But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
A couple of days ago we attended the last day of a 75% off estate sale for the sole purpose of purchasing cleaning products; when we arrived the house was packed with so many individuals that I can only compare it to sardines in their container. Even so, I am originally an East Coast girl who utilized crowded public transportation on subways and buses when I commuted from New Jersey to New York City for employment which gave me the determination that our mission would not abort due to overcrowded conditions. And yes, my faithful husband navigated his way through the crowd with the mindset that our mission would be accomplished. We waited patiently in line to pay for our items along with other determined individuals who knew it was well worth the wait for the huge discount we were receiving. When we paid $7 for a bucket full of regularly priced quality cleaning items that would last us well into the next year, we left with a great sense of accomplishment. We chose to accept the challenges of patiently waiting and our mission was successfully completed.
I am unable to take credit for attending estate sales on their final days; in fact, earlier this year, I was given the suggestion–to wait by an individual that facilitates estate sales for a living. As we chatted about the 75% discount, she let me in on a trade secret: If you are middle-aged or older, you probably have all of the decorative items that one needs for a home; however, it is the practical items that you run out of or the necessary items that have worn out and have been discarded that you require to run your home smoothly on a day-to-day basis and those are the overlooked items that you will pay pennies on the dollar for if you just wait for the final day of the sale.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
I must confess that I possess a character trait based on “the early bird catches the worm” concept; I have always been highly motivated to aggressively pursue what was necessary for my career, and my life. Living on the East Coast reinforced my perception that waiting was a weakness and not a strength if you are to accomplish and fulfill your dreams. Based on learned behavior from my environment–you must think outside of the box to get ahead–my employers were satisfied with my business savvy and assertiveness as I assisted them in reaching their productivity goals.
The conflict arose when I placed my desires and ambitions above what God required. I was a determined self-starter whose focus was to meet or exceed company goals; however, I was also worn out, stressed, plagued with insomnia, and in poor health. Spending most of my time and energy constantly giving to others resulted in Spiritual Blindness, a condition that rapidly progressed as I failed to recognize that my relationship with God was non-existent. Don’t get me wrong, I never gave up my belief in the Trinity Godhead–God the Father, Jesus his Son, and the Holy Spirit, and I always prayed (even though the prayers were quick) therefore they were ineffectual prayers; however, the spiritual dependency as the fruit on the vine requires to thrive and grow was not present, and so I transitioned from a grape into a raisin, still useful but not from a spiritual perspective. I was not meeting the requirements that God had given to Believers in his Holy Word because I had no time or energy left to study the Bible.
As my spiritual and physical health declined, God never left me to plummet into the abyss of sin and further distress. Our God is full of love, grace, and mercies, not wanting any of us to perish, but He is also a jealous God. My nursing career came to an abrupt end with a diagnosis of endstage Osteoarthritis in both of my knees; I had no cartilage left to render patient care in a clinical environment and suffered from chronic pain which prevented me from achieving productivity standards in auditing medical records.
When I realized that my plans were not God’s plans, I prayed for a new purpose and direction for my life. God answered my prayer in stages; first, I had to recognize that the body he had blessed me with was not my own, and I had to develop and live a healthy lifestyle. When I begin to change my nutritional intake and make healthy choices, my body began to respond by losing weight, and I noticed an increase in mental clarity and a level of physical energy that I was not accustomed to. In fact, the insomnia that I suffered with for many years was replaced by a peaceful sleep.
God used a family member to emphasize that studying the Bible was foremost in the life of a Believer, and as I began to study and pray, God revealed the purpose that He had for my life, and that is to become a vessel to witness to others by writing Devotionals that address the practical challenges that Believers face on a daily basis.
Thou shall have no other gods before me…Exodus 20:3
We must slow down! So many of us are busy with all of the commitments we have made and we burden ourselves with overwhelming responsibilities that prevent us from having a close relationship with God. In our haste to get on with our desires, we rush through our lives without stopping to ask God if this is His will for our lives. In His infinite mercy, God intervenes on our behalf; part of God’s restorative process is to slow our busyness so we can listen to Him. And from a personal perspective, I can attest to the process of praying and waiting, waiting, and waiting for God’s response.
God does all things well and He requires us to wait: Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14 NLT
Waiting on the Lord is never passive; it is always active. When we truly wait on God, we are required to give up our own pursuits and to give our full attention to God, the attention that He rightfully deserves. Take a day to spiritually fast, and pray with a focus on asking God to reveal the commitments and responsibilities that you need to let go of; the self-inflicted burdens that God never intended for you to have. All we have to do is ask God and Wait for His answer; God is waiting to reveal the perfect plan for your life.
Human Effort + Obedience to Divine Intervention=Victory for the Overcomer!
Bible Reading: “For I know the plans I have for you, “says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Prayer for today: Dear God, We ask forgiveness for the busyness of the numerous commitments and responsibilities that we have taken on without asking for your approval or your blessing upon them. We realize that our lives are out of control, yet we continue in pursuits that are destroying our relationship with you. We ask you to reveal to us the plan that you have for our lives and to help us to patiently wait for your answer. We pray for obedience to your way and your will for our lives. We acknowledge that we can do nothing without your Divine Intervention. Thank you for bringing to our attention that your plans are what we must focus on. As we strive to grow closer to you by making the necessary changes to slow down and wait, we pray for your blessing and the strength we need to always obediently follow you. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019