According to the poem, Wasteland, April is a cruel month. I disagree, T.S. Eliot. I think February is the actual cruel month. Just when you think spring is chirping around the corner, the temperatures drop again.
It has been a month of difficult decisions. What is my next right thing? As a Christ-follower, I am called to serve. But the question then becomes in what capacity. Who? How? When? Needs and opportunities are everywhere. But I can’t do it all. Where does God want me? Where is my best yes?
God’s word tells us that He has created each of us with unique gifts and talents and purpose. That’s all well and good, but gifting and desires doesn’t always find perfect opportunity. Our timing and God’s timing are not always in sync. Sometimes God calls us to a season of rest and waiting, like the soil in the garden. It’s not time to start planting, as much as I want to. It’s the end of February. Still winter. Frozen ground. (Technically I could start seeds indoors, but I don’t have the space or resources.) Sometimes we are in as much of a hurry to further our agenda as we are to drop seeds in frozen soil.
David, the author of half the Psalms in the Old Testament, was between 10-15 years of age when Samuel anointed him to succeed King Saul, and roughly 30 years old when he actually took the throne. What did he do during his in-between time? He tended sheep. Wrote some Psalms. Played his harp in the temple to soothe Saul. Drew closer to the Lord. Tolerated Saul, who was overcome with jealousy and tried to kill him. What was the purpose for all that? To grow David spiritually. The Lord used all the challenges David dealt with to prepare him for the throne.
How we stay faithful and grateful during our in-between times of life? Between late winter and early spring? Between the promise and the fulfillment? Between the middle of difficult coursework and graduation? By fixing our eyes not on the drab, brown landscape, but on Him. By trusting that our mundane, ordinary tasks are preparing us for what’s to come.
We make dinner. Unload the dishwasher. Do laundry. Vacuum. Settle sibling disputes. Pick up the kids from school. Teach manners. Read books on gardening. Keep a blog. Publish monthly. Sing in the choir. Go to class. Keep our eyes fixed on Him. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see . . . and without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1; 6).
I am so thankful for Psalm 13, in which David starts out in full-blown self-pity. “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (verses 1-2). The phrase how long appears four times in the first two verses, indicating the depth of David’s distress. And mine. I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling forgotten and invisible. Verses three and four go on with his pity party, but by verse five, David’s perspective changes. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will SING the Lord’s praise (caps added are mine), for he has been good to me.” (NIV). By the end of his prayer, he was able to profess hope and trust in God.
In times of despair, it’s so tempting to give up rather than to hold fast. But if I give up on God, I give into a life of despair. That’s the paradox
The Psalms covers the entire spectrum of human emotion. They are the jumper cables I often need to ignite my gratitude. As a “feeler” in most personality assessments, I would like to think that they were written just for me.
Dear Heavenly Father,
we’re in the middle
we’re in the dark
it feels like a riddle
each step confusing and hard
could you shine just a little
we need to see your presence with us now
the sun rises and sets
but every day is a blur
this can’t be as good as it gets
as we wait for your promises
and your return
beige, brown and shades of gray
is all I can see with my own eyes
where is the rainbow
I’m standing on your promises
for now that’s all I know