If you want me to

I’m finding encouragement in this song tonight; had to pass it on.

 

 

 

And it may not be the way I would’ve chosen
When you lead me through a world that’s not my home
But you never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone.

 

 

Advertisements

Tap, tap – Is this thing on?

One of the things I learned from my studies in marketing is that it takes a minimum of seven exposures to a message before it really sinks in with the audience. Given all the distractions that come our way in the course of a day, this makes a lot of sense.

When you’re stubborn, I think it takes even longer to really hear and understand a message. Especially when that message is “wait and believe,” when what you really want to do is “hurry and make it happen.” Add chronic impatience to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a nice big batch of frustration.

Last weekend, I happened upon some information that was one-third shocking, one-third gratifying, and one-third a real freaking bummer. I’ve had a week to work through my feelings, but it’s taken me longer than I would like to fully put it behind me. (There’s that impatience thing again.)

I haven’t prayed about it as much as I should. I’m not sure why; I just haven’t. Maybe it’s because I’m struggling with the idea of forgiveness, and because I’m still carrying around some anger. See, I thought I was doing pretty well with the forgiveness thing. I talk all the time about how happy I am, and how much my life has improved by the grace of God. Those things are still true! I know I’m in a much better place physically, spiritually and emotionally than I have been in many years. But then something pops up in a Facebook feed unexpectedly, and the feelings of anger, hurt, and even jealousy come rushing right back and I fall into that pit again, wondering why this particular situation happened to me, and why those who hurt me seem to have moved on so quickly and easily. I wonder why some of the extended characters in this story, whom I loved very much, have had a much easier time letting me go than I have them.

I imagine that I must be pretty exasperating to God. You’ve heard the expression “I could tell her the same thing over and over until I’m blue in the face and she still won’t listen/believe?” — That was totally written about me. Sometimes, when the scriptures just aren’t sinking in, or the gentle advice of a trusted friend is ignored for far too long, or any of the other more subtle ways he uses to communicate with me fail, he uses other tools to grab my attention. The irony, though, is that these messages aren’t loud at all. He doesn’t whip out a bullhorn or set up a billboard in my front yard — but he always manages to strike me right in the heart in a way that I can’t ignore, and usually on days when I need it the most.

It happened again today. I spent most of the weekend at my parents’ house, but had made plans with my friend Tonya to grab a bite to eat when I got back into town. While waiting for her to pick me up, I checked my mailbox and found my church’s monthly newsletter. I still had a few minutes, so I sat down on the front steps and opened it up.

My pastor always includes a message on the first page. This month’s topic was Psalm 37:4 — “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

This is one of my favorite verses, so my interest was piqued right away.  Written by David, it “possesses the key to a successful life — the key to purpose and fulfillment in all you do,” our pastor said. “Not just to make things happen for yourself, but to actually have God working on your behalf to give you what you have set your heart to do.”

There’s a catch, though — isn’t there always? David doesn’t mean that God is going to give us anything and everything for which we ask. My pastor went on to discuss the importance of placing God first in our lives, and how doing that will allow us to form desires and goals that keep us in line with what God wants for our lives and how he wants us to treat others. I loved this, because I’m one of those people who has a hard time figuring out if the things I want are the same as what God wants, and so I end up on a hamster wheel of indecision and doubt. That explanation really helped me clear up a few things.  (So thanks a bunch, Pastor Steve!)

But it was his next point that raised the hair on the back of my neck:

“Second, you’ve got to delay gratification and practice patience. You will find in the rest of this Psalm that over and over again David speaks of not getting in a rush to see the plan of God unfold in your life, and not getting caught up in the false success of those who are far from God. In due time, God will bring about his promised blessings. Here is how David sees it in Verse 7: Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”

Whoa.

I get so excited when God does that — when he sort of smacks me upside the head with these reminders and truths. “Haven’t I told you? Haven’t I promised you? he says. “Trust me. Trust me.”

I have no reason not to trust; after all, he’s gotten me this far. How many more times will he have to speak this message until I can truly let every resurfacing hurt from the past roll off my back? I can’t answer that, but I’m certain it will be a number that’s much higher than either of us would like. I can only pray that I will have ears willing to listen, eyes willing to see, and a heart willing to believe that in due time, God really does fulfill his promises.

And oh, what a day that will be.