Conntecting the Dots

How the Pandemic is Offering Us a Fresh Start

 

Chuck Swindoll writes, “When the sovereign God brings us to nothing, it is to reroute our lives, not to end them. Human perspective says, ‘Aha, you’ve lost this, you’ve lost that. You’ve caused this, you’ve caused that. You’ve ruined this, you’ve ruined that.’ But God says, ‘No. No. It’s time to reroute your life. Now’s the time to start anew!”

 

Holding onto a heavenly perspective restores our hope. Especially now. As many parts of the world brace for COVID’s return, human perspective might either push the panic button or throw its hand in the air in doomed resignation. But God views our plight differently. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

 

We view the pandemic as the culprit that ended normalcy. We see it as responsible for taking away our freedom to worship in customary ways, visit friends and family, and sit with loved ones in the hospital. We blame it for upending our job or business. We consider it the bad guy that ruined wedding, vacation, or ministry plans.

 

But what if we’re missing something? Maybe God is saying, “No. No. It’s time to reroute your life. Now’s the time to start anew.”

 

I’ve discovered this is true in my teaching ministry. For nearly twenty years, I could pretty much look at my calendar and predict when ministry leaders would book me for fall or spring events. But things are different. For now, the pandemic has slammed the lid on ministry as I’ve known it for two decades. That doesn’t mean things can’t change and return to the usual, but perhaps God has other plans. Maybe He’s saying it’s time to reroute that aspect of my life and start anew. You know—the message remains the same but the method of presenting it changes.

 

I’m open to whatever rerouting and starting anew looks like even if it’s far beyond my comfort zone. In fact, I ventured into hosting a Zoom Bible study that began late last month, and more than eighty women registered. The learning curve has been steep but worth the effort.

 

Realistically, life might never return to the way we once knew it. Does that mean everything’s ruined? No. That we’ve hit a wall and can never move forward from here? Absolutely not. It does mean that we need to ask God to shift our perspective so it aligns with His. How might He want us to reroute our lives?

 

If spending habits have been a little too loose, now’s the time to reroute by developing, and sticking to, a budget.

 

If the gym remains closed, now’s the time to figure out a different routine to stay healthy and strong.

 

If your business has slowed or closed, now’s the time to experience God provide in new ways and to follow as He leads down an unfamiliar path.

 

If people in your life have taken a backseat to position and possessions, now’s the time to switch things up and focus on what matters more.

 

If faith has grown complacent, now’s the time to recommit to loving God with all one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.

 

A human perspective thinks the pandemic has taken so much. In many ways, it has. But God’s thoughts are higher than ours, and His perspective renews hope. What does He have in store? How might He be using it to give us a fresh start? How might He be using it to give you a fresh start? Go ahead–share your thoughts here to encourage the rest of us.

 

 

#bgbg2  #findinghope  #devotions  #hopeinGod

 

 

 

 

Let’s Not Make Prayer Complicated

 

For years I felt like a freshman in the school of prayer. I felt I had so much to learn in order to do it right. If I missed the mark, my prayers would waste both my breath and God’s time, and my best intercessory efforts would score a failing grade.

 

Sometimes we make prayer more complicated than it is. It’s not a formal conversation in which we’re compelled to repeat spiritual-sounding words. Neither is it a case of tiptoeing into His presence hoping He’s available and willing to listen.

 

Prayer is a heart-to-heart connection in which we come into God’s presence assured of His welcome: “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” (Ephesians 3:12 NLT). Imagine God bending down with His arms outstretched toward you, like a father beckoning his toddler to run to him. That’s the welcome Christ’s followers receive when we pray.

 

My fear of missing the mark in prayer dissipated when I realized how much the heavenly Father longs for connection with His kids. He wants us to pour out our hearts when we feel grieved or disappointed. To tell Him when we’re afraid. To share our delights and joys with Him. He wants to be a part of our life. He wants to be our life.

