When I Think, “I’ll Never Get There…”

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting… oh how I hate thee. Have you ever been on an airplane and then had the airline delay takeoff? Agonizing. You’re not in any real danger, and though it may be cramped, it’s not as if your in solitary confinement or stocks. Yet it’s still agonizing because you have no control over the situation and you have to wait (often with no indication of how long you’ll have to wait—which is the worst part).

Sometimes it can feel like we’ll never get where God wants us to go. You’ll never get that new job, you’ll never start that ministry, you’ll never lose weight, you’ll never finish writing that book. The “you’ll never” is the lie we replay in our heads, and it’s actually the only thing stopping us from accomplishing whatever it is God wants us to accomplish. Yes, God sometimes makes us wait. Sometimes it’s because we have some growing to do before we can handle the success of whatever he has planned. Sometimes he has us wait because he’s got a better opportunity lined up than what we currently see. Whether the “you’ll never” is an indication that you have some growing to do or a lie from the Enemy because he’s terrified you’re so close to doing it, don’t waste your wait time. Just because God has you in a holding pattern doesn’t mean you can’t be productive, and it certainly doesn’t mean God doesn’t believe in what he’s called you to do. Don’t get trapped thinking “someone else could do it better,” or  “I’m not good enough” just because you’re waiting. Moses spent 40 years waiting to go get his people out of Egypt and then another 40 in the desert with them. Abraham waited until he was 100 years old before he got the son God promised him (I hate those examples because I always think, “Waiting a few years has been terrible, I hope God doesn’t make me wait that long”). Here’s one more to consider: Jesus had to wait 30 years before God allowed him to start his ministry. Don’t you think Jesus was ready before then? He was teaching at the age of 12, but God had him wait because God’s timing was more important than Jesus’ timing. Woah… Hold up. The Father made Jesus wait? Yes. In fact, the Father has Jesus waiting right now—he’s waiting to return and save his loved ones, he’s waiting to redeem Israel, but only the Father knows the day and time that will happen (Matthew 24:36).

Sometimes you waiting is more about God’s timing than your ability, but here’s something you can be sure of: if God has called you to do something, have something, or find something, it will most assuredly come to pass. I have a tendency to start projects and never finish them, but God’s not like that. If God’s put something on your heart it will happen:

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:4-6)

But don’t use waiting as an excuse to do nothing. Most waiting is designed as a period of preparation.  Be productive while you wait. Serve in the community, hone your skills, spend time with God, practice what God has put on your heart. These are the things that will reduce the wait time, and the next time you’re stuck on a plane with no hope of taking off, pull out your Bible and start reading. Kill two waits with one Bible (I’m thinking that phrase might not catch on).

DON’T THINK: “I’ll never get there.”
THINK: “God started this, and I can trust him to make it happen.”

Prayer: Father God, I’ll be honest, I hate waiting. I really do, but I understand that you know a lot better than I do what’s best for me. Please show me anything in my life that needs examining to prepare me for what you’ve called me to do. Show me what you want me to do while I’m waiting. I trust you and love you.  Amen.

Engage: What are you waiting for and what are you doing to make that wait time productive?

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Please see the Condition of Use for this blog.
© Joshua J. Masters and Think This, Not That, 2012.

Photo Credit: Suvodeb

When I Feel, “God Doesn’t Care…”

Tear Photo by Megyarsh

God keeps track of my sorrows
and captures my tears

 There are two versions of the “God doesn’t care” lie. The first is that God doesn’t care what I’m doing—this concept absolves the individual of their bad behavior based on the idea that God has bigger things to worry about than my “small” moral deficiencies. We can discuss that in a future post. The second version of this lie, and the one I’d like to focus on today, is the idea that God doesn’t care what I’m going through.

When adversities pull into your driveway, you’ll always find Satan sitting in the car.  He’s the ultimate backseat driver. He leans forward (close to your ear because he never wears a seat belt) and whispers, “If God really cared, he wouldn’t let you go through this. If God really cared, he’d pick you up so you wouldn’t have to drive this messy road by yourself.” But just like any backseat driver, he’s only trying to control you because he realizes he can’t drive the car, and unlike an annoying co-worker in your carpool, you can actually kick this backseat driver out. God does care, he absolutely sees and cares about what you’re going through. David wrote:

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8, NLT)

God is desperate for you to let him drive that car. Yes, the world is against us sometimes, but God is not. There are two important things to remember when you start believing God doesn’t care what we’re going through: first, and most importantly, God gave up his only son to save you. Why would he do that if he didn’t care about every aspect of your life? The second is that he chose to be a part of your life before you were born:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:4-6, NIV84)

There’s nothing you could do—or not do, for that matter—that can keep God from caring about what you’re going through. Scripture tells us that a sparrow can not fall to the ground without God taking notice, and we certainly mean more to him than a sparrow (Matthew 10:29). We’ll definitely drive through storms in life, but we get to decide who’s in the car with us.

DON’T THINK: “God doesn’t care what I’m going through.”
THINK: “God not only cares, but he feels my suffering. He has given up his own son because he cares.”

Prayer: Father God, In the darkest moments of my life, I feel alone. Send the Holy Spirit to comfort me and help me to feel your presence. Direct my path so I don’t feel like I’m going through this alone.  Amen.

Engage: What other scriptures remind you that God cares what you’re going through? How has trusting God changed the way you face adversities?

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[Side Note: Thursday’s post will be on my least favorite subject: “Waiting.” I know some of you would like to read the post now, but you’ll have to wait.]

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Please see the Condition of Use for this blog.
© Joshua J. Masters and Think This, Not That, 2012.

Photo Credit: Megyarsh

When I Think, “I’m Not Strong Enough…”

Medieval Tower

The Lord is my fortress
and my refuge.

I’ve always had a deep desire to become a knight. When I was young (although not as young as one would hope for such a thing), I wrote a letter to the Queen of England asking what deed I might perform to make me worthy of knighthood in her eyes. That was about twenty-five years ago—but the Queen is very busy; I’m sure she’ll get back to me soon. The truth is, I don’t always feel like I have the strength to be me, let alone the strength to be a knight.

There are events in our lives that knock the wind out of us, events that make us feel we don’t have the strength to fight or even stand. The truth is, we probably don’t have enough strength to stand on our own in those moments. That’s why God offers His strength to us. When David’s people wanted to stone him, he found strength in God (1 Samuel 30:6), because those who put their hope in the Lord have their strength renewed (Isaiah 40:31 ). Yes, God can give us the courage to fight, but he can also serve as a protector when we’re being attacked. During the darkest hours of your life, he will surround you with his compassionate protection as he nurtures the strength he’s placed inside you:

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

Every knight has a castle where he rests in safety, a fortress where he doesn’t have to rely on his own strength for protection. When you find yourself in those overwhelming moments of weakness, “look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always” (1 Chronicles 16:11).

DON’T THINK: “I’m not strong enough.”
THINK: “I can use God’s strength in place of my own. He is my fortress and my refuge.”

Prayer: Father God,  You are my strength and my salvation. I can’t stand on my own today, but I give you praise and ask for your strength in these moments of weakness. Protect and encourage my heart as I trust in you. Amen.

Engage: What areas in your life do you most need God’s strength? How do you use God as your fortress?

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Please see the Condition of Use for this blog.
© Joshua J. Masters and Think This, Not That, 2012.

Photo Credit: ShadowRave