Waiting for the Proper Time

“ . . . you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 145:15-16 NIV

Like kids begging for candy in the checkout lane, we sometimes tug on God’s coattails with the same impatience and/or insistence. “Please, please, please, God. Please grant my desire . . .”

Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that we are to pour our hearts out to God and freely tell him the desires of our hearts (Psalm 62:8). I also remember that Jesus told his disciples the parable of the persistent widow “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1 NIV)

Yes, God wants to hear from his children and out of his great love for us, he will answer our prayers. But many times his answers don’t come when we want them to—or packaged quite like we’d hoped.

Like any good parent—like the perfect father he is—he waits for the proper time to give us our food, our desires. Just as we don’t give a baby solid food before his body can handle it, God waits for the perfect time to bless us with the things we need, the things we desire, the things we plead for. He will indeed satisfy our longings in one way or another, sometimes changing the longings themselves.

God’s timing is always right. I’ve depended on this truth throughout the course of my life and also throughout my writing career. I trusted God for years to bring about book publication at the proper time and he did. And I, along with the rest of our family, clung like a lifeline to the truth of God’s perfect timing as we waited on him in the matter of our daughters and sons-in-law being blessed with the babies they so desperately wanted.

Without a doubt, some answers are harder to wait for than others. Some require an extra measure of faith. But if we continue to trust, if we continue to wait in expectation, one day we will see God open his hand and satisfy our desires. Maybe even above and beyond our dreams, as in the case with our two sets of twin grandsons. And all these blessings—all these answers to prayer—will happen at the proper time.

“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 NIV

*How has God encouraged you during times of waiting? If you’re currently waiting on God’s answer, you might like to read an “In the Meantime” Prayer.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by aloshbennett, Creative Commons License

Run to Our Daily God

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19 NIV

Some people see God as a far-off, detached-from-their lives God. They think he’s someone they can only turn to in a crisis or call on when they’re faced with some other major need. The verse above blows that theory right out of the water, though, doesn’t it?

Yes, indeed, we have a daily God. A God who promises to bear our burdens each and every day. And the size of the burdens is not specified. Nowhere does scripture tell us we can only bring the crushing burdens to God.

In fact, the Apostle Peter tells us to cast all our cares and anxieties on the Lord because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). The Apostle Paul also instructs us to turn to the Lord for everything: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

So are we availing ourselves of the help God has for us each day, the help that scripture exhorts and encourages us to rely on? Or do we turn to him only when the big stuff hits? Our answers may be determined partly by how we see God. Do we believe he is our loving heavenly Father who cares about everything that concerns us?

I sometimes forget to call on God for help or direction when life is swirling all about me, but most of the time I take my burdens to him—even when I don’t think to do it immediately. He is my source of peace and strength and provision. I can’t imagine going through life without him as my strong tower and refuge.

Next time we’re faced with a burden, let’s not try to carry it on our own. Let’s run to our Savior and our God. Our daily God.

“Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” Psalm 71:3 NIV

*What burdens do you try to carry on your own?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is FREE! *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Vince Alongi, Creative Commons License

The Hope of Abundance After Testing

“For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver . . . we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:10; 12 NIV

I imagine some of you reading these words today are going through fire and water right now. God is testing and refining you. And it hurts.

Maybe I don’t hang out with the right people, but I don’t know anyone who enjoys taking tests. Nor do I know anyone who lines up early to be first for the refining process.

And going through fire? Well that’s downright scary and packed with potential for pain.

As for water, at first we might think oh yes, I’ll take that one. But consider the resistance we face when we have to walk through knee-high, waist-high, or—heaven forbid—neck-high water even when it’s calm. Add huge waves or dangerous current, and going through water imparts its own brand of scary.

The experiences that refine us—the fire and water—many times are marathon trials to boot. Endurance tests. When caring for Don’s mother during the last several years of her life over a decade ago, at times the demands of hospital duty threatened to engulf me. I also shared in the ongoing pain of our daughter and son-in-law as they waited for years to have a child. And now I’m in the midst of another endurance test as I navigate the waters of caring for a spouse with Alzheimer’s. No, refining isn’t easy.

Thank goodness the word but comes after the mention of tests and refining, of fire and water in the scripture above. Thank goodness God doesn’t leave us struggling through endurance tests forever. Instead, he brings us “to a place of abundance.” A place of great blessing.

So let’s take heart, friends. Let’s remember that as we go through the refiner’s fire, our place of abundance may be just around the bend. Great blessing is surely on the way.

“I am the LORD your God . . . Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10 NIV

*How has God blessed you with abundance after a time of trial?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regular issue, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Photo by Maxim Tajer on Unsplash

Find Rest in God’s Promise of a Haven

“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:29-30 NIV

Storms are inevitable part of our lives. Why? Simple—we’re not in heaven yet.

Jesus, in fact, warned us of storms. He told his disciples, “‘In this world you will have trouble.’”(John 16:33 NIV) But in that same verse he also told them that in him we may have peace and that he has already overcome the world. In other words, he promised that he is bigger than the storms that come barreling into our lives.

The words of Jesus have certainly proved true in my life. Time and again, God has stilled the storms that have assaulted me. He hushed the waves that threatened me.

Even when I felt as if I might drown not long ago while in the midst of a very private and nearly unbearable season of life, God strengthened me until the storm’s fury subsided. He held me up until he calmed the angry sea of waves around me.

And just as the Psalmist stated, after the winds and waves lost their steam, God led me to the haven I needed, a haven of peace and relief. And he has continued to surround me with peace. He’s wrapped me in comfort and led me along a path of forgiveness. He’s graciously given what I’ve needed.

But even though God has faithfully carried me through all the storms of my life and ministered to me in their aftermath, I still haven’t reached the point where I welcome them. I’m not sure any of us do.

We can reach the point, though, where we don’t fear storms so much, where we know our God is bigger. We can reach a point where we trust him in the midst of a storm. A point where we’re at rest—at rest in his promise of a haven.

“The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 NIV

*When did the Lord last lead you to a haven?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, comes out tomorrow. Sign-up is FREE! *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo (Coulter Bay area of Grand Teton National Park)

Are We Among the Last Hold Outs?

Be on the lookout for them in the next couple of weeks. The last hold-outs of autumn.

These stubborn fall leaves will not “go gentle into that good night” (Dylan Thomas). They will cling tightly to life and refuse—as long as possible—to fulfill their God-given destinies to fall to the ground with the rest of their comrades. You might say if they had fingernails, they’d be hanging on by them.

As we look at these last autumn hold-outs, maybe we need to ask ourselves if there is anything we’re clinging tightly to in spite of God’s direction to let go. Is there anything we’re refusing to submit to him?

Are we clinging to a behavior or an attitude that the Word of God clearly calls sin? Has the Holy Spirit shone his convicting light on an area we’re not quite ready to let go of yet? Or maybe we’re clinging to a person, a possession, or a goal when God has asked us to loosen our grip. It might even be something new or different we feel God is leading us to do, but we’re still at a point of resisting.

Let’s not be among the last hold-outs from God. Instead, let’s fulfill our God-given destinies. Let’s not refuse him any longer.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

*How is God speaking to your heart today?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, comes out Nov. 1st. It’s still not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo