Monday, March 22, 2010

When God Does the Dishes

Waiting makes me sick, not in some abstract way, but in a very real gut wrenching, stomach twisting way. I am not talking about waiting in line or waiting on traffic. I am talking about waiting to see how things are going to turn out, how things are going to be accomplished. I want all the facts in my hand, and I want to arrive at a brilliant conclusion.

It’s the limbo that drives me crazy. It is what keeps me awake at nights and causes me to say and do stupid things. I have this thing in my brain that says if you talk about a problem long enough it will all work out. The thing is sometimes I just need to shut up and see how things are going to turn out. But like I said, I hate waiting. Talking seems to offer me at least the illusion of being proactive in the situation, (that should be read as “in control of the situation”, the other way just sounds better), when all I am really doing is muddying the waters.

Now God is faithful, and He has a way of taking our flaws and working them over. Usually this means He is going to provide us with lots of opportunities to get it right, which really means He is going to give us lots of opportunities to fail. And I tend to make the most of these chances, which means I usually fail in creative and new ways.

I am having to learn that God’s time is not my time. I keep telling Him if He would speed things up a bit I could get so much more done, but He has yet to take my advice, go figure. I know that is Sunday School lesson 101, but there is a huge difference in remembering and knowing. I know that He has it all under control and He will take care of me, but I hate the fact that His perfect way of doing things means I am left twisting in the wind a little too often to suit my tastes.

Honestly, it is probably a good thing that I was not one of the people walking around the walls of Jericho. I don’t think I could have kept my mouth shut for seven days. About the third time around, I would have been looking for a pick axe because I would have been sure that Joshua misheard the directions and we needed to be busy doing something more productive than waiting on God. By the fourth time around, I would have probably trying to get Joshua to stop and explain all that nonsense to me one more time. And the fifth time, I would at least be sure that I was scuffing away little more sand from the base of wall with each step, if I hadn’t decided to wash my hands of the whole thing.

Fortunately for me, God hasn’t called me to undergo such a grueling ordeal. Right now we are working on the small stuff. I let Him dry my dishes. He takes forever, but eventually He gets the job done. And let me tell you it is torture. No matter how much I nag Him, He never picks up the pace, but I am getting better.

Learning to wait isn’t about trying to slip into some comatose state of being. It is about finding out how deep your trust really goes. It is about learning how to separate the things you are responsible for from the things that you aren’t. It is about finding that balance between sheer laziness and finding peace in the midst of the unknown. It is about acknowledging He is God and you aren’t.

For me it is the ultimate position of surrender. It is not restful or serene. It is an act of sheer will most of the time. Not because I don’t think God can handle it, but rather I think I can handle it better. I don’t like turning loose of control, real or perceived. I like to think that my actions are what affect change, that somehow God can’t get it done without me. It is a time where I have to put down my pride and my own sense of accomplishment. At these times I have to lay aside all the attributes that my friends usually praise me for so that He can receive the glory.

I have to step out of the spot light for a moment and stand in awe of Him. I need to experience the wonder of what He can do apart from me, and if the Grand Canyon is any indication He’s got it covered in ways that I can only begin to imagine. And if I need to talk about it that’s okay too, as long as I take my conversation to Him. He understands I am impatient, and sometimes I think He even finds the quality a little endearing, but He knows that I need to learn how to simply be with Him. Because that is right where He wants me, there at His side witnessing what He wants to accomplish in my life.

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