“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who
is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
God has made some outrageous promises over the years. He promised Abraham that he and Sarah would bear a child, even though they were very old. God has made some promises to you, too. He’s promised to love you and cherish you. (John 3:16, Zephaniah 3:17) He’s promised to not tempt you beyond your limits. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
I bet God has made another promise to you. A special promise, that is intended only for you. He made one to me when I was 12 years old. He promised me that I would help others by writing books. It took many, many years to see God’s promise come true, but it did. My first book was published when I was in my late 40’s.
God’s timing is often (much!) slower than we want it to be. Like Abraham, I laughed when I heard God’ promise. In fact, my whole family laughed when I told them I was going to grow up to be a writer. But God was busy working in my life, setting the stage so His promise could come true. Whatever is happening in your life right now, God is setting the stage so He can make good His promise to you.
We must be patient. We must trust that God is at work in our hearts and our lives. We wait on His perfect timing. Don’t quit on God. He isn’t quitting on you! Go the distance. See your promise fulfilled, in its right time. In God’s time.
“…invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.”
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love one another. That commandment superseded any law. When Jesus told us not to invite the rich to the table, but instead invite the poor, crippled, lame, and the blind to dinner, He meant we are to do more than merely feed them a meal. We are to enter into a relationship with them. We are to care for them.
Don’t set the table for only the rich and powerful. That would be in service of your ego. Instead, be of service to God. Set the table for people who are poor, sick or suffering. Give to them without thought of repayment. Give to them the way your Father gives to you: with much abundance and joy. Let us all work towards unity and peace among all people, for love is everyone’s birthright. It is part of everyone’s DNA. It is God.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”
Gray blankets the day. The rain is steady. I sit and look out on my garden and ponder what I will do on this wet day. My thoughts turn to the future. What will I do to continue my work of sharing God’s love? I have more questions than I do answers. But deep inside I know that whatever I do, I want to follow Jesus’ wounded feet. I want to volunteer to serve Him.
As the rain tumbles from the sodden clouds, I hear myself say the words that the prophet Isaiah said: “Send me.” I don’t know where I will be going, but I know it will be the journey of a lifetime. Won’t you come along? Volunteer. Follow the wounded feet of Jesus. See where they take you.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
I looked at my watch for the umpteenth time, hoping to hurry the train to the station. But the train was having none of my impatience. It lumbered slowly from its last stop to where I was waiting.
“Why the rush?” God asked me.
“I’m not in a rush,” I said, not wanting to talk. I had things on my mind.
“Clock time isn’t my time, you know,” God said. “You created that to measure units of your life. An hour here. A day there. You rush about trying to make things happen in those units, instead of living in the fullness of time.”
“What’s the fullness of time?” I asked.
“It is where you are patient,” God explained. “Patience allows you to enter the truth of life: the pain, confusion, sorrow, or joy. Impatience, on the other hand, is about getting away from things that are uncomfortable. You can’t embrace someone else’s pain if you can’t stay to feel your own. Patience is what allows you to be united with others in compassion. In that unity, you experience my grace.”
My train arrived and I boarded. I sat at a window seat and watched the scenery pass by as we pulled away from the station. I realized that time wasn’t like the scenery. It wasn’t rushing by me. It was standing still, right here with me. I could practice patience. I could stay with that which is uncomfortable inside of myself so that I could be with others in their pain.
I took off my watch and put it into my purse so that I wasn’t tempted to measure my life by clock time, but instead, measure it by the fullness of time—God’s grace.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”
~1 Corinthians 3:16
“Tell me about happiness,” I asked God in a particularly unhappy moment.
“Oh, yes, happiness. One of the most misunderstood emotions,” He replied.
“I don’t misunderstand it, I just miss it,” I grumbled.
“There, there, my little Sparrow,” God said softly. “I’ll explain happiness to you.”
“I’m listening,” I said, as I focused my attention on God’s words.
“People search all over for happiness as if I made it hard to find. They look for it in relationships, in their bank accounts, in the way their body looks. They even look for it in mac n’ cheese,” God chuckled. It’s not in any of those things. No, you don’t have to go looking for happiness. I made it easy to find. I put it inside of everyone so no one could lose it. But people don’t think I made it that easy. They don’t think to look inside of themselves. So, they keep looking outward,” God explained.
“But where is it inside of me? I can’t find it in me,” I said honestly.
“It’s in your heart, not your head. You can’t think your way to happiness; you must feel your way there.”
“How? All I feel is chaos today.”
“Take a deep breath. Can you smell the hints of spice from the cedar next to you? Can you feel the comfort of the sun on your skin? Listen. Hear the birds on the telephone wire singing? See the flowers in your garden dancing on the breeze? That’s happiness,” God said. “Happiness is life. It’s a beating heart. It’s breath in your lungs.”
“But…” I started to argue.
“No buts, Sparrow,” God stopped me. “Happiness dwells inside of you because I dwell inside of you.”
I took a deep breath as I put my hand over my heart and felt its steady rhythm. I exhaled into the moment. Finally, I understood. God put Himself inside of us and that is where our happiness resides. In Him. In the gift of being alive.