A Graceful Waiting – God’s Winnowing Wind.

Part 2 from Jan Frank’s book “A Graceful Waiting” coming at ya!

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When Waiting Brings Wrestling

*I was wrestling with emotions that were bigger than the circumstances warranted. I’ve discovered this is often the case. When our emotion are more intense then the situation demands, they are triggered by issues rooted in our past. God’s desire was that I not miss this deeper work of healing internal wounds because of my quick-fix mentality. I needed to be thrust into a time of wrestling with these issues; I needed to wrestle through a waiting season. … In doing this, we may find ourselves wrestling first with our circumstances and then with our emotions, wresting for comfort or control. Eventually we may realize we are wrestling to know God.

*How many times did Hannah pray over her condition? Was it the sixtieth or the six-hundredth prayer that God finally answered? Is there a formula for prayers that ensure God’s quick answer? We often ask ourselves such questions in an attempt to resolve what can only be trusted to God.

*Wrestling means we pour out our souls to the One who longs to be gracious and have compassion on us. It does not guarantee an immediate end to the waiting. It does promise to bring a deeper work inside us. {God} wants to teach you the peace your heart has longed for before the resolution comes.

*Giving up is often from exasperation and a sense of no hope. Surrender is a peaceful letting go that is surrounded by strength and confidence. … Wrestling is often the first stage of surrender. … Ask the Lord to lead you through your struggle to surrender, because, when you think about it, what you are really wrestling for is control.  … Why do we so persistently wrestle with God for control of the circumstances in our life? I don’ think most of us would really want control if he gave it to us. We do want to dictate outcomes and timetables, and prevent hardships – all without carrying the full weight of our decisions.

*It is God’s nearness and comfort in the midst of these hardships that brings peace, not the resolution of the situation.

*Eugene Patterson writes that we should not hesitate to put any Scripture passage under the searchlight of our disbelief. He contends that “the reasons many of us do not ardently believe in the gospel is that we have never given it a rigorous testing, thrown hard questions at it, faced it with our most prickly doubts.”

*Ben Patterson writes “To wait on God and to pray is to wrestle with bewilderment and perplexity. But it is God himself who brings on the bewilderment and perplexity. He does it that he might cause us to so encounter him and wrestle with him that we come to know him as we never have before. It is his way of making us come to know more deeply his goodness and mercy.”

*Wrestling brings us to a deepening of faith, a realization of our helplessness, and an awesome reverence for our God who knows our frailty and folly. Our capacity to love God and e loved by him is being expanded, deepened, and broadened. … As we wrestle in waiting we break away from complacency and enter into companionship. Grace-filled waiting is really not just waiting at all. It is about knowing God and becoming intimately acquainted with him as a Person and discovering the expansiveness of his redemption.

When Waiting Brings Weeping

*When we sow in tears, we are breaking up the hardened ground of our hearts and inviting God to sow seed which will reap eternal harvest. … “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:5

*Truly, Jesus was a God-man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Many of us pass through the place of mourning and weeping as we journey toward obedience to God. Jesus himself “learned obedience” {Hebrews 5:8} with anguish.

*Waiting and weeping go hand in hand. We might weep over our losses, our limitations, or our failings. We sometimes weep for joy even though our waiting time is not over.

*Waiting often forces us to face some of our own limitations. We can’t make things happen even when we try our hardest. The longer we wait, the more aware we become of our powerlessness. … I think God allows us to experience our own limitations so that we might turn to him and acknowledge his qualifications.

*We cannot truly weep for joy until we have wept for sorrow.

*As we set our hearts on God, our pain, suffering, and tears are transformed into refreshment and encouragement, not only for ourselves, but also for others.

When Waiting Brings Willingness

*David Runcorn {“A Center of Quiet”} writes “Having to wait involves submission.” … Waiting is an acknowledgement of our dependency. It exposes us to the illusion of our ‘control’ over our lives.

*Most of us struggle with waiting. If we have stepped out and done what we believe God has led us to do, we feel cheated or tricked when we don’t receive what we think will be secured by our obedience. Americans have been conditioned to expect immediate gratification. … We lack in our society, and even in the Christian community, what Eugene Patterson calls “a long obedience in the same direction.” He writes, “Perseverance does not mean ‘perfect.’ It means we keep going. We do not quit when we find that we are not yet mature and that there is a long journey still before us…Endurance is not a desperate hanging on, but a traveling from strength to strength.”

*The truth is, we can hear God, be obedient to his call, and still not see the fruit of our labor. That is where faith comes in. Waiting often brings us to peaceful acceptance, to willingness. Willingness is not a passive resignation, but active trust. We are willing not only to wait, but to examine our motives, to confess our sin, to step out in obedience, and to surrender our rights, in confidence.

*My inner apprehensions speak louder than words when it comes to trusting God with the unknown. … I’ve been unable to rest in God because I’ve not been sure I could trust him on my behalf. … My tendency was to run around frantically trying to resolve the dilemma myself, instead of trusting God’s goodness and his willingness to intervene. At the time, I thought God wasn’t willing to help fast enough, but now I understand that the issue was not about God’s willingness, but about my own.

*Oswald Chambers wrote, “Faith, by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character has to be cleared in our own minds.” If we  have trouble trusting, obeying, surrendering, or waiting, it probably means we have not settled in our own hearts the truth about God’s true character and nature. I am convinced that those of us who desire to move on in God must face the discrepancy between our stated beliefs and the true state of our hearts.

*God loves us both by the things he gives and the things he withholds.

*David Runcorn writes, “Waiting sharpens desire. In fact it helps us to recognize where our real desires lie. It separates our passing enthusiasms from our true longings. It reveals to us both our shallowness and our depths. Waiting is a test of our love and longing.”

*Our obedience doesn’t always secure immediate resolution or guarantee a long-awaited answer to prayers. Our obedience evidences our love for the One whom we trust. In his book, “After the Spirit Comes”, Jack Taylor wrote, “We may not understand the proceedings, but then, we are not called to understand…only to obey…God will go to almost any extreme to get us in circumstances so as to discover that part of our ego yet uncrucified and expose it to the killing rays of Calvary…”

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Blessed am I.

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