A Graceful Waiting – God’s Threshing Floor.

In the midst of all of this incessant writing about waiting, I’ve been reading a book about…wait for it…waiting! 😉

I saw a reference to this book last year on a blog somewhere, but it took me a while to track it down and to actually read it. Well, done and done.

Here are my notes from the first third of the book…

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“A Graceful Waiting” by Jan Frank

*As I read through familiar biblical accounts of waiting, I continually came to the conclusion that God calls us to wait for two primary reasons: for our good and his glory. {Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Ruth, Hannah, Lazarus} … Each person was called to a season of waiting. All were witnesses and beneficiaries of the grace and glory of God. If you are, right now, in a season of waiting and not sure how you got there, you can be sure that God has your good in mind. You can be sure because of the record of God’s dealings with his people in scripture.

When Waiting Brings Wondering

*When we question God, we are communicating with him, we are acknowledging our relationship with him and his control over our lives. Questioning demonstrates a pursuit of knowledge and understanding. When we take our questions to God we are asking to know him better. … When we ask questions in general, we are sometimes seeking to satisfy our need for logical answers for illogical events. By asking these questions, we are attempting to find a way to control our future. … Normal questions, when directed at God from a sincere heart, can actually stimulate our faith. We may, as a result of our questions, be prompted to seek God with a fervor that was previously absent. … We need to bring all of our questions before our Father. He longs to be the one to whom we run when life makes no sense. He may not always directly what we’re asking, but he does promise to provide himself as a refuge. “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” {Psalms 62:8}

*To wait with Grace requires two cardinal virtues: humility and hope… Only the humble can wait with grace, for only the humble know they have no demands they can lay on God and his world. {Ben Patterson, “Waiting: Finding Hope When God Seems Silent”}

When Waiting Brings Wandering

*Waiting does not come naturally to me. I’d much rather “do” than “wait.” … {Like the Israelites…} I become impatient when God does not answer according to my timetable. I wonder where he’s gone. I find myself beginning to stray; I plan ways to replace him. I want a god I can see, one who is manageable and predictable, one who can be counted on to meet my expectations. If God can’t be that, I’ll make one myself. Instead of making a golden calf, I have molded my attitudes to try to circumvent the waiting season. … Four idols I had run to: the “waiting-is-not-an-option” god, the “do-something” god, the “if-I-do-it-right-you-will-bless-me” god, the “I-shouldn’t-have-to-suffer” god.

*How many times have I delayed God’s plan for my life because of my refusal to wait?

*Helping God out and performing for God are evil stepsisters. Both are shortcuts to the resolution. … Performing for God comes from our distorted beliefs: we are convinced that if we perform in a prescribed manner or figure out the “right” response, God will be pleased, and will give us what we want. Those right things often include spiritual activity.

*Most of us try to avoid, if not escape from, situations that cause us pain. … The “I-shouldn’t-have-to-suffer” god convinces us that we have already had our quota of hardships, or tells us we should certainly be immune since we have served God so faithfully. … Forget about endurance – I want escape! … I realized that {this} god could not coexist with the Father’s will for me, which is to conform me to the image of his dear Son.

*I now see more clearly how God has used waiting to thresh out a mindset of idolatry, which has kept me from walking more intimately with him. The threshing is sometimes painful, but it’s purpose is clear. God wants us to know him and to bear fruit. … God causes us to wait for our good, to manifest his glory in and through us.

*We all face these times when our vision is limited and we lack clarity with regard to God’s intended direction. … What do we need when we have a bent towards wandering? We need to be anchored, held to something sold or Someone who is immovable.

*Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in godliness, maturity, and genuine spirituality most of us ever encounter. {Richard Hendrix}

When Waiting Brings Whining

*When circumstances are difficult or uncomfortable for me, I am often tempted to gripe and complain. I am so uncomfortable when I have to wait…even when God is the one who has kept me waiting. I forget so quickly that he knows what he’s doing – in fact, I feel most frustrated when I have to wait God. I react the most strongly to this God who is so uncontrollable and unpredictable. …. I have thrown tantrums when God didn’t change a circumstance or explain it to my satisfaction. The Israelites did the same when God did not do what they wanted him to. … God was extremely patient with their griping and complaining when they first came out of Egypt. It’s as if God were dealing with them as young children, in the early stages of learning to walk with him. But later, as recorded in Numbers 11, he dealt with them more severely, because it was time for them to grow up.

When Waiting Brings Wallowing

*Waiting seems to bring wallowing, especially when we feel out of control. Most of us have several favorite wallowing places: self-pity, complacency, anger and bitterness, doubt and unbelief, just to name a few. … Sly Rogers says, “Whatever we feed grows stronger, but whatever we starve, grows weaker and eventually dies.” … Wallowers have no intention of working through their issues to bring resolution…they only want a new audience. … When we wallow in complacency, we’re satisfied to stay put and feel offended if anyone challenges us. … People who wallow in self-pity believe their plight is worse than anybody else’s, and they usually reject any proposed remedies. … My wallowing has a lot to do with my belief system. I “roll around” in many distortions which lead to doubt about God’s goodness and his promises.

*Depending on God’s promises almost always means we must take our eyes off the externals and exercise faith. It means we rely on, trust in, and adhere to his promise in the absence of what we can see, touch, or feel.

*Forgive me for not living in the now – trusting your provision NOW – experiencing your love NOW – living in contentment NOW – abiding in your peace NOW. I confess to you that this is one of the most uncomfortable places for me. I want to move on into the promises without living in the faith and assurance of the promises today… {from Jan’s journal}

*God wants to make you holy. Take heart. It is essential that the grain of your life and mine be threshed of all the stalk and chaff. Remember his Word promises not to keep you there a moment longer than necessary. He is faithful to complete the work he has begun.

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Blessed am I.

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