Sunday, April 11, 2010

In His Time

Have you ever wished you didn’t have to wait for something good to happen, and perhaps given up waiting for His time and purpose? Do you find it difficult to wait for the reward at the end of a journey?

In this house, I’m known at the “splinter fixer”.

Not a glamorous title, by any means, but my skills were hard earned.

You see, when I was little, we had a hazelnut tree at our cottage by the river. I didn’t know at the time that it was a hazelnut tree. I just knew that if you could withstand the prickly husks, there was a treat to be had inside.

The outside of the husks were covered in an ultra fine fuzz that would painfully embed itself into anything that touched it… without fail.

Determined, I spent hours every summer prying open the husks, licking the tart juice from the inside, and cracking the shells so that I could get at the tender white nut inside. Although I’d try everything to avoid the splinters, it seemed inevitable.

I think I spent more time perched on the deck facing the river, tweezers in hand, pulling out infuriatingly translucent splinters than I did eating nuts.

I thought the nuts were definitely worth the trouble, though, even though I didn’t know what they were.

I didn’t know any better.

We had never spent time at the cottage in the fall as far as I can recall, otherwise I would have witnessed the husks splitting open and releasing the brown shells containing nuts fit for consumption.

I would have likely recognized at that point that they were hazelnuts. Every Christmas, my mom would fill the bottom of my stocking with nuts in their shells. Hazelnuts were my favorite.

I never made that connection. The summertime un-ripened nuts were completely different that the nuts I received at Christmastime. You can barely compare the two.

Still, even if we had spent some time at the cottage in the fall, I likely would never have experienced the reward of fresh, ripe hazelnuts. My brother and I would have grazed on them all summer long, and they would have been gone well before the first leaf turned color.

My impatience and foolishness would long ago have stolen my prize, my reward.

How much better would it have been to have the wisdom and patience to hold out for what God intended as a reward? Fresh, ripe, handpicked hazelnuts. I may never know what those might have tasted like, but I have the wisdom to know that the patience would have been well rewarded.

Summer wasn't the season for the harvest... God had intended for harvest to come in the fall.

In His time.

Not ours.

What else have I missed by not having wisdom and patience? Just as important, what lessons can I learn from the times I have not been patient, and how can I make sure that God doesn’t need to teach those lessons to me again?

It’s one thing for semi-tasty hazelnuts and splinters to be a consequence, but what if the consequences were eternal, as they often are?

Sobering thought, considering that it seems as though we’re living in the “NOW” generation. We want the rewards, but are we willing to wait for them? To wait for His time?

What harm can come from rushing through life, wanting the reward but not the lessons and the journey?

Ask that to the couple who didn’t honor a vow of purity before marriage.

Or to a believer who gave up on God when life got difficult.

Or the young girl who settled on the first guy that came along.

Not only will patience and wisdom help us avoid consequences, but they will help us receive our full rewards. All that He provides for us in His time IS worth the wait.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
~ Galatians 6:9 ~

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Freefalling Faith


Have you ever believed you could fly? Really fly?

Years ago, my family owned a cottage in the middle of a wooded area near a river. The cottage was a place to escape to for some family time each summer. My brother and I were fairly young, I was perhaps about 5 years old.

Young. Spunky. And spirited.

Some things don’t change much over the years… Like the young part. Don't know about the spunky part, though -- am I spunky? :o)

We had a set of stairs on the outside of the cottage that led straight up to an attic/loft that could only be reached from those stairs. It was quite a steep climb, as you can well imagine. That summer, I had seen the Mary Poppins movie. It must have made quite an impression on me. See, I had this umbrella… can you tell where this is going yet? I thought so.

I had reckless faith.

In just about anything.

I believed I could send toys to God, remember? I even gave it a try with aluminum plates, string, balloons and toy army men. I believed I had to obey my father regardless of what he was doing, that was my job no matter how much I hated it. I also believed that Mary Poppins (and therefore humans) could fly with the help of an umbrella.

Up the stairs I climbed. I don’t remember from which step I jumped, all I remember was experiencing the jump as though it happened in slow motion…

“1… 2… 3… Float!”

“Wait, I think I did it wrong........
... I'm going in the wrong ----THUD.”

Groans and moans.Uhm, if there were banisters, perhaps I could hitch a ride back up and try that one again. Wonder why it didn’t work… Maybe I was supposed to blink first?

It knocked the wind outta me, but it didn’t knock the wind out of my sails. I tried it a few more times, convinced that there had to be a way.

Eventually, the umbrella broke.

Pity, because it was a really cute umbrella… and I still had a ton of faith left over.

In hindsight, it’s not the lack of faith that made the attempts a failure, (or the umbrella), it was the root of the faith.

It was reckless for me to base my faith on the things of this world, movie characters or real human beings. Crashing was inevitable. (Broken umbrellas somewhat optional.) A false faith will eventually give way to failures and frustrations, and in the end, will lead to the refusal to risk any further attempts. Enthusiasm vanishes. Insecurity and doubt creep in and make themselves at home. Faith is damaged and diminishes.

If someone had faith in me, he or she would eventually be disappointed, because I’m a sinner, I’m far from perfect, I stumble, I fall, I make mistakes… I’ll let you down, it’s inevitable. I’m human.

Don’t follow me, follow Him.

The root of false faith isn’t strong enough for a freefall. God alone is strong enough for you to freefall.

My faith in God has replaced the false faith of my youth with fearless faith.

When I lock my eyes into His, I know that the focus on Him will allow me to fearlessly freefall. Mary Poppins never knew what she was missing. There is nothing quite like it, and best of all, there's nothing reckless about it. If my eyes aren't on Him, I can't jump. I can't leap. I can't make one single step forward in true faith. When my eyes are on Him, there is no hesitation.

Gone are the days of climbing before I jump…
I’ll jump from where ever I am.

Gone are the days of jumping a dozen times before giving up…
I will jump as often as it takes.

Gone are the days of getting the wind knocked out of me...
Fearless faith takes my breath away right from the start.

The landing is never a concern. I’ll land in God’s hands every single time. I have to believe it, or I wouldn't have the faith to freefall.

He is sufficient.

He is enough.

He is worth it.

No umbrellas required.