How to wait

The other day when I was waiting at the bus stop, a friend of mine saw me and walked up to me for a chat. A few minutes into the conversation, he asks me who I was waiting for. Now it may seem obvious to you lot, about why I was waiting at the bus stop, but I live among friends who take cabs to places and I used to do that too. Until recently, I discovered my spending habits far outweigh what I earn. And the fact that the bus costs me 5 times less than a cab, hit me like a truck and I started taking the bus. So it came as a shock to my friend when I told him I was waiting at the bus stop for a bus, because he is from a generation that waits at bus stops to meet friends (he is over 5 months younger than me, you see). Waiting at the bus stop, in Ross’ words, is like being given the “gift of time”. There is a lot of waiting involved and the buses are more unpredictable than Game of Thrones. I’ve seen a lot of people at bus stops that get restless and start freaking out, sometimes complaining loudly about the bus being late. I soon realized that the key to surviving that, is to be prepared for some waiting. I leave much earlier than I need to, so that I don’t get late to work and wait calmly for the bus to show up. This has helped me maintain my peace through the ride and show up to work, cheerful and focused at the task at hand.

That got me thinking (of course, it did). When God promises us something, be prepared for some waiting. Joseph had to wait for his God-given dreams to come true. David had to wait to be king. All of Israel had to wait to walk into the land flowing with milk and honey. All of Israel had to wait for the Messiah. Abraham had to wait for a son. There are so many instances in the Bible where there was a lot of waiting involved. But the thing to remember is that God fulfilled His promises. It is a great feeling when we receive promises and we’re so excited about what the Lord is going to do in our lives and we start to picture it. Then when we wake up the next day and see that nothing has changed, we get disappointed. Then the day after that, we see the same old life and we get frustrated. And the day after that, we start to lose hope. And the day after that we start to question if it really was from God. Then after that we live our life as we did and forget His promises.

Just today, I was making a work-related call and that person took a while to answer the phone. Meanwhile, my mind was working on some other things I had on my mind. By the time that person answered, I had to take a moment to recollect who I had called and for what reason. Isn’t it like that when we wait? We get bored and start distracting ourselves with other things and eventually forget what we were waiting for in the first place. While we wait, we must not just be prepared but we must train our hearts and minds to focus on His purpose. Once we lose sight of His purpose of those promises, we sentence ourselves to a longer wait.

We’ve been taught since Sunday School that God has a time for everything. He has the perfect time for His promises to come to pass in your life. And if He is making you wait, He is using this time to prepare you for what He has in store for you. Be prepared to wait, and be focused on His purpose.

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And the greatest of these…

There has been a lot that is being said by Christian people against homosexuals. It actually hurts me to hear things like these. Being a Christian myself, I know that some lifestyles are not accepted, in the sense that I wouldn’t follow them.

But every time I get frustrated or angry at someone for doing something I think is wrong, I have learned to make a conscious effort to remind myself of what Jesus said. “Let any one of you who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her.” That puts me in my place and I am humbled, because I know that no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to live a life completely without sin. It is not my sinlessness that guarantees an audience with God, but His mercy despite my sinfulness. It is not my righteousness that makes me a Christian, but the faith that our God is the one true God.

Granted, that there are rights and wrongs and these make us different from the rest of the world. But I think, what this sense of right and wrong is there for is to point me in the right direction and keep me on the right track. Sometimes I get carried away and think people are wrong because they don’t follow the same things I do. Even if I am right, I am wrong to assume I have the authority to judge them in any way. What the Lord has taught me to do lately is to pray for these people and guide them through love and patience. And this is really difficult for me. I mean, if you’ve ever met me in person you’d know that I am probably one of the most impatient people on the planet. Given a free reign, I would walk out of conversations just because people are taking too long to get to the point. But the Lord is working in me. Making me love them enough to wait for them to get where they need to be. It is taking a while, this change in me, because like I said, “most impatient person on the planet”. Loving people doesn’t come naturally to me, either. I have spent most of my life being heartbroken by everyone around me and developed some very serious trust issues. But the Lord is working on that too. He is softening the places in my heart that I’d hardened for fear of getting hurt. He is making me see people differently from being cautious.

