When contemplating the subject of TIME I came to a simple conclusion—it’s all in how you look at it.
Our view of time is constantly evolving, isn’t it?
When we are children for instance. Time moves slowly. I think of those all important milestones I was jumping up and down to reach. My fifth birthday when I would get to start school. My tenth birthday and my first bike! Thirteen and now I am finally a teenager. Eighteen and now I can vote. Twenty-one and I am actually “legal.”
The milestones in each of our lives is probably different, yet one thing remains constant.
Time is like a river—ALWAYS moving on.
Remember that famous soap opera, Days Of Our Lives? I always loved the way it began, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”
My perspective on TIME, at age sixty-five, has changed radically from what it once was.
I don’t see each of my individual birthday’s differently from any other for one thing. And, I no longer try to hurry time, nor do I try to slow it down. (As if any of us could!)
Now in my sixth decade, I like to think I have learned to appreciate moments—especially the so-called “ordinary” ones.
I hope I am learning to look at TIME the way I believe God does, seeing EACH DAY as valuable, and another opportunity to embrace a day as it comes, and for what it is.
I’m not saying I have completely conquered patience—far from it!
But I have come to accept it’s essential necessity.
Perhaps it is toward the end of your life that it’s easier to see, in retrospect, there is simply no hurrying The Almighty.
I try now to “stay in step with God” rather than tugging at the leash when things don’t move at the pace I wish they would. As I grow closer in my relationship with God, I see all the waiting days differently.
I see all the times waiting protected me, prepared me, and yes, taught me patience—ALL on the anvil of endurance.
Truly it is—all in how you look at it.
So, I’ve made my peace with His pace.
He chooses those “kairos moments,” and I try with a smile, to accept His sovereignty.
“Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him to act. Don’t be envious of evil men who prosper.”
I believe we all have a dream for our lives and dreams come quite easy for me. What doesn’t come so easy is embracing God’s plan. I should, of course. I must, if I embrace obedience to my King, but therein lies the difficulty for most of us in the Western Church. We have been raised in democracy with many freedoms and choices. We are comfortable with our freedom. Yet we are kingdom people who profess our allegiance to a King.
My dictionary defines the concept of allegiance with words like, commitment, dedication, loyalty; cooperation; communalism, consecration, devotion, enlistment and faith.
We like the sound of those words, especially the last few, but liking them versus walking them out can be difficult for freedom-minded people like ourselves.
Surrendering my dream to embrace God’s plan in God’s way, and in God’s timing, yeah. To me that is the true definition of “letting go.” And that doesn’t necessarily come easy.
It means I must be willing, patient, and open to a new way of looking at my circumstances. Not easy to do when you believed you had the “perfect plan” is it?
I think sometimes when our hopes seem dashed it is not that we misunderstood the “what” but that perhaps we misunderstood “the how, the when, and the why.”
How many times have I heard someone quote that verse when talking about their dreams?
But there is also this verse from Isaiah,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” [55:8-9]
Our “thoughts” are often so imperfect.
So our loving Father steps in. Rearranges our life—our plans. Constructs a new way. And let’s face it, getting rearrangedGod’s way can really hurt sometimes. Especially if it comes in painful ways we are struggling to grasp or understand.
God says nothing is impossible for Him.
He tells me to ask and ask BIG.
I think sometimes when it seems as though God is shipwrecking our dreams it isn’t because we have asked for too much, but that we have expected, too little.
Our dreams are to serve His Kingdom plans for us.
We serve an omnipotent King, and I think that we are often tempted to “help things along” in our impatience, and that is when we can get out of our King’s timing. God has every intention of fulfilling His plan—but always in His time and in His way.
I surrender my thoughts, my plans, my timing, and hang on tight to the promises in God’s word.
I must wait as I cling to words like these.
“For with God nothing is impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.”
Navigating stormy seas, especially those storms when expectations are not met in ways we hoped. Those are the times we wrestle with our faith.
Is that a bad thing?
I don’t believe so. It is a human thing. Our frail humanity wrestling with darkness, despair, and disappointment. These are times when our faith in a God who loves us collides with realities that we don’t understand.
Is God surprised by our recoiling from Him in shock and anger?
In all our storms; in navigating all the heaving waves; He comes walking on the water of our storm.
When our expectations are lying in shattered pieces and the debris of our dreams seems to be floating away in the aftermath. Right there. That is where He meets us. That is where we learn what it is to truly “hope in God.” Not in those calm seas of smooth sailing. We learn who He truly is, and who we truly are, and what we truly believein—THERE.
My father used to quote an old proverb that said, “Calm seas did never a skillful mariner make.” Those words can seem cold and harsh when our hopes are crushed. When all seems lost.
