Confession 422: Because It’s Okay to Ask God for Help, Even When It Seems the World is Falling Apart

Source: Confession 422: Because It’s Okay to Ask God for Help, Even When It Seems the World is Falling Apart

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Confession 422: Because It’s Okay to Ask God for Help, Even When It Seems the World is Falling Apart

Lord, you have been our help,
    generation after generation.
Before the mountains were born,
    before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world—
    from forever in the past
    to forever in the future, you are God. Psalm 90:1-2 (CEB)

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We’ve been in a bit of a rough patch lately. Actually, it’s been more of a roller coaster that culminated in neurosurgery for my father-in-law last week. He’s home and healing well, but it was definitely a process. There were times when I think everyone in our family wanted to shout at the universe, “Anything else you want to throw at us today?” But we made it through. God granted us peace and extended us his grace.

I have to be honest, though, there were times when the praying was hard. When I bowed my head to pray for my family, I thought about all of those other families in the world suffering from tragedy. I thought about people mourning the unthinkable loss of loved ones in Las Vegas. I thought about the loved ones still missing in California, Mexico, the Caribbean and Texas. I thought about battles raging across the ocean, and people who live in constant fear and terror. Is God fighting for them? Is God acting on their behalf?

Although I continued to offer my prayers, I was pretty numb. The prayers came out of a hollow place in my heart. There was little expectation. It seemed that God already had his hands full enough, and my little prayers would most likely fall through the cracks of the cupped hands in which he holds the world.

floodIt’s not pretty to say such things. It’s not what Christian leaders are supposed to do. But I’m guessing I’m not the first or last person to ever have such thoughts. It’s not a lack of faith, regardless of what some well-intended church folk might say. It comes from the knowledge that the world is a mess, and life doesn’t always go the way you want it to, despite your best prayers.

But here’s the thing–it is precisely because the world is and always was a mess that we need to continue to bring all of our petitions, hurts, hopes, and concerns before God. Going to God in prayer allows us to let go, to look forward, to place one foot in front of the other when our feet don’t want to move any farther down the road we find ourselves on. Prayer is a safe place for us to release all of our fears, our anxieties, and our doubts because God, unlike us, is able to carry them.

God wants to hear from his children. God wants us to come to him in prayer: when we’re numb, when we’re doubtful, when we’re confused, when we’re angry, when we’re thankful, and when our lives are perfectly and blissfully uneventful.

fallIt is through prayer that we are able to see God’s goodness in the midst of uncertainty, tragedy, and grief. Prayer allows us to remember, as the psalmist writes, that God is God from forever in the past to forever in the future. No matter what life throws our way…

God was.

God is.

God will be.

Our family witnessed a small miracle last week, in the midst of the crazy roller coaster we were on. After the surgeon shared the good news, the pastor sitting with us stood up and said, “Well, I think that calls for a prayer!” And so, we joined hands once again. We bowed in the surgery waiting area and gave God thanks for this miracle. The ride isn’t over yet. There’s still more to come. That’s part of living in this world. However, in that small moment of thanksgiving, I saw again how much God loves each of his children. I saw again that, despite the messed up nature of the world, God is there, forever and forever, working for and with his children.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

 

Confession 421: When Keeping Faith Feels Like You’re Going Against the Odds

Without losing faith, Abraham, who was nearly 100 years old, took into account his own body, which was as good as dead, and Sarah’s womb, which was dead.He didn’t hesitate with a lack of faith in God’s promise, but he grew strong in faith and gave glory to God. He was fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised. Romans 4:19-21 (CEB)

fall header

Christians love to talk about faith. We sing about it, preach it, display it on t-shirts and decorative wall art. Jesus, himself, spoke often about faith. “Your faith has healed you,” “Where is your faith?”, “Faith can move mountains…”

But, do we really believe it? What is faith, anyway? Is it a feeling? Is it knowledge? Is it something experiential?  Can we quantify faith? Does it have a molecular structure? Is faith included in our DNA?

