Every Wednesday we’ll post something to do with doctrine and recovery.
This is a re-post of an article blogged about last November but still very relevant regardless of the date. Hope it helps.
His Work; His Timetable
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” -Psalms 138:8
I’m winding this year up with a very mixed assortment of gratitude and disappointment, which is to say 2011 is business as usual. There’s not been a year I can remember in which I achieved even 80% of what I determined to do in January, nor has there been a December in which I couldn’t look back on something new, and of real value, that had been realized that year. Never the straight-A report card; never the flunking out notice. And always, winter after winter and usually starting around Thanksgiving, the gnawing frustration over yet another year’s “To Do” list which, to a large degree, became the Doo-Doo list. Flush, Happy New Year! , try again.
But this time around, what if I dared to believe that the Lord really is, as David said, perfecting that which concerns me? The word he used for “perfect” literally means “to complete,” as in, ‘He will complete what He started.’ OK, and the obvious New Testament connection is Philippians 1:6 – “Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Paul’s choice of words is similar to David’s, the term “perform” meaning “to bring to an end, accomplish, perfect, execute, complete.”
Seems to me both these men had a grasp on something that bears our attention: We were created with purposes, the Creator will see those purposes fulfilled, and He never asked us for help in scheduling. More to the point, the Bible is inspired; my Week-At-A-Glance is not. So when God woos us to Himself for His love and perfecting work, He also binds us to an unseen time table to which, more often than we’d prefer, we’re not privy.
There’s the rub, at least for me, because if I can’t have it fast, I at least want to know how long I can expect to be on hold. If I were Abraham, I’d have adopted when Isaac didn’t pop out nine months after the promise. If I’d have been Noah, the combination of slow construction and neighborhood mockery would have led me to tear the ark apart and beat my neighbors with the wood. And thank God I wasn’t called to lead Israel out of Egypt, or I’d have surely thrown those folks into the fire along with their idol to see how nice and golden-brown they’d have come out. Patience isn’t my strong suit.
My Father isn’t impressed when I remind Him of that. It’s somewhat like the running dialogue between my home-schooled son and me:
“Dad, I hate this algebra!”
“Son, nobody cares.”
Well, of course that’s not entirely true. I care hugely about his happiness, and would rather see him comfortable than not. But the development of my beloved son’s character trumps any temporary inconvenience, and whether the homework gets done at 12 or 5 is less important to me than the fact of it being done, and right.
So maybe that will be my year-end testimony – that this year, for the first time, I waited with something approaching patience while God continued His work in me. Maybe this year I’ll avoid whining about items I wanted to see checked off the list, and will instead trust that, if I am the clay and He the potter, my honor lies in yielding, not in scheduling.
Because at the end of the day, or year, the work that counts is the work that was His, which is the only work bearing eternal fruit. I should have learned that by now, because experience has shown that if you say “Shape up, Joe!” you’ll get some very mixed results. Instead, try praying “Shape Joe up, God!”
Now you’re talking.