So when I say I have no authority to judge people for the way they live, I mean it. 1 Corinthians devotes an entire chapter to love. The first few lines of the chapter literally say that no matter how many good deeds you do and how religious you are, if you don’t do them with love, it has no value. In other words, they’re pointless. If I am to make a difference, I can only do it with love. I mean, would you listen to someone who is constantly judging you and yelling at you to change? I wouldn’t. I’d go right on and do the opposite of what they’re telling me to do. Then comes a very important scripture that I probably need to have framed above my bed to remind me every day. “Love does not demand its own way.” “[Love] endures through every circumstance.” So basically, love doesn’t force its will on people and loves them even though they don’t listen to you.

You’re probably thinking, that never works; that I am an idealistic, pretentious know-it-all who thinks she lives in a utopian world where everything has a simple solution. I have proof, ladies and gentlemen. Allow me to point you in the direction of the man who singlehandedly changed millions of lives through love. JESUS. He lived and breathed love. He welcomed every one and turned away no one, even though He knew what was in their hearts. I repeat, EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW WHAT WAS IN THEIR HEARTS! That has got to be some love! The love that those verses talk about, He was living it. And look at what His love did. Brought salvation to millions of people. There are at least a million Christian people around the world. If all of us choose to love like He did, imagine how many people would find Jesus and thus their salvation. I mean, we’ve tried everything else. Let’s try love.

The post of sermons past.

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Found this gem from 10 years ago.

24.9.06

Magnify the Lord of your life, rather than the problems of your life. 

Gossip the Gospel 

2 Timothy 3:10-17

That was from 10 years ago! I remember noting it down from a sermon I was listening to, but can’t seem to remember who I was listening to and hence cannot give that preacher credit. (Sorry!)

What strikes me is that even after 10 years, I am still learning to focus on God rather than my problems. In fact, just last week I was talking about how I need to focus on the God of solutions than the problems of my circumstances. I’d heard a message 10 years ago that would have saved me a whole lot of trouble over the coming years, if only I remembered it.

But that’s the thing, I forget. I hear something, it helps me in my current situation and then that sermon is gone. Forgotten as circumstances change. Then I go through something similar. And somehow, that lesson has engraved itself on my heart. So I may not know where it came from, but they manifest themselves as words of wisdom. Like I didn’t know where that discussion came from last week, but those words were from a sermon I’d heard a decade ago. And then today, I found this note scribbled in a corner of my book. And I realized that this is where I’d heard it. Isn’t it amazing?

It may seem impossible to remember the hundreds of sermons you’ve heard over the years. But rest assured that the ones you’ve really learned from, will still be engraved on your heart and will be made accessible when you truly need it.

Project Psalms: Psalm 13

I love Psalms! I love how they go from “O Lord where are you? Why aren’t you delivering me from my enemies?” “Don’t let me fall and die” to “But you know what, I trust you Lord. I know you’re doing something to get me out of it. Just do it fast, okay?”

It feels so real. Like our daily conversations with God. Whenever I face something, my prayers are panicky and desperate. After a while when the situation hasn’t changed but the Lord has shown me that He is with me, my prayers change to, “I may not understand Your ways, but I trust in You.” Have you ever felt like that?

After I’ve prayed that prayer, then very slowly things start to make sense. The delays have an explanation. The obstacles have a purpose. The hindrances have an end goal. It is as though the Lord was waiting for me to trust in Him to make things clear to me. I mean, of course I will never get the whole picture. But pieces of it. Trust. That is all He asks. A trust that blindly allows Him to lead, guide and direct. Even when circumstances dictate failure, a trust that knows that there is an end to this suffering. A trust that is, what’s the word for it? FAITH. That’s the word.

