Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day Thirty Nine: Running, but not on empty.

When I got online this morning, the first thing I did was Google the lyrics to the Jackson Brown song, "Running on Empty." That was the phrase running through my head as I thought about today's post--I had nothing. I quickly discovered, though, that that particular tune is not "Today's Song" material: despite the peppy tune, it's pretty grim. Each verse describes some different facet of a life spent chasing, but never finding. And the worst part is the feeling it encapsulates, of not even knowing what that thing is that you're chasing after.

This was a perspective-changer for me. Because as challenging as it is for us in this 40 Days of Faith to be so aware of what we want God to do in our lives, those empty spaces we're hoping he'll fill, our running (and waiting) has its up side. At the very least, it's not empty.

First, we know we're running after the living God, the one who has the power to answer our prayers. We're not running in vain. And wherever we're at on that road, at least we're on the right road. That's no small matter.

And beyond that, we know what we're running after, because we've been praying, asking God to clarify our desires. They're tangible, now: husbands, babies, book deals, healing for ourselves or people we love....as much as it hurts to want specific things and see no evidence that they're coming, when God answers these prayers, we'll know. That's helpful, right?

I was struck by one of the comments yesterday that drew out the difference between wanting something, and wanting it now. I think that's an important part of this. When we've prayed for awhile about a specific desire, it's really easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "Maybe this isn't God's will for me if it hasn't happened yet..." But have you noticed that these sorts of thoughts rarely leave us feeling encouraged, but rather bereft and empty?

I won't pull punches: when it comes to big life issues like marriage and children, this might be the worst advice I've ever heard. And it comes up A LOT. Here's the thing: as I read the Bible, it's God's will for 99% of us to be married. He set life up to work that way, and when that doesn't happen, it means something has gone wrong. (Note: this doesn't mean necessarily that we've done something wrong, although it could. We live in a world with real evil, trying to keep us from God's best. I think that's important to acknowledge here). The same goes for having children, and for healing, and a whole host of other things the Bible talks about as part of the benefits package for those of us who choose to follow Jesus.

BUT, where we might be out of God's will is the timing. We want now, but he's thinking long-term. I've noticed that so far in my life, there's about a seven year differential between my plan and God's plan. That's not my favorite thing in the world! And yet it's an opportunity for me to live in that in-between place, between the now and the not-yet. Just because God doesn't have THAT answer today--the one I'm looking for so diligently--doesn't mean he doesn't have other answers and blessings and great things in store for the next twenty-four hours. But it's my choice whether or not I notice them.

Today, let's notice.

Today's reading: Acts 25-26. We're still in court. Ugh. I promise, things get VERY cool tomorrow!

Today's song: Walk by Faith by Jeremy Camp. It's rather the opposite of "Running on Empty":

Would I believe you when you say
Your hand will guide my every way?
Will I receive the words you say
Every moment of every day?
Well, I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see...

8 comments:

Liza said...

I keep telling myself that I'm on God's time and not my own. Thanks for reminding me that even if I want something now, I have to wait for it to be right.

the teacher said...

i agree liza...i am very discouraged today. i am okay when looking at the big picture and seeing that God has a plan for my life. what about the in between? i feel like it is time wasted.

i know that is where i need to step up and make life better. it is just hard.

blessedsubstance said...

Thanks for the post and today's reading. I do feel like I'm in court and appealing my case--- somewhat of a prisionor to the desires of my heart but I'm waiting on the perfect timing of God and the circumstances of my life to line up. As I look around, everything within me tells me that the timing is off and I want to know what God is doing. In 2 months I will be 38 still no husband and no children. I sometimes wonder if God is aware that I am still here and waiting. I sometimes wonder what sin have I committed that has thrown me off course so far. But, suddenly I realize that I know my life and I know that God is still blessing me so that can't be the case. Thus, it is my resolve to look before the heavens and pronounce with the boldness that overwhelmed Job in his hour of despair and proclaim "Though you slay me, yet will I trust you."

ForstRose said...

Thanks for the reminder Trish.

