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Posts Tagged ‘waiting’

When God Says No

2015-03-17 13.26.22

Today God said “No.”

For months, I felt him saying “Yes” and to trust and wait for him in regards to a particular job. The more I learned about the job, the more that I felt it was so very right for me. I went into the interview at peace knowing that God’s will will be done. I was pretty confident that this was it. This was the something else that I believed God was preparing for me. I felt surrounded by prayer. From my perspective, the interview went very well. I felt privileged to be able to share stories from the various places I’ve been able to share and to talk about things that I’m passionate about. I went home super excited as I had found out aspects of the job through the interview that excited me even more. I had been researching the area and thinking about the potential for missional work and the many things I could explore. I was told they would make a decision in a few weeks and so once again I had to wait. But this time, I was pretty convinced that this is where God wants me.

And then I got the call. It wasn’t what I expected. None of the candidates were a good match.

Instead of a job offer, God has said “No.”

I don’t really know what this means. Other than God closed the door that I was hoping to walk through in the coming days.

The words of John Michael Talbot’s Be Not Afraid speak to me today as I wrestle with God saying no and wondering where he will lead me.

You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst

You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way

You shall speak your words in foreign lands, and all will understand

You shall see the face of God and live

Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come, follow me. And I will give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown

If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed

If you stand before the pow’r of hell and death is at your side, know that

I am with you through it all

Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come, follow me. And I will give you rest.

Blessed are the poor for the kingdom will be theirs

Blessed are you weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh

And with wicked tongues insult and hate you all because of me

Blessed, blessed are you.

Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come, follow me. And I will give you rest.

Looking ahead, I don’t really know what things will look like. And truth be told, I am disappointed. I had begun to dream about exciting things that I could be part of. And while those dreams do not need to disappear, they are on hold until God provides a place for me.

I do know this though: the same God who has led me thus far, will continue leading me. As much as I’d love to be involved in something again and need the increased income, God has provided and I do know that he will continue to do so, even if it’s not in the ways that I expect and anticipate.

Waiting… and waiting

I am in a time of waiting. I suppose that is appropriate given that it is also Advent, a season in the church life in which we wait and prepare for the Christ child. But I have been waiting longer than advent.

At first, the waiting was a welcomed time in my life. 2016 has been an intense year for me with many challenges, many hard learnings and, thankfully, some beauty to keep me going. I wrote a major paper this summer culminating practical learning, Biblical studies and research. I am proud of that paper and proud of the mark and comments from my professor. At the end of the summer, I felt that I needed to take some time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. I also felt that I needed a break from school and that I would like to find work to stabilize and improve finances.

For a couple of months, I enjoyed reading, hanging out with my cat and rabbits, connecting with people, swimming most days. And I’ve been applying to everything I am qualified for, open to where God might lead me.

I was offered a job. I was a bit surprised at this given the questions that they asked and what would match the particular setting and what my answers and beliefs are. After prayer and talking with my mentors, I felt that I needed to turn it down. I felt like God was saying to me, “Wait – I have something perfect for you.”

I’ve never had the privilege of being able to turn down a job before and I have to say I was not at rest after I turned it down, even though in my heart I knew that it was the right thing to do. And then the confirmations came that I had done the right thing. The biggest confirmation was attending another church that I applied to and walking through the area realizing that the setting was far more along the lines of what makes my heart excited. I think I was enticed by the monthly paycheque and a common theme these days in my life is that I need to rely on God alone.

I believed that the church that I visited was where God wanted me to be. They accepted applications until the end of November and I haven’t heard from them. Either they have been exploring other candidates or they are caught up in advent and Christmas stuff – both are good possibilities. I am still hopeful.

But this season of waiting… is now hard. I’ve been making the most of this time. But I long for more. I long to be contributing in some way. I want to serve in ministry again. I am so darn ready for that “something else” that I felt God promising me. I don’t want to wait anymore!

The meditation for the 17th day of the month in the second celtic daily prayer book spoke to me today:

What God may hereafter require of you,
you must not give yourself the least trouble about.

Everything He gives you to do,
you must do as well as ever you can.

That is the best possible preparation
for what He may want you to do next.

If people would but do what they have to do,
they would always find themselves ready for what came next.

George MacDonald

God has directed me during this time of waiting. It’s not exactly what I would have chosen for these past four months.

But – I am involved in ministry. I have been devoting time to pray. Not because I’m some holy person or anything. But out of recognition that I cannot do anything to change lives, situations or fix things. And that ultimately it is God at work. I’m inspired by the Alpha program where people commit to pray in a separate room throughout the whole teaching and discussion time. There are ministries working with people who do not know God and I know that the evil one has his ways of trying to prevent this from happening. My ministry right now is to pray.

And I’ve been studying the book of Isaiah. Again, not because I want to be super holy or anything. But this book has intimidated me with its 66 chapters and different genres and some of it’s really harsh passages. Any time I’ve had the opportunity to write on Isaiah – I choose anything not Isaiah. But it’s such a foundational book that needs too be studied if I am going to shepherd and pastor any community.

George MacDonald’s words encourage me that I am not only in a season of waiting, but in a season of preparation for what is to come. And while I wish to be a part of something more, I do believe these tasks are God-directed and I must do them well. They will prepare me for what comes next. But also must be continued as the fuel for whatever comes next and now is the time to establish patterns and commitment while I am waiting.

Waiting is hard.

