What Could Be Better?

A few years ago, my daughter Gracie received a gift card for her birthday, and she knew EXACTLY what she planned to purchase. She had her sights set on a deluxe Lego set that would bring the Frozen castle to life. When we got to the toy store, they were completely sold out. And the sets they did have were half the size of the one she wanted, but not half the cost. I laid out her options: order the set she wanted online and wait 3-5 business days OR get one of the smaller sets that she could take home and play with that same day.

She really didn’t take much time deciding – she chose to wait. She wanted the bigger and better set and was willing to wait it out.

This choice, while small in the grand scheme of things, was huge in her world. This was one of those milestone moments that showed her maturity. And truth be told, I didn’t see it coming. I fully expected her to want the immediate, the now, the joy of a new toy in the moment. She really blew me away that day, and I can vividly remember my heart swelling – my five year old is practicing good decision making, good self-control. Good stewardship. She understood the pros and cons, and even with something small like Legos, she made a big decision.

As we approach John 16, Jesus didn’t give the disciples any choices. He laid out what’s coming for Him, and what that means for them. They don’t get it, and I don’t think they want to get it. Jesus proactively answers the questions they’re all thinking, but aren’t asking out loud – He is so good to us! If the disciples were given a choice, my guess is they would choose to have Jesus stay with them in the flesh. I am sure I would have too.

As Jesus continues with His farewell + next steps, He lets them know He will send someone EVEN BETTER for them! And if you’re anything like me, your eyebrows raise at verse 7 when Jesus outlines all of this – I mean, WHAT could be better than having Jesus with us, sitting next to us, right here, right now?!

My longing for Jesus to return leaves me with some questions:

  • Am I fully aware and tuned in to the Holy Spirit that is here, NOW, and LIVING inside of me?
  • Do I trust Jesus completely, and fully believe Him that it’s to my advantage that He goes for awhile, and the Holy Spirit is in His place?
  • How am I a witness to the Holy Spirit’s power in this world? Guiding, convicting the world of sin, and glorifying Jesus?
  • Is the fruit of the Spirit, that’s living in me, evident in my life?

Gracie was able to see that waiting for the deluxe Lego set that she wanted would be better.

Am I able to see that having the Holy Spirit live inside of me, is better right now than having Jesus walk beside me? And if so, am I relying on His power in my life – the same power that rose Jesus from the dead?

Wait on the Lord

1 Samuel 26 and Psalms 27

1 Samuel 26 reads like a repeat of 1 Samuel 24, that we explored two days ago with Jennifer Armstrong.  The circumstances are two different events, although  similar, with Saul once again pursuing David. David has another opportunity to kill him, yet he shows mercy for the second time.  The picture Jennifer painted of choosing reconciliation over revenge, and trusting God’s authority, is applicable to this chapter as well.

I love how Psalms 27 so clearly describes David’s experiences outlined in 1 Samuel. He shows us that putting the Lord at the center of his life removes his fears (verse 1). Surrounded by enemy armies, he declares his confidence in God’s protection (verse 2-3). Even when David had the opportunity to take control, kill his enemy, he chooses to show mercy and allow God to work how He will.  TWICE!

Like David, we can trust God to deal with our enemies. Do you have a Saul in your life that you need to commit to the Lord’s hands?  He is the supreme authority, the righteous judge, and the ultimate miracle worker.  As a mentor once told me, “Let that go… it’s above your pay grade. That’s work that the Lord will do”.

I’m so encouraged by David’s cries out to the Lord in this Psalm, seeking wisdom and leadership (verse 11) in the middle of his drama. He chooses to WAIT for the Lord, even when under duress.

In contrast, my instinct is to take action. The Lord continues to give me opportunities to be patient and wait on Him. I’m a problem-solver, coming up with a mental action plan for the 12 “what-if” scenarios I create in my mind for any given situation. Inaction can make me uneasy, even when I know that immediate action isn’t always the best solution.  Waiting – whether it’s on direction from the Lord, or for my kids to get in the car – does not come easy.

I can think of a big season of waiting in my life, while handling hurts at the hands of others. God used this time to grow my trust in Him, He provided more wisdom, and delivered hope.  He protected my heart from seeking revenge, and in time, turned it toward reconciliation.  Had I taken immediate action, the outcome would be very different.  While the waiting can be the hardest part, in hindsight, we can see the beautiful work God does. For me, more time brought more truth.  And more time and truth brought more healing.

Lord, Thank you for being a righteous judge.  Please give us an ear to hear your direction and a heart to follow. Help us to know the difference of when you are leading us to wait and when you are leading us to action. Amen 

While We’re Waiting…

Today’s reading is 2 Peter 3 and Psalm 37.

I’m always amazed at how God speaks to through His Word to tell us what He wants to tell us right when we need it. As I write this, we are anxiously awaiting our third child with my wife at thirty-eight weeks pregnant. Generally speaking, she is the more patient of the two of us, but she just left for a walk because she is willing to do just about every wives’ tale (except drink castor oil) to get this baby to come out. My grandparents on my Mom’s side were some of the most laid back people I’ve ever known. I have heard my Dad say if they were sitting on the couch in their living room watching TV and the house went up in flames my Grandpa would likely calmly look over at my Grandma and say, “Well..Berniece…the house is on fire..we should probably leave now.” Due to this, my Mom is also a very patient person. Around 3 years ago, she began to have undiagnosed back issues and has been in a wheelchair most of the time since then, not knowing if she would ever walk again. Through this, I’ve not heard her complain once. In fact, instead she will tell you this has brought her closer to God, and she’s been in the Word more than ever. She is amazing and truly an inspiration to me. Just in the last few weeks she walked up to communion and drove for the first time. God is good!

As I mentioned earlier, it is amazing how God speaks to us through His Word.  These last few weeks I’ve become frustrated and impatient with some aspects of my life with things not happening how and as quickly as I would like them. Then, God smacks me on the side of the head with His Word (metaphorically speaking) with 2 Peter 3 and Psalm 37 on waiting for and trusting in Him.

2 Peter 3:4 tells us that others will get us to question Him and His promises, and I would add the we also do so in our own minds. We are reminded in 2 Peter 3:8-9 His timeline is not our timeline. He is not slow, but instead will give us what we TRULY need when we TRULY need it.

He also gives us instruction on what to do while we wait in these chapters. Psalms 37:4-5 says, “Seek your happiness in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desire. Give yourself to the Lord: trust in Him, and He will help you.” THIS is what I’m called to do during this time of waiting. Keep the focus on Him, not my worldly desires, and trust in Him.  More of today’s reading points to this in 2 Peter 3:14-15, 2 Peter 3:17-18, Psalms 37:7-9, and Psalms 37:34.

While God does not promise to give us the worldly things we ask for that we think are in our best interest, He does promise to always be there for us and give us what is truly best when it is truly best (Psalms 37:4-5, Psalms 37:9, Psalms 37:23-24, Psalms 37:34, Psalms 37:39-40, 2 Peter 3:9, and 2 Peter 3:13-15). He delivered on His promise of salvation and gave us the only thing we really need in Jesus’ perfect life, death, and resurrection freeing us from the bondage of sin.  When He allows us to have what we have been asking for, be healed, or walk again like my Mom (the details of this are a whole other story on God’s amazing provision), let us give Him and no one else the credit as Peter instructs us to do (2 Peter 3:18)! Glory to God..glory to God forever!

Check out this lyric music video for “Trust In You” by Lauren Daigle. I hope it can bring you strength and encouragement as it does me.