Greetings, Dear Friends!
And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.
Each month I give away a $10.00 gift card to someone who posts on my blog. Would you believe it's already time to announce the winner for June? The winner of a $10.00 gift card from Starbucks goes to...
Drum roll please...
Stephanie Carlson! Congratulations! Please note that you have to email me your mailing address some time before I award next month's winner. Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
*One more important note. I will be on vacation next week and will be away from the internet and out of email range. I'll look forward to connecting with you on the 15th of July.
Now on to my topic...
Many years ago, I learned a valuable lesson: God is not subject to my timetables. I may have good reason for expecting Him to come through for me on specific occasions, but His actions will not be dictated by my timelines.
As a young mom, I never realized how much I had hoped in God for my circumstances (instead of through them).
After six months on bed rest due to a high risk pregnancy and in spite of some scary neurological symptoms during that pregnancy, I had hoped God wouldn't allow me to go from dealing with bed rest to dealing with a disease. But He did.
Amidst babies in the hospital and my own health battles, I had hoped that God wouldn't allow us to suffer financially, but He did.
After going through several years of crisis, and then finally having the opportunity to go on a vacation to a resort with my extended family, I had hoped God would bless us with great weather and healthy kids for a week, but He didn't.
At the end of the day, I wanted to stomp and scream and wonder what was the point of faith (and I definitely had my moments), but deep in my soul, I knew God was there with me, teaching me to hope in Him - and not in my circumstances.
A verse that I love comes from first Timothy (6:6) and it reads:
Godliness with contentment is great gain.
To me, godliness speaks of forward movement; an earnest pursuit of the Father; a strong hope that He will come through for us; and a faith that believes in God's promises amidst the absence of evidence.
And then there's contentment. My Thesaurus describes contentment with these words: fulfillment, peace, happiness, ease, comfort, well-being, satisfaction, serenity.
To me, that's a measure of maturity; embracing a forward moving faith, along with a peaceful, satisfied heart that embraces God amidst your current circumstances.
When our hoped-for plans come to a screeching halt and God disappoints, how do we find peace, fulfillment, ease, well-being, and satisfaction amidst it all?
We step back and remember that God is God. And He is good. And He is always up to something.
We wrap our arms around the Vine, we pursue godliness, and we embrace contentment; a contentment that declares, "I will find God in this somehow! My hope is in the Lord, and not in the idea that things should always go my way. Plans may fail, the rain will fall, and circumstances will sometimes fall short of my expectations, but this is where my faith counts. When I put everything on the table and give God room to work, I will find Him in the most unexpected places, and I will grow in the process!"
Godliness with contentment is great gain.
Though our plans may fall short of our expectations, we must not miss the opportunity to gain ground in our walk of faith. We hope in the Lord, not in that next raise, the next potential job, vacation, family time, etc. We make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps (See Proverbs 16:9). And in due time, we will enjoy a surprisingly sunny day, or a peaceful morning, or a sweet vacation, or a quick breakthrough. And those times are especially sweet when we learn to put our hope in the Lord. It's like icing on the cake. :)
In closing, read this wonderful quote by John Tauler written in the 1300's:
"Be assured of this, you do not know God in truth, and have no true peace, if you are depending upon times and places. Remember that whatever God gives you to do, from moment to moment, that is the very best thing you could possibly be doing, and you little know where and when the Lord will meet you. He who does not seek to find God everywhere, and in everything, finds Him nowhere and in nothing."
Have a blessed couple of weeks.
PS ~ If you haven't signed up for my free quarterly E-zine, you might want to. Some of my author friends give away free copies of their books, I write a devotional, share some great book recommendations, great quotes, and a prayer to send you on your way. My next issue releases on the 15th of July. Click the link below to sign up: