Following His Pace...

“Learning to wait on God’s timing –
and having the patience to follow His lead rather than running ahead of Him,
is essential to those who are committed
to seeing their faith journey through to the end.
God seldom rushes things along.
Getting used to His pace will help you in the long run."
~Essentials for Life for Women, by Marcia Ford

There are times when I read the In "Other" Words quote for the week and a post almost begins to write itself immediately.  There are other times when I struggle to come up with anything at all to write about a particular quote (and sometimes I just don't)...not because there is anything wrong with the quote, but because it just doesn't happen to be something I relate to at the moment.  And then there are times when I read a quote and my thoughts go all over the place...and I can't seem to rein them in to create a coherent post.  This quote seems to be in the latter category.  So many things come to mind...lessons God has taught and is teaching in the "School of Wait".  

One thing that comes to mind is the recent realization that developing patience is not like learning to ride a bike...it isn't a "once you've learned it you're set for life" proposition.  I've realized lately that I don't handle waiting so well...an area in which I thought I'd made great progress at one point in my life.   Is it getting older?  Life circumstances changing?  Health issues making me more "on edge" at times?  I have no idea...but I know that it's time to *re-learn* how to wait on those around me...my children, other drivers, people in the grocery store...with grace and patience.  

Another thing that comes to mind is one of the greatest learning times ever in my life in terms of "waiting on God".   On the evening of July 3, 2006, as Billy and I sat in a dark living room quietly discussing the discovery that had rocked our family to the core, we realized that we were in a situation in which one wrong move could cause irreparable damage to our daughters and to our whole family.  There were no obvious answers, there  were no "how-to" books on how to handle such a situation Biblically, and there was no one who had "been there" we could go to for advice.  The only thing that we could do was cling to God for day by day and minute by minute guidance.  We purposed then and there that we would not make one step at any point along the way, without being certain that God was telling us to make it.  If we didn't have crystal clear guidance...we wouldn't move, period.  

There have been many times in the past 4+ years that we have wanted, even felt we needed, to move at a certain point...and yet not had clear guidance from God to do so, and so we have stood still and waited.  Waiting was agonizing at times, but the alternative...making a wrong move because we weren't sure of God's clear leading...was unthinkable.  At every point, as we have stood fast in our commitment to wait on His direction, He has given crystal clear guidance in His perfect timing...often even taking the decision-making out of our hands completely.  

Although the time has often seemed to drag interminably, and the waiting has felt almost impossible, the wonder of watching Him show His faithfulness and glory in every detail, and the peace that has come from knowing that He is working out His perfect plan for us, has made it more than worth the wait.  

The situation itself has been incredibly hard, but in some ways, it has made it easy not to run ahead of God.  The stakes have been too high, the price of a misstep far too costly.  As hard as waiting has been, it has been much, much preferable to making a wrong move.   

In "everyday life", however, it's harder to see the necessity of waiting on God's timing no matter how ready we are to move ahead.  The consequences of a wrong move aren't so obvious, and we tend to think we are managing fine on our own.  There often isn't the motivation to seek God for direction in every move we make.  The desperation we feel to know God's will during the dark of night is easy to forget in the warmth of sunshine. 

In truth, although our circumstances may change, our need to wait on God doesn't.  We may be more aware of the dangers of moving on our own in the dark times, but they lurk just as much on the sunny days as during the storm.  

I've been reminded of that recently.  Life has settled into a sort of a new normal these days, although we still have bumps (and sometimes major potholes) in the road.  As we settle into a somewhat more peaceful time, I realize that I tend to "run ahead" far too often.   I get impatient about the next steps...I'm ready for God to move us into the next chapter...and I am frustrated sometimes by the seemingly slow pace of His plan.  As the trauma begins to fade a bit, the moment by moment desperation to know His leading tends to fade as well.  

But, as the quote above says, waiting on His timing, following His leading in every detail, and disciplining ourselves to His pace are essential.  

"Teach me, Lord, 
                            Teach me, Lord, 
                                                       To Wait..."

"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." 

~Isaiah 40:31

"Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth!"
~Psalm 46:10

I waited patiently for the LORD;
   He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
   out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
   a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
   and put their trust in the LORD.

 Blessed is the man who makes
   the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
   to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
   Your wondrous deeds and Your thoughts toward us;
   none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
   yet they are more than can be told.
~Psalm 40:1-5

Today's In "Other" Words is hosted by Deborah at Chocolate and Coffee.  Please visit her for more thoughts on today's quote.


Karen said...

The art of walking is a broad subject to cover. Those scriptures you gave are fantastic. I used them many times when I first began to walk with the Lord and still need them! Thanks so much for sharing today.

Marsha Young said...

So true - re-learning patience is a recurring theme in my life.

Fortunately, we serve a very patient God.

God bless you - Marsha

Anonymous said...

I'm one that runs ahead too often too . . . and this patience and waiting is sure a work in progress!

Thanks for sharing!

TaggTroop said...

Love this post!

D.J. Hughes said...

I can relate to what you said about the weekly quotes. Yep, sometimes it writes itself. Sometimes not at all. And other times, my thoughts are scattered all over the place!

And I love what you said about patience not being like riding a bike, where once you've learned the trick, then you've got it down for the rest of your life. What an excellent analogy!

I am glad that peace has come in your situation. Waiting on Him is so difficult at times.

Blessings to you today.


Debbie said...

I can only imagine how difficult it is to deal with a life altering circumstance that affected your daughter. It's hard but it seems that you've learned to trust God with the details of your life more and more since that time.

The Lord has obviously taught you much during these past years. I pray that I will learn to wait on Him. I know that He certainly gives us opportunities to trust Him in the midst of the storms of our lives.

Bonnie W said...

Love that - the school of wait. LOL! Thanks for sharing.