Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
I was driving back from a “new beginnings” venture. It was a park meet and greet follow up after our first preview service of the church plant. Anytime a change, whether good or challenging, is on the horizon or befalls us unexpectedly, I begin to go more into my head than my heart. So my drive home was just that-a lot of head brainstorming-with me, myself and I-what should can we expect our role to be in the church? How can we get the marketing just right so people will come check it out? Are we doing enough? (Maybe you can recall or currently find yourself in a place of change and can relate with the brain crazy taking over.) My heart was beating fast. And if I am being honest, my curiosity was quickly moving to frustration and anger. Because I didn’t. Know. What. Was. Next. I wasn’t. In. Control. And I seemed to be swimming upstream in search of peace.
My tunnel vision was called to a sudden stop as an unexpected brilliance of colors filled the left side of the sky. This sunset was bright, bold, beautiful, it was lacking in nothing less than spectacular. It was difficult to keep my eyes looking forward on the road when God’s firework show was happening in a different direction. I happily welcomed the distraction from my current agitated heart state and under my breath I commented to the Creator, “Show off!” (And He is the One who actually has the right to do it, I quickly recognized.)
My gaze had to quickly switch back to the road (go figure). But even though this was a familiar route, I couldn’t help but recognize how many road signs I kept passing. All were dictating to me what I could expect up ahead. 10 miles to Salem, strawberry U-pick in 2 miles, horse riding lessons next right, 20 mile an hour turn, and so on.
I realized 2 deep truths about my personality/flesh tendencies as I gazed out the window:
1-I want detailed, quick, step 1,2,3 “signs” (like I saw along the road) from God to make minor and major life decisions. And if I don’t see the “signs” in my timing I easily get agitated and upset. I place too high a value in knowing the destination.
2-Unfulfilled expectations, circumstances which throw a kink in “my plan/ways”, also cause a little “fight or flight” feelings to arouse in me: Causing me to say, “I am so consumed, angry and distracted in my mind and heart with this trial, pain, decision I am ineffective for the Kingdom” or” Well, I will just quit this work/friendship/ministry”.
I asked God some heart felt questions in this soul searching episode:
Lord, why are your road signs somewhat criptic? Why are your road signs seemingly spaced real far apart? Why do my emotions overwhelm so quickly when unfulfilled expectations arouse? Why is waiting needed?
Immediately, as if in perfect timing to my questions, the “show off sunset” creeped around enough for me to catch one last breathtaking glimpse. And I heard my God respond to my heart and mind with this truth, “You always know the sun is going to set, but you do not know how it will set.” Would it be a primarily pink sky with whispy clouds intermixed? Would it have purple and red and orange with no clouds in the sky? I can’t anticipate or expect how the sunset will look on any given night, but I do not even doubt for a minute that the sun will just keep hanging out at the top of the sky. And so I wait. And watch. For the unforseen beauty to unfold before my eyes. Always good. But always unknown as to the specific color scheme until it arrives.
Maybe you have caught the spiritual analogy our Father was speaking loud and clear to me through this sunset. It was a revelation to me. The faithfulness, goodness, and love of God is like the undeniable truth that the sun is going to set each night. We never have to doubt our God’s character and His living and active Word, the Bible. In other words we can bank our trust in our Gods ever unfolding plan for us just like we can bank our trust in the fact that the sun will set tonight. But a life of faith in Jesus means we do not know the how of our road ahead, just as we do not know the how of the color scheme/cloud pattern of the sunset tonight. It means we bank on Jesus-THE way, THE truth, and THE life and we rest in His control. His way. And His unexpected orchestration.
Maybe you are in a time of unfulfilled expectations. Wondering what God is doing, or if He is doing anything. Angry with the circumstances/people around you. Questioning, still waiting where the road “signs” of the next are. Of the how’s of our now and future-my prayer is that your strength would increase, not decrease as you wait on God. That your hope and trust in God’s good plan for you would increase, not decrease. That your peace and joy in Jesus would increase and anger, frustration with the circumstances/people would decrease.
And may we wait. In expectation. For how God will unfold His great plan for us. With a “show off sunset”.
© 2012 Standing on Peace