And once we’ve figured out what faith is, what do we do with it? Do we place it on a shelf and dust if every now and then? Do we invest it in some sort of account that yields an interest? Do we use it everyday, like a washcloth or dishwasher or car? Do we hold onto it in a white-knocked fist grip as if we’re hanging from a trapeze?

girl on swing 2I’ve been thinking a lot about faith lately, because honestly, it feels like it’s a bit dinged up. Charlottesville broke something in me. And then there was Harvey, and Irma, and Maria, and Mexico. And then there was the whole kerfuffle about who could protest and when they could protest and suddenly, protesting became an issue to protest. And that doesn’t even begin to touch the personal worries, crises, and tragedies that occur in our everyday lives.

I keep telling myself that the world was always a crazy, mixed up place–that our time is no different from any other. But, I’m not so sure anymore. Suddenly (or maybe gradually) keeping the faith seems like an all-in bet when the deck is stacked against you. The odds are not really in faith’s favor.

But then, I remember. I remember who I am. More importantly, I remember whose I am. God gave me an epiphany the other night, as I was praying a very simple prayer. “God,” I said. “Save us from ourselves.” And do you know what I heard in that moment, when the lights were off and the house was still?

I

already

did…

I think if God could drop a mic, he would have done so in that moment. It became clear to me that it is we, the Jesus people, who have to bring God’s goodness into the world. You see, God already did the work. Jesus came. He went to the cross. He rose again. And then, the mantle of faith was placed on the disciples. “You go,” Jesus said. “You bring my salvation to the world.”

Jesus is saying those same words to us today.

You go. Bring my salvation to the world. Even if the whole idea of faith seems like a long-shot.
In Romans 4, Paul discusses the faith of Abraham. Abraham had absolutely no reason to believe God would fulfill his promises. He and Sarah were well beyond the “child-bearing years”. And yet, Paul writes that Abraham “didn’t hesitate” with a lack of faith. Rather, he grew stronger. Abraham didn’t say, “You know, God. This is

  • ridiculous
  • overwhelming
  • unorthodox
  • time-consuming
  • expensive
  • futile.”

Abraham didn’t say, “I’m going to need some time to think about this.” Or, “I need a bit more faith.”

Abraham said, “Thank you God!” before the promise was even fulfilled.

Confession 247: RefreshmentI feel like the world is an overwhelming place right now. Contrary to Abraham, I find myself asking for more from God. I want more miracles, more signs, more direction…more faith. But God’s already given me everything I need to what he’s asking me to do. I just need to shake my faith off and get to it.

This week, I would challenge you to prayerfully consider how God is calling you to engage in our messed up, convoluted world.

  • Where does God want you to go?
  • What relief does God want you to send to those in need? How does God want you to give voice to the oppressed?
  • Where is God calling you to take a stand against injustice?
  • What love does God want you to show to someone else?

There is much work to be done. So, this week, let’s give God thanks for always keeping his promises, strap our faith to our hands and feet, and get to work, bringing love, peace, and hope to a world that is desperately in need.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

 

Confession 420: Do All the Good You Can

Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good. Romans 12:21 (CEB)

cherry blossom 1

I’ve started this post several times now…carefully thinking about how to effectively engage and introduce a topic that’s weighing heavily on my heart. I’m thinking about John Wesley’s mandate to Do Good, which my husband preached on this Sunday, and considering how my words might seek to uplift instead of tear down.

The truth is, I’m very angry at what happened in Virginia this week. I’m very concerned about the war mongering rhetoric that’s been passing between our nation and North Korea. I’m very sad that so many innocent victims cross paths with people intent on doing harm.

