November 14, 2011

The Watcher

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3

I’ve never been a big fan of waiting. As a matter of fact the concept is contrary to every fiber of my being. I am the quintessential “efficiency is key”, “time is of the essence”, “life is short”, “do it right or don’t do it at all” person. And doing it right by my definition means not wasting anything; not wasting opportunities, not wasting resources, and most of all not wasting time. We are only given a limited portion of time to expend in this life and I have an overzealous aptitude to make the most of it.

My mother once described a vision she had of the way the Lord protects each of her three children distinctly according to their needs. She saw my sister encircled with angels protecting her from 360 degrees. She saw my brother with an angel standing behind his shoulder whispering, “Turn to the right.” or “Turn to the left.” And me . . . well, she saw a one huge angel with arms outstretched standing ahead of me blocking my path. She saw me run full force and slam into him only to be knocked on my rear, to pick myself up, and repeat the process over again. This is exactly the way I operate. God always has to stop me from outrunning Him.

There is a quality about God’s order which I have always had a hard time accepting; that His process may not sync up with my approach. I’ve always wanted to dive into works in aim to glorify Him rather than wait on any leading whatsoever.

Lately He has really been trying to get my attention to whip the spiritual reality into me once and for all that I can’t out will His will, that I can’t help Him get the job done, that I can’t force His hand to make the sequence of life progress any faster.

David Platt’s book “Radical” reads, “We already have a fairly high view of our morality, so when we add a superstitious prayer, a subsequent dose of church attendance, and obedience to some of the Bible, we feel pretty sure that we will be alright in the end.” Wow. The mention of superstitious prayer hit close to home. Yes, I am guilty of bearing burdens in prayer as if by performing prayers before His throne relentlessly enough, then I can will into existence specific results.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.

This verse has been heavily impressed upon me recently. I desire purpose in my life yet I’ve never respected the timing required to accomplish those purposes. However, the Word of God insists that every purpose has an appointment. Where there is no purpose, there is no appointment. Where there is purpose, there is an appointed time for it. I need to gain proper respect for the appointment in order for purpose to prevail. To rush the timing jeopardizes the purpose.

The core defect in my nature is a lack of patience. God’s Word says that tribulation produces patience (Romans 5:3). Well I have endured the trying of my faith extensively and yet my patience stockpile still registers rather low. How much more tribulation must I endure to actually acquire the desired fruit of patience?

James 1:4 reads, “But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

I think I am finally ready to read beyond the words to accept their truth. Patience is critical for perfect works to come to pass. Do I want to be perfect? Yes! Do I want to be full and complete (entire)? Yes! Do I want to lack nothing? Yes! Then I must allow (let) patience to do her thing. I must not resist. I must not run ahead. I must relinquish the chase and hunger more to become a watcher of God’s will than a manufacturer of it.

Hannah Whithall Smith begins the book “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” by distinguishing between God’s work and Man’s work. Smith says we must enforce an active passivity upon ourselves. She writes, “the clay is put into the potter’s hands and then lies passive there, submitting itself to all the turnings and overturnings of the potter’s hands upon it. The clay is not expected to do the potter’s work, but only to yield itself up to His working. We put ourselves into the hands of the Lord, for Him to work in us all the good pleasure of His will, and then, by a continual exercise of faith, keep ourselves there.”

It is my responsibility to confine myself to a permanent position of supplication and surrender. I must become ACTIVELY PASSIVE. What an oxymoron. We are always commanded to do what comes least natural to our flesh so that the Spirit may prevail.

2 Corinthians 12:12 says, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”

Hmmm . . . “TRULY the signs of an apostle” are visible through “all patience”?

How is that for a non-negotiable definition of apostleship? I certainly applaud the signs, wonders and mighty deeds definition of a true apostle, Right on! Yet there is also an “all patience” clause which I find much harder to swallow. I fall short of being a true apostle by that standard.

And so, I come to the conclusion that I must hone my perception of divine appointments. I must praise and appreciate patience, invite the perfection which patience produces, and submit myself to patience that I may evolve into a true apostle.

Lord, sharpen my mindset to watch you instead of living like your role is to watch me. You are working where I can’t see. You are moving where I can’t go. You are carrying what I can’t possibly lift. I am to participate where I am called upon to obey, but for the time being I need to sit a spell and watch for you.

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