Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Courage to Trust in God's Delays

And the Lord answered me:“Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seem slow, wait for it;  it will surely come, it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:2-3).

Mid October I shared in a blog post that an opportunity for me to publish my devotional book, Seeking the Light of God’s Comforter, When Challenges Dim Our View, had come into my life. On November 17, I signed my book contract! Yes - it is all real now and progressing!

There were some major aspects of the book texts I felt a need to complete before signing my contract. There were  Acknowledgements (so many people to thank), an About the Author page (that was a challenge), and I still had a handful of personal property release permits to get so that my personal photos, taken on another person’s premises, could be published without any concern about liability. People who said they would endorse my book needed to be alerted that the time had finally come and then get their words to me. 

It has been an intense number of weeks but finally, I felt I could in good conscience, sign the contract with Redemption Press. I clicked the send icon, I heard from the publisher, the texts I sent are on their way to a copyeditor. I soon will meet my project manager whose name is Amber! She is bound to become a very important new person in my life and surely a friend! 

It was a significant day for me as one of my hopes, when an early retirement from teaching was necessary in 1992, was to write inspirational non-fiction. The hopes were that it would be published to be of value to others. I had begun another manuscript but a severe health set back in 2005 shoved that ambitious effort onto a shelf. What emerged out of that turn in my road was the invitation, 3 years later, to write devotionals for Rest Ministries, an online Christian site for those living with a chronic illness. The book to be published is a compilation of some of those writings. And a future goal is to get back to that original manuscript. 

As I have thought of the blessing God has brought with the signing of the contract to have the devotional book published, I’ve been led to look back on all the delays that were needed to get to His right time and place.

I was reminded, not only of the Habakkuk verse that heads this blog posting, but of an article I wrote that was published in 2006. I am posting that article below for surely it means a lot to me now and it may mean something to you if you are in a waiting time.

Living in the Questions

Nearly 20 years ago, I cut out a piece in a church bulletin and tucked it among other bits and pieces that have meaning to me inside my Bible. To the best of my recall, it was written by Chuck Swindoll. The paper upon which it is written is so small, there have been times I could not find it when purposefully looking for it.

“It is your future.
Don’t back into it.
Don’t grope into 
its mists blindfolded.
Put the hand of your faith 
into the Hand of God.
Get used to His voice.
He warns you of dangers 
and of strangers.
He leads you to experience 
His prepared future.
It does not disappoint.
There is always more
 for those 
who walk with Him.
He straightens question marks
 into exclamation points!”

Many questions about my future were present when I first read these thoughts. More erupted over the ensuing years including the continuing daily challenges with vertigo, cancer, follow-up treatment, and an early retirement from my teaching career. Somewhere along the trail of my life I got to thinking more deeply about the message this bulletin excerpt presented and I came to a conclusion that brought me encouraging perspective.

What could it mean to really live within the questions in my life? A question marks the spot of a seeking moment. It stops me. I want the right answer and I want it now! Often, I discover that the right answer requires a different timing than my insistent now. In such cases, all I can really do is wait.

I picture the literal configuration of a question mark with its curves and swirl. It actually is shaped like the outside of a human ear. What if I were to crawl right into a question mark? This would curl me into the fetal position, quietly waiting upon the Lord. I would need to depend upon him much as I had to during my own gestation time. When the answer is ready, the birthing takes place and reconfigures the  ?   Into an  !  . Right timing—God’s timing. Right answer—God’s answer.

My Bible and the various meaningful bits and pieces I have tucked inside it serve to remind me that there will always be questions—but eventually there will be answers. If I choose to live in the questions, curled up securely where I can listen for God’s voice and directions, I cannot wander far. I'll be near enough to hear his voice exclaim the answers when his time is right.

?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?  !

photo: Lynn's desk