In this age of email, txt messages, twitter, Facebook, InstaGram, and every app you can imagine we have all become accustomed to instantaneous feedback. Most of us have forgotten (or have never known) what it was like to drop a letter in the mail and wait for a response. Chances are my kids will never know what it’s like to spend hours in a library searching through books to complete a research paper. Just like you and I, they are never far from having a world of information at their fingertips. This concept has infiltrated every part of our lives and we hardly even notice it. Think about it. When was the last time you went to a brick and mortar store to rent a movie, made a meal from scratch, drove to a business to pay a bill, walked into the bank to withdraw or deposit money, left the house to buy a product before performing an online search, or used a paper map to plan a trip? I could go on for pages here, but the point is we expect and can obtain most anything within seconds. For many of us, we have also allowed this way of thinking to infiltrate our walk with Jesus. The truth is that God’s timing looks nothing like ours and yet it is perfect. Sometimes God acts faster than we expect, sometimes slower, and sometimes he acts nothing at all like we would expect.
My family and I have been working towards getting to the Dominican Republic for the past 7 months (God has actually been working on getting us here our entire lives but that’s a different topic). Those 7 months have been filled with ups and downs, but the one constant that we tried to keep in mind was to stay within God’s timing. For us, the 7 months felt like an eternity, but sitting here now I can’t believe it happened so quickly. In February it become obvious that God wanted us to move and in September we boarded an airplane with all our remaining belongings either in a suitcase or on a ship somewhere between Miami and the DR, and now, here we are. Whether this seems too quick or too slow to us or to you it really does not matter. The timing was up to God and His timing is always perfect! In Isaiah 40:31 the Bible says: But they who wait for 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. On the surface these words seem simple and straightforward, but how often do we actually operate this way. There is a balance here that, at times, is extremely difficult to accomplish. This verse talks about waiting, running, and walking; how do we wait and run or walk all at the same time? It all goes back to following Christ. If you don’t know where you’re going you’re going to need someone to guide you, someone who knows the way better than you, someone who is familiar with what lies ahead. If that someone runs, you run; if that someone walks, you walk, if that someone stops to rest, you rest. The key is to stay in step with the guide and perform as He performs.
How in the world do I know if God wants me to walk, to run, or to simply wait? Well let’s go back to the Bible. In Psalms 46:10 it says: Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth! Sometimes you have to remove all the noise, be still, and just spend time with Him. This is also difficult in our culture of always being on the move and in the know. However, there is no simple or quick solution to getting in tune with the Holy Spirit. Think about when you first met your spouse or your best friend. Think about where the relationship was then and where it is now. I’d be willing to bet that you didn’t get there automatically. You spent hours upon hours with that person in order to get to know them and to understand them. We have to make that same investment in our relationship with Christ. If you’re not hearing from the Holy Spirit it’s possible you’ve gotten too far ahead, or lagged too far behind, you may be on the wrong path altogether, or maybe He just isn’t talking to you right now. Just be still, seek Him, spend time with Him, and do this with daily regularity.
I’d like to draw one more relationship analogy if you will allow. My wife and I have been married for 15 years at this point. We’ve spent a lot of time together and we know, for the most part, what makes each other tick. Now suppose I decide that I have arrived. I know all there is to know about Connie, I’ve spent enough time with her, and that from this point forward I can just coast with our relationship and only chat with her in emergency situations. I am not psychic but I’m pretty sure that situation does not turn out well for me. The relationship will begin to dry up and we will grow apart. The same holds true with our relationship with Christ. Proverbs 3:5-6 says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Staying within God’s timing only happens when we are in step with Him and the only way to stay in step is to stay close. If you’re reading this verse accurately you will notice the word “ALL” pops up a couple of times. Now I’m no scholar but I think this means that I don’t get to choose what I take to God or what areas that I have to trust Him in…all means…well…ALL, everything, total, 100%! He wants us to trust Him with every decision we make. This may seem scary and yes it could mean you wind up typing blogs from your porch in the Dominican Republic, but I assure you what He has in store for you is SO much better than anything you could fabricate on your own.
I mentioned earlier in this post that we are now in the Dominican Republic. We have been here for a little less than 2 weeks, but it only took a few days to see that things move at a different pace. Some things move faster (like the traffic), some things move slower (like getting an internet connection). However, God has laid it on my heart that He is the same God no matter where I live. I have to stay in step with Him and remember that His timing is perfect. I believe that others need to hear this just as much as I do which is why I’m sharing. I hope you enjoy reading the blog as much as I enjoy sharing whatever is going on in our life.
One last thing, please be in prayer for the Project Mañana team over the next couple of weeks. There are 2 teams coming down to serve in the community of San Pablo and the Prison ministry. As always we desire for God to get the glory and for lives (whether American or Dominican) to be eternally impacted. We would love to hear from you; please reach out through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Social media if you have the time.