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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Has God Ever Put You In Time-Out?

A while back, my friend, Susan broke her foot. She was engaged in creating an artistic backdrop for a musical program at church. So it seemed (to me, anyway) that for her to suffer this injury while expending her energies and using her talents for the Lord was a bit unfair. After all, it wasn't like she was doing something foolish or sinful.

For six weeks, she hobbled around on a cast, and when she finally got the cast off, tenderness in the area where the break occurred limited her activity, as well as her choice of shoes. Patient in her nature, she endured it without complaint. I marvelled at her quiet acceptance of the boundaries God had placed around her, however temporary. God used Susan's quiet and gentle spirit to teach me something.

I wish I could say I have always endured periods in my life when God has put in a position of having to be still with grace. Unfortunately, I've probably had to spend more time waiting for God to finish His work in me because of my chafing impatience to jump back into action. If I would regard these periods in God's waiting room as a time of learning and growth, I'd likely develop a better attitude toward them. I admit I've said on more than one occasion, "I hope I hurry up and learn whatever it is God is trying to teach me so I can see the end of this trial." I can almost see God shaking His head at my impatience.

When the lesson is finally learned and the growth complete, I can anticipate God's nod of approval, releasing me from the season of waiting. But I've learned that if I sprint away from that precious place of instruction without taking the newly acquired knowledge or wisdom with me, He will bring me back to repeat what I neglected to learn the first time.

"The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." Lamentations 3: 25-26

Scripture admonishes us repeatedly to take one step at a time and place our trust in God in every circumstance, especially when we don't understand His purpose. I don't suppose Susan was expecting to break her foot in the middle of the holidays when she had a long "to do" list. Even though we might consider a broken bone an infirmity, God views it from an entirely different point of view. Psalm 91 says He will give His angels charge over us, keeping us in all our ways. We presume that scripture means the angels will keep us safe and never allow harm to come to us. But perhaps there is a broader meaning of this Psalm. That word KEEP is an interesting word. It means to confine, contain, and control. It also means to delay and hold.

If God is keeping us with the purpose of instruction, we can be certain it's a good thing. When this happens, we have a choice. We can fret about the "inconvenience", or like my friend Susan, submit to the hand of God as He constructs something beautful in His child. We don't have the privilege of knowing the outcome beforehand, but we have the blessing of watching God's workmanship unfold. I doubt that Susan realized what God was teaching me through her.

By the way, that word KEEP? It also means to fulfill, preserve, guard, and tend, much like a Shepherd cares for the sheep. Comforting, isn't it?

Thanks for letting me share my heart.

1 comment:

SueVP said...

Amen!! I used to work with Susan, and you are so right! I wish I had her patience and sweet spirit about everything that comes her way! Thanks for sharing!