There is great evil in this world. Maybe it’s no more than there’s always been. Maybe it’s just amplified with our 24 hour news cycle and social media use. But I can’t help but feel that we’re standing on the precipice of a tipping point for humanity. If we take another step toward anger and hate; greed and self-centeredness, then we’ve let the worst of ourselves triumph. However, if we take a step back, away from anger, self-righteousness, instant gratification and the need for power, then maybe, just maybe, we can pull back from the brink of self-destruction. Maybe, just maybe, we can harness our passionate nature into works that create and sustain life rather than endeavors that destroy and diminish both the earth and other people.

heart on path

Doing good is a conscious choice–a difficult one in the face of increasing hate and violence. Doing good requires us to stop putting ourselves first. Doing good means we have to take our time, effort, resources, talents, and even thoughts and use them to help make the world something better than it currently is. Doing good means that instead of complaining or criticizing, we do something to counter the negative we see around us. When everyone else says, “The world’s a terrible place!”, doing good means that we say, “Let’s make it better!”

I know that sounds trite. I know it’s an oversimplification of the needs in our world. I know that part of being a Jesus follower means speaking with a prophetic voice against injustice and oppression. But if we only speak out, and never act, then we just become more noise.

Jesus understood this need to do good. Jesus was born into a society that was violent and unjust. He spent his early years as a political refugee, and came home to a country that was occupied by a foreign power. Jesus witnessed acts of violence and hate. And yes, Jesus spoke out about the evil in the world. However, he also acted. He chose to feed, to heal, to teach, to encourage, to mend relationships. In short, Jesus chose to actively love others, especially those most victimized by society’s injustice.

Jesus told his disciples, “Be a light for the world. Do good, so that God will be glorified.” (Matthew 5:16) Do good…don’t just talk about it…do good.

Paul echoes this mandate in Galatians 6 when he writes:

Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. 

Paul exhorts the Galatians to continue to do good, even though it doesn’t seem like it matters much. He reminds them that the world will not change overnight; however, in time (God’s time) the harvest will come.

heart on wood

No matter how eloquent or well-spoken we are, the world is not listening to our words. However, they may notice our actions. This is what Jesus reminded his disciples after Judas ran from the Passover meal, intent on handing Jesus over to the authorities to be arrested. Immediately after being betrayed by one of his closest friends, Jesus says,

 But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples. John 13:34-35 (CEB)

Jesus’ message and example could not be more clear. In the face of evil, we are called to love. And, how do we love? We give ourselves to others.

This week, I would challenge you to intentionally do good each day this week. Seek out one opportunity every day to show love in a way that brings honor and glory to God.

When the world speaks with hate and acts in violence, choose to speak in love and do good.

Blessings and Peace

Sara

 

Confession 419: Sacred Space

It is the Lord of heavenly forces whom you should hold sacred, whom you should fear, and whom you should hold in awe.

 God will become a sanctuary— Isaiah 8:13-14a (CEB)

serve

Sacred…I love that word. To me, it connotes something beautiful and holy–treasured–a connection with the divine. We each have our own definition of sacred; those special objects, places and rituals that connect us to something bigger than ourselves and our own little lives. Sacred is about connection.

20170710_150158The other day, I sat with my parents in an almost-empty parking lot and watched a giant mechanical claw carefully pull down and apart the sanctuary of my childhood church. It was fascinating, really, almost hypnotic. The mechanical claw was big and bulky, and yet, when it engaged in demolition, it seemed to do so with great gentleness and care. It’s like the machine somehow knew that, for many in the community, this was sacred ground.

This was the place where I first encountered the presence of God. This was the place where the foundations of my own spiritual relationships were laid. This was the place where people showed me what it looked like to live out the Gospel message. This was the place where family and friends connected, where lives were shared, where the souls of the faithful who had lived and worshipped before could still be felt joining in the great celebration of worship. This was sacred ground.

And yet…

And yet…

how easy it is to turn the sacred into an idol.fbc

How easy it is to worship the places where divine encounters occurred rather than the living God who is present in our sacred moments.

