Through a Glass Dimly

Not All is Clearly Defined Therefore We See Through a Glass Dimly

Month: October, 2013

When There is No Wind, No Current, No Movement

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Lessons in Waiting: Like a doldrum on the sea there will be days when there is no wind, no current, no movement. Unseen, God is moving beneath the surface. He is orchestrating a convergence of events on your behalf. Timing is everything. It will be worth the wait.

Soon enough, His breath will fill your sails once again and the frustration, angst and disorientation of the waiting will become a distant hazy memory.

This is not my first rodeo. I’m referring to the experience of waiting. In fact, I have lost count of how many “rodeos” I have participated in. If I were to be truthful, I would have to admit I have not always fared well in waiting seasons. I get bored easily. AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder) is a blessing and a curse. I just made that term up.

There are many lessons to be learned in the waiting times, the doldrum seasons. One theme that continues to stare me in the face is this: Do I really TRUST God? Do I really BELIEVE that ‘He’s got this?’ At my age and stage of life it sounds naive to assert that this will all work out for the good, that God is in control and that I can trust Him with all of the details.

After all, common sense tells us… and there is the rub, “common sense.” If there is anything I have learned about God’s nature, character and written word, it is this; there is nothing common about God’s idea of ‘sense.’ When the voices of reason say one thing, more often than not, God says another. When the crowd says, “Turn right!”, God typically says, “Go left.”

This ‘trust test’ is at full throttle as I am being stretched beyond what I ever thought possible. I am trusting Him in the face of disappointment, loss and an unforeseen outcome. I am speaking this mantra daily, “God’s got this!” I am standing and declaring His goodness knowing full well that if God does not come through I will look like an utter and complete failure.

I have moved my proverbial chips to the middle of the table. There is no Plan B, no trap door, no millionaire uncle waiting in the wings to come to my rescue. Soon enough, His breath will fill my sails once again and I will begin to move forward with a shipload of lessons learned, miracles experienced and hope renewed.

 

I Did the Unthinkable

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I made a decision last week that was unthinkable for me. It was completely counterintuitive for this independent West Texas boy, but I’m glad I did it. It wasn’t easy. I even struggled with a tsunami of emotions as I dialed the number to a make the call. “Don’t do it!” “You’ve got this!” “You’re weak!” “What will people think?” It’s a good thing I recognized the source of that voice pinging around my brain.

What was this epic act of bravery? I asked for help. Sorry to let you down. Were you expecting me to say I gave up a kidney or a lung for a suffering child or that I gave away my one remaining car to a family in need? I didn’t mean to disappoint you, but you have to know how huge this is for a guy like me.

You see, I am a career pastor. Twenty eight years to be exact. That’s a lot of years of helping, counseling, giving answers, preaching, praying, leading, ministering, writing and basically helping people on their journey of faith and life. This can build up the illusion that I’ve got it all together. Trust me. It’s an illusion.

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News Flash: We pastors don’t have it all together nor do we have all the answers. What we do have is a call, a mandate to love and, hopefully, a high capacity for grace. Although we may not have all the answers, we happen to know the One who does. So our task is to graciously, tactfully and lovingly escort others to the One who can really help.

Back to my “help” experience. I called a Biblical Counselor/Life Coach. It was important to me that whoever I sought out for help with bitterness and unforgiveness be someone who would point me to the right resource. How did it go? Wonderful. I walked out of that room two hours later refreshed and hopeful. I wrote a post this morning as an outflow of what we explored.

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“When we fail to forgive we succeed in binding ourselves to the person who hurt us. Making withdrawals from our already depleted emotional bank by rehearsing the offense only reinforces the bond and leads to deeper despair. Forgiveness severs the ties that bind, allowing you to walk again, free from the damaging emotional drain. It frees you to love and trust again. It’s not easy, but well worth the effort. More on the process of forgiveness coming.”

Yes, I paid someone to listen to me gush and vomit my junk. I so wish I had made the call earlier! You can build up a lot of stuff over time. I liked it so much that I scheduled another appointment. I left the office with homework and a reading assignment. The topic is forgiveness and I’ll share more as this journey toward healing and wholeness continues. Why? Because I suspect I’m not the only person dealing with unforgiveness and the havoc it so quickly wreaks. So, onward on the journey.

The “Good News” is there is hope and there are solutions. We will explore those in subsequent posts.

Lessons in Waiting

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I have to believe that the primary test that exposes our impatience, lack of resolve and mistrust (or vice versa) in a good and loving heavenly Father, is waiting. We are faced with choices when we are made to wait. We can resist it or we can rest in it. One reveals a capacity for trust and the other, well… mistrust.

In these months of job searching, interviews and rejection emails (top 5 of at least 10 opportunities), I have experienced the full gamut of emotions from deep sadness, anger and depression to the mountaintop of faith, hope and expectation. The weird thing is that can happen in the course of an hour.

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Add to this the never ending list of people who keep saying, “You’re breakthrough is just around the corner! God must have bigger and better things in store for you!” Okay… I’m trying to hang on to that. I’m trying to not lose heart. I’m trying to not be angry at the people and circumstances responsible for our “transition” to this point in life. I do really well with this most days. Other days… not so well. It’s a break-out-the-brownie-mix kind of moment (I like to live on the wild side).

Waiting in Line

I read the following piece on waiting by Elisabeth Elliot and wanted to share it. It is brilliant and echoes my heart in this crazy season… which, by the way, I believe is going to end very well and as many of my friends have said, “soon.”

“The tests of our willingness to wait patiently for the Lord come almost daily for most of us. Waiting requires patience — a willingness calmly to accept what we have or have not, where we are or where we wish we were, whomever we live or work with. To want what we don’t have is impatience and mistrust of God. A spirit of resistance cannot wait on God. It is this spirit which is the reason for some of our greatest sufferings. It is here and now that we must win our victories or suffer defeats. Spiritual victories are won in the quiet acceptance of ordinary events, which are Gods ‘bright servants’ standing all around it. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands. Can I not then wait patiently? He will show me the way.” – Elisabeth Elliot

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Elisabeth Elliot