Waiting for God – Chapter 9 – Pace for Preparation

Last week I shared how I’d struggled through a spiritual drought and decided to read the Bible in a year, using a consistent schedule again. As I’ve been reading the familiar stories, God took my hand and drew me into His arms. He refreshed me with confidence in His faithfulness and filled me with a revitalized hope.

This week, I decided to pick up where I left off last year on my blog, with the chapter 9 reflection questions from Waiting for God. I re-read the chapter I’d written in 2018 and laughed at God’s perfect timing when I read the following:

“I learned that spiritual growth is a lifetime process and that God’s timing is purposeful and necessary as He prepares us for all He has in store for us. God, the Maker of time, is not a timewaster. He knows when we’re ready to step into the next phase of the plan He’s designed for us and when we need more time to prepare. He also knows how easily we forget our lives are entwined with the lives of others—those we know, strangers, and those yet to come.” (p. 51, Waiting for God, X.E. Dixon)

Am I the only one who forgets what God has already confirmed?

Am I the only one who wanders into the valley of discouragement and doubt when I fail to savor the sweet fragrance of God’s unchanging word and never-ending assurance?

The Bible is filled with examples of God using the priceless commodity of time for our good and for His glory.

In Genesis 1, God took His time to create the world and showed us how to rest.

Noah had to work in obedience and faith for years, facing ridicule and rejection.

Doing the math and calculating the years passed between Shem and Abram makes my head spin.

How many times did Abram have to wait for God to show him the next step as he followed Him into unknown territory?

How long did Sarah wait to experience the fulfillment of God’s promise to her?

Jacob required quite a bit of character refining, which included his personal investment of time and suffering before God reunited him with Esau.

And Joseph powered through every twisted turn in his faith-journey and ended up proclaiming God as sovereign and good.

All of these people struggled and cried out to the Lord during their seasons of waiting. All of them faced some sort of opposition. And all enjoyed close relationships with God.

Each one of these faith-warriors still inspires us to trust that the Lord has a pace set for our life-journeys, and time is necessary for our preparation.

 

Reflection Questions

 

  1. How do you feel when someone says you’re not ready to do something God has placed on your heart to do?

 

I’m a recovering people-pleaser. When someone questions a decision or is critical, I can be tempted to question if I’m following God’s nudging or making a decision based on my fleshly desires and ever-changing emotions. I experienced more peace and gained confidence as I committed to praying before making decisions. I would seek wise counsel and ask for prayer support. Since then, when people offered unsolicited advice or harsh criticism, I was able to stand firm in my personal relationship with Christ and walk by faith.

 

  1. Describe a time when you jumped ahead of God and took on a role you weren’t ready for or a role that wasn’t meant for you.

 

I wanted to make friends in a local writing community, so I volunteered when they expressed a need for someone to help with an ongoing project. I didn’t pray or seek wise counsel before committing. As soon as I started the position, an anonymous complainer slammed me with harsh criticism and false accusations. After months of working under a leader who failed to support me, questioned every decision I made, gossiped about me, and judged me unfairly, I started praying for direction. With my health declining, the decision became clear. Within weeks after I stepped down, we found out we would have to prepare for a cross-country move. Several people stopped “being my friends,” but God wrapped me in peace. Since then, He provided so many opportunities for me to serve in ways that aligned with my passion‒sharing God’s truth and love to the ends of the earth! I grew through the experience and tried to restore the relationship with those who were upset with my decision to leave. Though my attempts to reconcile have been rejected, I am sure that leaving was the best thing for me and, hopefully, for the organization that I continue to pray for as God uses them to advance His Kingdom.

 

  1. How does knowing that God includes preparation time in His planning help you trust Him when the wait feels endless?

 

When I remember that God is working while I’m waiting for Him, it helps me to remember He is good, in control, and always with me. Trusting that His character never changes helps me to rely on His sovereign goodness when I don’t understand my circumstances.

 

*** Thanks for joining me to discuss the Waiting for God end-of-chapter questions. Please remain focused on what God is doing in and through your life and refrain from sharing full names or negative comments so we can keep this blog family a safe place to share. All comments will be monitored and modified to maintain a loving and encouraging atmosphere that is glorifying to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to growing with you.

—–

To share your answers for the previous chapters of Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, please follow the links below:

Chapter 1 – The Weight of Waiting

Chapter 2 – It’s Not All About Me

Chapter 3 – Holy Vision

Chapter 4 – Just Say the Word

Chapter 5 – Resting in God’s Refuge

Chapter 6 – Enough for the Wait

Chapter 7 – F.R.O.G. Faith

Chapter 8 – Deliberate Delays and Detours

—–

If you haven’t read Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, I invite you to pick up your copy today.

Don’t forget to love your neighbors by ordering extra copies of Waiting for God to share as gifts!

You can order your copies on Amazon, through Barnes and Noble, at Christian Book, or from the Our Daily Bread website.

I look forward to growing with you!

