Friday, March 26, 2010

Waiting on God, Preparation, Trusting vs. Presuming

Here's another reflection from "Jesus Calling" for March 26.  I have posted a few of my own thoughts about this and a few other topics at the end.

"Waiting on Me means directing your attention to Me in hopeful anticipation of what I will do.  It entails trusting Me with every fiber of your being, instead of trying to figure things out yourself.  Waiting on Me is the way I designed you to live; all day, every day.  I created you to stay conscious of Me as you go about your daily duties.

I have promised many blessings to those who wait on Me: renewed strength, living above one's circumstances, resurgence of hope, awareness of My continual Presence.  Waiting on me enables you to glorify Me by living in deep dependence on Me, ready to do My will.  It also helps you to enjoy me; in My Presence is fullness of Joy."

Lamentations 3:24-26; Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 16:11

I have a few thoughts about this one combined with some other things I’ve been thinking about recently.  First, let me say that I think many true believers error on the side of “doing” and “works”, and could use more encouragement in the area of ‘being still’ and ‘waiting on God.’

On the other hand, I think many true believers also error on the side of grace and refuse to entertain the idea that God has designed us for action, to energetically run the race that life represents.

“Waiting on me enables you to glorify Me by living in deep dependence on Me, ready to do My will.“

Too often, we think that ‘living in deep dependence on God’ means ‘watching and waiting’ as if we are in the backseat, incapable of being involved at any level.  Someone who is entrusted to ‘watch over’ a child is expected to be alert, to anticipate the dangers the child might encounter, and to take precautions to give the best care for that child.  This is very a very active type of ‘watching.’  Someone who is asked to wait for something may find it a difficult task until they realize that waiting upon one thing does not immediately equate to not following through on something else.

Taking action does not mean we aren’t satisfied or aren’t depending on God.  It does not mean that we are “trying to figure things out ourselves.”  As stated in the devotional, it means staying “conscious of God as you go about your daily duties.”  It is actively taking steps forward in faith until a particular road is clear.  Even when a road is blocked, there is a detour – not a never ending red-light for which to wait upon.

Runners prepare, train and ultimately run with fervor to win the prize.  There is no intentional or planned sitting down in a race.  I agree, sometimes God provides benches to rest on, or even a bed to lie in for a season.  But, those are moments that He determines and blesses us with from time to time.  The life that He has called all of us to is not one of moseying around or even really strolling along.  With all that we have, whatever that may be, we must strive to do our best (2Tim2:15) and becoming the person God has planned for us to be in Him.

Am I saying that there is no time to pause, no time to reflect, no time to ‘be still and know God’ as we are commanded in scripture (Psalm 46:10)?  Absolutely not.  There is certainly time for that, and it should be a part of every single day.

I am only considering the balance between finding contentment in our Savior, and the activeness that He encourages in each of us.  It is not the same for everyone, we each are responsible to God for our own actions, or inactions.

What about the second part of this sentence, ‘ready to do My will.’  Depending on God means that we are actively trusting Him.  It should not mean that when He calls, we say, ‘Oh wait, let me get ready.’  If we are actively following Him in what He has called us to, then we are ready now.  Ready for whatever He wants us to do – may it be climbing to the top of the corporate ladder in one of the world’s leading businesses, or leading a devotional study in our home.

What we ‘do’ for God is as different for each person as each person is uniquely different.  Our role in God’s work should never become our identity, but it should flow out of who we are in our Savior.  God’s plan for our future is not something we can predict – but it is certainly not something that we are told to passively wait for.  We are required to actively be prepared for the race, for the battle, for His service, whatever that may be.  I think at all times, we should either be ready for what God wants us to do, or in a ‘training’ period, preparing for what He may eventually call us to – even though we may not have a clear idea of what that will be.  In the race of life, the only one on the sidelines should be God, cheering us on all the way!

Similar to these verses and thoughts, I have recently been challenged with what it means to presume upon God versus actively trust Him.  Yes, we can be assured that God is all-powerful, all-knowing.  He cares about His children in a way that we cannot even begin to imagine.  These are true promises that we should cling to.  Does this mean that we can expect these things from God all the time?  On the one hand, ‘yes, absolutely.’  In another way, I do not think that we should presume upon God.  God is too big for us to think we have a grasp on what He can and will do.  We have a glimpse of what He is capable of, but this does not give us liberty to take Him for granted, and renege on our responsibilities as His followers.

Let’s look at a definition…

To Presume, is to take for granted as being true, in the absence of proof to the contrary; To venture without authority or permission; dare; To act overconfidently; take liberties.  To take unwarranted advantage of something; go beyond the proper limits: (eg: Don't presume on their hospitality)

To presume upon God would be to dishonor Him.  This does not give God the complete glory or fullness that is His.  It almost diminishes Him as if we could know His plans and ideas and purposes and predict that He will care for us no matter what we do or don’t do.  He does want us to expect great things from Him and wants us to be aware that He can do great things for us, but not to take that for granted by acting like that would always be the case.

To have Trust in something, on the other hand is to illustrate a certain kind of dependence, but it is with more confidence, and no assumptions.  It is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something: one in which confidence is placed; a charge or duty imposed in faith or confidence or as a condition of some relationship : something committed or entrusted to one to be used or cared for in the interest of another : responsible charge or office

Notice that the last description of trust says that trust is something we commit to and take responsibility for.  Trust illustrates complete respect and devotion in the One being trusted.  In other words, the One trusted is worthy of being trusted.  He has gained our trust because of who He is.  And because we are trusting and not presuming, we will not passively watch and wait.  We will actively redeem the time and opportunities before us, confident that God is cheering us on, and even running the race beside us.

Living this way seems to me to be a great honor to God.

May I trust You, Lord, and not presume upon you.  Thank you for running with me!

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