 

Some days—or life seasons—we enjoy chunks of uninterrupted time in conversation with the Lord. Other days and seasons, the thought of an uninterrupted quiet space defies imagination. That’s when we can rest assured that we can carry on a meaningful conversation with God even in the midst of real-life busyness.

 

Living in a sailboat means I use the marina’s laundromat. Walking back and forth to the laundromat on wash day provides a perfect opportunity to talk with God. Folding clothes, cutting veggies for salad, mixing ingredients for a baking project, driving to the grocery store, and walking for exercise—these ordinary moments become sacred moments when bathed in conversation with Almighty God.

 

Prayer needn’t be complicated. It’s not about trying to impress God or twist His arm or tell Him how to do His job. It’s about heart-to-heart communication. Back and forth conversation. Speaking and listening. It’s responding to our heavenly Father who stoops to love us and waits to welcome us with open arms. How sweet is that?

 

Question: What ordinary moments become sacred moments for you?

 

#bgbg2  #prayer  #devotions  #conversingwithGod

When Life Feels Overwhelming

Our view last night as we headed toward Sand Head.

Sailor-Man and I took the Makana away from the dock for the weekend. We could never have written the script for what took place.

 

First, the alternator quit working. Then we experienced engine failure not once, not twice, but three times on our way home yesterday. The first failure meant retracing our journey twelve nautical miles to the only safe place to anchor so Sailor-man could try to fix the engine.

 

As he worked, a large wave came from behind, lifted the Makana’s stern, and dragged the dingy underneath. This resulted in its being punctured. Picture Sailor-Man desperately trying to rescue it before the weight of its motor pulled it underwater as I clung to the back of his shirt lest a rogue wave wash him overboard. He managed to winch it aboard but our oars and safety kit floated away.

 

When we finally got going after the second engine failure and fix, we realized that reaching home before nightfall was impossible. We motored up the Fraser River in the dark keeping our eyes peeled for the flashing red lights on the guiding buoys.

 

With sighs of relief, we pulled into a public marina. Three feet from the dock, the motor died for a third and final time. We drifted toward a group of wooden pilings and lodged against them. Trouble was, it was so close to shore that our keel would get stuck in the mud at low tide. The clock was ticking.

the pilings and our boat-home today

Gene returned to the engine compartment to see what he could do while I sat in the cockpit and prayed. Suddenly a spotlight shone on me and a voice from nearby bushes said, “Do you need help?” I said, “Yes, we’ve had engine problems all day and my husband is trying to fix it right now.”

 

Then the voice identified itself. “We are the Canadian Border Patrol Agency. You entered USA waters today—twice—and failed to report when you re-entered Canada. Please come to the dock so we can have a conversation.” My heart stopped. Seriously?

 

Gene called a towing service. Docking the Makana nearly resulted in catastrophe, but when everything settled down, the border guards began questioning us. Our boat had shown up on their radar with its original name as registered in the States. During COVID, boats are not allowed to travel between Canada and the USA. So, according to their trackers, here was a USA-registered boat in Canadian waters. When our engine failed, the only safe place to anchor was immediately beside a Canadian ferry terminal. Apparently, the water there is considered USA. So we traveled from Canada into the States and back again. Their “assets” had followed all our movement, even traveling up river “under the cover of darkness.”

 

“Because you entered the USA and then re-entered Canada, you will have to quarantine for fourteen days,” said one guard. “You will be monitored about this. Failure to comply will result in a $750,000 fine or six months in jail.”

 

Thankfully he gave me the opportunity to explain every detail of our day’s journey. Maybe he felt sorry for us, or maybe God pulled off a miracle. Either way, he and the others believed me and retracted the quarantine edict after confirming that we’d had no contact with anyone while anchored due to engine failure. “You drifted into USA waters,” he declared. “We’re glad you’re safe. If the police contact you, tell them we’ve had this conversation.” Then they bid us goodbye.

 

Sailor-Man and I fell into bed at 1:30 AM. We woke this morning feeling a bit traumatized. Our adrenalin was still pumping, I’m sure. He since discovered a crack in our new engine starter and is off to a fix-it shop. Looks like we’ll be tied to this dock for yet another night. Who would have thought our weekend getaway could have turned into this? Like I say, we couldn’t have written the script.