Yet I have learned, navigating many storms, that it is in the storm I grow. My understanding deepens, my relationship with God expands, my faith bears new fruit. Then I must surrender my expectations to embrace His. It is not easy. It can take a long time depending on how tightly I held my hopes. But He is patient with me. He remembers that I am only dust.
And that is when I learn again—how dearly He loves me.
In my pain. In my anger and disappointment, still He embraces me if I will let Him. And if I will surrender my broken heart to Him, He will tenderly touch all my wounds and they are transformed. Into my pain flows perseverance. Into my heart flows peace. And my wobbling faith learns new strength through endurance.
We are in deep trouble for bringing you God’s comfort and salvation. But in our trouble God has comforted us—and this, too, to help you: to show you from our personal experience how God will tenderly comfort you when you undergo these same sufferings. He will give you the strength to endure.
2 Corinthians 1:6-72 Corinthians 1:6-7 English: World English Bible - WEB 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.
7 Our hope for you is steadfast, knowing that, since you are partakers of the sufferings, so also are you of the comfort.
Then my hope must endure all the contradictions to it. And, I think the longer the tarrying, the more we must focus on God’s surely, because that Hebrew word in the text actually means “to come upon or to come to pass.” That our vision is not a “might?” but a “will be!” and my hope must wrap itself around God’s assurance.
God bids us ask, and when we have, and He has answered “Yes,” then we must stand upon that yes for all we’re worth—no matter the obstacles or difficulties that oppose us!
I believe it pleases God when a child of His asks for something that is utterly impossible apart from His omnipotent intervention. When we ‘ask Him for the moon’ so to speak, I think we honor Him. Our asking is worthy of an Almighty King. It is never easy to go out on that kind of limb. It can make us feel quite foolish at times, and unfortunately, there are never any shortage of folks who delight in nothing as much as trampling on the dreams of another.
Small people with even smaller hearts.
But, remember this. Small people think small and so believe for little. They delight in crushing the hopes of those who long to push into the land of impossibilities.
That is why when you ask big you must BELIEVE BIG. You must trust in a BIG GOD who thinks nothing of impossibilities!
When our hope is in His promise. When we ask, and then are willing to wait, no matter how long the fulfillment tarries?
You and I delight Him.
We honor Him.
Then our patience turns to endurance and His promises are perfected in us as well as for us.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. [11-13]
And I would wonder, “What does it look like to search for God with all your heart?”
I had always known that I had a vision for my life. I certainly thought I had a good idea of what would make me happy, but up until that point, it hadn’t occurred to me that God might have a vision for my life, too. One that might be very different from mine. I think I had always clung to the idea that God wanted to give me the desires of my heart, and since He obviously knew my heart, I just assumed we were on the same page vision-wise. After all, those verses say quite clearly God wants to give me a future and a hope, right?
I had lots of ideas about what that would look like for me.
So I thought, “Well all right then, let’s get going on this vision thing!”
There was just one little problem.
When I would read these promises I could see they were originally written to captives. Captives? That word made me edgy.
I also kept pondering the words, “The thoughts I think…” and I would wonder, “Are God’s thoughts and my thoughts one and the same?”
The more I “sought Him” the less sure I became about God’s vision versus my own. What if they weren’t the same? What if God wanted something for me that I didn’t want, then what?
My questions scared me, but I had to find the right answers, so I began searching my Bible.
I think it might be difficult for some of us to connect to those we consider BROKEN if we have experienced “breaking” in only minor or irritating ways.
For instance, if you are pitching a fit because you just broke another nail? Trust me. You and I are on opposite sides of the Looking Glass.
When I say “broken” I see smoking rubble and bombed out buildings in my soul. Yet, even I don’t “see” smoking rubble the same way a woman fleeing Syria or Iraq would, right?
Does that help?
We, meaning we in The Church, can often trivialize people’s pain by our own casual approach to what we do not understand. My “brokenness” may be very different from what you have experienced. You can think you are “aware” when perhaps you are actually clueless. I have often heard well-meant heartfelt messages from those who I believe really did mean well, but there was a kind of authenticity or depth that was missing, simply due to a shallower understanding or experience of the subject.
Unfortunately, what people who haven’t survived gross abuse don’t know can add new wounds to the souls who have.
If you haven’t been through deep and dark water or been on intimate terms with Evil, the deeply wounded and broken will know it, because a crushed heart covered in the scars of an intimate acquaintance with Evil is not something you can head-fake.
I also believe there is a kind of inborn intolerance, an unknowing or condescending heart will reveal. Not to intentionally be unkind perhaps, but simply because of profound ignorance.
