Recently the Lord has been speaking to me through the Old Testament ~ a lot. He has been working on me in many different ways, gently showing me those things in my heart and life that are not as they should be. Over the past few days the theme has been patience and trust, two areas I know I need to improve. Well, improve is probably an understatement. It’s more like I’m in need of heart surgery to correct my lack of patience and trust.
The Holy Spirit really is a gentle instructor. He tells us some difficult things sometimes ~ things we most likely don’t want to hear ~ but He is gracious to point out those things that are displeasing to God, and to show us that His mercies are new every morning. If you ask and are willing to actually listen for His answer, the Holy Spirit will show you where you have fallen short and need to confess your shortcomings to God.
As I stated earlier, patience and trust are two areas of my life where I continually fall short. I frequently lack patience and trust with human beings. Even worse, I struggle with patience and trust in God. I’ve been through this same scenario so many times I’ve lost count, but a perfect example of my lack of patience and trust is the story about when we tried to sell our house in Fayetteville, North Carolina. My husband Roger was in the Air Force at the time, and our children were young. We had been in North Carolina for almost 5 years, and we knew it was time for a new assignment. So, being the good military family that we were, we began preparing our home to go on the real estate market. We figured we knew what we were doing, and we didn’t ask God if putting our house on the market at that time was something we should do. We just did it ~ basically we made our plans, then asked God to bless them. But what we should have done was ask God what He would have us do first, then received His blessing by doing it. We had the whole thing backwards. And wouldn’t you know ~ our house sat on the market for a year and a half, with only one potential buyer coming to look at it.
Today I read Psalm 3, and it made me think of this example of my lack of patience and trust.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. -Psalm 3:5-12 ESV
Eventually we figured out that our house wasn’t selling because it wasn’t God’s timing for us to leave Fayetteville right then. Roger received an assignment to Japan, but that eventually fell through. Since our house hadn’t sold yet, we still had a place to live! Then, slightly over a year and a half after we first put our house on the market, Roger was given an assignment to Little Rock Air Force Base. Within two days of receiving that assignment, the very next person to see the house ~ only the second potential buyer in over 18 months ~ made us a full offer! That, my friends, is something only God can do.
Since then, Roger and I have only had to remind each other a few times to trust in God’s timing. We both saw the sale of the house in Fayetteville for exactly what it was: totally and completely a God thing.
Even though I’m not the most patient or trusting person in the world, God has stretched me and molded me through many patience- and trust-testing exercises. And while I wholly and humbly confess my patience and trust shortcomings, God is ever so good to continually remind me of His love for me ~ in more ways than I can relate to you. Every single day I am reminded that I am His creation, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and that He is the potter and I am the clay, being shaped by His loving hand into a vessel of His making (Jeremiah 18:1-4).
What about you? Do you know the areas of your life God is working on, gently forming you into who He wants you to be? If not, why not ask Him today ~ right now?