Ephesians 1:3-6 (Message)
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
One of the many things that I do for work is event planning. When there is a campus event, it is my responsibility to work with other departments to pull it all together. There are meetings and lists that drive the duties of everyone involved. At first it is quite overwhelming, but in the end it is satisfying when everything comes together. When it comes time to set up for these events, I am extremely particular about very small seemingly insignificant details. For example, table placement is one of the things that can literally take me hours along with set-up. There are a select few who will work with me in this area because I am too picky. Alignment and symmetry must be good. Functionality a must. Table covers must be even and straight. If there is anything on the table, it must be uniform. It is a tedious task and many people do not see the point. But when the event begins and visitors walk into the room, it is clearly noted. Presentation is very important. In each detail, there are little adjustments here and there. Over the course of working with many of my coworkers, it is inevitable that in the course of putting on the finishing touches the patience of some wear thin. Others will suddenly have other tasks that call them away. Not everyone is all about the fine tuning that drives me when I am in the “zone”. I am not even sure if it is a blessing or a curse sometimes. I am unable to walk away until in my mind it is perfect or at least as close as I can possible come to it.
God is perfect. He is a blessing in my life. He wants to bless me more and more. Jesus Christ is the One who makes such blessing possible. My ability to receive all the blessings that God has prearranged for my life comes in my ability to align my heart, mind, body and soul with His Will and Way for my life according to His Word. It sounds like an awesome task and responsibility which it is. But Jesus bears the brunt of this responsibility in our life. We are called to endure until the tweaking, adjusting and changing of our life settles us into proper position and placement to prosper. Who likes to be picked at? Who loves change? Who wants to conform? The process of perfecting our life is God’s Job but we are the ones who must undergo the transformation. Sometimes it is miraculous and supernatural, but more often than not, it is a constant process of refinement.
Romans 8:18-21 (Message)
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This has become my life verse. It is how I live ever since our life dramatically changed more than three years ago. I radically changed in the course of a day and have continued to adjust ever since. At first, being so engrossed in the care of our son and trying to hold things together in the rest of my life – I could do nothing more than trust the Lord and hope for the best. Ever since his bone marrow transplant for the first time in those three years, we have made it seven months with no evidence of cancer. Praise the Lord! So why can’t I fall back into a regular routine or certain schedule. I do not live in fear of cancer or anything of the sort. But I am different and my life forever changed so why can’t I adjust. I have sought the Lord on this subject because as a survivor through the difficult times growing up it is not my nature to live in an emotional flux. I plant my feet in the ground and keep forging along. But not this time – not know. It all points back to what the Lord has promised me in Romans 8:28. He is working all things together for my good because I do love Him. I am called according to His Purpose. His Purpose is all about thriving not just surviving.
It is hard sometimes to see past the hard times of life to the future that we have in the Lord. It is even harder to understand that no matter what we are going through that He is always working out the details for our good. I have come to realize that I am still adjusting to the violent change that impacted our life and exploded our faith. I am not on my own timetable but the Lord’s. I am not alone even when I feel as though I am because this glorious transformation is in us all as His Creation.
Romans 8:22-25 (Message)
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Having five children, I am well aware of the pregnancy and birthing process. The Bible equates our difficulties in life as “birth pangs”. God is doing something productive in us but sometimes all we feel is the pain because we cannot comprehend the promise that is attached. The Spirit of God sees the Promise anticipating its arrival, He prepares us to receive it. We yearn for deliverance not knowing how to find it. We want full satisfaction in the midst of our discontentment. The problem is that if we do not become connect to our promise – we may abandon the process and abort the promise. There is joy in expectancy when what we are waiting for is worth something to us. I would go through everything that I have been through physically to have my children all over again because I love them and they were definitely worth waiting for and the endurance of labor and delivery. Each promise that the Lord has for His Children is of equal or greater magnitude than this. We must become connected to the promise and release the pain of our process to endure until the end.
Romans 8:26-28 (Message)
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
As I said before, I am still adjusting. Adjusting to my new life after a total change of heart. It is not easy but worthwhile as the Lord changes my life to fit into His Plan and to receive His Promises. He is putting me in good working order for His Kingdom. He is settling me into a life of faith that produces full satisfaction and hope that never leads to disappointment. He is altering me to achieve accuracy in my goals and aspirations to fulfill the desires of my heart. When I was about to give birth entering the “transition” stage of labor, I would make the declaration that I was done. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was tired of the pain. I wanted “it” out of me now. Looking back, all these statements seemed ridiculous as my flesh called out for relief. I laugh at the midwife who told me in the middle of such a rant. Ok, you can go. No problem. I actually took her seriously for about 30 seconds. Two minutes later, I was holding a beautiful more than nine pound baby girl falling in love all over again. Could it be that in that moment we are tired in the waiting that we are closest to the promise? When it is the hardest to hang on that we are almost at the top? The Holy Spirit is pushing and pulling helping us in our weakness but ultimately it is up to you and I just how intent we are on seeing the Goodness in every detail of our lives. Is it worth the wait? Is it worth holding on one more day? Is it worth pressing on? Is it possible to overcome? We decide in that moment if we will have God’s Promise and fulfill our purpose. It is totally up to us because as long as we are willing to accept this change – the Lord is adjusting, aligning and fine tuning our life to have it.
Psalm 119:73-77 (Message)
With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad. I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right. Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.
I know that I do not have all the answers. I am not in control of His Plan. The Lord knows exactly what He is doing in my life so I have to trust Him. When I work on events, I see a vision in my head that is clear while others just have to trust me until it comes together. When I think about the Lord ordering the steps of my life, preparing me for the glorious life that He has promised, and all the details that sum up the goodness that He is working on – I understand in my not understanding that He has a vision for my life worth having, worth waiting for and worth changing for. I am still adjusting and I won’t give up.
Habakkuk 3:2-3 (Message)
And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.