***If you have read Waiting for God, please consider writing a short review on Amazon and helping me spread the word on social media.***

I thank God for you, Blog Family!

 

—–

 

 

How to Avoid a Spiritual Drought

During our first full year in Wisconsin, Alan and I met wonderful people and missed the wonderful people we’d left on the West Coast. We celebrated great news and grieved great losses. We struggled with adjusting to the extreme winter temperatures and enjoyed watching my service dog, Callie, romping in the snow.

As my health declined, I struggled to finish writing, editing, and spreading the word about my first full-length devotional, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace. (Click here to find out what readers are saying about Waiting for God.)

Alan got tired of caregiving and I grew weary of struggling with pain management and fatigue. We stuck together and picked each other apart as frustrations continued to overwhelm us.

I praised God with steadfast faith and reacted with a complaining spirit when the days felt too-long and too-hard.

After one of my difficult days, Callie licked away my tears and snuggled next to me until we fell asleep.

Why was I so exhausted?

After much prayer, I realized I was in a spiritual drought.

Although I had been studying the Bible for my writing and speaking ministry, I wasn’t communing with God when I read Scripture. Instead of listening for His voice, I worked to understand everything I read. I craved the structured and often lengthy quiet time I used to enjoy before our move and before my health declined, instead of enjoying His loving and powerful presence.

I knew I wasn’t physically able to do the things I used to do, but became upset when what I could do didn’t seem like enough.

As I wrote that sentence, I finally understood that God had been allowing me to embrace my weakness and rely on His strength.

He was helping me internalize the message He helped me share through Waiting for God!

My loving Lord reminded me that the struggle was a good thing . . . a necessary thing that helped me realize I needed to surrender to the slowness as I saturated my heart with God’s Living Word.

Still, I missed God!

I enjoyed pouring into others each day and supporting people in prayer. God continued to deepen my faith as I watched Him working in and through the lives of others, and in and through my life as I practiced relying on Him one breath at a time. I still thanked God each time He encouraged me through notes from readers.

But I missed Him!

So, I made the commitment to read through the Bible in a year again.

I started using the Our Daily Bread Ministries Bible in a Year reading schedule on January 1, 2020. (You can find the Bible in a Year daily readings under the titles of the articles you receive when you subscribe to the Our Daily Bread encouragement devotions, which are available in multiple languages via email or print.)

I invited others to join me, too.

God is refreshing my spirit as I read portions of the Old and New Testaments for familiarity each day.

Sometimes, it’s tempting to stop and dig deeper. But the Lord keeps reminding me that I need to remain in listening mode. I’ll have plenty of opportunities for deeper study as He leads me through writing and speaking messages.

But for now, I’m savoring the pleasure and the privilege of sitting in His presence . . . opening my heart to hearing His voice.

I’m saying, “Here I am, Lord.” And I’m waiting with a listening spirit . . . expectantly.

How do we avoid a spiritual drought?

We can surrender to the Holy Spirit, who Jesus refers to as Living Water in John 7:37-39, every moment of every day. He will be our strength, our peace, our hope, as He illuminates the meaning of Scripture and empowers us to live in courageous obedience and faith.

During my spiritual drought, I missed God. But I am so grateful He never gave up on me, never left me, and never stopped revealing Himself to me.

In many ways, 2019 was one of the toughest years in my faith-journey. But now, I can understand why the writer of Psalm 119 can sing with confidence: “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (v. 71-72)

If you’re interested in joining me as I read through the Bible in a Year using the Our Daily Bread Ministries reading schedule, please comment below.

I will be sharing what God is doing through this adventure on my blog.

I’m looking forward to hearing what the Lord is doing in and through your journey, too.

I’d also like to invite you to join me for another adventure.

To celebrate the new year, I decided to continue a tradition I’ve enjoyed since 2005.

I love buying Bibles and asking God who He wants me to bless with the gift of His Holy Word.

This year, Callie helped me choose a Bible and a pack of Bible tabs for the person God placed on my heart to receive the first Bible giveaway of 2020. I’m excited to say that she is reading through the Bible in a year with me. Hallelujah!

Would you prayerfully consider starting or continuing this tradition with me?

How many Bibles can we give away this year?

What would happen if we prayed for the recipients of these Bibles together?

I look forward to hearing from you and growing closer to God with you this year.

Thanks for being a part of my blog family!

—–

If you haven’t read Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, you can order copies on Amazon, at Barnes and Nobel, from Christian Book, and through Our Daily Bread Publishing.

Love your neighbors by ordering extra copies to share as gifts!

If you have read Waiting for God, I would appreciate it if you would write a short review on Amazon and the Our Daily Bread Publishing website.

Reviews make a difference in so many ways.

You can write a review by answering these questions:

  1. What did I like about this book?
  2. What did I not like about the book? (optional)
  3. Would I recommend this book to others?

Thanks for your prayers, encouragement, and ongoing support, Blog Family! It is my pleasure and privilege to pray for you!

—–