“Faith is the one human attitude that is the opposite of depending on oneself,
for it involves trust in or dependence on another.
Thus, it is devoid of self-reliance or attempts to gain righteousness by
human effort. If God’s favor is to come to us apart from our own merit,
then it must come when we depend not on our own merit but
the merits of another, and that is precisely when we have faith.”
–Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem
Before reading, consider the definition of lift:
- to move or bring upward from the ground or other support to a higher position; hoist.
- to raise or direct upward.
Over the holiday season, I had several invigorating conversations with friends about what it means to have faith in God. Standing on my front porch steps, Frank, a father of two young children, shared about his struggles with believing God to provide for his family, especially during this economic crisis. Another friend, shared how difficult it is to trust God in a marriage that seems very one-sided. And yet another friend shared the story of her twenty year marriage ending. How in the world do we reconcile with these trials? Wrap our brain around seemingly desperate situations that seem darker than night?
After watching the weather report the other morning, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had our very own personal spiritual weatherman . . . who would predict the exact moment when the sun would rise on our horizon? When our trial would be over? When the Lord would send light to our difficult period? When dawn would come and the very thing we had been waiting for was finally in our possession?
Timing. Exact moments. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, holds every single moment in his hands and more importantly, holds our hearts in his hands. Because he is all-knowing, he knows the exact millisecond when our hearts can’t take any more. Right on the edge of that second, he says, “Enough.” And, in his mercy and compassion, lifts the pain. Lifts the trial. Lifts the brokenness. Lifts our heads.
Exodus [40:36]-37 reads, “In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted.” The Israelites, in the wilderness, learned the power of keen observation. They dared not move an inch until the cloud that was guiding them lifted. I must confess to you that I feel like my head is in the clouds right now, specifically with my writing and speaking ministry. It is rare when I don’t have an inkling what God is doing. I find myself in a lull, of sorts, not quite knowing where God is taking me. So, instead of striving and trying to make things happen, I am going to look to the horizon and wait patiently until the cloud lifts. For some reason, unbeknownst to me at this exact second, the cloud is there for a reason. I am going to pray, read the Word, listen, wait and keep an eagle eye on the horizon. I know God will send light at just the right time. But, in the meantime, I refuse to struggle against the lull. I will wait with expectation and hope and peace and joy—and enjoy the present moment.
Today, on this first Wednesday of 2009, may we learn a lesson from the Israelites. May we look every new morning to the horizon of hope. To the horizon of God’s Word. To the horizon of healing. To the horizon of answered prayer and lifted difficulties. Jesus knows your exact moment. He will sustain you until then.
Lord, we are looking with expectation to the horizon of 2009.
We are trusting that you hold our hearts in your hands.
You know how much we can take.
We cry out for mercy. For healing. For relief from economic constraint.
For strong marriages and rock-solid parenting skills.
For wisdom and truth and the peace that passes all of our understanding.
We wait patiently for the Son to rise on our lives in 2009. Amen.