You said you see about a seven year gap in your expereince between your timing and God's interesting that it would happen to be that particular number. I have a friend who has seen things cycle in periods of 3's and 7's in their life consistently and 7 is a number that seems to be repeated over and over in scripture in a number of contexts but always connected to God in some way. Someone last night mentioned also that in Daniel and Ezekiel 7 is the number of completion.

Hmm makes me wonder then if 2008/2009 might be my seventh year as 2001 was when I first really felt "desperate" to see my dream of a husband and family come true.

Don't know and won't till God either takes away that desire or makes that dream a reality. Anyway just some ramblings of my mind based on what I've seen and heard both recently and over the years. Will be interesting to see what God does and when with this.

Now if I can just quit worrying about things not happening in my timing instead of trusting in His I'll be in good shape.

Note to Self: He will come through even if it's at the last second and it probably will be at the last second (at least in my perspective).

Melissa

Larramie said...

This thought just came into my mind: Can you imagine if it had been raining for the past 39 days? Oh what faith Noah had.

Kwana said...

Your post today really does come right on time. I received some news this morning that really puts these 40 days to a test and all I could do was put it in God's hands because it was something that was directly to do with one of my prayers. It will all have to be in God's time not ours.

heiress said...

I agree Trish that it is so important to notice other answers and blessings God provides us with each day, which we sometimes overlook when we are only looking to see our deepest prayers answered.

I have been praying for my mate who God revealed to me for 3 years now, and during this time God would often lead me to different scriptures in the bible. But one day he led me to this website and I came across these articles about receiving your mate.

There was a lady by the name of Victoria who ran the website, and at the time I emailed her and told her my story about how I believed God showed me who my mate was. I guess I was hoping for someone anyone to tell me that I was CRAZY. My mom and my best friend believed that it was from God but after waiting and only having little things happen I wanted someone on the outside to tell me I was wrong. However, when she emailed me right back she told me the exact opposite.

Sidebar> God just revealed something very profound to me as I was typing this post. I went to check my old email to see how long Victoria and I corresponded and I realized she responded exactly 7 times during the year 2007. She helped me through some of the toughest and greatest moments of my life. I finally met my mate all because God was working in the supernatural that day; my mom had breast cancer and was healed (Victoria sent me a prayer for my mother that was directly delivered through her from God), and she helped me to understand the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which I received but was previously afraid of mainly because I didn’t understand the importance of this gift.

I know God sent Victoria to me when I needed her the most but he only sent her to help me through that period of my life and He gave me the tools I needed to withstand the wait and know that he is working behind the scenes.

heiress said...

Here is an excerpt from one of the articles Victoria wrote titled "What to do When You Don't See Anything Happening."

In Daniel 10:12, he prayed a prayer and nothing appeared to be happening. He fasted and prayed and it didn’t seem to make a difference. He waited and waited and after three long weeks his answer finally arrived.

Daniel 10:12...Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for FROM THE FIRST DAY that thou didst set thine heart to understand and to chasten thyself before God thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, Michael, one of the chief princes came to help me; and I remained with the kings of Persia.

From Daniel's perspective, it probably looked like he was waiting on God. But what Daniel didn’t know and couldn’t see was while it appeared that nothing was happening in the physical realm, God sent the answer the moment he prayed. Even though Daniel couldn’t see his answer yet, God had already commanded the angel to bring it.

But what if Daniel would have gotten into unbelief and had been tempted to think, "well maybe God doesn't want me to have it this time" or "maybe God wants me to wait a while." He would have been wrong. If he had entertained these evil thoughts, he would have been tempted to let go of his faith and stop believing God. And had he done that, he would have never received his answer.

Just because you may not see your answer yet doesn’t mean God hasn’t done anything. And it certainly doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.

Like Daniel, God sent your answer the moment you prayed. You can be assured of this because the bible says, in Matthew 7:8 for everyone who asks, receives.

What caused the delay to Daniel’s prayer? It wasn’t God. The bible says there were other factors involved that delayed the answer.

So what do you do after you’ve prayed and nothing appears to be happening? You continue to thank and praise God for the answer. If at any point the time seems unreasonably long, you can ask him to show you if there is anything holding it up. If there is something delaying your answer, God will reveal it to you. Remember, God wants to give you your mate more than you want to receive him or her.