I don’t say this to be mean, but I believe it is necessary to know, Hearts that have bled from deep wounds have an internal radar that will register any FEAR or SHAME tactics immediately. You may not mean it to sound that way… (Or you might, depending on your motives?) either way, I just want you to understand where I’m coming from when I ask,
“When have you looked into the eyes of your Abuser and seen the pure pleasure that they derive from inflicting new pain? New horror? New terror? New shame? When have you heard pure hatred screaming at you; seen its face contorted in ugly rage inches from your face? When have you seen them smile as they slice and shred your soul again, intentionally carving new wounds?”
There is Real-Evil in this world and some of us have looked helplessly many times into its cold dead eyes. That is a “knowledge” you can’t fake or forget. And, that experience changes HOW you view BROKEN—and how you respond.
Yes, Christ and the sheer power of His love and grace poured out on His cross, can overcome Evil’s power to make one cringe in terror or run and hide. And yes, forgiveness poured from old wounds will lift the broken and crushed heart, and bring it back to resurrected Life. Absolutely!
But, that miracle of love and forgiveness in itself is no guarantee that Evil will surrender its hold on the Abuser, or that the Abuser will magically choose to change their ways.
The Abuser is also free to choose and many choose to continue their abusive ways. (Perhaps due to their own self-loathing?) I don’t know. I have never understood my Abusers. What I do know is that I have been on the receiving end of my Abuser’s resistant intolerance for love and their entitlement to their own cruelty.
I have loved my Abusers, believing that my love would change them; cause them to make changes in their behavior. It did not. Love for Christ and our devotion to Him does not mean we will be able to reconcile ourselves to those who steadfastly refuse to surrender their hatred and destructive behaviors.
Yes, we must forgive them for their past abuse. Yes, we must pray for our enemies and those who willfully choose to continue to abuse our love and trust. But I do not believe we have to be reconciled to continue in a close relationship or in proximity with those who embrace Evil and refuse to surrender their deep desire to destroy us.
I also believe there are sincere Hearts that have not bled at the hands of that kind of Evil, who don’t understand this. They haven’t seen this for themselves—felt it or heard it—and so they just don’t KNOW.
I used to succumb to critics who would loudly proclaim “broken” as “incapable.”
All those in The Church who are so intolerant, unable, or unknowing, because I thought they were right.
I figured that they knew their stuff!
When those dear souls would criticize my tears; my fragility; my brokenness, I would listen to them.
When they would criticize the broken saying, “You can’t speak, or teach, or reach, unless you toughen up, put on your wax lips, and smile… your gratitude will fix it all.” I would inwardly wince! As if doing all those things hadn’t ever been tried by the abused who also love God and their abusers!
I think those who advocate such simplistic answers have no clue the damage their naivete inflicts.
The abused and broken don’t want band-aids. They don’t work! And I don’t believe the broken want another slick-song-n-dance-schtick of:
“I got it ALL TOGETHER and ain’t it great BEING ME?”
How many times have I heard a speaker “speak to me” just like that, and I would think, “That will NEVER be me.” because I felt too, broken; too much of a mess, and saw no way out of my terror-ridden situation!
Not today. Now I believe hurting people just want real with all its awkward and messy flaws.
In ancient days if a guy was making and selling pottery, and it came out of the fire with cracks, they would rub a little wax into those cracks so they wouldn’t show.
(I mean, who deliberately buys a defective pot, right?)
I guess people got wise to the practice, though. (People eventually do.) So among the potters, the term “sincere” was born, meaning: Without wax.
Without wax, yeah. I’ll take my books and sermons and songs without all the shiny wax, please. Just give me real.
Remember what Jesus compared the “religious professionals” of His day too? Vipers. White-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones! When He confronted “the money-changers” in His temple, He made a whip and drove them out! It doesn’t sound like nine bars of “smile, smile, smile” does it? No wonder they hated Him. He chose to hang with the nobodies. Sinners. Prostitutes. Tax collectors and smelly fishermen—He sought them out! The Broken. The failures. The outcasts. (Yeah.) The Son of God said to all of us messy-misfits,
“Make Mine Broken!”
The professing-professionals I once knew used to “help me” feel real-unqualified. Told me, “I had to get my act together.” if I wanted to be the real-thing—before I opened my mouth.
What I believe they just didn’t get? Nine miles of bad road is supposed to change you. Rearrange you. Jesus uses UNDONE as a big part His transformation process.
The wilderness-furnace is meant to remove the wax and reveal the cracks—’cause we’ve all got ’em!
I hope anyone who reads my stuff can see ALL my flaws. (They’re there.) Every bump on that bad road I’ve been down has done its worst.
But, when you see my faults and failures, I hope you see one thing more…
I hope you see the glorious Light of Jesus shining through those broken places, because He is The One that makes all the difference, in my faults, and in yours; His Love shining through ALL our brokenness.
So let’s let His word to us, be our last Word:
But God chose the foolishthings of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:271 Corinthians 1:27 English: World English Bible - WEB 27 but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong;
All of my life—I felt out of sync with what was around me. Family. School. Church. God.
