolina, for example, one can experience spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, hiking trails, Devil’s Head balancing rock and the 404-foot Hickory Nut waterfall. You cannot see the granite monolith profile that is Chimney Rock itself, however, because you are standing atop it. Prayer grants us an outward view, diverting our gaze off self and outwards to others.
My prayer for you: “Abba, I trust in the slow work you are doing in all your children’s lives. I know that You have begun a good work in us and will complete it as Philippians 1:6 says. I ask for grace and perspective today to see the issues in my life from a heavenly vantage point. I ask for wisdom for myself and my readers to make wise decisions, patience to endure unpleasant circumstances and eyes to see people as You do. I choose, this day, to view my Christian walk as a marathon, not a fast sprint to the finish line. I choose joy today, for the joy of the Lord is my strength. I choose to see the good things in my life and be grateful for them. I choose to praise you this day, in the storm, because you are worthy.
Events around us may rumble like thunder, yet You are worthy of our adoration and songs because of Your goodness, faithfulness, and loving-kindness. Lord, You are good. We set our gaze on You today, reminding ourselves that You never leave us or forsake us. Your Word is true and it does not return to you empty, but it fulfills every assignment you desire (Isaiah 55:11). I take heart because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that You are able to guard what I have entrusted to You until that day (2 Timothy 1:12). I remind myself that I possess sincere faith, as 2 Timothy 1 describes, and I choose this day to fan into flame the gift of God which is in me, for God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me this day. I will fight the good fight another day, remembering Your mercies are new every morning, making my journey to the finish line pleasurable, in Jesus mighty name, Amen.”
Christian author and inspirational speaker of truth that makes the darkness tremble. Author of two non-fiction books.