How easy it is to bow down before our sacred mementos, trinkets, inheritances and forget that the spirit of those who built those objects, who erected those structures, are not held within them.

For the ancient Israelites, God was contained in the Tabernacle and Temple. But when Jesus died on the cross, the curtain was ripped apart. The Spirit was unbound, unleashed, unharnessed. God moved out from the Temple (not that he was really bound there anyway) and redefined sacred.

Sacred was a field where shepherds heard the songs of the angels.

Sacred was a common water well where an outcast felt the grace, love and mercy of Jesus.

Sacred was a prison cell, where disciples shared the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Sacred was a cross–the most shameful symbol of death–that became a beacon of hope for the world.

Sacred is about divine connection, and that connection is not tied to a specific place or object. God, himself, is our sanctuary. When we give our hearts over to worship, he is our sacred space.

My childhood church is thriving. A new state of the art sanctuary has been built across town. There’s room for continued growth, and no fear that the entire structure might collapse at any given moment. The new building is sacred, because the people who worship within it have made God their sanctuary.

We carry the sacred moments of our past within us. They are part of who we are, as much as our bones, tendons and muscles. We grow from those moments and move forward with God to do his work.

This week, I challenge you to reflect on the sacred moments of your life. What places or objects are tied to those sacred moments? Give thanks for those moments. Give thanks for the people and situations that made those sacred moments possible. Then, consider ways in which God might be asking you to create a sacred moment for others.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

A Quick Hello and a Small Request

Hello Friends!

My husband and I are pretending to be empty nesters this week as our boys are at Camp Grandma and Grandpa. This is something we’ve been doing each year since our youngest was about 2. It’s good for them to spend quality time with their grandparents and create lasting memories. And, it’s good for my husband and I to be able to focus solely on each other for a bit.

kids at grandparents

I’m trying to use the quiet this week to do some discerning and get the ball rolling on some new projects for the fall and winter. I also need to clean the boys’ room and get rid of all their “treasures” that are littering the entire basement. (Seriously, I’m walking on top of stuffed animals, blankets and pillows.)  I have to do this while they’re away, otherwise, they resist. My youngest goes for a preemptive strike and hides all of the items he thinks I’m going to throw away–like the smelly beanbag chair the dog used to sleep on. My oldest isn’t as subtle. He just follows me around the room pulling things out of the trash bag exclaiming, “Don’t throw this away!”

Some of you might be condemning the throw-away vs. give-away aspect of my purging. But, honestly, there comes a point where I just need the junk GONE. However, if you really want me to ship a beanbag chair covered in dog hair, dog drool and who knows what else your way, I’d be happy to do it! 🙂 (Actually, I wouldn’t. I totally procrastinate when it comes to going to the post office.)

If we’re being honest with ourselves, a lot of us have quite a bit of internal junk cluttering our souls that needs to be trashed. God has an entire “Lake of Iniquity” where that can go–if we let him have it. What “treasures” are you holding onto that clutter your life? Regret? Anger? Disappointment? Grief? Cynicism? A grudge? Worry? Take some time to consider those items and ask God for the strength and ability to toss them out.

CAN I ASK A FAVOR?heart star

I hate asking favors. It reeks of dependence, something this independent woman tends to hold onto, even though she knows God is calling her to let it go.

So, in the spirit of boldness, I’m asking a favor. If you’ve read Confessions of the Pastor’s Wife, would you post a review on Amazon? I appreciate all of those who have already done this. Amazon uses a logarithm when it comes to promoting books. This logarithm is based, in large part, on book reviews. Essentially, the more reviews of a book, the more the more visibility the book gets on Amazon.

As a writer, reviews help me to better engage with readers. It’s good to know what’s speaking to you (and, what isn’t). It also allows me to see how God is working through this book to lead others closer to him. And really, that was the entire point of the book.

I’m providing the link to leave a review here. If you’re new to posting reviews on Amazon, here’s what you need to know.

