Friday, February 24, 2006

The Discipline in Delay

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. Isaiah 26:3-4

The King James Version margin gives “imagination” as the meaning of the word “mind.” The present moment rarely troubles us. It is when we let ourselves imagine what may be lying ahead that we find ourselves, often, shaken or anxious or cowardly…the grace of God is not given to us for dreams, creations of our imagination. The grace of God is given us for real life. He who strengthens and illuminates our today will make strong and radiant our tomorrow. This must be true, for with Him is no variableness, “neither shadow that is cast by turning” as James 1:17 tells us for our comfort. Therefore, let us stay our imagination on Him and refuse to let it wander off into unknown tomorrows. Trust ye in the Lord forever. Him we know – for I know whom I have believe and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him (2 Tim 1:12). To Him I have committed my future, my tomorrow. I may safely trust Him, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.

This was my reading in Whispers of His Power (by Amy Carmichael) this morning. It was yet another “word in due season” and a “balm for my soul” this morning.

I don’t wait very well – though at least one of my friends calls me the “most patient person” she knows. I laugh at that because I know my heart and the things that go on in my mind and how often each are very much like a wild stallion, frustrated and bucking against the gate to get out and run and have his own way. Oswald Chambers says that the most stressful thing is waiting on God…and I know this to be true. I want to know. I wouldn’t mind waiting half as much, if I knew that the end of it all would be the outcome I desire.

I can’t know that and really, deep down (often way deep down under a lot of other things) I don’t just want what I want. I want what the Lord has. I want to walk along the lines He has said have been drawn for me in pleasant places. Yet, my mind…my imagination…draws my own lines, envisions my own pleasant places…and I yearn for them…because I can in some way see them, I guess. But with the Lord, I see only where I stand and not a step beyond. His lamp only shows me where me feet need to be right then…His grace is only sufficient for that...I can not see where my second footfall will land, only the one I am taking now…and I can not know that those steps will lead to the pleasant places I’ve imagined in my mind. What I can know is “whom I have believed” and that “he is able to keep that which I have committed to Him.” Namely, my life…my future…my hope.

And herein lies the battle…to whom am I most committed? To myself or my Lord? To my will or His? To my way or His? To my timetable or His? I find, more and more lately, that I daily have to choose to surrender – EVERYTHING – and submit everything to Him. It is when I try to hold on to even just a piece, a fringe, a glimpse (when I look back at my treasure like Lot’s wife) that fear, anxiety, uncertainty and sinful thoughts reign. But, in those moments when I stop, pray, and surrender…there is peace, rest, calm, and hope. Not hope in getting my way…but in knowing that He is at work and that His promises are true, regardless of present circumstances or disappointments or failures.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. Isaiah 26:3-4

How I long to know perfect, uninterrupted peace! But I am thankful for this struggle…for the opportunity to remove more and more of me from my hopes and dreams and make them more and more about seeing the Lord’s will done…to see Him glorified through me. And, I am thankful, that all the while…in the midst of my struggle and stumbling and emotion…the Lord is building my faith and making me stronger for the journey. As Piper says, “God does not waste the gift of pain (or struggle).” Even though I KNOW my struggle is because of my sinful and demanding heart!

How kind! How merciful! How gracious is our God! He does not spare the rod and spoil His child, but also follows correction with tender words and soothing balm, which brings healing and comfort.

And I am humbled.


  1. Friend,
    I want you to know how much I am being ministered to by your blog...almost more than our increasingly infrequent times together. Perhaps because this is more concentrated and (usually) uninterrupted by my sweet new demander of attention. Today especially hit home with your morning reading quote. I find myself worrying about tomorrow often...sometimes so strongly that I feel debilitated. As I drink in this new gift He has so blessed us with, my mind begins to go there: to the many harms that could come her way, physically and emotionally. I catch myself checking on her several times a night, as if I could stop God from taking her away if He chooses to! Where is my faith in His grace for all circumstances? Please pray for my faith to be restored to size that overcomes my sporadic anxiousness over the unknowns of tomorrow. With thanks and love, AJs mommy

  2. Well...I know we've talked about this before...the beauty in waiting is that it exposes what is really in our heart. In some cases, what we find may not always be what we'd hope we'd find...but once again, it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentence. Allow your strength to be renewed while you are waiting on the Lord's timetable...He's been faithful before and He will be faithful again.

    Love you and will miss you! I'll give Mickey a kiss on his big plastic nose for you. ;-)