Everything you’re going through will require one thing from you. Faith. Faith that He holds the whole world in His hands. Faith that He can turn things for your good. Faith that He is in control, no matter what you’re going through. It may not seem like He’s doing anything, but trust Him, He is. Nothing is impossible for God (It is impossible for Him to be doing nothing. Get it?). He is working on a way out. He is making things clear. He has a plan. Just trust in Him who created you. It won’t exactly be smooth sailing, but at least you know He is with you through it all.

Project Psalms: Psalm 11

Last week, I watched Nick Spencer burn himself at the stake (figuratively, of course) when he made Captain America out to be Hydra all along. Literally, no one was happy with that development. And that somehow got me thinking.

Not every plot twist is good. Not every opportunity is welcome. Not every solution is right. Not every decision is a wise one. Not every thought is from God. There are times when people say to you, but you could have done this or that OR you must do this now. And it all seems logical at the moment. But if the Lord has told you to plant yourself there and wait for Him, no storm or wind can make you move unless you want to.

We watch superhero films and shows where they defy science and logic completely. How much more can the Lord defy our logic and our understanding of science? Our job is to trust and obey. That is all He asks of us. And it may seem illogical or things won’t make sense at first. But I’ve learned (and am still learning) that the best step I can take is the one directed by God. No matter how vague and cryptic the step may seem.

Project Psalms: Psalm 10

Have you ever felt like you’re praying but your prayers just bounce off the roof and fall back? I’ve been there, multiple times. I pray and cry out to the Lord and all I hear in response is the sound of crickets in the distance. That last bit is probably in my head, you never know. But you know what I mean? When you feel so desperate to hear from the Lord and all you get is silence? When your heart longs for encouragement and you look around and there is nothing encouraging?

It is at times like these that I find it really easy to focus on the situation. Like I can do something about it without divine intervention. Oh, Lord isn’t answering, maybe I should go at it myself. Bad call. Of course I shouldn’t “go at it myself”. I mean, when have I ever succeeded at anything by myself? Without the Lord, I would never have accomplished anything (without messing up quite a bit). Then suddenly, the problem grows in my perception like a mountain and I feel overwhelmed and undersized. I realize I can’t “go at it myself” because this is far bigger a problem than I can handle. But God still isn’t answering, what should I do?!

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I learned very recently the solution to this sort of a situation. The Bible calls God by many names and phrases, one of those being “He who lives within you”. You’ve probably guessed the next bit already. If God is “He who lives within me”, then I must shift my focus from my surrounding and stop looking for answers around me. What I should be doing is take a deep breath and listen to my inner voice. The voice that is God’s and is within me. When I did that, I not only found peace that I wasn’t alone in this, but also found the solution or the steps to a solution.

God is a complex God. We will never be able to understand why we go through certain things and why we feel abandoned. But all I know is that God “never leaves nor forsakes” me. And all I need to do is trust Him, believe that He is Who He says He is and He will do all He says He will. Even in the silence, trust Him.

Project Psalms: Psalm 9

Have you ever felt like you needed victory over a situation? Difficult boss, passive aggressive coworker. A difficult neighbor or family member. A lost child. Desperate financial situation. Uncertain future. Have you felt caught up in a war that you didn’t exactly ask to be in, but find yourself in the center looking for a way to win?

Psalm 9 talks about a God of victories. Whatever the problem, whatever the situation, He is a God that that can overcome anything. The wicked are against you? No problem, the God of victories will fight by your side. Nations are against you? No problemo, the God of Angel Armies is fighting by your side.

But what’s more is that He isn’t a God who just fights those battles with you. He is a God who tends to the post-war situations as well. Shelter and refuge for those who need it, never abandoning them. The hope of the poor, the comfort for the widows and children.

So if you’re in a situation of helplessness, know that the God who is with you not only fights the battles but sees you through later on as well. So he will not just help you while you’re going through stuff, but will hold your hand through the consequences as well. The God of beginning and the End. He will surely see you through to the end.