Friday, February 6, 2015

Until "then" – Keep Believing

There have been times, a few … OK, a lot of times, when it’s been difficult to stay in faith, especially when all hope seems lost.  My battle is always in my mind and comes in the middle of the night. 
For hours I lay in bed debating a situation trying to rationalize why things aren’t working out as I prayed.  I rummage through books, articles and notes to find something that will ease thoughts that try to persuade me to give up on my beliefs.
During those “night seasons” as TD Jakes would call them, God always puts something before my eyes to lift my spirit. 
It was on January 7th, 2015 at 12:40 a.m. when I began to write this message that I first called, “…but until then.”  The year had started off with my husband being very sick, which caused me to question the way I was praying.  Where did I miss God?  Was this something that could have been prevented?
These plus a ton of other questions not related to his illness, swept through my thinking as I waited on God for answers.  Most of them ended with, “When Lord, when?”  Something I knew not to ask, but did it anyway.
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New, but Not Suede
I remembered an incident that happened many, many (I should probably add another many) years ago, when I had gotten a new pair of sneakers.  Being so excited about getting them, I showed my cool white “Classic Princess” sporting wear to everyone just like a kid would do.  That was a big mistake when it came to some of my parent’s friends.
I love my shoes
For three years I prayed about getting new shoes, but God never opened a way for it.  My feet are really small for an adult, and finding the right sizes in sneakers is difficult.  Unless I settle for kids shoes that come with sparkles, flashing lights and lip balm (which I have bought in a pinch), ordering woman’s footwear is costly for me.
You may think the same thing that this friend of my mother’s did.  “God wouldn’t make you wait for a pair of shoes.” She said indignantly.  This argument came from a woman who didn’t believe that God would supply all our needs here on earth.
When we discussed Philippians 4:19 concerning my foot gear, she said in a rather loud voice as she pointed her contradictory finger to the sky, “In glory … in glory … not here!”  I should have stopped right there in the debate.
Surely you say something could have been figured out or even charged to a credit card. Perhaps, but we didn’t want the added expense when we were uncertain about our income at the time.  I never said anything to anyone, but kept praying, asking and believing for my “until then” tree of life moment.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life!” (Proverbs 13:12 NKJV)

Well, it came, and when we finally had the money for the shoes, God gave us extreme favor.  With the funds we had, God caused the sneakers to go on sale allowing me to buy two pairs for less than the original price of one.  We even had enough money left to purchase shoes for my husband.
Until You See When
There comes a time in every believer’s life when God asks us to wait, “until” the circumstances line up that will fit our journey.  There are reasons why things take so long, and only God knows what they are.  For my mother, her “until then” turning into “when” came after twenty years of prayer, believing for her siblings to come to Christ.  In the Bible, Abraham waited almost one hundred years for a son, so I guess waiting a few years for shoes should have been a “kick!”
Waiting on God showed me how blessed I already was in the other things He had provided.  The Holy Spirit would direct me to a ministry that gave shoes to people who never had any.  Seeing that made me even more grateful for what was on my feet, leaky soles and all.
Another thing I learned was that God wasn’t trying to keep something from me, but wanted to get something to me.   Scripture tells us that God will not keep any good thing from us; this whole thing wasn’t about shoes but submission to His timing.  If I would have grasped that concept sooner who knows what would have happened.
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11 NKJV)

This simple lesson has sustained me through great loss and tragedy in my life.  There are so many stories I could share with you of friends and acquaintances that have traveled the “but until then” road, and all would say it was a lesson in waiting on God until something better happened. 

“Until then,” we have to trust in His grace and mercy believing that our answer is coming.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge. 

Until these calamities (situations and circumstances) have passed by I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me.  (Psalms 57:1-2 NKJV)

Painting the Scene
For some time now my husband and I have been praying that God would open an opportunity for us to move into larger quarters so we can do more for Him.  A few years ago we began to “Do Something” to help us stay in faith and hope until God moves on our behalf concerning this situation. 
We decided to buy three cabinets for our new place that were exactly like the ones we had in our former house.  This was something we believed God would have us do.  These cabinets were no longer available, but suddenly were and cheaper than what we originally paid.  Strange?  I don’t think so.  It was a favor thing!
Within the week of the purchase they disappeared from the sellers and haven’t been made since!  It was our anniversary “gift of hope” to one another as my husband put it.
After going through last year’s journey with Daily Favor, my husband decided to do something that showed me he really believed.  He took action believing that our “then” moment is going to come.
On Christmas morning I found this awkward looking item on the table.  I felt so blessed already that I didn’t see this coming.  Sitting down my husband handed me this heavy object that he even wrapped!  There was no way I could have known what it was, but when I opened it all I could do was cry.
A Gift of Hope & Believing God.
My husband had given me a quart of paint!  Yep, you read that right.  Was that on your Christmas list?  No … it wasn’t on of mine either, but it was the best gift I received.
Mind you, this wasn’t some ordinary paint, but a paint color that he had to track down from twenty years ago.  It was originally made by Sears, but they had sold their paint division to Sherwin Williams.  Through some research he was able to have them match the color that I loved, showing me that he believed that what we have been waiting for was going to come to pass.
By taking action to put a biblical “point of visual contact” before our eyes, it was a way to remind us of what we believe about the Word of God concerning any of His promises.  When I see that paint container on the shelf in my laundry room, I can’t help but know something good is about to happen.
... but until then … I’ll keep my eyes on the promise and believe.

This Week’s Challenge: 
Until "then" comes, keep believing.
Perhaps you have been asking God for something and are in the “waiting until something happens” mode.  To help restore your faith and hope in the Lord, I’d like you to find something that is a visual point of promise as you wait.
What is it that you have asked God for in prayer? Until you have that desired end, you need to have something that will help boost your faith so you don’t waver.
Find that something that will remind you of things you are hoping for through prayer and belief.  Put it in a place that you can’t help but see it on a daily basis.  When you see that object, thank God that you’re “then” moment is on its way … but until then, keep believing!
(View on You Tube if video isn't working.)

Until next time, favor comes in the “when.”

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“Believe until your when comes.”
Jesus Christ

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