Categories
Handling Life's Problems

Redeem the Wait

“Lord, how long must I wait? Will you forget me forever? How long will you turn your face away from me?” (Psalm 13:1)

I grew up on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Our winters were monstrous. Snow began in October and some years didn’t let up until May. We didn’t get a few inches, we got a few feet. In April, I foolishly thought it might start to warm up. Most of the time it didn’t, and all I could do was wait for the misery of winter to end.

Waiting is frustrating. It tries our souls. Does anybody enjoy waiting? No? I didn’t think so.

Waiting for cold weather to change is frustrating; waiting for a difficult season in our lives to change is much more frustrating.

Maybe we’ve waited for years for our child or spouse to give their heart to Jesus. Maybe we’re struggling with health problems that just don’t seem to resolve. Maybe we’ve prayed for a turnaround in our finances so long we’re starting to wonder if things will ever change. Perhaps we’ve waited and waited to find a spouse or start a family and it just isn’t happening.

Waiting happens to everyone. That’s just part of life. But how do we handle a season of waiting? What do we do to redeem the wait?

Consider these three ways to redeem your wait:

  1. Look for ways to serve others. “Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many-colored tapestry of God’s grace” (1 Peter 4:10).  Even when Jesus was on the cross, he was still concerned about the thief hanging next to him and about forgiveness for those who crucified him. Don’t allow a waiting season to keep you from caring about others. While you wait, find a way to serve.
  2. Seek a closer relationship with God. “Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him” (1 Chronicles 16:11). Don’t let your relationship with God grow lukewarm during a waiting season. Read the Bible and pray. Go to church. Participate in a small group. Listen to worship music. Redeem a season of waiting by drawing closer to God.
  3. Believe God is working while you wait. “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength…” (Isaiah 40:31).  It may seem God is silent as you wait, but believe he is working on your behalf, even if you don’t see it. Believe he has a perfect plan for your life. Trust that your season of waiting is part of that plan and will result in fresh strength.

Sometimes, the words, “God’s perfect timing,” start to feel like a synonym for pain and disappointment. I get it. Sometimes the hope of spring in Michigan seemed like a cruel joke. But the truth is, spring always came, and God’s timing really is perfect. His plan is motivated by love, drenched in wisdom, and executed with impeccable timing.

Embrace the season you find yourself in today. If it’s a time of waiting, choose to redeem the wait. Trust that God’s ultimate plan for your life is flawless and his timing is precise and perfect.

Dear God, it’s easy to become impatient when things don’t happen according to my timetable. Help me trust in your wisdom and your plan. When I am in a waiting season, help me to be patient and redeem the wait. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Categories
Making a Difference

Nothing I Do Makes a Difference

“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (John 6:9)

Life can mess with our heads. It can make us believe our actions make no difference, that what we do doesn’t matter.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, everything we do matters.

In John, chapter six, a child whose name we don’t even know offered up his lunch to feed thousands of people. Why would he do such a ridiculous thing? He must have known his little lunch wouldn’t make a difference. But he gave it anyway. His small action sparked a mind-boggling miracle. Everyone ate their fill, with food left over. Thousands of years later, his action still assures us of God’s supernatural provision.

What we do matters greatly. The plan of God is always his presence working through his people. Just as the boy’s lunch must have seemed small to him, our actions may seem small to us. But just as God worked through that boy, he will work through us and use our seemingly-small actions to make big changes.

What does God’s presence working through us look like? Here are some small actions that cause big-time changes in the world:

  • Be kind to people, even to those who disagree with us. There’s no reason to be ugly to anyone.
  • Be patient. Listen—not in order to respond, but to heal.
  • Show compassion. Reach out to someone who is hurting.
  • Forgive quickly. Because we have been forgiven of much, we should generously forgive.
  • Be willing to share Godly wisdom with others, when the time is right.
  • Smile! The joy of the Lord should show on our faces.

These six actions reflect God’s character. He is kind, patient, compassionate, and forgiving. God gives us wisdom. And he smiles on us with a joyful twinkle in his eye. We are to daily become more and more like God, and these six actions are a pretty good start.

In the book, “The Shack,” by William Paul Young, the character of the Holy Spirit says, “If anything matters, then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes. Every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes. With every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished, and nothing will be the same again.”

Everything we do matters. “Nothing I do makes a difference” is a lie designed to keep us from the destiny God designed for us. Before we were born, God planned our destiny and the good works he wanted us to do during our lives (Ephesians 2:10). Don’t fall for the lie. Take every opportunity possible to do good. That’s how we change the world.

Father God, open my eyes to the difference I can make in the world. I know my actions make a difference. What I do changes the world for better or for worse. Fill my heart with kindness, patience, compassion, forgiveness, Godly wisdom, and joy. Let my life impact the world in the best possible way. In Jesus’s name, amen.