  1. You don’t have to publicize your name. Also, I don’t get any personal information about you from Amazon.
  2. You don’t have to say a lot. Just jot down a couple of words or sentences that come to mind when you think about the book.
  3. Build on other reviews. If someone else said what you wanted to say, say it again. That helps me see what areas of the book really spoke to the majority of readers.
  4. If you absolutely hated the book (it happens), simply mark “DNF” for Did Not Finish and move on. Books and readers are like a relationship. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

If you haven’t read the book and want to check it out, click go to Amazon here or Barnes and Noble here. And then, tell me what you think. 😉

Thank you for sharing this journey with me!

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

Confession 418: The Consequences of Boldness

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

bold coffee

My nine year old thinks he knows everything. He’s been like this since his personality first showed signs of emerging years ago, so I think it’s just who he is rather than a phase. Whenever there’s a problem, he boldly proclaims the answer. Whenever you tell him no, he boldly recites a list of reasons why the answer should be yes. Whenever you tell him he’s wrong, he boldly asserts how and why he’s right. My husband and I usually just roll our eyes and move on. But, I must say, I do admire his boldness.

Boldness is an integral part of success. It’s also an integral part of our faith development. God is bold. He can do more than we imagine or even conceive possible. Therefore, we need to be bold in our expectations of him. We need to come to God with a spirit of boldness, asking God to move in ways that we know we are incapable of moving. We need to ask God for big things in our lives (and the lives of others), those things that make us stand back upon completion and say, “Wow! God is amazing!”

In Exodus 33, Moses makes a bold request of God: “Now, show me your presence.” Note the use of the imperative structure in opening clause: show me.  Moses isn’t asking God to show himself, he’s demanding it. And that is a supreme act of boldness. Remember that Moses first stood in the Lord’s presence in the wilderness of Midian. God revealed himself in a burning bush, and Moses was terrified. He couldn’t even look at the bush and gave God a whole litany of reasons as to why God should choose someone else to free the Israelites. In his first encounter, Moses was a total coward.

So, what changed? How did Moses go from trembling coward to fearless demander? To put it simply, Moses engaged in a long-term relationship with God. Moses saw God’s power and might over and over again in Egypt. He witnessed God’s saving acts in the sea and the desert. He saw God come through on behalf of his people time and time again. Moses knows God, and this knowledge makes him bold. Moreover, God rewards Moses’ boldness in verse 19:

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

God is willing to honor Moses’ demand. The Creator of the universe is going to reveal his glory to a man who didn’t even say please. But…there are consequences to boldness.

light bulb

Have you ever asked for something you never thought you’d get, and then you get it and it’s nothing like you expected? For me, it’s my children. Parenting is nothing like I expected: it’s beautiful, frustrating, meaningful and terrifying–sometimes all in the same day. I love my children, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, it’s changed my life.

Similarly, we need to understand that boldness in our walk with God will change our lives. God honors Moses’ boldness. He allows Moses to experience his presence. However, God offers Moses this word of caution.

But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

God has to protect Moses from the full power of his presence. This should be a clue to Moses that his life is about to fundamentally change. No one encounters the presence of God and comes away unchanged. And so, when Moses descends from the mountain, he is altered. Scripture says that his face is “radiant”, so much so that the Israelites are terrified to come near him. Because of his bold request to God, Moses must veil his face the rest of his life because he has literally been marked by God.

In Moses’ story, we see that the consequence of boldness in our faith is a changed life. We don’t get to make bold requests of God and not experience change ourselves. A bold encounter with God leaves a mark. Sometimes that mark is easily noticeable. It involves a move, a career change, a relationship change or some other change in life’s circumstances. Other times, the change is internal. We become kinder, gentler, more loving, more courageous, more content. The point is, boldness leads to change, and that change is often not the change we expect or anticipate.