But waiting need not be passive. It is a time of preparation.

And so I wait.

 

Any day now

I am in deep thought today. I’ve had a few people say to me that I have a lot on my plate. On a day to day basis, I don’t really think about this. I think much of life is like this actually — you just keep moving on, moving forward doing the best that you can. The rhythm of school sort of forces you to do this. You get one paper done, and one exam under your belt, and there is another one around the corner. And you keep moving forward because if you don’t, you will get behind.

I’ve been living in chaos for the past month or so. I can’t even begin to tell you how sick of dust, boxes and disorganization I am! I’m determined to get my room organized and take anything that doesn’t find a home to the dump.

That was going well until I stumbled across some my writings that speak to my deepest fears. They were written in the months after my grandmother’s death – something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I don’t talk much of that whole event but I was not supposed to know she was dying. I was not considered “family” at the funeral. I was reminded of a conversation with my brother later on and his response was “well, you’re not family any more”.

I worry about my grandpa and my heartaches in knowing that anything i find out will be second hand, and that, unless a miracle happens, events will play out in a similar way as my grandmother.

I reread my words that were dealing with the agony that was ripping my heart apart at the time. And for the first time in a long time felt the pain and injustice of the whole situation and feel it with the core of my being.

These written words I found keep stories that I had forgotten. Like the night my stepfather asked if he were 20 years younger if I would marry him. I was 13 or 14.

Today I am acutely reminded of everything.

Maybe because lately I have had this notion of “any day now” hanging over my head. It’s been 3 months since the appeal. A decision may still take many months. But I was told not to expect anything for 3 months. Any day now I will receive notice that tomorrow a decision will be given.

Any day now.

In the midst of the tears and pain, I found words in my writings that give a glimmer of hope. I was writing about my grandmother’s funeral. A lot of painful things happened – things that would have taken premeditated plans, because those things could not have happened just on the spur of the moment. And I wrote “The day you set aside to hurt me – your plotting and scheming could not stop God. The most powerful and beautiful moment of my life was when Grandpa ran to me”

I remember that moment well too. For me, that moment lasted an eternity although realistically it was probably minutes. The air in that room was so thick that I don’t think any knife could have cut through it. But as I entered a room in which I was not welcome, Grandpa came over to me and hugged me. Such a powerful moment in my life and a moment I will not forget.

People can plot and scheme. But God is bigger than their plot and scheming.

Faith doesn’t always make sense to me. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. But it is moments like this that keep me stubborn in hanging on to God in the midst of the absurdity – for there is strength in the absurd.

The beginning of my writings that I was reading quotes a poem by one of my favourite poets Anne Sexton:

Dearest Dealer,

I with my royal straight flush,

love you so much for your wild card,

that untamable, eternal, gut-driven ha-ha

and lucky love

I think this sums up the life of faith. God always has some wild card to throw into the mix.

And so as I live in the “any day now”, I will remember my dearest Dealer and the wild cards such as my grandfather’s love for me. I will relish in that untamable, eternal gut-drive ha-ha that life with God produces.

And as I wait for the “any day now”, I will remember how in my darkest and most painful moments, God not only was there but showered beauty and love that is more powerful than any wound.

And more – as I wait for the “any day now”, I will wait to see God work in ways that I do not yet know.

He is Waiting

Merry Christmas to you. Christmas is an interesting time for me – perhaps I will go into it at a another time. But I was reading something today that I wanted to share what struck me. I’m still working my way through Isaiah. I’ve so often heard that the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, while the God of the New Testament is a God of love. I have even thought that myself. But as I have been reading through Isaiah, I’ve been persuaded that God is consistently a God of Justice, mercy and love throughout Scripture. Following many of the judgment passages, are verses that speak of Israel’s renewal through the remnant of God’s people. Continually God is calling his people to return to him.

I read Isaiah 30 today.

Woe to the obstinate children, declares the Lord, ‘to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refugue

I got thinking about our communities study of Scripture this fall and the consistent theme that God was trying to get Egypt out of His people and bring them into the promised land. So often the Israelites looked back – how quick are we to forget what God has saved us from at times. I think Christmas memories really speak to that – the nostalgic thoughts that make Christmas out to be this holly jolly time when reality is that it is not for many people. Or at least it’s not a clean and tidy holiday – we were reminded on Christmas eve as a real donkey made a dump in the church how unclean and messy Christ’s entry into the world would have been. Not quite the sanitized nativity scene that we are all to used to. Anyways, here the Israelites are STILL choosing to look back and wish that they were in Egypt, still longing for the life they once had, forgetting how painful and binding the chains of slavery were.

How often do I look beyond the Lord for my help, refuge and guidance!

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

I was struck by how God lays out the path for salvation and strength – repentance, rest, quietness, trust – and how by looking back to Egypt for their needs, they continually refuse what God lavishes upon them. I started to think – is the Lord working on my heart to get “Egypt” out of me? I have often considered my leaving home to be an exodus from slavery. Maybe these years of waiting, as painful as they are, are a time of God continually calling me to lean on him only and to leave my past in Egypt. I thought it to be interesting too that rest and quietness are mentioned here after our Sabbath retreat. How easy it is to get busy and caught up in everything that distracts us from turning to the Lord in repentance and strength.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.

And even though we constantly turn away from God, the Lord longs to be gracious, longs to be compassionate. He is waiting.

he is waiting.

Wow.