Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Lesson Learned (and still learning)

At some point in the past couple years, a thought entered my head. I'm not sure if it was a piece of advice that someone gave me or if I read it in a book. Or maybe its only stimulus was my own experiences and a God who takes personal stake in each of our lives. Regardless of how it got there, it did. It is the one piece of advice that I have shared the most. That is probably because it is the one piece of advice I have had to apply the most. Are you ready? Here it is:

Time does not hurt a relationship that God has orchestrated

If God truly is in control, than He can bring two people together or pull them apart as easily as He causes the sun to rise each morning. Therefore, the passage of days, weeks, months, or even years is of little consequence when God is in charge of the clock.

In my experience, additional time has without fail been a blessing. Take it from someone who knows. Time clarifies and sharpens. It gives time for emotions to settle and logic to crystallize. Time can ripen, enrich, and refine. It can also dry out, spoil, and tarnish. What is so incredible is that either one of these can equally be God's answer to your prayers, even those options that don't seem as pleasant.

Let me explain. If it is God's will that a relationship end, giving it time will do just that. Time will reveal the wider plan that God has for you, the one you couldn't see from the inside looking out. As time passes, your relationship, in a sense, will dry out. But if it IS in God's plan for the relationship to one day continue, time will only enhance and enrich the friendship. That's where the ripening comes in. In the long run, what at first appeared impossibly painful is looked back on as being the best thing that could have happened.

I've reminded myself of this truth over and over in the past several years. It has never failed me yet. It always proves true, even when it compels me to make decisions that are at first agonizing and incredibly difficult.

Time never hurts relationships with people whom God intends to be there for the long haul. Because it is those types of friendships, with people who resonate with you at your deepest level, that transcend time, place, and circumstances.

Notice that there is a caveat - God has to be in control. If you're involved in a relationship, romantic or otherwise, in which God has not been given free reign, than success cannot be guaranteed. Additionally, you might have given God control in the past, but if the light He has given you has not been applied, than again, you're on the rocks. He cannot bless a relationship where His revealed will is being ignored. And yeah, just in case you were wondering, I've tried that one too. It doesn't work.

The hardest aspect of this whole concept is the part that we have to play. God has His part under control. But for some reason, we humans have the hardest time just letting Him do His thing. Complete submission is our solo line. Waiting on God. It seems like it wouldn't be too hard, right? Yeah, not true. We are always wanting to run ahead and try by our own power to fix what we see as problems. We get impatient; God's just not working fast enough! So we struggle and we fight. We manipulate and plan. We do everything but wait! But that is exactly what God wants us to do.

He desires that we be still. That's right, stop. Be still and know. Know what? Know that God is in charge. You can stop all you're struggling. Because God is. No more excuses or bargains. No more pleading. You can stop all that. You'll just be struggling in your own blood. It's pointless. Believe me, I've done it enough times to know.

Oh, one more thing: While you're waiting, strive after God. Seek Him with everything that's left inside of you. If you're not careful, you'll forget that you are supposed to be waiting and you will fall back into old habits. But if you are constantly seeking God's light in every decision, in every word you breath, and in every heartbeat, than He will be free to work in and through you. It is only when we completely place self on the altar that godly change can begin.

Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
Psalm 62:5

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
to the person who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:25

**Disclaimer: While I wrote this as if from an experts point of view, I have by no means mastered this lesson (despite multiple opportunities). I don't want to post blogs that are not intimately applicable. And yes, I realize that this is rather personal. It is a deliberate attempt to be genuine and transparent with what God has taught (and is teaching) me. I don't want my faith to ever appear unreal. I want it to be tangible, applicable, livable. I am a human. I make mistakes. But I have a God who is mighty to save. He takes the blame for MY mistakes. But those truths are worthless however if they do not extend farther than myself. If my Christianity never touches others, than you should question my Christianity.

6 comments:

Johonn said...

Amen, amen! Waiting on God is one of the hardest things for me to do... I always end up trying to make things go my own way, and it doesn't work. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

barry said...

I couldn't agree more. This post was well done, thoughtful, and honest. Thanks especially for your point about striving after God. Hard times are unique opportunities to build a true-blue relationship with God.

Little Christen said...

I can agree with that hypothesis as well. My best friend from high school and I are even stronger friends since she got married and I went to college. Being separated for months (from what once was seeing each other every day in school) has not hurt our relationship in the least. And I must willingly admit that I have very few friends in which that much time can pass and the next time I see that person we can pick up right where we left off and have no trouble carrying on a conversation. :) God must certainly have His hand in our friendship, and that makes me happy. :D

Kristin said...

Well put. I can relate, and I totally agree. This seems to be a continuing lesson for me.

Christy Joy said...

Christen - I would say that it is more than a hypothesis. I've experienced it more than once. And yes, those types of friends are awesome, aren't they! :)
Kristin - For me as well

Alex said...

I can completely identify both with the lesson and with the concept of the difficulty in applying it.

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