May 10, 2014

Spiritual Neutral, Part III: It's About Time

To complete my thoughts on waiting I present the following. When it comes to waiting I will state that I am not sitting here dwelling on the mistakes of yesterday. This is nostalgia and nostalgia is human rust and ruinous to the life of a Christian. It locks me in the past and I cannot mature nor grow in future relationships when tied to old sins. In this way nostalgia or longing for the past to me are forms of spiritual distortion. Nostalgia is a spiritual dead end because at best it leaves us locked in place, at worst it drags us back into the past...into sin.

A longing for what once was when God wants me to move forward to grasp what he holds for me at the end is self-serving and exposes the sinful heart within me. What is potentially more dangerous is that I might go back and revisit sins and if they are in my mind or thoughts again it is as if I am recommitting the same sins over and over. To even think of a woman lustfully is to have committed adultery. To have had malice in my heart towards another is to have murdered. As the old saying goes: There is no use in crying over spilled milk. I need to move on.

If I view everything that happens as a negative while I'm waiting, my entire outlook on life becomes a drudgery and cursed and this is just not the Spirit of a Christian. Of course I will gladly welcome the end of my waiting but I will not sit and dwell on it because this becomes a cyclical mental trap. The Devil loves when I chase my tail. It saves Him from tormenting me...because I do it to myself. It forces me to focus and dwell solely on myself and this is not biblical. Waiting constructively on the other hand is biblical. It is painful, but biblical. The waiting has been put in place for a reason and pessimism and miserableness are not those reasons. The waiting is preparation. More specifically it is preliminary construction. Groundwork is being laid for a future creation that will bring glory to God and will bring me to my final destination which is salvation as a sanctified and then glorified believer.

If I live locked in the past, I miss what today holds for me. This is one of the reasons why I am forgiven as a believer of Jesus Christ.  I can learn from the past but also divest myself of the past's sin and burden. If I don't they have a tendency to hang around like yesterday’s garbage and stink everything up. If I live for the past I get sucked into the immediacy of the pain and miss what God has for me now. I get stuck in the stagnant air of my own myopic world. I should see my periods of waiting primarily as building my faith regardless of how painful they might be. It forces me to begin to trust in the unseen and often unknowable plans of sovereign God. If I allow the sufferings and waiting periods to build my faith they will be preparing my faith for something greater that I cannot even grasp now. Each successive act of faith builds on the last until my faith is impervious and unwavering to much of what this world and the Devil can throw at it.

I need to hold on in faith until God deems it time for me to move again. I need to redeem the time in a manner which aligned with God's word (Ephesians 5:16) because the word of God lasts forever (Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:25). In other words, even in the waiting periods I need to use my time wisely. I should dig into Scripture, pray and worship. The Bible tells me that the fear of god is the beginning of wisdom. So I will follow God's lead on this one and attempt to do His will with His guidance thereby using my time constructively. This seems like the wisest way to store up treasure for eternity (Matthew 6:19-20). I do not wish to fritter the time away.

I must learn to accept that today is the day for my joy. I cannot live for tomorrow or the day after that. Tomorrow might never come. The Lord may take me home before the sun rises tomorrow. Too often my joy has been based on what I hope tomorrow's world brings because I don’t like what today holds. The first problem with this outlook is that it takes my eyes off of what I've been called to do today. The second thing it does is makes me believe that I do not have to rejoice in what the Lord has in store for me today. This means I do not trust God. This means I am in rebellion against Him. God tells me I am to trust Him. He has told me that worry will not add a single hour to my life (Matthew 6:25-34). God knows I am waiting (and has allowed or caused it), this should give me rest and pause.

For me it stands to reason that to be able to understand and know true joy, true freedom, and beauty, I first have to know how to be broken, how to be sorrowful, how to grieve. The problem comes when I focus too intently on the problems and get buried in them rather than focusing on God and the source of our possible solution that lies in Him. Looking at the problem too long distorts reality. Even though it is completely contrary to the way my brain is wired I don’t have to orbit around every detail in a desperate attempt to solve problems. I have needed to learn that when no biblical solution lies before me, I must simply cling to God in the midst of my pain, discontent and disorientation and I have to trust him to handle the issues in the way he chooses.

I guess in the end its all about time and seasons in life. As a creature of the Creation I am locked into timetables and plans and therefore definitive waiting periods. Ironically (or should I say chronologically), I am loved and embraced by a timeless God that is the originator of these times and plans. By thinking this way it makes my temporary waiting pale in comparison to the eternal well-being I am being offered by a ageless God. It took me having to go through this waiting period to fully see and grasp this concept to the level that I now have. The waiting is indeed the hardest part but I figure it this way. If that is all I have learned from this, then the waiting has been worth it. It has been a painful time...but time well spent. God in fact has assured me of this, I need only trust Him in faith and wait. It is better to have extra time on my hands here when I can repent and seek God than when it is too late and I have plenty of time to be tormented in Hell.

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