Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Waiting and Waiting and Why?

What’s it all about anyway?

Waiting. And waiting. And maybe some more waiting.

I don’t have an answer. But . . .

I trust the wait is not in vain.

God is using this difficulty in my life to shape me, to turn my heart to him, to transform me into the woman he wants me to be. And this shaping is an answer to prayer. Years ago, we sang the song “Holiness” in church, and I remember praying the chorus on so many occasions:

Take my heart and mold it
Take my mind; transform it
Take my will: conform it
To yours, to yours, O Lord

I believe God is doing these things through the circumstances of my life. Sometimes it’s a painful process, but I need to remember it’s an answer to prayer.

I trust that God knows what’s best (and I do not).

We’ve all heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20. I’m not convinced this is true for humans–but we can look back when we’ve seen how a situation played out and maybe see ways we could have acted or thought differently. God has the luxury of knowing what is going to happen, where we’re going,  and how we’re going to get there. God is outside of time. I think about that and try to picture what it means, and I can’t wrap my mind around it. But I find it comforting to know. I wonder if to God we are a movie he’s seen before. A good movie that he chooses to watch again. Like the celestial equivalent of Pride and Prejudice. Or Sliding Doors.

Either way, God is there, “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish all my purpose.'” (Isaiah 46:10)

He knows. He knows where I’m going and why I’m going this way. And he allowed this trial because he knew how he would use it for his glory and my good.

I trust that God’s timing is perfect (and mine is not).

If it were up to me, I’d have a near-two-year-old right now. But I don’t. If it were up to me, I would have gotten pregnant last month. Or the month before that. Or before that. But I didn’t.

And man, the timing just made so much sense to me last month. It meant I’d get to share with my family in person at the trip we have scheduled to visit them in mid-April. I had the anouncement all planned out. But it wasn’t God’s timing, It was my timing. And what do I know about timing?

How can I even presume to know that one month is the right month? How can I even think for one moment that I should be in a position to determine such an important thing? That I should have any say in when a precious–nay, invaluable–human life should begin?

God’s shown us through his word that his timing is indeed perfect. What might have happened to the Israelites, for example, if Joseph hadn’t been in the perfect place at the perfect time to sustain the known world–including his own family–through severe famine? I’m sure each day that went by in prison had Joseph asking, “Is today the day?” As the years went by and he kept waiting, how did he not grow weary? How did he not lose faith? But he didn’t. And God’s timing was perfect.

I trust that God is good.

We can see the end of Joseph’s story. And since we know the ending, we see that God even used Joseph’s slavery for good.

We may not all have the opportunity to see how God has used the bad things in our lives for our good. Or we may allow bitterness to creep in and hide this truth from us. We can ignore the blessings of God–especially when they come in the midst of affliction. Or we can recognize them and give him the glory as  Joseph did.

Joseph’s second son is Ephraim, “for the Lord has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:52b). Do we see how the Lord is making us fruitful in the land of our affliction? Are we allowing the Lord to make us fruitful in the land of our affliction?

When Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, he also reveals his faith in God’s goodness.

“As for you [my brothers], you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20)

Can we look at our affliction and trust that God is good?

I trust that God is bigger. And that his ways are better.

He knows. Everything. The number of hairs on my head. The number of children I’ll have–and when I’ll have them. The location of the end of the rainbow.

And because he knows everything, I can trust that he knows the best possible outcome in any given circumstance. And even the best circumstance for any given person in any given moment. The depths of his wisdom and knowledge are infathomable.

And he is sovereign and just asking us to give our foolish attempts at control over to him, because he’s really in control anyway.

And why shouldn’t we, when we know that his ways are better?

I’m not saying it’s easy to surrender. But it is necessary. Painful, even. Yet absolutely necessary for the well-lived life.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

I trust that God loves me.

This is the key. Because if I don’t believe God loves me, then the fact that he is sovereign, all-knowing, and in control is terrifying. A capricious or unloving god would be an all-powerful super-villan. How could we trust such a god? How could we commit our lives or surrender our desires to such a god? Such a god–an unloving god–would perhaps be worth struggling against.

But praise God, he IS love. He doesn’t just love us, his being defines the term! He loves us. He weeps with us, as Jesus did at Lazarus’s tomb. He struggles with us. He hurts for us. He triumphs and rejoices with us. Our God is not a sadist–he takes no pleasure in suffering. He is a father who loves us. Truly loves us.

And this love he has for us? This love we could never even almost hope to approximate? It’s a game changer.

Oh, thank you, Father, for revealing this love to me through infertility. Because it is this love that makes me sure. This love that lets me know that you are trustworthy. And that this waiting is not in vain.

