Sometimes it takes a while

I have had the experience of reading something I wrote get published as a devotional in The Journey and have it slap me in the face when I saw it in print. I posted this example on my Facebook page the other day. Fortunately it was from another writer this time: Shirley MacNaughton.

“Personal disappointments are seldom easy. Indeed, some are nothing short of heartbreaking. But in a world where God can create resurrection and new life out of tragic crucifixion and death, God can create blessing out of our defeats as well. When something we have or want is taken away, God often will use that defeat to open a new door that is a blessing. Sometimes it takes a while to see it.”

During the night each time I woke up, examples from scripture kept running through my  mind. They bore witness to Shirley’s observation over and over.

Start with Job. Do I need to give his details?

And how about Abraham and his long-awaited son, Isaac, on their way to make a sacrifice on the mountain? That journey took three days. How many times did Abraham wrestle with thoughts in his head? “Did I hear You right? This child’s birth was a miracle. And You want me to do what?

Joseph had those amazing dreams as a young man. They did not prove to be a popular topic of conversation around the family dinner table. And then came the years where his brothers sold him into slavery, his owner’s wife lied about him and he was sent to prison, where he helped fellow prisoners in their distress who forgot about him as soon as they got out again. “All things work together for good.” Tell that to Joseph waiting in his cell. Shirley is right. There may be a new door of blessing God intends to open eventually but sometimes it takes a while to see it. Underline those words a while. Joseph would.

Moses, chosen to rescue his people from Egypt, got to spend 40 years in the wilderness the first time he tried to help. Then he got to spend 40 more years there. He barely got to see the Promised Land, and then only from a distance.

After turning in a faithful report, Caleb also got to walk those same 40 years in the wilderness.

David was secretively anointed to be king and then had to flee one assassination attempt after another from the king who was still on Israel’s throne.

His son and successor, Solomon, would consider the vectors of life and conclude,

 Ecclesiastes 2:18.  I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me.
 19.  And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?

The servants God called to be His prophets and spokesmen cringed at their assignment.

Jeremiah 15:10.  Alas, my mother, that you gave me birth, a man with whom the whole land strives and contends! I have neither lent nor borrowed, yet everyone curses me. 

Ezekiel 3:25.  And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people.
 26.  I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, though they are a rebellious house.

The examples continue in the New Testament. The martyr deacon, Stephen, died for telling the truth. Believers then fled Jerusalem, taking the Gospel to other cities. In her devotional, Shirley observed how Paul’s synagogue teaching got him tossed out of there. Her well-taken point is that this rejection led to his decision to focus his ministry on the Gentiles. All things work together for good. But sometimes it takes a while to see it.

When John came to write the last Gospel account by an eyewitness, he devoted five chapters to his memories of the conversation Jesus had with his disciples the night of their last supper. There is a verse John sticks in the middle of this long account that has always struck me as odd or awkward.

John 14:31 Arise, let us go from here. (New American Standard)

Come, let’s be going. (Living Bible)

The wording varies by translation, but the conversation seems to simply continue in the next chapters without any sign that they’ve moved. I came across this verse again in another devotional reading as I was pondering all the “waiting” Shirley’s devotional had pointed to. A word from the Lord?

John 14: 2.  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
 3.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 

It may take a while to see it. But come. Let’s be going.

John 15: 7.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
 8.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 

It may take a while to see it. But come. Let’s be going.

John 15: 15.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

It may take a while to see it. But come. Let’s be going.

The Journey closes each of their meditations with a prayer. At the conclusion of hers, Shirley wrote this one.

“O God, our Father, preserve me from the pain of defeat and failure.

But if it should come, lead me to see the blessing that is in it.”

Advertisements

About Deacon Rick

I am a retired Deacon in Lakeland Florida.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s