It has been nearly 18 years since I have had a date on New Year’s Eve.
I am not sharing this because I am proud of what some may perceive to be a sad fact. It is a little embarrassing, and when my insecurities overwhelm me, I can feel like a bit of a social freak. Admittedly, I might be. I am laughing at myself now as I write this as it has sometimes made me awkward around single men and at best, “without game.”
I am sharing this because it is one of many areas that I have had to put my faith in God’s perfect timing and provision. While I have been in a longer season of standing still (my mom’s advice), my life is not on hold. While I cannot see God’s plan fully laid out before me, there is no point to waiting and doing nothing. However, I do need to more fully trust him and be more joyful and patient, whatever or whoever I may be waiting for.
I know God will provide all that I need. But I often wait impatiently.
The Story of a Prophet
Some time ago, my friend Paris and I were speaking about Bible study. She had been reading the book of 1 Kings daily for a few months.That day, our conversation centered around the story of Elijah, a prophet in Old Testament times (1 Kings 17-19).
The reader first meets Elijah when the prophet announces a great drought that will last several years and will only end at his command. Elijah becomes a hunted man, but he receives instruction from God where to hide. During the drought and resulting famine, he receives God’s provision for food and water in rather surprising ways (1 Kings 17:4-6, 14-16). When Elijah cries out in intercessory prayer, God miraculously resuscitates a widow’s son (v. 20-22). Elijah challenges some false prophets and prays a very public prayer to prove the God of Israel is the one true God. God responds with a fiery display, something the other prophets were unable to achieve (1 Kings 18:33-38).
The text is clear that Elijah was no stranger to the miraculous in his life.
Elijah’s life continues to be threatened. Instead of trusting in God’s plan, Elijah becomes fearful. He runs away and prays to God that he might die because he is worn out and has had enough. He falls asleep asking God to take his life, and is awakened by an angel who tells him to eat and drink what has been given to him (v. 3-6). Elijah is commanded to eat and drink a second time because he is too weak for the journey to come (v. 7-8).
Despite his intimate relationship with God and the miracles he has seen, Elijah seems to lose himself in his weakness, fears and doubts. And once again, God proves faithful in meeting Elijah’s practical needs, in tender, loving and miraculous ways.
A Question of Patience
How does this relate to my impatient patience? Like Elijah, I do not know the full plan, and so I can sometimes become discouraged and fearful when things do not go my way. I entertain doubts about his provision and protection. This most often manifests as impatience, especially when what I want is perhaps not what he wants for me. And I can stay too long in the place of “I’d rather not.”
But Jesus is faithful and true.
From the moment I placed my faith in Jesus, his Spirit has been shaping my character and will continue to do so through God’s word and his people. God is changing my heart to align with his. He is teaching me humility, and I am learning to love like he has loved. And I am not alone in this; I am never alone. God is right there beside me in all things providing me with the patience I need when, like Elijah, things do not turn out as planned, and I have had enough. This is one of the many ways that I have learned to walk with grace through this life.
As I write this, the song “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Christian artist Danny Gokey has just come on. And thanks be to God, it is. ❤ ❤
As in years past, this New Year’s Eve will be celebrated with friends who have become family. I am ever grateful for their friendship, love, encouragement and fearless honesty. This I know is part of God’s perfect plan and provision for my life.
Photo credit: “A Reflection of Love” by Eric Endow.