A good friend, reared in the church and strong in the Lord, sent me a spiritual lesson that had helped her through a tough time. I am going to be using her research to write a few blogs this year. When I wrote my book, I included a chapter on the “desert times” that are common to all of our lives. Christians often think that, when they hit a dry spot spiritually, they have done something wrong. Sometimes that is true, but often it is God’s way of calling us to a new place in our walk with him.
The desert times in our life can be a result of our choices, but often they are a consequence of living on this side of heaven and of loving others. When we choose to love and care about other people, their choices can bring us to those desert times as well. The good news is this: desert times can be great times to rediscover God and grow spiritually.
The biggest mistake we make during these times is to try to fix them, hurry them, or get rid of them. American Christians aren’t very good at waiting. We were raised to be independent, strong, decisive, and hard working. Those qualities are great when on the job but detrimental to a close walk with God. The biggest struggle in our spiritual life is submitting our will to God’s. The greatest blessings come when we do.
The talk turns to resolutions this time of year. Most of us probably should exercise more and toss the leftover sugar stuff. We know how to be healthy physically. But, the most important resolution we can make is to be healthy spiritually. Just as there are countless diets that promise terrific results, there are countless books, sermons, (and even blogs) that make spiritual promises as well. All results, in the end, come from what we choose to do with the information we have been given.
I don’t have any promises to give you today, but God does. I can recommend spiritual suggestions but God has the perfect plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). A spiritual resolution I think God would suggest for us is this: Hurry up and wait.
I will be writing about this subject in a variety of ways this year. Waiting is contrary to most of our personalities. Have you ever thought about why that is true? Mark 14:38 says, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” American Christians are more of a “pray and do” culture than we are a “watch and pray” culture. Our spirit is willing but our flesh doesn’t like to wait for anyone else, even God, to tell us what to do. We like suggestions, not commands. God’s revelation is never an option to consider.
Let’s make a spiritual resolution to hurry up and wait on God to reveal his will before we act. This resolution isn’t for a new year; it is for a new life. The mistakes we make come from our ideas, never from God’s. The desert times are important spiritual times and you can count on Satan to encourage you to hurry them up. Meanwhile, the Shepherd intends to lead you to wait by the still waters so that he can restore your soul. Waiting is one of the best things we can do for our spiritual lives. Guess who wants to hurry us to do something else?
The words of Habakkuk were written to teach the righteous people of his generation to stand firm in their faith and to wait for God to reveal and accomplish his plan. The prophet Habakkuk said: I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay” (2:1-3). God has written his vision for our lives and preserved it in our Bible. He wants us to “run” spiritually. The only way to run with God is to hurry up and wait for him to lead.
The ground outside our windows is frozen. The trees are bare and planting flowers outside would be a huge waste of time and money. On the other hand, the bulbs hidden in the frozen ground are just waiting until the right time to bloom. That is a simple lesson from God, but profound. The evidence of God is everywhere, we just need to be still and consider his lessons.
Take a few minutes to be still and know that he is God. Take a few more minutes to be still and know that you are not God. Then, hurry up and wait for his plans to matter more than your own. That is a resolution that God can bless, honor and use for his Kingdom glory.
I wish you all a happy, holy new year as we hurry up and wait for it to unfold!
Join us at www.christianparenting.org and chime in on this week’s discussion question: How would your child finish this sentence: “I hope that I will be able to __________ this year.”?