This week, as you pray for boldness, I would encourage you to pray also about the change that will take place in your life due to your bold requests. Ask God to help you accept and then embrace the change. Pray for courage to boldly go where God is calling you to go. And then, tell me about it! I’d love to hear the stories about God acting boldly in your life.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

Confession 417: Finding Boldness in the Face of Underwhelming Expectations

When you accomplished wonders beyond all our expectations;
    when you came down, mountains quaked before you.
  From ancient times,
    no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
    no eye has seen any god but you
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for him! Isaiah 64:3-4 (CEB)

sneakers in grass

This is a stupid predicament, I thought to myself as I sat on the edge of a step balancing a 100+ pound lawn mower below me. I was attempting to maneuver our push mower up a series of steep steps from the lower to upper yard. My nine year old helped me up the first few stairs, but stomped off in frustration at the final big push. As he left, I called out in desperation, “Tell your brother to come help!”

If you’ve ever met my eleven year old, you’d understand what a desperate cry this is. G weighs about 60 pounds soaking wet. His arms and legs look like skinny twigs that could snap with the slightest breeze. He also doesn’t like getting his hands dirty…literally.  I had zero expectation of deliverance.

I started scanning the horizon for neighboring lawn care workers. Just as I was thinking I’d have to sit here balancing this mower for the next six hours (admitting defeat and going back down the stairs was not an option), I heard the slow flop, flop, flop of my eldest’s sandaled feet coming down the sidewalk.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked. As I explained the situation, he narrowed his eyes and slowly walked around the mower, sizing it all up. He stopped at the front of the mower. “You want me to pick this thing up and walk backward?” he asked, like it was the most ridiculous suggestion in the world.

“No,” I clarified. “I’m walking backward. Just pick it up and push.”

He looked doubtful, and so was I. G thought for a moment, then slipped his ultra-clean hands under the mower and lifted. The task was finished in thirty seconds. Help came from the most unexpected place–a skinny little boy who’s obsessed with clean hands.

Afterward, as I marveled to him about his extraordinary feat of strength, he admitted that he only lifted the mower because he hadn’t just washed his hands. I didn’t care. It was a triumph. I learned that my son is capable of much more than I ever expected. Don’t get me wrong, I know he’s intelligent, a super reader, creative, kind and compassionate. But I never really think of him as helpful, per se. He didn’t just exceed my expectations, he set new ones.

waiting for sunriseI think a lot of us go through life with limited expectations, either of ourselves or others. We organize ourselves and others in boxes with careful labels attached as to what they can and cannot do. The thing is, we aren’t static beings. We grow and change, evolve if you will, based on circumstance and experience. Our attempt to organize and categorize our abilities and the ability of others is based on a limited perception, and that limited perception leads to inadequate expectation.

We limit ourselves, we limit others and we limit God because we aren’t bold enough to look beyond our limited understanding of the possible.

I’ve been thinking a lot about boldness and possibility the past several months. I’ve come to the realization that, while I believe in God’s power and might, I don’t really expect to see it manifested in my life. My faith has become complacent, tepid. I have underwhelming expectations of God.

And yet, in the deep recesses of my soul, God has been working. A flame has been carefully tended, and God is waiting for me to remove the damper. God has been calling me to give his Spirit free reign in my life, to let go of my underwhelming expectations and look for the great possible that is God.

And so, I’m praying for boldness. I’m praying for an infusion of the Holy Spirit in my life, that great fire that flows through our veins and spills out to others, igniting acts of love, justice and peace. I’m praying for God to accomplish things in my life that can only be done by him and which can only point back to his great work. I’m also praying for God to ignite a fire of expectation and possibility in our congregation, community, nation and world so that others might see his glory revealed.

