Time – Wait for It

I’ll be writing more about it in the future (see what I did there – a reference to time?) but I wanted to share a couple of things about time and 2018 and how that has impacted my life.

2018 has not gone the way that I expected it would. I started out the year finishing up a long term substitute teacher assignment that I expected would last longer. While I agree on the reasons why they transitioned to substitute teachers who were experts in that field, it was still disappointing. If you are so inclined, add Mary Dornbos to your prayer list. She’s the teacher I filled in for and she’s still struggling with cancer.

The end of January, I had a medical procedure (more on that later) that I expected miight take a week or two to recover from. That was my anticipated time schedule based on what the doctors anticipated time schedule was.

God’s timing is different. As I’m writing this a number of months out, the recovery time has changed significantly. There looks like there will be long term, if any, recovery from some of the side effects.

That’s not the time frame that I wanted.

But God’s timing is not always our timing. And God’s ways are not always our ways.

So, as Laura Story wrote in her book, “When God Doesn’t Fix It” there is a time where you need to switch the question. You need to switch from asking, “Why God?” Or shouting, “Why God?” To asking, “How God?” “How are you going to use this, use this mess, use this pain, use what happened to your glory?” “What’s your plan?”

What’s your timing, God?

Waiting for God’s timing is hard. We want to be in control.

But the sooner we realize that we aren’t, the sooner we can hand that part over to God.

God’s timing is good. Sometimes it’s so good we can’t understand it.

Sometimes it’s so hard we can’t seem to stand it.

Sometimes the clock is facing the other direction so we can’t see his time.

What time is it? “Don’t worry, my son, I’ll take care of that.”

But what time is it? I just want to know!

“Don’t worry about what time it is, let me worry about that. Just follow my Iead.”

Okay God, you’re on.

Me

Getting Smart

In the previous post, we talked about how it is important to push back against confusion and misunderstanding. We talked about how it’s important to push back against those because if we can clear up confusion and misunderstanding, it’s easier to push back against evil.

Why? Because evil likes to create confusion.

Evil likes to use misunderstanding to hide from the light of day.

Now I want to make it more personal. I don’t want to talk about government policies that are confusing. I don’t want to talk about how the motives behind what so and so does are being misunderstood.

I want to talk about you. I want to talk about me.

I can’t speak for you, maybe you do. I don’t.

Don’t what? I don’t know everything.

Not even close. Actually, so far from close that it’s funny to even think about.

But I know that if I get smarter, I can make more of a difference. If I ask questions, I can learn more. If I read about things, I can learn what is going on.

Most people are more afraid of what they don’t know about than what they do. If they don’t understand what is happening or why, that can create fear. It can create contempt.

I don’t understand your music – so it must be bad music.

I don’t understand your language – so you must be talking nasty about something or someone.

I don’t understand your religion so I don’t like you.

I don’t…….

The list can go on and on and on.

But if I do understand, then I can see you for you, not for what I didn’t understand.

If I do understand, then I can see the reason behind behaviors and not be afraid of the behaviors as evil or hostile.

If I understand your history, then I can appreciate your cultural festivals and respect them and you better.

If I understand the reason behind events in history, then I can see them for the impact they have on you and on me.

Most people are afraid of things that they don’t understand.

Many people will, when they understand things or people or traditions or habits or whatever, respond in a way that furthers communication and relationships.

And that makes the world a better place.

Tom

Tom

Who Gets The Last Word? Not Mark Zuckerberg

“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce…. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever……..
He gets the last word; yes, he does.”
1 Peter 5:8-11 MSG
http://bible.com/97/1pe.5.8-11.msg

You’re not the only ones.

You

Are

NOT

The Only Ones

That is so hard to remember. And so hard to live out. We’ve got our problems and we feel bad for ourselves and we think we’re the only ones.

And social media plays a big part of that. A big part of the blame for us feeling like we are the only ones is because of Mark Zuckerberg. Oh he didn’t invent it. People were trying to keep up with their neighbor’s perfect lives long before Mom and Dad Zuckerberg even thought about having Mark and way before Mark created this thing called Facebook.

He made it worse.

And so do we. What?

Yeah, that’s right. When we only post the pictures and stories of when our kids performed in a concert or when we went on a cruise or when something goes well, we perpetuate the myth.

Actually two myths. The myth that my life is grand and my kids are grand and everything is going very well.

And the myth that if your life is not going very well, then you must be all alone – because everyone else is doing well.

Actually, there’s a third one that Peter references in the Bible verse above – and that’s the myth that if you believe in Jesus, if you are a Christian, then everything will go easy and life will be grand.

I’m here to tell you, that’s not true.

Just like Peter said, you are not the only one plunged into hard times. I personally believe that the church would be a whole lot healthier if more of us admitted that all is not well, that there are struggles and that life isn’t easy.

As you read more and travel this journey with me, you’ll see that’s not the way I operate. I’m not going to tell you that:
• All of my kids are valedictorians (though one was)
• That I’m hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year (Hah!)
• That……..

Nope, not going to tell you that things are wonderfully marvelous when they aren’t. Instead, I’m going to tell you:
• That quite often kids who have to go through the trauma of adoption are left with scars.
• That I had a medical procedure done in January as part of ongoing treatment of a blood vessel issue I have (Google AVM if you want to know more) and as part of that procedure, 1) My left inner ear was damaged causing all kinds of hearing and balance issues and 2) My left vocal cord is now paralyzed – causing, well, you guessed it, vocal issues.

I’m sure I’ll tell you more as time goes on – but for now I want to end with one additional thought – and it’s pretty much the foundation of what Peter said above and the life of Christ.

“The suffering won’t last forever. And He gets the last word.”

Think about that. The last word doesn’t show up on Facebook or by the number of likes something gets.

The last word comes from God.

He’s got this.

He’s got us.

And all God’s people said, “Amen!”

TJV