I've got a small, irksome little issue facing me, the kind of problem that just won't go away. Doesn't actually matter what it is. I've been trying to deal with it, find a way around it, sort it out, and I can't quite get there.
I got to the point where I prayed that prayer we all get to - "Lord, just deal with it. You sort it." I mean, I'm quite prepared to keep working. I'm sure I'll work it out. It's hardly the biggest thing in the history of the universe! But I'd be quite glad if God just stepped in & took this item out of my in tray so that I could get on with other stuff. Just magically, wonderfully dealt with it. Sorry - miraculously, wonderfully dealt with it. I'm forgetting myself.
Anyway. So I pray this & continue worrying away at it. And then I get this feeling that God is sort of smiling at me. You know how he does that? When you have asked for something & then carried on but he kind of has something up his sleeve?
So my Bible reading yesterday included Psalm 27, which finishes with these words:
Wait patiently for the LORD.
Be brave & courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
And I thought to myself - that's really encouraging. God is speaking to me. He is telling me he will help. I shall wait on him. And then overnight I thought of other stuff I could do, and decided I would do it today.
Except, this morning as I read my Bible readings I kind of felt God speaking that bit louder. Challenging me. Now - here's the thing; this process has been going on a couple of weeks, and I'm letting you in on a couple of days. Plus, the way I am about to take a Bible passage MASSIVELY out of context is not how you should read the Bible. I really don't commend doing this - and yet as I read it this morning, something in my heart stirred & it felt like Jesus speaking.
So, this is what happened. I was reading 1 Corinthians 2, and in my head were both the plans I had for the day to do this thing which had occurred to me overnight and the instruction to wait for the Lord. After all, these seem to be a contradiction to each other. Either I wait (and be obedient) or I just do my own thing - though in the circumstances, I think most people would say that in acting I was being really sensible as my plan of action is a good one. It may even deal with the issue that has been nagging me for a little while now. That's what's in my head. This is waht was on the page:
No eye has seen, no ear has heard
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared for those who love him.
...We have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit) so that we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them & they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
I sat there & thought to myself, God is speaking to me. Practically I really, really ought to do what i have planned to do today. But I asked for God's help with this, and I think he is saying he has it under control. Am I daft for thinking this? Maybe. But here is a spiritual truth: faith is about trusting God with all sorts of things in our lives, great and mundane, and I guess when I believe I have heard him say "wait", then "wait" is the command.
It may mean I need to do all the work I have planned - but not today.
It may mean he is going to do something wonderful and there is no need for me to act at all - he will resolve things in a way that shows how great he is.
It may mean something else altogether, but my acting now would either spoil the best outcome or be pointless.
It may mean that my acting now would neither help nor hinder, but waiting will help me trust him more, and that will do me more good whatever else comes next.
The Psalm set for today had these words:
The LORD is my strength and shield:
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me and my heart is filled with joy.
I do trust him. So I will wait. I closed up some pages I'd opened up on the computer. I went to the cinema (Toy Story 3 - take hankies). I don't know how this will play out - except that I will have wobbles along the way; but my life with God - by which I mean the story of my whole life - tells me that when I hear him telling me that he has this one, he means it. He might do it differently to what I expect. He often takes it to the wire. He always gets it right.
Tick. I can cross this off my to do list. Is that hopelessly optimistic? Shamelessly super-spiritual? I am struggling to get my head around it entirely.
And my reading from Proverbs kicked in at that point:
The LORD directs our steps,
so why try to understand everything along the way?
I could give so many answers to that question! But for now, I'll just wait.