 

I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that I read Isaiah 61:10 as we began our journey home yesterday. It begins with the words, “I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God.” Sailor-Man and I talked about that sentence and agreed on how easily we can feel overwhelmed when the winds blow and the waves thrash us about both literally and figuratively. But that is sooo not how God intends for His children to live.

 

God’s desire is for us to navigate life overwhelmed by His goodness, His grace, His holiness, and His faithfulness. Our circumstances might not turn out as we wish. They may, in fact, be so difficult that they leave us feeling traumatized. But keeping our eyes on the unchanging Christ will help us weather the storm.

 

This I know: I don’t want to have a repeat of yesterday. Ever. But I also know that the LORD my God gave me the strength and courage needed to deal with the happenings. He’ll do the same for you, my friend, because He is overwhelmingly good.

 

 

#boatlife  #bgbg2  #devotions  #stormsoflife

Lessons Learned from Boat-Dwellers in Lockdown

 

A friend recently messaged me with this question: “How’s the lockdown going for you and Gene? I imagine your sailboat is feeling quite small these days.”

 

I smiled. Some days I would agree.

 

Seriously, where does one go to find solitary space on a sailboat? Sailor-Man works at the kitchen table and I generally work at my little desk about two metres away. He disappears into the forward berth and closes the door to make Skype calls, but I can still hear his voice. If that disturbs my concentration, I take my laptop into the cockpit. Problem is, that works only when the sun shines and the wind isn’t blowing.

 

I’m glad to say that Sailor-Man and I are still best friends. I think that’s quite an accomplishment considering the stresses we’ve weathered this year. On the days I feel overwhelmed, I take a walk and listen to praise music on my phone. Sometimes I sing aloud. Worship helps wash away worry. It also reminds me that God still sits on the throne of heaven. He’s working everywhere, at all times, and especially in me.

 

I’ve found this season of confinement humbling. It’s revealed areas in my life that need change or growth. It’s forcing me—in a good way—to open my hands and heart in full surrender to the Lord and to say, “Here I am. Change me. Do in me whatever You want. I’m Yours.”

 

This season has also reminded me of my dependency on the Lord. He’s shown me that He alone is my strength, my peace, my joy. He is the sure foundation that will never give way or fail me. I’m desperate for God. Let the chaos refine me and lead me into greater intimacy with Him.

 

This season has given me a new appreciation for Noah and his family. How did they handle being confined to their boat for twelve and a half months? (Genesis 8:13-16) We can only surmise. Theirs was truly a complete lockdown—no leaving the premises to buy groceries, take a walk outside, or meet friends in a parking lot while safe distancing.

 

Did they grow weary of seeing the same people, animals, and walls day after day? Did they complain because they couldn’t go outside or missed sunshine and the taste of fresh veggies? Did they grow bored with doing the same chores?

 

Maybe they weathered their circumstances with an attitude of worship. They’d experienced the power of God enabling them to build the ark. They’d witnessed Him bring the animals two-by-two. They’d seen Him close the door behind them and cause the rain to fall. And they realized that God, by His astounding mercy, had spared their lives. How could they not worship even though their circumstances were extraordinarily difficult?

 

A full year passed before God said, “Leave the boat.” Noah built an altar and worshiped with sacrifices of various sorts. (Genesis 8:15-20) Life settled down, and Noah became a farmer. But one day he got drunk and caused huge heartache to his family. (Genesis 9:20-27)

 

Think about it. Noah survived so much, but he wiped out when the chaos calmed. What happened? Again, we can only surmise. Here’s my thought.

 

Noah recognized his dependency on God for wisdom and strength leading up to and during his confinement on the ark. He experienced God’s presence and power in amazing ways. But when the stress eased and life returned to normal, he let down his spiritual guard and fell into sin.