My challenge for you is to join me in praying for boldness. Ask God for something in your life, in your congregation or in your community that only he can accomplish. And then, be ready. Because God will call you to do things you least expect.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

Confession 416: When You Find Yourself in a Desert…3 Takeaways from the Exodus Journey

I won’t drive them out before you in a single year so the land won’t be abandoned and the wild animals won’t multiply around you. I’ll drive them out before you little by little, until your numbers grow and you eventually possess the land. Exodus 23:29-30 (CEB)

arrow

Last month, I decided to re-read the Exodus story. I’ve been feeling for awhile like I’m in a desert place, and I thought God would reveal the way out if I went back to the original source material.

God has revealed a lot to me through Exodus, but it’s not the great epiphanous understanding I was seeking. God did what God always does in my life…he gave me clarity and fortitude to continue down the desert road.

I’ve shared before my desire have God communicate with me through a blazing neon sign. I want that bright fluorescent blinking arrow ahead of me every step of the way. But, that’s not how God works in my life. And that’s a good thing, really, because if God made the way clear and easy, I wouldn’t grow in him. I wouldn’t grow at all.

You see, this is the point of the desert journey–to become one with God–to become the person God created us to be–to become the servant God wants us to be.

God fashioned a people in the desert. God spoke to the prophets in the desert. God revealed himself to John the Baptist in the desert. God prepared Jesus for ministry in the desert. God reclaimed Saul in the desert. (Okay, Damascus wasn’t in the desert. However, it probably felt like a desert experience to Paul.)

desert road

Exodus Takeaway #1: Our desert experiences are carefully orchestrated by God to help us grow into the person he has called us to be.

This growth can be both practical and spiritual. Case in point: the Israelites had no understanding of God. They had been on their own for 400 years in Egypt. Spiritually, they were infants. The desert journey allowed them an opportunity to come to know, trust and rely on God.

But, as Exodus 23:29-30 shows us, the Israelites were not physically ready to possess the land God had called them to. They were too small in number. And, God knew that if he gave the land over to them too soon, they wouldn’t be able to care for and use it.

Exodus Takeaway #2: God has a plan, and has arranged even the most minute details.

Details matter. Because we can’t always see the big picture, it’s easy to get impatient with God. We forget that he’s thinking way beyond the farthest reaches of our understanding and imagination. We want results now, but God knows all of the steps it takes to achieve those results. And, he’s not willing to let us miss a step in order to achieve those results faster.

So, sometimes we wait…and wait…and wait. But the waiting’s not inactive. Rather, God is teaching and leading and strengthening through the entire waiting process.

Exodus Takeaway #3: We’re really good at mucking up God’s plan.

As human beings, we’re not good at waiting. It probably goes back to some innate survival instinct–the need to be the first one to the meat. Regardless, our impatience often acts to sever our trust in God. We, like the Israelites, begin grumbling about our circumstances. We doubt God’s good intentions. And then, we rebel. Like Moses and the rock, we strike where we shouldn’t and lose the blessings God has been working through infinity to give us. We miss out on opportunities to serve, to minister, to love, to grow, to understand, to experience God because we just can’t wait anymore.

Our impatience denies us the opportunity to participate with God as he works to build his kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven”.

Confession 274: A Monday Meditation

I wish I could give you some sort of profound revelatory statement regarding God’s plans and purposes. I wish I could tell you which bush, shrub or flower patch God might speak to you from today. The truth is, I don’t know where God is leading you today. I don’t know if you’re resting beside still waters, or wandering through a hot, dry desert. I don’t know what God’s big plans are for you (or me, really). But I do know this:

God loves you and cares about you. God wants what is best for you and your family. God is actively working in your life to set things in place for generations to come. God longs to be in a relationship with you.

Today, I would encourage you to open your heart to God. Engage in an honest conversation with him. Tell him where you are, how you’re feeling, what you’re afraid of. Then, ask him where he wants you to be today. Ask him who he wants you to talk to, where he wants you to go, what work he has for you to do. Then, my friend–go to it. Place another brick on the building of God’s kingdom.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara