Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 12: Third Watch

The hardest time for me when I'm hoping and praying for something new is the part of the day between the end of work and bedtime. There's this weird collision of heartbreak and hope that happens between 4pm and lights-out, and I go from gut-wrenching exhaustion (4-7pm) to enervated fear of ending yet another day without seeing more progress (7:01-midnight). During this time, not surprisingly, I rarely think about God. I'm too caught up in my own drama, convinced that if I just focus more or work more or (and this makes no sense at all) distract myself with some random TV show more, I'll turn around and POOF! there my answer will be! I'm like a little kid trying to make her way to Christmas morning.

Not surprisingly, the Bible suggests that it doesn't have to be this hard. Yes, there are huge times of waiting (the whole system of farmers planting seeds in the spring and not knowing what they'll harvest until fall teaches us that) but God is with us in those times. If we tune in, He'll tell us things and show us what He's doing. That's pretty cool, if you think about it.

The second type of silent prayer I mentioned earlier this week is Watching--asking God, "What are you doing in the world around me?" and then waiting to hear what He says. Yesterday in Luke we read Jesus' encouragement that we ask, seek, and knock on the door of what God has for us. The Amplified translation of this passage hits the point home that this is a process rather than a one time thing, saying: "everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives, and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds, and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door will be opened." I think that part of this ask/seek/knock process is pausing between rounds to ask God to open our eyes to what He's doing.

In my book I shared the story of what this looked like for my friend Amy when she and I were praying for husbands: how she suddenly had the urge to dress more like a girl, get her toenails painted, and swap out her backpack for a purse. She also felt like God told her, "Clean your room." On the outside, this didn't seem directly related to Mr. Right appearing on bended knee with a diamond, but God told her that these things were connected. So she got a cute purse, a mani/pedi, and spent one long weekend sorting through the belongings strewn around her apartment. She felt like she was part of what God was doing in her life, even though on the surface it made absolutely no sense at all. There's a peace to that feeling--a sense of connection with God--that is entirely worth the effort of calming down/turning off the TV for five minutes to see what God might want to say to us.

Today's reading in Luke 12 contains some warnings about how we live, and an encouragment that this sort of connection with God is important: "Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom."

We can't always see the kingdom we've been given. I think it's okay to ask for help. When we do, God picks us up and points our eyes in the right direction...kind of like a parent lifting a toddler at the aquarium, pointing to the place the penguin will pop up out of the water so she doesn't miss it. With God's help, we won't miss our penguin :)


Sarakastic said...

I love the amplified translation it says a lot.

Liza said...

I love that God is always there to point us in the right direction. I really think I might have to pick up the amplified translation. I really love the additional information that can be found in that translation.

heiress said...

Trish you described my day perfectly. I spend so much time thinking about my future husband and what my life will be like, and how I'm getting older and just want it to happen already so I can live in wedded bliss. I do this everyday like clock work and then at the end of the day when I realize that my prince is not coming today the let down and hopeless feelings set in.

But I realized something in todays post, and that is that I should be spending that time more with Jesus and less with the thoughts of my future life as a wife. So, today I will focus on Jesus and ask him what he's doing that I can't see and wait for his answer.

**I also wanted to share something with everyone, if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch there is this app that I downloaded called The Bible and it's by and let me tell you I love it, best of all it's free! You get every translation of the bible right on your phone, you can easily find scriptures, bookmark verses, flip through different translations, and search for topics in the bible. It's amazing I thought I should share this info with you all. If you need help finding the right one let me know.

Stella said...

LOL ... THAT is SOOOOO me ... Yes, evenings can be full of doubts. What I find helpful is to remind myself that He is working behind the scenes in areas I'm not aware of ... and all for my good. I'd rather my situation be worked out in His timing, and not rushed into realty through my impatience and then have to watch my dreams totally TANK!

It's tempting when I'm struggling with a case of "the doubts" to compare my situation with someone else's where prayer has been answered. I forget that my idealized version of someone's external circumstances isn't the same as living WITHIN their circumstances which may not be as awesome as I'm imagining.