 

Perhaps you’re like me—very aware of your dependency on God during these crazy days. You’re trusting Him to provide and protect. Maybe your prayer life has deepened. Perhaps you’re learning to worship in the midst of your pain. Maybe you’ve surrendered completely to His working in your life in any way He sees fit.

 

But someday the chaos will settle. The stress will ease and we’ll adjust to a new normal. The human tendency will be for our dependency on God to wane. Let’s remember that Satan is always seeking his next victim, and you and I are on his hit list. We need to maintain our spiritual guard against his evil tactics. As life settles down and things look less desperate, let’s stand firm in our faith, relying on God and recognizing our need for Him then just as we’re doing now.

 

 

#RelyingonGod  #devotions #LessonsLearnedFromNoah 

 

 

 

Playing Hide-and-Seek with God

a woman spending time with God

 

Sailor-Man and I recently babysat our one-year-old granddaughter Lexi. She loves playing hide-and-seek. It delighted her when I tossed a towel over her head and asked, “Where’s Lexi?”

 

Adam and Eve played a game of hide-and-seek with God, but it was no laughing matter. They’d disobeyed God when they ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Their sin created a chasm between them and their Creator. When evening came, they heard God walking in the garden. Rather than run to meet Him, they withdrew and hid among the trees. That’s when God asked the question: “Adam, where are you?” (Genesis 3:1-9)

 

This wasn’t a playful “come out, come out from wherever you are” tone. I suspect this was more the anguished cry of a father in search of his lost children.

 

God knew exactly where Adam and Eve were hiding. They weren’t lost to Him in a physical sense, but they were lost spiritually. His question, “Where are you?” was meant to help them consider their position in relationship to Him. He missed their company. He wanted fellowship with them and grieved that they didn’t share His desire.

 

Adam heard the question and cringed. “I  heard you, so I hid,” he said. “I was afraid because I was naked.” (Genesis 3:10)

 

My heart would break if Lexi hid from me for any reason whatsoever. We can only imagine how God must have felt when His precious son and daughter hid from Him. How different from the psalmist’s open and eager response to GodMy heart has heard you say, Come and talk with me. And my heart responds, Lord, I am coming’” (Psalm 27:8).

 

Unlike the psalmist, Adam and Eve hid when God showed up. We sometimes do the same. We might cower behind the tree of unconfessed sin. It may be that we’re hiding during a season of asking questions of our own: If God is so good, then why does He allow suffering? If God loves me so much, then why doesn’t He answer my prayers? How can God love me when I’ve made such a mess of my life? How can God ever forgive me for what I’ve done? We’ve not yet come up with satisfactory answers so we hide among trees of doubt.

 

Perhaps we hide among the trees of work, family, social media, and even ministry. “I hear You, God. I’ll be there in a minute, okay? I’ve got other stuff happening right now.”

 

That one describes me. I’ve rolled from one writing deadline and ministry responsibility to another since the beginning of the year. It’s time to examine and re-order priorities. In the past week, I’ve realized that I miss the read-through-the-Bible-in-a year program that I enjoyed for many years, so I’m going back to it. This time I’m going to read it from a chronological perspective. Why, I’ve even started a new journal to record fresh insights. (Today’s blog is the first!)

 

So, my friend – how would you respond if God walked into your home today, called your name, and asked, “Where are you?” Fill in the blank: “I heard You, so I ___________.”

 

#FriendshipWithGod  #devotions #MyHeartCravesGod

 

 

The Key to Tranquility

 

“Tranquility.” That’s the name of the sailboat moored thirty feet from ours. It’s the word I see every time I step outside. Perhaps the good Lord put it there to remind me that, no matter what the circumstances look like outside my safe bubble, I can possess “the quality or state of being calm.”

 

Being tranquil isn’t the same as being tranquilized. It doesn’t mean we deny or ignore what’s happening in our lives, our homes, our nation, and our world. On the contrary, we feel the impact of pandemic, politics, and racial tension acutely. We hurt with those who hurt. We wrestle with tough questions and wonder what the future holds.

