This is a chapter from my new book coming out February 2020. The book is called Finding Hope in Crazy Times and is a series of short stories and journal entries from my personal journey as I navigated family health challenges, relationship conflict, financial difficulty, confusion about how to move forward and pressure to hold everything together for myself, my family and my team. My secret source of hope was hearing the voice of God on a daily basis and this book is 30 of those journal entries turned into a devotional that can help you do the same.
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‘Today I want to quit, everything,’ I wrote in my journal. I was surrounded by pain and conflict on multiple front’s and to make it worse my wife was also pressuring me. We had loaned money to a friend and I didn’t want to follow through on talking to them about the overdue payment. It was affecting our finances and my wife was frustrated with my avoidance of the difficult conversation. As she shared her feelings with me, I felt attacked and alone. The discussion left me feeling overwhelmed, vulnerable and tired. Why do these discussions always seem to take place late at night?
I had so many prophetic words of God’s promise to bring financial provision ‘now,’ but the promises weren’t showing up in our bank account. We needed a serious injection of cash or we would lose the house we had a rent-to-buy agreement on, plus our $80,000 non-refundable deposit, plus the nine months of sweat and toil and survival through a wildfire that ravaged all around our property! It was crunch time. My daily reading that day was another scripture saying that God was going to provide but I needed something more. Was God really going to do what He said He would do? I had always seen Him be faithful but this situation was desperate and we needed Him to come through, now.
A few days later I was travelling from America to Australia for a friends memorial service. This was part of the pain. ‘God have I missed something?’ ‘Have I stepped out ahead of you?’ ‘I feel like I’m leading people to believe for the impossible yet the hurt and pain leaves me feeling disappointed… and embarrassed… and ashamed….’ ‘What am I missing?’
I arrived in Australia and had nothing to do but wait for the memorial service. I decided to go back through my journal and re-read what God had said. I was still confused. ‘God what do you want to say?’ I paused… then I heard a series of questions I have learned is the voice of God:
“What day did you leave America?”
“Sunday… March 31st,” I replied.
“What day did you arrive in Australia?”
“Tuesday April 2nd,” I replied, adding (as if I needed to explain myself to God), “We crossed the international date line so I missed a day.”
“What day did you miss?”
“April 1st…” It started to sink in.
“Yes. There was no April fools day for you. You won’t be embarrassed or ashamed. I am not leading you to out to leave you alone. I will fulfill all that I promised you.”
I just wept. Relief. Comfort. Perspective. Revelation that God is with me in this and even ‘orchestrated’ the timing to demonstrate that He doesn’t make a fool of me.
So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.
“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited. Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.”
In the gap between the promise and the fulfillment of the promise, there is always the choice to give up. As you wait for the promise to be fulfilled, you get to choose what you believe, and what you will do in response to that belief. We could have tucked our tails between our legs and run for cover. We could have walked away from what God had said and found our own ‘Plan B.’ Instead we made the decision again, and again, not to give up. What God wanted from me in that season was to wait patiently and stand courageously. To trust Him.
In Isaiah 54 (see above), God basically tells a barren woman, “Hey you, get a bigger house, because I am going to give you children.” There is a response required from us when we believe that He is going to do what He said. In the above passage it was specific: Build a bigger house. Our fear is that we take the risk and step out, only to be embarrassed or ashamed when what we believed for doesn’t happen. But God is not in the business of bringing us shame. He is still in the business of fulfilling His word. For us that meant that the finances we needed for the next step in buying our promised house, came through about three (scary) months later. We are still on the journey, we are still needing to stand courageously and wait patiently, but we know that He will not leave us embarrassed or ashamed. He will not let you be embarrassed or ashamed!
Lord thank you that you are with me and you know every detail of my life. Thank you that there are no April fool’s with you. Lord, I put my trust in You to fulfill every promise that You have made to me. Help me to wait patiently and with great courage. Thank You that You are faithful to me and will not put me to shame. Show me how I can prepare for the promise that is to come.
- Where have you grown weary in waiting for the promise to be fulfilled? Have you given up hope or reduced your expectation?
- What did God promise you? Remind Him of His promise to you. “Father, you said….”
- What do you need to do to let go of the fear of being ‘put to shame?’
- How can you reposition yourself to get ready for that promise?
What is Holy Spirit asking you to do today to prepare for the promise He gave you?
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