It's been a shaky week for me, faith wise. After my wonderful weekend, I just sort of... faded. After a brief sojourn out for an hour on Sunday, I've not left the house all week (though I had intended to). I've been just razing myself in my mind. How horrible I am.
And I'm not wrong. I have many failings, I am quite imperfect, and there's evil lurking within me. But still, God does not call us to dwell on that, but instead to focus our eyes on His perfection, not our own imperfections. It's been very hard for me this week.
Today I found out Bible Study has been cancelled. It wasn't unexpected, but it was saddening. I feel in need of a good dose of fellowship. Perhaps I'll be able to get a ride to church on Sunday. I'm praying for it.
I feel like I've been utterly useless this week. But God hasn't. He's been here with me, helping me, and He gave me Ryan. Ryan's been a delight (most of the time). I am going to marry that man. And he knows it.
Earlier, I retreated with the Lord for a little while, and was reading in Genesis. I was reading about this mighty battle in chapter 13. It made me think of the battle scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies (minus the non-humans) and I thought "Wow. These were real people out there. They were mighty in their day, kings of lands. And except for this brief summary, probably there's no record of them in human history. But how amazing to mentioned in not just history books, but in God's very Word." And as it talked about soldiers getting caught in tar pits as they fled, I wondered if we'd find their fossils someday...
Then God had me go on to read about Abraham and Sarah. Many of Abraham's conversations are recorded, so I feel like you can kind of peek into his personality in a way you can in only a few Biblical people. And I read how "Abram believed the LORD and the LORD counted him as righteous". I pondered the faith of Abraham. And I contrasted it to Sarah. Sarah, who got impatient waiting for God to give what He promised so she told Abraham to lay with Hagar, beginning a people who "lived in open hostility towards all of their relatives" (Genesis 25:18) Sarah, who laughed when she heard the promise of a son, instead of believed.
Sarah, who had Isaac despite her lack of faith, because God is faithful even when we are not.
It revitalized me. I'm clinging to God's promises, not just the Biblical ones He's made to us all, but the personal ones He's made to me. And I'm seeking patience, because I recognize that trying to make what God has promised happen through our own intervention only muddies what could be perfect. Too often we Christians urge each other to action. I'm not saying inaction is the option. But Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born. Patience, and guidance.
You see, if you're a Christian, you're more blessed than Abraham. You have the Holy Spirit within you. The God of the entire universe doesn't just talk with you, befriend you, guide you as He did with Abraham. He makes His home in you. I get frustrated when I tell Christian friends I am waiting for God's guidance in order to do something and they try to urge me to action.
The HOLY SPIRT OF GOD is in me. He created me, my attention span, my quirks, my mind. He created you and yours as well. Do you not think God can't get my attention, if I am seeking Him? Do you think if I pray for guidance in an area He won't lead me?
I've had people argue if you wait for guidance it's a lack of faith. Faith, they say, is just thrusting out in the unknown. I say faith is allowing one step to be highlighted, and taking it, even if you don't know what the next step is. Faith is taking your son up to the mountain thinking he'll be sacrificed, not knowing God will supply a ram instead. Faith is turning left without knowing if you're walking two feet or two miles. Faith is walking up to a stranger and saying hi because God says to, without knowing why. That's faith.
If you don't hear God, and He doesn't guide you, no worries. "Seek and you shall find". It seems like a lifetime ago when I had no idea how to hear Him if He didn't shout and disrupt my whole universe. But it was really like four year ago. I used to beat myself up with the verse "my sheep know my voice" because I didn't think I really did. All these strong Christians, they told me He talked in all things, every day. And I didn't hear Him-- what if I wasn't one of His sheep? What if I was really a goat? What if my status as His child is a big fat lie?
Then my Father stepped in. The Holy Spirit murmured to my heart and my eyes were opened. A lamb is not born knowing the shepherd's voice. She learns it. She sees the way the other sheep react to it. She learns He is a friend and provides safety. She learns which things mean 'come' and which mean 'stop'. She learns. And she's still a sheep. She's pretty stupid. But Her shepherd is smart, and He will protect her.
So much emphasis is put on the parable of the 99 and the 1. But remember, once Jesus fetches you and brings you back to the flock, that's the beginning of the story. The rest of your life is about following Him, and helping other sheep learn to follow Him.
So don't let anyone urge you to "figure out" how to fulfill God's promises. He has it figured out. Just 'go' when you hear Him say 'go'. And wait when He doesn't. There is SO MUCH to be gained from waiting, if you believe God's promises.
So this is me. Brain hurting, humbled, weary, and waiting. And trusting. And sharing with you, who may or may not be waiting. God bless your work, whether it be in waiting or in action. And thank you for stopping by...