Thursday, January 17, 2013
Today’s Topic: Held Up By Promises
Today’s Text: Psalm 119:116-117 (ESV) Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! 117 Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!
One of the past traditions of our family when the kids were young was that we would spend Thanksgiving at my brother’s house in Chicago. What a riot! Women shopping, men golfing, kids hiding and playing all over the four-story house: great memories.
Every year we would load up the car and head out from the Chippewa Valley on Wednesday afternoon. Without fail, as soon as the Hormel chili can came into view at Beloit, Wisconsin, the traffic would come to a complete stop. It would take us over an hour to travel the next few miles to the first toll booth on the Illinois expressway. The first time we ever made the trip and we got to that spot, I remember saying out loud, “What’s the holdup?”
Sometimes we say that to God. We have heard His promises and expect immediate results. When we don’t get the results when we thought we would, our impatience, generated by our prideful desire to have everything work out our way, makes us question the very nature of the promise. We may even question the integrity of the One making the promise. So instead of being upheld by the promise, we think we are being held up by it.
On Tuesday God designed the last Connecting Points devotional in such a way that it addressed this very issue of being held up in the life of a friend from church. With his permission, I share what God is doing in his heart with you. The background you need to know is this – he and his wife are in the process of adopting a little boy from another country, and while other families doing the same are having their process move forward, my friend’s process is being held up. In fact, they had just received an email from the adoption agency that stated that it could be another few months before they would get to go pick up their son. My friend did not react well to that news, but God worked through it with Him to bring further growth to his faith. Here is how he writes it:
I was thinking over your devotional from yesterday and I find it kind of funny how we can react to “perceived promises”… We had never been given a specific promise of a court date. We were never specifically told that we would travel at the end of January, but rather we were told that we might or could possibly travel AROUND that time.
My initial reaction yesterday was not good. As I thought about the situation, I got jealous of other’s situations. I felt it was unfair that they had moved along faster than us. I got angry that our agency had been leaving us in the dark. All these things I was feeling put me in a downward spiral of thought.
Thankfully that spiral didn’t last long. As I drove to work yesterday I was praying like crazy that our process would go faster; that the Lord would take away the pain; that things would work out like the “perceived promise” that I had in my mind.
Surprisingly by the time I got to work I felt significantly better (I say surprisingly because I really wasn’t praying for the right reasons or the right things). I believe, though, that the Holy Spirit was interceding on my behalf AND God was about to reveal a whole lot of truth to me. Once I got to work I actually had a chance to read the email that the adoption agency had sent (previously, my wife had just paraphrased it for me.) The information was the same, but now I saw God’s timing in it. The reason for the delay was the fact that the orphanage was filing for re-licensing with the government. You see, orphanages don’t renew their licenses every year; they renew them every two years. So, the possibility of us “just happening” to be at this specific point in the process at the exact time that they “happen” to have to renew their license, and the fact that our little boy just “happens” to be from this orphanage and not a different one is probably slim at best. Nothing is circumstantial with God.
He then spoke to my heart and reminded me that we are not in this process to bring honor or glory to ourselves, but rather to honor and glorify God. He reminded me of huge hurdles He had cleared for us in the past, and that everything was working according to His plan and His timing.
So why should we have to wait any longer? I do not know… BUT, I do know that whatever the reason is, it is to show the majesty and power of the one true God. It is to honor and glorify Him. And I can rest assured that when He is ready for our little boy to come home, it will be perfect! (Not by my measure of perfection, but rather His.)
I choose to rest on His promises and not my “perceived promises;” the promise that my life is in the hands of the God of the universe. A promise that will not fail nor fade away. One that is not perceived, but rather guaranteed. I thank the Lord that He is in control and I choose to accept His perfect plan!
There are no hold ups in God’s timing. Instead, He intends that His promises will hold us up! It’s all a matter of perspective. What’s yours?