 

Tranquility comes when we acknowledge the challenges and the unknowns and choose not to cave in to fear or fatalistic thinking. We choose instead to do the next right thing while trusting that God still sits on the throne and that He’s up to something much bigger than we can see. It also comes when we learn to walk out God’s promises. Here’s one I’ve known most of my life but have come to appreciate in a new way in the recent past.

 

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6 NLT)

 

Did you notice that it says God’s goodness and unfailing love pursues us all the days of our life? Not fifty percent. Not ninety-nine percent. All. Even the days that bring bad news and threaten to topple us off our axis. Even the days that make us utter, “Life’s not fair.” Even the days that end with us crying into our pillow. All.

 

Referring to Psalm 23:6, Max Lucado writes, “What a huge statement! Look at the size of it! Goodness and mercy follow the child of God each and every day! Think of the days that lie ahead. What do you see? Days at home with only toddlers? God will be at your side. Days in a dead-end job? He will walk you through. Days of loneliness? He will take your hand. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me—not some, not most, not nearly all—but all the days of my life.” (Traveling Light)

 

We can easily update this quote to be relevant to our current challenges. It might read, “… Think of the days that lie ahead. What do you see? Days at home educating your children? God will be at your side. Days with no job or wondering whether your job will last? He will walk you through. Days of loneliness due to isolation? He will take your hand. Days of wondering what the new normal will look like? He will carry you. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me—not some, not most, not nearly all—but all the days of my life, even when I’m living in a pandemic.”

 

Stay calm and carry on with hope. Tranquility—the state or quality of being calm—is ours no matter what our circumstances look like because God’s goodness and unfailing love pursue us every day, all the days of our lives.

 

So tell me—what has challenged your state of tranquility the most during this pandemic? What verse has helped you maintain calm?

#Tranquility  #Psalm 23  #Devotions

 

 

God is Always Right, Even In the Shadows

 

“…the Lord our God is right in everything he does.” (Daniel 9:14 NCV)

 

 

Life is stinkin’ hard sometimes. Sooner or later, we walk through the shadows where mystery shrouds our understanding. Our faith tells us that God is still in control, but sometimes our pain causes us to question His ways, and—dare I say it? —doubt His wisdom and intent toward us.

 

How easy it is to express gratitude and trust in God when our journey leads along a sunlit path. When doors fling open and circumstances fall neatly into place. When our monthly bills are paid with a little extra left. When our loved ones flourish in every aspect of their lives. When our health is good and personal dreams come to pass. When everything’s honky-dory, we find it easy to praise God for who He is and thank Him for all He’s done.

 

But faith tests come when our path takes a detour into the dark.

 

Joseph walked that path after his brothers sold him into slavery. Later, false accusations landed him in prison. (Genesis 37-40)

 

Naomi made that journey when her husband and two sons died. (Ruth 1)

 

David—anointed by God to become ruler over Israel—experienced it when jealous King Saul chased him through the wilderness. (1 Samuel 21-23)

 

Detours happen. Now, during the pandemic and civil unrest, millions have found themselves in the shadows. Mystery surrounds our understanding of what’s happening and what’s yet to come. Our only hope lies in our loving God.

 

He is eternal, the Alpha and Omega, the Author of mankind’s story. He knows the conclusion. He knows the purposes He wants to accomplish and how to bring them to pass. This applies to the entire world stage as well as to our individual lives.

 

Some folks look at current events and shake their head in bewilderment. Some raise their fists in defiance. Some go on with life, determined to make the most of every day while others retreat in fear.

 

May I encourage you today with Daniel’s words? God is right in everything He does. He’s right when He leads us down those sunlit paths, and He’s no less right when those paths lead into the dark places.

 

Max Lucado expresses it well in his book, Traveling Light: “God is never wrong. He has never rendered a wrong decision, experienced the wrong attitude, taken the wrong path, said the wrong thing, or acted the wrong way. He is never too late or too early, too loud or too soft, too fast or too slow. He has always been and always will be right. He is righteous.”