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Noah Chose to Build

So, yesterday was Monday, and instead of writing for my series, I spent the day in bed. The first stomach flu I’ve had in my married life struck early Sunday morning, and DH was a dear caretaker all day on Sunday (which, sadly, involved pulling the car over more times than either of us would like to count at short notice on our 5-hour drive home form Dallas). And Monday, while my stomach behaved better, a headache and serious lack of energy kept me away. Better late than never, I figure, so here goes:

~~~

God called Noah to a special purpose in a time when “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God saw how wicked man had become and determined that he would wipe all flesh from the earth—man and animals alike.

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8).

While God was filled with sorrow over the humans he had created, he found one man’s family worth sparing from destruction. Through Noah, God would offer salvation to the species he had created. It was an earthly salvation—a continuation of life—not the salvation that we would later be offered through God’s own son. But a salvation of sorts. And Noah and his ark make an interesting, though imperfect, analogy for Jesus and the cross.

Like Enoch before him, who “walked with God and was no more,” Noah also walked with God (Genesis 6:9). Sometime in their walks together, God let Noah in on his plan to wipe out the wicked while sparing Noah and his sons and their wives.

The plan involved a lot of work on Noah’s part. God provided the directions, but Noah had to make a choice to follow through. Presumably, if God told you to do something to save yourself and your family from certain death you’d be all ears, too. But don’t think Noah just happened to hear God. He made himself available to hear what God had to share with him.

That hits close to home for me. How often am I available to hear what God might want to tell me? How often am I open to hearing his call in my life or his words spoken to my heart? Oh sweet friends, I wish I were always open to hearing. Mostly I’m doing all the talking—and little listening.

So, God directs Noah to build a massive boat, an ark. And Noah does it. God tells Noah he is going to flood the whole earth at a time when rain has never fallen on the planet. The rains of the flood are the first rains from the heavens. Prior to the flood, the ground had been watered by a mist that sprang up from the ground (Genesis 2:5-6).

The Sunday school version of Noah and the Ark devotes at least one chapter to all the wicked people making fun of Noah while he works on this massive boat. Did this happen? Maybe. It’s not in the Bible. But we do know that Noah was preaching to the people in these days (2 Peter 2:5). And we know the people clearly weren’t interested, as we have no indication that any repented. Since he was building a massive floating vessel, it seems plausible that people would have thought Noah was off his rocker and told him so. But this is embellishment.

Either way, it seems clear the task was no picnic. While somehow providing for his entire family, Noah also builds the ark. He then stocks the ark with all of the animals in appropriate numbers (a pair of every unclean animal, seven pairs of all clean animals) and plenty of food for everyone to eat. It’s not clear how long it took Noah to build the ark, but in a time before sawmills and hardware stores, we can assume it took quite a while. Did Noah’s family help? Were they even supportive? We don’t know. But either way, Noah “did all that God commanded him” (Genesis 6:22).

Everybody got on board and God closed the door (Genesis 7:16).

And as the children’s song goes, “The rains came down and the floods came up.” All told, Noah and his family and the animals spent 40 days in the boat while it rained, an additional 150 days on the boat while “the waters prevailed upon the earth,” 40 more days after the ark struck land in the Ararat mountains, a few more weeks, then a couple more days and finally God told them they could get off the boat. Math has never been my strong suit, and I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of the Hebrew calendar, but based on what other people have calculated from the Genesis account, they were on that boat for 364-370 days. That’s a long time afloat.

Did the boat stink? Was everybody getting on each other’s nerves? Did they run out of their favorite snacks halfway through and have to subsist the remainder of the time on less appealing veggies? Did they tire of not knowing day from night for the gloom and rain those first 40 days?

Yet when Noah steps off the boat, he builds an altar to God. It’s the first thing he does.

Noah’s calling was straightforward, and surely God assisted in more than just directions (how else could he have gathered the animals?), but that doesn’t mean it was easy. He had to be available to listen to God. He had to devote serious time and energy to following God’s directions. And he had to choose to do God’s will at any cost. By building the ark, Noah showed that he was willing to leave his present behind him and move forward into a new, unpopulated world. He showed that he valued his relationship with God above any worldly possessions, and his family and their safety above his own leisure. Noah is in the line of Jesus because, well, how could he not have been? But without Noah’s obedience, the human race is lost long before Jesus’ birth.

Noah offers several reminders:

  1. We should strive always to walk with God, making ourselves available to hear his call and directions, even if (especially if) this means distancing ourselves from the world and its moral codes.
  2. God will give us choices, and when he asks us to do something we can choose to obey or not. Obedience is the better way, even when it’s challenging.
