Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Well-Manicured Life?

Yesterday was quite productive. We mowed the lawn and caught up on yard work, did some weeding, tilling and planting of daffodils. I vacuumed and washed our floors, washed our sheets and hung them in the fresh breeze to dry. I cleaned and cooked fresh vegetables, baked some rhubarb bars and attended to numerous details around the house.

It was satisfying to look back on all that had been accomplished. But, then I looked at all that is yet to be done. There are so many things that still beg my attention. Where do I begin? What is the best use of these few precious weekend hours?

As I sat in church this morning, I reflected on the work I expended so much time and energy accomplishing. It was satisfying and useful, but none of it is long-lasting. It will all have to be done again. The grass will grow, the weeds will too, the floors will get dirty and we will need to eat again.

So, I pondered, what is the best use of my time today? There is much more to be maintained, because God has been so good. We want to steward all He has given us. Especially the relationships He has blessed us with. We do not want to neglect a single one.

Just as I started to feel overwhelmed with the possibilities (or should I say responsibilities?), peace entered my mind as I realized the BEST use of my time is to surrender and give myself fully to Him, to stop trying to DO so much and to focus on BEing instead. To look to Him for my fulfillment -- because it is not found in any of these other things. I am to abide in Him and draw my refreshment, strength and direction from Him, to grow in His grace and live in His love.

Gracious Lord, I lift my eyes, once again, to you. I refocus on what's important -- giving control of every area of my life to you. I give you the gift of myself. Do with it what you desire of me.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Joyful in the Wait

When I read the book of Habakkuk recently, I realized what a man of faith he was. Though he heard earth-shattering news, he stood in awe of God and trusted Him to bring about His just and good plan. Habakkuk could be joyful in hope even when he only saw doom and gloom. (Read his short inspirational story.)

The prophet at first pleaded with the Lord, "Why aren't you doing something?" Then, when he realized that God had a plan and was working, he was humbled and awed. He was encouraged in the wait.

How I need to remember that in my life! When the waiting gets long, I will remember that one day "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." (2:14)

And even though I don't see things happening, I can know the Lord is at work. "Though the fig tree does not bud... the olive crop fails... there are no sheep in the pen... yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God, my Savior." (2:17-18)

God wants us to be joyful in the wait. That is the mark of our faith. "The righteous will live by his faith." (2:4) We all have things we are waiting for. The wait is what draws us close to God and we realize our dependence on Him. The waiting actually becomes a blessing.

If I live by faith, I am sure of what I hope for. When my desires are like God's, they are as good as done. They will surely come to pass -- but in God's time, not mine. I can live in faith and joy because God's plan is the best. He gives the ultimate. He won't settle for the lesser things for us -- His love is too great!

What are you "waiting" for? Can you have joy while you wait?

Oh Lord, thank you for your goodness, your graciousness, your love and mercy. Why does doubt ever even cross my mind? I will be strong and take heart as I wait for you, Lord!

The book of Habakkuk is a short little ancient book, but it answers some of the timeless and major questions of life.