The Most Difficult Spiritual Discipline

At the Biblical Institute, we believe that God is always at work, even in the things we don’t want or don’t understand.  He has a plan.  He is executing his plan, making it a reality.  He calls us to collaborate with him, to make his plan ours, to become his partners in his work.

The events of the past six weeks have tested these convictions.  In addition to the shutdown, driven by the coronavirus, Croats are experiencing economic effects similar to those in the United States.  And we had a significant (5.5) earthquake on 22 March, followed by more than 1,000 aftershocks that continue to this day.

The past six weeks have been very unsettling–to say the least.  

In unsettled times, how do we seek God?  How do we follow and obey his son Jesus Christ?

We know that we need to do certain things.  We check in on our neighbors and our fellow believers.  We encourage one another.  We study and pray.  We should do all these things, focusing our effort on things we can control.

But the hardest thing we do, the most difficult spiritual discipline, is to wait for God to deal with the things we cannot control.  We wait for God to act when there is nothing we can do.  We wait for God to make things happen when we are powerless to change our circumstances.

The great illusion of modern life is that we are in control.  We like to think we’re in charge.  And then someone in China coughs, and the world shuts down.  

We think we’re coping with the shutdown, a little more time to spend at home in the garden, and then the world shakes and it won’t stop shaking.

This is how we learn the spiritual discipline of waiting, praying “God this is in your hands, because it is too heavy for me to carry.  God, take ME in your hands, I cannot deal with everything that is happening around me.

So what do we do?

  • Look for opportunities that God has hidden amongst the obstacles. Remember how Paul preached to the very soldiers who were guarding him in prison. (Philippians 1.12-13) 
  • Trust God with the things he has taken away. We sometimes sing the song, “Blessed Be Your Name.”  The lyrics in the bridge say to God, “You give & take away, … blessed be your name.”  God has taken things away from most of us over the past six weeks; prosperity, a measure of financial security, job, family, health, peace of mind.  TRUST THAT HE DIDN’T TAKE THOSE THINGS AWAY FOR NO REASON.  Wait for him to show you what that reason is, for him to do his work in you.
  • Thank God for the things we have. They don’t come from a President or government; they’re gifts from God first. 

Paul says, “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”  (Phil 2.13)  

The earthquake, the shutdown, the virus, the job losses and financial problems … GOD IS IN ALL OF THEM.  And we’ll see him, and see his hand at work, and receive what he is trying to achieve, if we will wait on him.

If we’re not learning what God wants us to learn, it’s because we are not waiting.

 

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