If It Seems Slow, Wait For It (Vindication Part 9)

Standard

Photo credit to Stephen Ryan Cunningham

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

Well, I’m back to vindication again.  Only this time I’m starting at the beginning.  I’m starting with the beginning of Psalm 27 because it starts off with Who I need to start off with.  It shows me Who I need to have my foundation in, Who I need to have as my Beginning, as my Source, as my Light, as my Salvation, and even as my Dread.

See, whether everything in life is going right or wrong around me,  this Foundation matters.  This Foundation is everything.  This Foundation will lead to my success or failure.  Who my awe and fear is united in will make every difference in my life.  Who my Source of wisdom, morality, life is, matters.  Who I depend on as my daily Salvation is inherently crucial to who I am and what my responses will be.

The question I wind up asking myself to determine “who my Who is” boils down to this, “Who is in control of me?”  And this ushers in another important question, “Have I died to my self?”  I would like to share a poem by Bill Britton that was shared with me:

DYING TO SELF Written by Bill Britton

When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any impunctuality, or any annoyance; when you stand face-to- face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility and endure it as Jesus endured.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

Are you dead yet? In these last days, the Spirit would bring us to the cross.

“That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Phil.3:10

So, in the midst of all these things, all these sufferings, what does my waiting look like?  Does it look like someone who is waiting patiently in the midst of the love of Christ, or does it look like somone who is trying to make things happen?  Do I look like Jesus in the midst of my waiting, or do I just look like myself?  Who and What is my focus?

I ask that with both Who and What capitalized for a reason.  Because Whoever or Whatever is my focus, is my light, is my salvation, is my strength, is my fear, well, THAT is my Lord.  And waiting for vindication, well, it has a way of trying my heart.  It’s so much easier to rely on Myself, to get bitter, to make things happen in My time, and My way.  It’s so easy to lose my real focus until it becomes Me.  And then I’ve created an idol.  It could be Me, it could be My Ministry, it could be My Pain, or My Feelings.  But here’s the truth, I’ve now lost sight of God, of You.

I must make sure that You, and You alone are my focus.  You, Lord, are my goodness, not the things that happen to me or even the things I receive.  Not even answered prayers are my goodness.  It must be You.  Paul said, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)  What glory is that?  What glory am I waiting anxiously to see?  Is it the riches of heaven?  Is it the banquet table?  Is it family in heaven?  I don’t think so.  I think the glory is to fully know You and be known in You and to just be in Your presence forever.  Psalm 148:13 says, “Let them praise the name of the Lord: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven.”  You are the glory that we reach toward.  You are the culmination of everything most perfect and wonderful.  It’s all about Your goodness, not about mine.

I must not lose sight of how good Your are and how good You are being to me by allowing my suffering while I wait.  Really?!  Yes.  And I must never forget that You are working here behind the scenes in my life on my behalf.  Paul reminds me again, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.  And whether we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is being brought into effect in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted it is for your consolation and salvation.” (2 Corinthians 1:5,6)  First, I am not alone.  Believers suffer with You, Jesus, and we suffer with one another.  My suffering is directly related to You.  I have this superabundance of suffering because I’m in You now.  Because I’m taking a stand in You, I’m being pressed extra hard.  But here’s the Good News, because I’m in You, Your comfort that You give me in the suffering and through the suffering and after and over the suffering is even more superabundant!  For all the pain, I can expect greater joy in You!

And another awesome thing is that as You superabundantly comfort me, You make me able to superabundantly offer that comfort back to others who are experiencing abundant suffering.  Because just as You endured for the glory of God and for my sake, so too as I remain in You, do You effectually work out Your endurance in me.  But You must continually remain my focus.  You must continually remain my Salvation.  This is what Paul was trying to share with the Philippians when he advised them, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  Keep Your focus on Christ.  Let Him live Himself out in You.  Live for Him and not myself.  Let Jesus continually save me through every situation by abiding, by living in Him.  I must be totally dependent on You, Lord.  I must continually let You work in me on my behalf.  I need to let You.

I must wait on the power of Your promises no matter how long or hard the waiting is.  I’m still learning this.  But it helps me to know so much that I am not alone.  It’s so easy for me to think I’ve arrived just to find that I’m so far from the destination it’s ridiculous.  Sometimes things come so easy.  Prayers are answered so abundantly.  And then all at once it stops.  And all I have is waiting.  But I’m finding that in the waiting and suffering is where my faith is being tested most.  This is where I get to grow most.  This is the kind of suffering and waiting where I must determine if I really do trust You no matter what.

Do I trust You?  Is my faith in You?  Can I honestly say and mean what Habakuk said in chapters 2:3,4 and 3:17-19?  “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end–it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.  Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith…Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places.”  Can I not only lose everything but will I let everything go and still rejoice in You, Lord?  Is my joy in You, really?  Are You alone my salvation and my strength?  Does the suffering matter more or do You?  Regardless of my circumstances and feelings, will I trust Your promises?  Will I trust You?

I love that reminder in Habakuk.  I love that conviction.  I love that trust.  “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end–it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”  I must never give up in the midst of my circumstances, in the midst of my suffering.  My circumstance, my suffering is not in control.  You are, Lord.  Your promises will come to fruition.  You have an appointed time.  You do not lie, EVER!  It might seem slow, and be hard in the waiting, but Your consolation is coming!

And what is the ultimate consolation really?  “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death…” (Philippians 3:10)  How can I know You if I never share in Your experiences?  You are not a little god, You are not a mediocre god, You are God.  You experienced things that only God could make it through and make it through gloriously.  These are the things that You invite me to experience with You.  I’m invited to experience God things that take God vindication.  Why, so that I too can be an example of Your glory.  This is the immensity of the confidence You have in Your working in my life.  And this is the confidence that I should have in You to effectively work in my life.  I must learn to rejoice, because to the extent that I am allowed to partake of Your sufferings, I also will get to see Your glory revealed.  Where?  Well, all over the place but partly in me!  And always in You.  And every time I see Your glory revealed and see more of You, I will be jump for joy glad!  (1 Peter 4:13)

So, can I die to my self?  Will I live to You?  Will You alone be my One Desire?  Will I seek after You?  Will I desire to dwell in Your house all the days of my life, every moment of my life, no matter the cost or the pain?  Do I desire more than anything to see and know and experience Your beauty continually and to seek Your will?  Do I know that all Your promises are true, no matter how long they take to come true?  Do I know that You are my Safety and my Strength?  Do I know that You alone are the Lifter of my head?  Are You my Song and Praise?  Are You alone my Consolation?  Are You my Faithful One?  Are You my Deliverer?  Are You ALWAYS GOOD?  Am I willing, no matter what, to wait on You?  Will I be of good courage?  These aren’t rhetorical questions, Lord,  How I respond, which shows what I believe about You, will make every difference in my life.  Because as I learn to be a faithful waiter, no matter the circumstance, I can be confident that You will strengthen my heart.  Even if it seems slow, I will wait for it.  Why?  Because You don’t lie!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s