 

God is either in control of all or not at all. And His ways are right and good because He is righteous and good.

 

So, what does that mean to you and me right now? It means we can trust Him implicitly and not be afraid. Now’s the time to put our faith into action and discover what it means to rest in Him, to be still and know that He is God.

 

“Father, You know the needs of every person reading this blog today. You know the questions, the hurts, the joys, fears, and hopes both expressed and held secretly in the heart. Because of who You are, I ask that You meet those needs today. Instill confidence that You are in control, and You are right in all You do. Grant courage and faith to trust You in all things whether understood or shrouded in mystery. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

 

Question: Tell us about a time when your path led into the shadows. What brought hope in that place?

 

 

 

#Hope  #TrustGod  #Devotions

 

Help for These Crazy Days is Closer Than You Think

Sailor-Man and I traveled by ferry on the weekend to visit our son and his family. In times past, ferry rules said we could not remain in our car for the crossing to Vancouver Island. We had to leave our vehicle and go upstairs to one of the passenger decks for the trip’s duration.

 

The pandemic has changed the rules. As the ferry pulled away from the dock, an announcement encouraged passengers to remain in their vehicles. Anyone choosing to go upstairs would have to wear a mask and maintain safe distancing.

 

Sailor-Man and I stayed put. The people in the car behind us went upstairs. Unfortunately, something triggered their car alarm, and not just once. It pierced the air and our eardrums about eighty times during the ninety-minute crossing.

 

Annoying? Yes. But pandemic circumstances have stirred up a lot more emotions than annoyance.

 

As COVID numbers begin to climb again, some folks fear that we’ll soon be looking at a rerun of the past few months. Some are fed up, frustrated with trying to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction.  

 

Some folks are excited about re-engaging with society. Others feel sadness at the prospect of emerging from hibernation.

 

Some folks are grieving loss of loved ones. Others are dealing with disappointment over the death of a dream. Some are grateful for the calm that COVID-19 brought when isolation forced them to stay home. Others are confused about how to proceed from this point.

 

None of us have walked a road like this before, and trying to figure out how to do it well can stretch anyone. But there’s good news. We don’t have to attempt this on our own. Ephesians 6:10 reminds us that we can tap into a supernatural power source: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”

 

In the original language, the phrase “in the Lord” implied that the supernatural power we need is locked up in the person of Jesus Christ. But get this—believers are also locked up in Him (Ephesians 1:3,4,6,7,10,11,13). He is our permanent spiritual address. That means we’re located in the same place as the Holy Spirit’s power.

 

One writer paints a word picture to help us understand this spiritual principle. He tells readers to think of an aquarium that holds water and a fish. Christ would be the tank, the Spirit is the water in the tank, and believers are the fish immersed in the water. Both the water and the fish are in the same place—inside the tank. This gives the fish immediate and constant access to the water.

 

Such is our access to the Holy Spirit’s strength “in the Lord.” We don’t have to go searching or begging for it. If we’re followers of Christ, then we have ready access to the Spirit’s power because we’re locked up in Christ with Him. Trouble is, we sometimes forget. We grow accustomed to trying to do life in our own power and figure this is just the way it is.

 

As we learn to walk this road of change and uncertainty, let’s admit that our strength is not enough. Let’s make it our goal, then, to do it in the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power. That means becoming more aware of His presence and what it means to walk in step with Him moment by moment.  

 

So, here’s a question for you. How have you experienced the Holy Spirit’s power already during these crazy days?

 

#InnerStrength  #LockedUpInChrist  #Devotions

 

 

 

 

3 Ways to Wait Well

 

The pandemic has canceled our overseas ministry travels this year. I’ll be honest—I don’t miss the challenges that go hand-in-hand with international travel. Especially the waiting. A couple of years ago, a flight to Slovakia topped all.

 

The trip began in Vancouver. While waiting at the gate for our flight to Toronto, I heard an announcement saying it was canceled. We sat tight for more than an hour while an agent rebooked our tickets, and then we waited another hour for the new flight.

