|Photo Credit: dhester at morgueFile.com|
I’m really enjoying Beth Moore’s bible study of the book of Esther. I know I’ve referred to it several times now, but I just love her energy, her passion for the word of God, and her insightful reflections. Every week, I seem to hear and read exactly what I need to…at just the right time.
Last week, our study group reflected on the importance of knowing when it’s time; when it’s time to wait; when it’s time to wait for someone else’s time; and when the meantime is God-time. Oooh – anyone else struggle with the “meantime” part?
“There is a right time for everything. A time to cry; a time to laugh. A time to grieve; a time to dance. A time for scattering stones; a time for gathering stones. A time to hug; a time not to hug. A time to find; a time to lose. A time for keeping; a time for throwing away. A time to tear; a time to repair. A time to be quiet; a time to speak up.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4-7)
I recently received several e-mails from friends wanting to do a favorite bible verse exchange. Of course, I couldn’t nail down just one fave, so I responded back with three. These were the three that spoke to me that day:
Isaiah 41:13 - "I am holding you by your right hand - I, the Lord your God - and I say to you, ‘Don't be afraid; I am here to help you.’"
Philippians 4: 6-7 - "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus."
Matthew 19:26 - "Jesus looked at them intently and said, 'Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But, with God, everything is possible.'"
I got many e-mails back from friends saying that the verses were EXACTLY what they needed to hear...at just the right time. As I drove to pick up the kids from school the day of this e-mail exchange, I was praying. For some reason, I desperately needed to feel God’s presence in a real way that day. I pondered on the Isaiah 41:13 verse. I remembered thinking, “Oh, Lord, if only you could just reach down and hold my hand. If only. If only I could physically feel the warmth of your love…”
At the exact moment I finished my plea, my right hand felt extra warm for some reason - no lie! (Don’t tell the driver’s education peeps, but I didn’t have my hands at 10 and 2…my left hand was at more like 6 and my right hand was…off the clock…on my right thigh…shhhh.)
So, I looked down and noticed that through the partly cloudy sky, a ray of sunshine had peeked out and shone directly on my right hand, explaining the extra warmth that I felt in that moment. Tears welled up as I thanked Him for stopping by at just…the…right…time. You better believe that I held on tight to the warmth of His hand that afternoon.
Most of the time, I don’t get the kind of quick response that I did during that particular drive. Countless hours are usually spent waiting for the Lord to guide me. I know that God is not inactive in our wait, but it’s just…so…incredibly…difficult. What is more exhausting than waiting, right? Waiting makes us grumpy. But, Beth Moore explains that our strength will renew if we wait “upon the Lord.” Our strength will drain, however, if we are just waiting on a “thing” or an event.
Can you imagine if society had its way with the 40 weeks of pregnancy? “Congratulations ma’am, blood tests show you are pregnant. Your bundle of joy will be arriving…um…next week.” WHAT?! Thank goodness God is still in charge of that one!
Last Friday, our family went to church to participate in Stations of the Cross. The leader that evening was waiting on his sons to arrive. The young men were at a solo/ensemble contest and the competition had gotten behind schedule. The leader asked the group if we could wait for about ten minutes until his children arrived before they got started.
Of course we said yes, but the thing he didn’t realize was that he had given every single person in the church that evening a precious gift. He gave us the opportunity for ten beautiful, quiet minutes with our Lord. Who makes time for that on any given day? It’s such a challenge to remember to take our “time-outs” with God. The time to practice my “waiting skills” is what I needed most that night. Society doesn’t want us to practice waiting, but God does. So, thank you, Michael - the gift was treasured by many.
When we practice waiting, wisdom can be gained in the process. We can save truckloads of heartache if we can learn to hold our tongue at just the right moment as well. Do we taste our words before we spit them out? Or do we just spit? As Ms. Moore describes, sometimes the words sound right, but they do NOT taste right. Getting better at waiting and listening to God’s “not now” nudging can be a lifesaver in this department.
My last thought on “the right time” came last Sunday at the Down Syndrome Foundation of
Buddy Walk. My family and I were rushing to get there
after the kids’ CCD class. I knew we’d
be a little late, but was hoping to get to the event at least in time for the
actual walk. Not only did we get there
just in time, we showed up at just the RIGHT time.
Oh yes! I filled out our five tickets for door prizes - #303, #304, #305, #306, and #307. Guess which number was called out just moments later? #303 baby! If we would have gotten there at any other time than when we did, this chick would NOT be goin’ to Dairy Queen with a gift card! I’m just sayin’ – timing is everything! How would I like my Blizzard, you ask? How about F-R-E-E?! Woo-hoo!