22 Jun The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Four
The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Four
Pursue Everything Patiently
“Sometimes it can be very hard for us to wait on God to do things in His time and in His way. It doesn’t occur to us that He has intentionally delayed answering our prayer or fulfilling His promise because He has a higher, greater purpose in mind than just giving us what we want, when we want it, the way we want it. Delay doesn’t necessarily mean denial. It’s just that God often uses the delay to develop our faith in Him as we struggle to patiently pursue everything He has for us.”
The Magnificent Obsession, p. 110
It’s been said, “patience is a virtue,” and with good reason as we’ll learn from our study this week. As one of my wise mentors once told me, “Punky, it’s not all about you and getting your way. It’s time to let go and let God.” Seriously the understatement of the century and an “ah-ha moment” of humility for me if I’d ever had one. Since then I have come to not only understand that truth personally, but surrender to it. But let me tell you, sister, that didn’t come easily or without some serious head-butting. Control freak? Ha! If you’re looking for the poster child for working God’s plan her own way– it’s me; the once reigning queen of helping out the Creator in the unfolding of His plans. Taking the lead was my MO. Just ask any of my exasperated dance partners.
As life marched on I was certain that God had so much going on that He’d simply forgotten me so I might as well run on ahead of Him and work it out for myself. Needless to say it doesn’t work that way. Nobody works God’s plans but God.
What about you? Every stepped in to help God out with your own life? Ever run ahead of Him because He’s simply moving too slowly? “Just gonna help you out a little, Lord!” BTW- God does not “help those who help themselves”… or who enable others. So often we are tempted to play “amateur providence” in the life of a friend or loved one who’s struggling like that Emperor Moth. We give and give and do and do only to render them lame and unable to depend on God for themselves. We stick our hands in to help God out and leave Him with no choice but to back off until we’re finished playing His role.
So, what is it that makes us elbow God out of the way and grab the reigns. Listen! Can you hear it: Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick. It’s that dang clock! Time is a marchin’ on and we are not getting any younger, our eggs are drying up, and there are less than a few good men standing! I mean, are we not all related to our sister Sarah or what? Tired of waiting for the man, the wedding, the baby… the dream to come true. “C’mon God get with it… or I will!” Basically, we’re afraid that God is not moving fast enough, that He’s forgotten us, that He’s changed His mind about what He’s promised, and therefore we become impatient. And just at the character-developing moment, we lose it- becoming discontent with our circumstances and with God. That’s why patience is called a “virtue” and “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6). There is great gain in waiting on the Lord. And there is much of a mess when we don’t.
From my own experience, the most frightening thing about getting ahead of God was not the earthly consequences I suffered, but God’s silence. I was stunned to learn that after Abe and Sarah’s baby debacle they didn’t hear from God for 13 years. THIRTEEN years! I can remember my dad sending me to my room after I’d misbehaved as a child. I’d call out to my him trying to apologize, with no response from him until my “time out” expired. 30 minutes seemed like an eternity back then. But can you imagine 13 years without a word from Abba?!?!
Is getting our own way really worth it. No ma’am it is not. But here’s the good news: God can and will redeem even our own self-effort when we humbly surrender to Him, turn around, and get back on His plan… His way.
No, it’s not all about me and getting my way and forcing my agenda. It’s about His way, His purpose, His plan and His timing because… it’s all about Him. And whether you buy into that fact or not, I’ll tell you that it makes life a whole lot easier to embrace when we let Him lead. And for crying out loud… LET HIM LEAD!
Bless you, sweetest friend. Your God loves you! He knows every longing of your heart and has plans to answer you with a much better “yes” than you could ever plan for yourself!
xo – P
THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT:
- Scripture Reading: Genesis 16 & 17
- Read Chapter 4 – Magnificent Obsession
Questions for Small Group Discussion and Blog:
1. What are some ways that women try to run ahead of God?
2. Can you recall a time when you ran ahead of God? His Word, His will, His way? What was the outcome? The consequences? How did you “turn around”?
3. What causes you to become impatient with God? Consider where you are you most vulnerable to impatience? Think about “triggers”- the kinds of things, feelings, circumstances that can throw you into “self-help” mode? You know, where you feel the overwhelming need to take matters into your own hands.
4. Do you see any correlation between your own vulnerabilities and your lack of trust in God’s truth… His promises.
5. Where are you struggling with patience to trust God’s timing and ways? Would you be willing to share that (one sentence only- no big hairy details) with your group for prayer accountability?
6. Find one or true promises in God’s Word that relate to your particular area of impatience. Now stand on that truth… use it when you are feeling the need to take control.
For Personal Prayer & Reflection:
Pursue Everything Patiently~
In your notebook or journal, top 3 ways you are struggling to trust God’s plans, purposes and timing in your life. What frightens you most about surrendering to God’s will? Take some time to honestly talk to Him about your fears. Record your thoughts along with His response. Look over the list you made last week- the things that you need to entrust completely to God; there may be some overlap there. Let’s make this a new beginning by being honest about where we struggle to “let go and let God”. What else has the Holy Spirit brought to your heart and mind during this lesson? Record those thoughts as well.