  3. God might have a bigger story in mind than we can see (It’s not all about me). Noah knew God planned to destroy all flesh except that which escaped on the ark. But we can’t know if Noah saw the big picture—God’s ultimate salvation of the world through his son. Without Noah’s obedience, was all lost for mankind?
  4. God equips the called. No one had built such a vessel before the ark. No one, as far as we know, had corralled animals in such a way. But God gave Noah the directions and the ability to accomplish what he asked him to do. God didn’t give Noah an impossible task—nothing is impossible for God and Noah walked with God.
  5. During and after the storm: Thanks be to God. Always.

In our callings, let us remember that whatever obstacles we face are not impossible to God. And if God has called us, he will make a way. Praise God! But we must continually listen to hear what God’s word is to us and what he has called us to do, lest we miss the blueprints.

This is episode 4 of my “They Were Called” series. If you want to follow along, I will usually be posting on Mondays. For previous episodes, see:

Introduction: Working for My Calling

Episode 1: David Asked, “How Long, O Lord?”

Episode 2: Moses Looked to the Reward

Episode 3: Hannah Took It to the Lord


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Moses Looked to the Reward

The time of Moses’ birth was a difficult period for the Jewish people. They were enslaved in Egypt, and Pharaoh, afraid that the Hebrews were becoming too populous, decreed that all male Jewish infants should be killed at birth. The story of how Moses ended up adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter is one we tell the youngest children in Sunday school. It’s a lovely story: The baby that should have been killed is discovered floating in a basket and catches the eye of the Pharaoh’s daughter. He is raised in the palace and his own mother is brought in to be his nurse. He grows up with an understanding of his culture and heritage, but he also grows up in a king’s family.

Moses’ rescue of his people from slavery is another popular Sunday school story. It sounds exciting, even thrilling. Moses is called to save his people and to bring them to the land God had promised hundreds of years earlier to their ancestors.

And so the difficulty starts. First of all, Moses doesn’t want the job. His first response when God speaks to him from a burning bush is to make a series of excuses, ultimately ending in Exodus 4:13 by saying, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”

This part really hits home for me as we’re dealing with infertility. I don’t want to be infertile. I want a normal family-building trajectory. I want to have a baby whose first birthday we should have recently celebrated. But, whether I will ultimately be a mother or not, I cannot deny that I have been called to go through infertility at this time.

It also hits me because I’ve been considering what I should do with myself lately. Part of me feels like pursuing anything other than motherhood would indicate that I am giving up on that dream. That wrestling match is a subject for another post. And lately, I have been feeling like I need to look into adoption more seriously. I don’t know that we are called to adopt, but I do know that right now it’s not what I want to be called to do. I’ve mentioned some of my reservations about adopting before. And if we end up going that route it will only be because the Lord has done a mighty work to change my heart on the issue. Nonetheless, I have been feeling compelled to look into it.

So I feel like I can really relate to Moses here. He gets a calling he doesn’t want. That is the beginning of his hardship.

From that despised calling, we see Moses suffer even more. He had difficulty with the Israelites from day one. It makes no difference that God shows them again and again that he is faithful. It makes no difference that they walked across the Red Sea on dry ground. It makes no difference that God’s very presence accompanies them day and night. The Israelites like to whine.

Moses is called to bring the Israelites to the Promised Land. And because of their—shall we say misbehavior?—their journey is extended by 40 years. He had to be feeling so close! But no, not finished yet.

Moses is called to show the Israelites how to be God’s people. I can’t blame him for not relishing that task!

And ultimately, because of Moses’ own pride or lack of trust, he does not get to join the people in the Promised Land when they finally get there. He dies on a mountain top instead.

At one point, when the Israelites are whining for Moses to give them meat to eat, see Moses’ response to God:

Where am I going to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness” (Numbers 11:13-15).

These are the words of a distressed and desperate man.

His calling wasn’t all bad, of course. Throughout his life, Moses spoke with God. He met with the Lord all. the. time. He delivered the law to the people. He is credited with putting the oral history of the Jewish people into writing. And he was permitted to see God. What glory! What wondrous grace!  

And where would we be without Moses? He is remembered as a man of great faith. His mention in Hebrews 11, often referred to as the “Hall of Faith,” encompasses seven full verses, including,

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward” (Hebrews 11: 24-26).

And so I am reminded of a few things:

  1. I don’t know the full story God has planned.
  2. I should trust God with my life, even if he is calling me to something other than motherhood.
  3. I should be looking to the reward.
  4. The road isn’t always easy.

This is episode 2 of my “They Were Called” series. To see episode 1, about David and his calling, click here. For the introduction to the series, click here. For episode 3, about how Hannah had to wait to fulfill her calling, click here.