I was sitting here thinking about all the wonderful things that God has done in my life. There have been so many painful situations that he has brought me thorough, so many times when I didn't have answers and he helped me through things. I'm sure that despite tragedies that have happened, things that made you cry, or get angry, you can still look back and see some amazing things that God has done in your life, even in waking you up to see another day. As I look back and meditate on the things that God has brought me through, I can also see times when I didn't really give the problem to God. Instead, I tried to fix it myself, only making matters worse, until God stepped in and said, "Let me handle this."
In life there are many things that we try to fix. I think about Sarah and how she tried to fix her situation of not bearing any children. Only to find herself in agony over the actions and attitudes of her handmaid Hagar. She had given Hagar to her husband Abraham in order to bear children. Ultimately God had a different plan and Sarah had ended up having a child of her own. When this happened, she saw that her handmaid despised her, and Sarah treated her harshly. If only Sarah would have waited, she would have realized what took her years, trying to conceive, only took God seconds, when we spoke his word, "Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed (Gen 17:19)." Then, I think about Rebecca the wife of Isaac and how because of favoritism she took it upon herself to "make God's plan happen." She devised a plan of trickery so that their youngest son Jacob could receive the blessing from his Father (Gen. 27:6-38). All of this only to lead to division and discord amongst the family. Then, I think about us. How have we "tried to help God out," only to end up with a mess on our hands? More problems, more insecurities, more issues.
If only we could wait on God and trust that his promises would happen without our help. That things would fall into place by us just trusting him, walking with him, and seeking him. What would it look like to just surrender? To let go of the hard work of pursuing and to just surrender to God. Life would be so much easier, and we would have less headaches. But... we all know that surrendering is easier said than done.
Sometimes we don't have all the answers to every why, how, what, or where question. Why is this happening? How do I get through this? What can I do? Where do we go from here? Sometimes it just takes surrendering. If you notice, most of the time, it's when you say, "I give up, " that God shows up. I mean we often laugh about it, and we say to ourselves, "God you really have a sense of humor." But maybe, just maybe, God was saying, "Look, I was just waiting for you to give up and give it to me."
Maybe the key to having peace and getting through tough stuff, is to just give up earlier. Usually, we exhaust our options and then surrender when there is nothing else we can do about it. Yes, you surrender, but it isn't a peaceful surrender. This is more like a white flag, raised and waive, after you realize you are going to lose this war. Bloody and bruised we come to God. Giving up says "Well God this is a lost cause," and God says, "Well, let me show you that it's not." Surrendering is taking our issues to God at the onset of the problem rather than waiting until we get to the point where we feel it's the end. Surrendering is raising the white flag even before the battle begins, when your mind, body, and spirit are in tact. This is where we say, "God, it's in your hands."
And God's Word speaks back to us...
"Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you." (2 Chronicles 20:17 KJV)
What would it be like if every moment that we could be alone with God, we seized that opportunity? I picture a more fulfilled life, a happy life, a peaceful life. The problem is, more often than not, we miss our moments with God. The care of our world sucks us in, and just when we are about to reach down for our Bibles, or we say to ourselves, “This is a good time to pray,” we begin to remember all the other more important things that we have to do today. Prayer gets pushed somewhere in the back of our minds. Our Bibles get set back on the bookshelves, and we busy ourselves with the other things that we have to do.
When I look at the example of our Savior, I see his powerful, sincere, and faithful love for our Father. I see a person who sets the humblest example for us to follow. I think of his actions and his words that always expressed a spiritual focus. I think of Mary and Martha, and as Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet, I can hear Jesus say to Martha, “she has chosen the good part.” I want to choose the "good part" daily, but I think we can agree that many of us, even though we have good intentions, miss quite a few quiet moments with God. Moments where we sit at his feet. A moment where we wait to hear his voice or sit, enjoying his company.
Can we admit that even in this short moment right now, we are missing him? That our souls need to be watered? We are longing for more of him, to fill us with His Spirit, to quench our thirst, to feel his presence. In Psalm 42:1, David says…
"As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.”
Sometimes we have to commit ourselves to time with God. The best example we can follow for this is Christ. In Mark 1:35, it says:
“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.”
Where can we set up our isolated place, a place that is away from the noise of the day, where we can sit, hear God’s voice, and spend a quiet moment with him? For some of us, quiet time is on our knees, at the edge of our beds, or outside in the garden or on our patio. It can also be in our big chair in our living room. It does not matter where we are. We can be any place, at any time of the day, and pray. God is not concerned about formality. He is concerned about our hearts and actions.