Wherever I was, there was them, then there was me.
I don’t know why. Perhaps it is hidden in early events I cannot now recall. Anyway, forget the why. That isn’t what I want to talk to you about today.
It’s the Who.
It’s this separateness I always felt from God—as though He was way too BIG, way too GOOD, way too whatever, for the likes of someone like me.
I think most of us (who believe there is a God) know that following a God, “past finding out,” just ain’t easy!
(I think I gave up on doing that very early in my life.)
Thinking God was like, everyone else, living in universes I couldn’t reach or understand. I was wrong of course, but many years of my life would pass before I learned that God is not out there somewhere, disinterested, unfeeling, or uncaring.
He is an up close God.
A “get in your business” God.
A Father who takes His Fatherhood—mightyserious.
Like the day I decided to end my life.
That was “the day” I met up with My Father-God.
My “Abba-God” up close, and real, real, personal.
And no, I don’t know why He did this, except to say that I now believe my separateness from Him; my belief that He didn’t care what I did, or what happened to me; had become unbearable for us both.
I suppose that is hard for you un-believers to believe.
(Yeah, I get it.)
Still… I’m telling you right now, if you have hung-in with my story this far?
I think out there somewhere is waiting for YOU, your own encounter with, Coram Deo.
Coram Deo is a Latin phrase translated “in the presence of God” from Christian theology which summarizes the idea of Christians living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God.
Sounds fancy doesn’t it?
It’s not. It’s actually terribly simple.
Bible teacher R. C. Sproul explains it like this:
To live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are acting under the gaze of God. God is omnipresent. There is no place so remote that we can escape His penetrating gaze.
To be aware of the presence of God is also to be acutely aware of His sovereignty. The uniform experience of the saints is to recognize that if God is God, then He is indeed sovereign. When Saul was confronted by the refulgent glory of the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, his immediate question was, “Who is it, Lord?” He wasn’t sure who was speaking to him, but he knew that whomever it was, was certainly sovereign over him.
Sounds all up-in-your-face starchy doesn’t it? But what it actually means is God is everywhere, all the time, watching, knowing, and ready for an encounter with you.
Probably when you least expect it. (Like me.) Like Paul on that Damascus road.
He will get all up in your stuff.
Love does that—especially Perfect Love. And trust me, you won’t have any smart alec answers to Perfect-Love if He shows up some day, barging into your confirmed unbelieving. He will quite simply, blow the doors off everything you thought you knew, or believed about this God you trivialize, casually curse, or just hold in a sincerly doubting disinterest, or contempt.
I wish I could adequately describe what this day will be like for you.
(When He shows up I mean.)
I can’t. Sorry. The closest I can come is to describe it is this:
His Presence will have a jaw-dropping, power, and purity to it.
That is His holiness.
You really can’t imagine how awe-creating it is.
I guarantee you, you can’t kiss the floor fast enough!
You’ll want to come close in wonder, and run away and hide, all at the same time.
He will feel like liquid warmth, pushing out every bit of the cold, dead, darkness, surrounding you (which you weren’t even aware of) until His Love showed up, and began to drive it out!
You will instantly realize: The Dark has zero power over Him! He is Supremely powerful. Always The One in control—of everything.
This Presence? Sweeps you off your feet emotionally, while arresting you forever, in its realness. The memory of your experience won’t ever turn you loose.
You won’t ever be the same.
Can’t be the same.
His coming into yourspace?
Changes everything. He really shakes you up! So, fair warning…
I believe His intention, is to do this more and more as our days grow darker and darker, and His returning comes closer and closer.
We’re all on a deadline. Him most of all—since only The Father knows the day and the hour His Presence will depart this world, and everyone will be handed over to the evil one.
(Check the book. It’s in there.)
He’s all about building His Church and finishing what He began on that Roman cross.
Which means that if He is pursuing you?
(And Coram Deo says that He’s everywhere, all the time?)
It means that He’s right where you are—right now. Relentlessly pursuing.
How long? Dream-Maker! Are You listening? How long must I wait?
What am I waiting for? Who? Will I know? When the time comes—will I know? I’m confused.
It’s so dark in here… so dark.
This place is too tight!
Are You still there?
I’ve been here sooooo long. Too long. Wings! Wings? What was I thinking? A worm with wings? Dream-Maker? Dream-Maker… I call and call…why don’t You come?
This cell’s so dark…
And way too tight!
There is no space!
There is no light!
… these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!
Habakkuk 2: 2-3Habakkuk 2: 2-3 English: World English Bible - WEB 2 Yahweh answered me, “Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hurries toward the end, and won’t prove false. Though it takes time, wait for it; because it will surely come. It won’t delay.