Category Archives: Patience

May God wreck our plans!

We were getting away for a few days to relax and regain some sense of rhythm. But God had other plans!

Susan and I loaded our bikes into the old blue bus (our 20-year-old van) and pulled out late Sunday afternoon headed for a hotel room in Indy. The trip was uneventful, the room was great and the continental breakfast was amazing. But then…

We shopped at a few nearby stores before heading downtown to visit a friend who had just given birth to her third baby. We got within a couple of miles of the hospital when the van started sputtering.

Long story short, we spent another night in Indy and about $500 for a new fuel pump!

The really ironic part is that I’m reading a book about what God may be up to when our dreams get shattered or our plans go up in smoke. And just for the record, I prefer reading about it over actually living it. Just sayin’…

There are certainly bigger dreams out there than just getting away for a few days but it stretched our patience to the breaking point!

In his book, Shattered Dreams, Larry Crabb suggests that God uses the big and little obstacles of life to help us come to grips with what matters most to us. Are we pursuing God in order to secure His blessings of a good life or are we desiring a relationship with God above all else?

The deepest longings of our heart cry out for an experience of God’s presence; and yet we so often settle for lesser passions. Only when those lesser passions get thwarted or crushed will we delve deeper into our soul and come to discover our greater passion for God.

An encounter with God is what we were created for and satisfies our soul like nothing or no one else can. But when the lesser passions of life satisfy us, even if they are only temporary, we forget the bigger passion.

It’s sort of like nibbling on junk food too close to the big meal and losing our appetite for real food.

I’ll be honest. I was very angry and frustrated as we sat there in the hot sun waiting for the tow truck to show up. Was a few days away to relax really too much to ask?

But eventually, a different question made its way to the forefront of my mind.

Are these few days away more important to you than God?

God could have kept our van running but didn’t. God could have prompted me to take a different vehicle but He didn’t. (At least, I don’t think He did. Sometimes I don’t listen so well)

If I want God more than I want a few days away and if I choose to trust God as sovereign, then can I trust Him to be working behind the scenes to accomplish something I know nothing about? In essence…

Would I trust God’s character and intentions to be good even if I didn’t know the “why”?

I have no great “TaDa” moment that resulted from our interrupted plans. I’ve gained no great revelation or insight from what took place. And I still don’t know how we’ll pay for the van or extra night in a hotel.

But I can trust the Author of the story to be good and I can once again sift through my passions to see which ones are most important.

May God wreck our plans, no matter how good they are, to help us discover our greater passion for Him!

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Adversity, Contentment, Desire, Discipleship, Divine presence, Frustration, God, intimacy with the Lord, Patience, Priorities, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Suffering, Trusting God

Intentional obstacles

Amidst all the hoopla going on in the Summer Olympics in London, England right now Michael Phelps is once again in the middle of it all. A couple of days ago Phelps broke a 48 year record becoming the all-time winningest Olympic athlete with 19 medals.

As amazing and stunning as that is, the back story is even more fascinating.

During a special segment delving into the his long-time history with coach Bob Bowman, we learned that Bowman has, on occasion, intentionally created obstacles for Michael Phelps.

Having the car pick them up late causing him to miss a meal before a race…

Stepping on his goggles so that they cracked and let in water when he swam…

Why would a coach do such things? Does he have a vendetta against Michael? Is he just sadistic?

Turns out that Bowman wanted Phelps to learn how to deal with adversity so that he would not be unsettled by unexpected things happening at critical moments. And that’s exactly what happened in the 2008 Olympics.

A few meters into one race Michael’s goggles filled with water and made it impossible for him to see. Not a good scenario when you’re trying to win a race.

But since Michael had battled through such obstacles in practice and in other races, it proved to be no problem as he went on to win the race and earn one of his many gold medals.

Chalk one up for the coach. But it’s not a new principle.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith   produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4

Maybe those obstacles of life that push our buttons and stretch our patience to the breaking point are not just arrows sent by the enemy to antagonize us but are really intentional lessons designed by our Maker to develop our character and deepen our trust in Him.

Consider it all joy…

***

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

4 Comments

Filed under Adversity, Determination, Faith, Patience, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Trusting God

It was worth the wait!

There we were, having stood in line for 25 minutes already, and it was our turn to go next… then they left. We were the next in line to meet Winnie-the-Pooh and Eeyore, but it was their time for a break. Arg!

(Warning: Spoiler – In reality, its only a 4-5 minute break because it’s a different team coming out to the meet and greet. Sorry if that spoiled any of the magic for you!)

So we kept our place in line and waited. But then we heard rumors that Tigger might be coming out too!

Now, just to be clear; Tigger is one of my all-time favorite characters and when people tease me about having  all manner of Tigger memorabilia blanketing my office I simply remind them that everyone needs a hero. I even had a dog named Tigger when I was growing up.

I don’t know if its his bounce, his laugh or his optimism; but Tigger has been a favorite for as long as I can remember. I have various sizes of stuffed Tiggers. One bounces. One sings. And one does both!

Other than a couple new ones which my family bought me, the rest are garage sale specials or second-hand stores deals.

So we waited, and he came! Tigger was in the house!

It was worth the wait!

God’s timing tends to work that way too. God seems to be on a different schedule or rhythm than me. I’m guessing you can relate.

I’ve seen the plaques and posters declaring that if we’re waiting on God it’s because He has something even better for us. But I’m not sure. I think it depends on how we define better.

If better means something I’ll enjoy even more, then no, that’s not always the case. But if better means a more complete fulfilling of God’s kingdom plans, then yes, I would agree.

Waiting, on this side of the grave, sometimes leads to something more enjoyable here and right now; but not always. Sometimes waiting is followed by heartache and tragedy.

  • Waiting for a medical test that comes back as bad news.
  • Waiting for that special someone to call or come back and make things right, but they don’t.
  • Waiting for that promotion or pay raise that will help make ends meet, but it doesn’t come.

Yet even when waiting doesn’t turn into something better here and now, God’s bigger kingdom purposes continue to unfold. That’s when we can wait with hope because of the glory that will be ours with Jesus in eternity beyond this life.

No matter what it is you’re waiting on God for, and no matter how it turns out…

It will be worth the wait!

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Eternity, Glory of God, God, Hope, Kingdom of God, Patience

Waiting… on God

Have you ever had to wait for something you really, really, really wanted?

Today is the first Sunday of the Advent season – the period of time leading up to Christmas. Many churches use these four weeks before Christmas to recognize the 400 years the Israelites waited from the last time God spoke through a prophet until the arrival of Jesus as a baby.

As the Israelites waited with expectations of the coming Messiah, we today wait with expectation for His second coming – when He will claim those who belong to Him as His bride and take them to be with Him forever.

But can we even begin to grasp what it must have felt like to wait 400 years for God!

Waiting is not one of my strong points. I struggle to wait for anything or anyone. Makes me wonder how the Israelites handled it. Did they get angry? Did they wonder if God had forgotten them? Did they begin to question the old faith stories that they had grown up with?

We know for sure that some of them decided to take matters into their own hands. They were called Zealots and they physically revolted against the ruling Roman empire on numerous occasions.

I don’t usually revolt or become violent but I can relate to taking matters into my own hands. But this seldom… NEVER works the way I want it to. In the end we are always better off trusting God and waiting on Him.

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. ~ Isaiah 40:31 (Message)

What is it that you’re waiting on God for today? Will you choose to trust Him?

***

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Filed under Advent, Choices, Christmas, Patience, Trusting God