 

Our plane leaving Toronto sat on the tarmac for two hours after boarding. Apparently, a flight attendant was injured during the loading process, so we had to wait for her replacement to arrive. In Slovakia, our airport shuttle van’s engine died, and we had to wait for someone with jumper cables to rescue us. 

 

Waiting seems a part of life: A friend waits for God to restore her marriage. Another waits for biopsy results. A third waits for her wayward son to come to his senses. A fourth waits to hear whether or not her husband will be transferred to a city two provinces away. Another waits for an overdue paycheck.

 

Beyond individual situations, it seems the whole world is waiting. We wait for delayed surgeries and postponed specialist appointments. We wait for churches and businesses to open, jobs to be restored, subsidy cheques to arrive, airlines to resume travel, embassies to process papers, and vaccinations to be invented. We wait to see what COVID-19 will do after thousands rioted in the streets. We wait to wrap friends and family in big hugs. We wait for justice to be served and racial inequality to be resolved once and for all.

 

It’s easy to grow impatient in the wait. Depending on the circumstances, we might think God needs our help. Like Sarai, we step in to give Him a hand, but we mess things up. We might begin to believe the lie that God doesn’t care about us. We might grow angry or bitter, or we may even lose hope of ever seeing our problem solved or our desire fulfilled.

 

Waiting can be difficult, yes? How, then, can we wait well? Here are three insights:

 

  • Give God credit. Acknowledge that His wisdom and ways are much higher than yours. He sees the bigger picture and is working behind-the-scenes at all times. Let Him do His job and rest in the truth that He makes no mistakes.

 

  • Give God thanks. Thank Him for being sovereign over every detail of your life. Thank Him for surrounding you with lovingkindness. Thank Him for providing this opportunity to grow and mature. “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

 

  • Give God your full attention. Ask Him what He wants to teach you in the wait, tune your ear to His voice, and expect Him to answer. Do not resist what He says. Maintain a teachable spirit and be willing to do whatever He says.

 

Waiting can either drive us crazy or become a rich experience that draws us into a deeper, sweeter walk with the Lord. We’re in control of the outcome. It all depends on how we choose to respond, so let’s choose well that we might wait well.

 

#Waiting  #Devotions  #WaitingWell

 

Encouragement for the Soul-Weary

two hands holding universe

Hey, my friend. How are you really doing this week?

 

Between you and me, I’m feeling a wee bit soul-weary. It’s about waiting for life to settle into a normal that allows us to visit family.

 

My daughter and son-in-law just bought their first home and will move in this week. Sailor-Man and I were really hoping to celebrate this major accomplishment with them by helping them paint and do other tasks related to their move. But that’s not to be. The Canada/USA border will remain closed until late July at least.

 

The whole world has been living under unusual stress for months. The brain and the body can absorb only so much. When I’m physically tired, I take a walk. Even ten minutes at a moderate pace works wonders. When I’m feeling soul-weary, I listen to praise and worship music on my walks. I also turn focused attention to God’s promises. Here are two that have blessed me this week.

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10NIV).

 

It’s beautiful, yes? Knowing that God holds me in His hand renews my inner strength and hope. But it becomes even more meaningful when read within the context of the preceding chapter.

 

Isaiah 40:12 says, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?”

 

The One who promises to hold us and strengthen us is the same One who cradles the world’s oceans in His palm. He gathers the earth’s dust into a basket and weighs all the mountains and hills on a scale. There is nothing He cannot do. Everything is possible for Him. No wonder we needn’t fear! My mind cannot comprehend such magnitude. The thought of His being aware of my weariness and promising to lend a hand humbles me.

 

As strong as God is, He is also gentle. Isaiah 40:11says, “He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his hear. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” The same hands that hold the seas carry us close to the Father’s heart. He cares.

 

If you’re feeling a wee bit soul-weary today, be encouraged. You’re in God’s hands, and there’s no better place.

 

 

#Rest  ##SoulWeary  #Hope  #Devotions