When we sit with him, he can direct us, give us peace, calm our anxiety, help us handle challenges, or be a friend to love. Take a moment, 5 minutes, to sit with God and pray right now.
Dear Jesus life can get busy, but I never want to forget to spend time with you. It is in those quiet moments with you that I am most whole, most satisfied, and most fulfilled in my life. To sit with you is refreshing. Help my spirit to be at peace. Lord, help me to be intentional about having quiet moments with you. You are the rock that I lean on. I lean on you, not just when times are anxious, but always. I look to you and I call on you, not just for what you can do for me but because of who you are. You are my strength during weary days, during days when I feel the pressure is too much, and during days when I can’t figure out what is happening around me. Yet, in those moments, I know that you are in control. Help me to be still, to trust you more, and to surrender my busyness for more important things. Thank you for the peace you give me. In Jesus name. Amen
Joke for the day: Once upon a time there was a couple who had a house with a hole in the roof just above their bed. They looked at the hole and said, "I feel God telling us to fix the hole in the roof." They grabbed their tools and went outside but they noticed some dark clouds. They looked at each other and said, "I think we should fix the roof another day, it looks like it's going to rain and we don't want to get wet."
How often do we tell ourselves, “I’m just trying to wait for the perfect time,” before we take action and accomplish the things that God has put in our hearts?
We tell ourselves, “I want to do it, but timing isn’t right,” “I don’t have time in my daily schedule to do it,” and my favorite, “maybe another time.” Waiting for the perfect time to do this or that keeps us from moving forward. What if the timing never becomes right? Does that mean we give up on our dreams? Does that mean that we never accomplish those God things? Not only should we ask ourselves these questions, but we should also ask, “What will I miss if I don’t step out and how will it affect me or others if I don’t take action?”
We are often bombarded with uncertainties, doubts, fears, and undesirable circumstances. How many of us have witnessed the devastation of Covid-19 and decided that the timing isn’t right to move in the direction of your goals and dreams? We cannot predict the future. Circumstances may not always be the most desirable, but that doesn’t mean that life stops and it also doesn’t mean that you stop dreaming or casting vision and it definitely doesn’t mean that you pause on taking action. Adjustments may be needed but we are very capable and strong enough to make transitions and keep moving forward. Our God dream doesn’t stop because circumstances seem to put the brakes on our vision. We have enough mental pizzazz (smartness) to find ways to keep our dreams moving forward.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NLT) says, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.
The first part of this verse says, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.” Israel was built on agriculture. They had to plant seeds and wait for them to grow for their livelihood. If they looked at the weather and said, “Oh no, this is not a good day to plant anything, look at this weather,” they would never plant and they would face some serious consequences. It's like choosing not to work because it's raining. Our actions have consequences.
If we are always looking for conditions in our lives and in our society to be perfect, we will never move. We will never start new things. We will never take action. It doesn’t matter to us that God is giving us a desire to accomplish something, we are always looking for perfect timing. God didn’t tell us that timing would be perfect. When apostles went out to plant new churches, timing was anything but perfect. Yet, they still went out. As a result, we can come to faith today because we have the knowledge of their teaching.
God has given you a desire to start something that other people may need. Don’t sit on your God dream.
My dream of being a writer and starting my business didn’t stop because of Covid-19, it just transitioned. I do meetings online. I took a week long online course. I have had time to re-write business plans, develop marketing strategies, and come up with new ideas. Use everyday as a stepping stone. Even now, there are online sessions, meet-ups, classes, discussions, etc. that you can be a part of. You can take an hour each day to write out a plan or if you’re like me, write and edit your next chapter. The point is keep moving. Don’t let yourself get into a funk (depression, sadness, loss of zest). Go ahead and plant!
The second part of the verse says, “If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” Harvesting was the act of physically bringing in the crops. It was work. If the people in Israel said to themselves, “Look at those clouds, I am not going out there,” they would never bring in their crops. Likewise, if we continue to wait for favorable times, we will never get our blessing. Actually, we will miss our blessing because we are too busy watching the clouds. Note to yourself: Don’t be a cloud watcher. Get out there and make your dream happen. Your blessing awaits you.
When God is in your corner prompting you to move, the timing is always right. If we worry about all of our situations, we will never take action steps and if we never take action steps, we will never see the outcome. Listen, there is a blessing attached to your planting season. There is a blessing attached to your God dream. So, in the words of songstresses Mary Mary…
“Go get it, go get it, go get your blessing
Go get it, go get it, go get it
It's yo time, It's yo time, It's your time.”
Dream Big and go after it.
- Lakisha B.