Relationship That Outlast

friendshipRelationships get richer when they outlast their original purpose.

We often begin relationships with a common goal in mind, whether it’s at work, school, ministry, or committee. But even after we’ve moved beyond the original situation, some relationships stick. Their purpose deepens from something external to the personal commitment to each other. We know longer have to get together and connect but we want to get together and connect.

I’ve met many people as I’ve traveled around the country and even to other parts of the world. Some relationships stayed in the confines of the original event or purpose. I still appreciate and respect the people I met, but I didn’t partner with them beyond a specific situation or season. But there are others who lasted well beyond the original intention. We got to know each other and began to partner in new ways, learning from each other, investing in each other’s lives, caring and encouraging for one another.

And those relationships that last are rich.

I am grateful. I am blessed.

Stored Up Goodness

ca205306b38c47bc228dd337d90850dbHow great is Your goodness that You have stored up for those who fear You and  accomplished in the sight of everyone for those who take refuge in You. (Psalm 31:19)

God stores up goodness. That means we don’t have access to all of it at once. Not because God is stingy, but because He knows when and how much we need His goodness. His goodness includes His wisdom of timing and provision. His goodness involves storing and releasing.

God’s goodness is always good.

How we expect or accept it isn’t.

He Doesn’t Forget

1455061_10151968801494280_1986483280_nHe does not forget the cry of the afflicted. (Psalm 9:12b)

It seems like God forgets the cries of the afflicted sometimes, or maybe that He just ignores them. But that’s our own perspective. When we don’t like His response time, we decide to project what we believe His decision and process must be.

We’re often wrong.

We can trust and believe Him, no matter what. Even when we don’t understand, when we don’t like a situation, when we feel overlooked. God is still God. He is still powerful enough, compassionate enough, just enough, and patient enough.

“Enough” is more our issue than His.

Hurry Up!

Stressed business man rushing in the officeSo he gathered the priests and Levites and said, “Go out to the cities of Judah and collect money from all Israel to repair the temple of your God as needed year by year, and do it quickly.” However, the Levites did not hurry. (2 Chronicles 24:5)

Sometimes people aren’t in the hurry we wish they were. We see urgency, and we think we convey it with passion so that they’ll catch on, but they don’t.

The opposite happens, too. People move faster than we want, even though we might warn them of the dangers of hurrying and the benefits of patience.

Not that we are always right, but when we believe we’re getting clear instruction from God, we want to follow Him well and want to encourage others to do the same.

Let’s be careful. Let’s set a good example of following God well, but let’s remember that everyone is accountable to God, and He moves in different lives in different ways and timing. We can trust Him. We’re not in control, and that’s a good thing.

God’s Read Receipt

130718-i-heard-that-01I don’t like those read receipts on emails. Perhaps it’s because when someone requests one, I have email set up so that a pop up comes up to ask me if I want to send the read receipt back. It’s just one more step I need to take, another decision I must make. Yet I like knowing whether or not someone sees my Facebook message. Even if he or she doesn’t respond, I know it has been received. (Although let’s face the fact it’s not foolproof. I’ve kept a message thread open, and before my phone screen slipped into sleep mode, a message came in, but I didn’t see it, yet it looked like I’d read it.)

I’m certainly comforted by God’s read receipt:

 The Lord said to him: I have heard your prayer and petition you have made before Me. (1 Kings 9:3a)

God doesn’t have to confirm He heard, because He has and does and will continue. We don’t have to gauge His listening and response by what we expect. We can let Him determine His response instead of claiming He is only listening and is only good and is only God if He does what we expect.

How often do you send a read receipt to Him when He’s communicated or revealed something to you?

 

Are You Willing to Walk through the Door?

key_and_lock

Imagine yourself on the outside. In front of you is a closed door. You’re pretty sure you’ll like what’s on the other side. In fact, you hear some voices and laughter. You see warm lights and comfortable chairs. It all seems so inviting, but you can only see a glimpse, because you’re on the wrong side of the door.

Consider a time you’ve felt out of place, as if you don’t belong, and you can’t quite get from where you are to where you want to be.

Perhaps it’s that you want be have more friends. Or perhaps it’s that you want to escape from where you are. Maybe you want more of something good, perhaps fruit of the Spirit. You stand at that door until your feet get sore. You pace back and forth. You try to distract yourself and sit on the nearby steps for a minute. But you find yourself back at that door.

Then you see it. You have no idea why you didn’t notice it before, but there is a key in the door. All you have to do is turn the key, open the door and walk in. But your heart quickens. You pause. You now have access to what you’ve been longing for, imagining, but what if it isn’t all that you expect? What if it’s not as wonderful as you want it to be? What if you’re disappointed?

We’ve all walked through the doors and found ourselves in the very places and situations we longed to be, and we still don’t quite feel complete. We stand in a crowded room yet feel alone. We feel as if we have grown spiritually, yet we long for more. We feel insufficient, hesitant. We’re not sure we can continue. We start to second guess ourselves. Doubt and insecurities creep in. Why?

Because we are living on earth. It’s a messy place, full of challenges, but also full of opportunities. We don’t get everything tied up in a neat tidy bow here, but it is worth turning that key and walking through the door…into an imperfect place with imperfect people with a perfect God. We soon learn that once we’re in that room, there is another door and another and another. We think once we’ve walked through, we will have arrived. That’s not the case. Sometimes we stay in a room longer than we prefer, and sometimes we rush through and would prefer to stay in a comfortable place a bit longer. But keys are placed in doors with different timing for different reasons. Are we bold enough to trust God’s timing? Are we courageous enough to stay alert, learn some lessons, be humble, and grow in our relationship with Him?

Before long, you’ll walk through a door. You get to choose how to leave wherever you are right now. We often move on from where we are, yet we are unchanged. If we’re not changing, if we’re not growing, what is the point? We only have a specified yet unknown number of minutes, hours, days, and years in this life. How many of them are you whittling away? How intentional are you about changing and growing spiritually?

Plans Change. God Doesn’t.

My trip was cut short with one phone call. I needed to get home…and quickly. Thanks to quick thinking (and fast, safe driving) friends and compassionate airline customer service, my husband and I flew across several states and made it to the hospital within hours.

We thought we had one more day of vacation. We didn’t, and it was okay. We needed and wanted to be home immediately.

We didn’t know our plans would change. God did. He was not surprised.

People generally like control and dislike surprises. But when we rely on our control or avoid surprises, and especially when we expect God to work within our comfort zones, we distort the truthfulness of who God is.

He is in control.

He is sovereign.

He is certainly not surprised. He is consistent. he is not confined by time, so He sees what’s coming that we can’t see. We can trust Him even when we are caught off guard.

Everything doesn’t have to work in our timing to be “okay.” Some stuff is overwhelming, painful, uncomfortable, and beyond what we can handle. But nothing is beyond what God can handle.

When our plans change, we can trust that God does not.