March 14, 2005
Encouragement for Today
Mary Nash, Certified Speaker, Proverbs 31 Ministry
"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
While traveling through Canada, I saw a sign that said, "Wild Buffalo Ahead." Since I had never seen a buffalo up close, I encouraged my husband to take me to the specified viewing spot. Humoring me, he drove down a dirt road to a fenced area. After walking for quite a while, we finally spotted the buffalo. But they were on the other side of the field and looked quite small from where we were standing. I again begged him to drive me to the other side, which meant going all the way back to the entrance, down another bumpy, dirt road. When we arrived, the buffalo had moved back to their original spot. I gave up my wish to get close to them, wanting to keep my husband from getting exasperated with me as we made our way toward home.
The next day, we stopped for a break. My husband went in the rest area while I waited outside with our dog. I was leaning up against a fence, enjoying the beauty of the mountains when I felt a very large, wet "something" slide across my neck. I whirled around to find I had just been licked by a huge buffalo. That buffalo definitely made a big impression on me. I was thrilled to know that there was a fence between us. He not only gave a new name to body odor and had horrible breath, he put a real scare in me. Those around me just laughed at my reaction but all I wanted was a place to wash my neck. In the end, I got what I wanted even though it was in a completely different setting.
Many times, life is like that. We search and search for what we think we want. We pray about it, we long for it, and we try to help God produce it. We finally give up and when we least expect it, there it is right in front of us. When we finally get what we thought we wanted, we often don't know what to do with it.
Many times, I have longed for things, only to find out I was better off without them. I just had to wait patiently until God's timing was right and I could see that what I longed for was not really something that would benefit me. While seeing that huge buffalo right in front of my face shocked me, it also helped me to see how many times I have benefited by waiting on God. His timing is always perfect. He is never late and He wants only good for me. I get in trouble when I make demands and refuse to wait. Then, when I get what I wanted, it is often no use to me or actually hurts me in some way.
The waiting game is always hard to play. We live in a world of instant gratification and our patience grows thin in a hurry. But patience is an important virtue. It can keep us from becoming frustrated or angry and help us look at things in a different light - the light of our Lord and Savior who has planned our days from the beginning of time. He does ask us to walk in His light and not the ways of the world. If we truly do so, we come to understand that His way is the right way.
When I was 24 and unmarried, I decided I would never find the right man. No one could ever love me enough to want to spend the rest of their life with me. I considered myself damaged goods because of a traumatic childhood. I just gave my life up to God and asked Him to show me what He wanted me to do. I was finally willing to go anywhere He wanted and do anything He wanted me to do.
It wasn't long after commitment that I unexpectedly met my future husband. I was no longer looking, but God saw to it that I found just the right one. God knew just the kind of man I needed, a true soul mate, friend, lover and confidante; someone who loved me for who I was inside, not for what I acted like on the outside. I knew instantly this man was different. He has been the same man for forty years. God always knows what is best for us. If I had not been willing to wait, I know I would not have found just the right husband.
God always answers our prayers and many times, the answer is to wait. When that happens, we have the chance to practice our patience and God has the chance to see if we are completely surrendered to His will and plan.
Buffalos often come along while we wait. We get what we thought we wanted only to find out we surely could have done without it. Waiting takes true surrender knowing that God will take care of us. For me, I just know that whatever is waiting for me in eternity is more than I could ever dream of. I really don't know how people live without the knowledge of having an eternity with God. That makes any waiting worth the "wait."
My prayer for today:
Father, when my soul longs for answers, please remind me that I sometimes just have to wait. Help me to completely surrender my all to You and give me the understanding and the patience to accept the fact that I may have to wait for things to be worked out in Your time, not mine. Help me always to keep my eyes turned toward Jesus and away from the things of the world. Amen.
If you are not fully surrendered to God - right now - offer a prayer of surrender. Tell Him how you feel - be completely honest with God - empty your heart to Him. He will answer and He will calm your fear about today and tomorrow. Then whatever happens you can know that He is in control of your life, no matter what, and that He will make it right.(NIV)
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him." Psalm 37:7 (NIV)
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud, and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God." Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you, he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him." Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)
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