Saturday, March 4, 2017

Timetables

God is searching for faith that is deeper than now or never; He is looking for faith that goes the distance even if that means years.
God has asked me the same thing lately—How much do you trust Me?
I thought my answer would be one I didn’t even have to think about, but God was quick to gently point out He isn’t asking how much I trust Him when things are going right; rather He searches my heart to a much deeper level and looks at my response when things are left unanswered or are answered in a different way than I had expected.
He is asking how deep, how wide and how far I will go with Him.
He is looking for me, in the tears and the joy and in the confusion and the leaps, to look up with unwavering faith.
He is looking for total surrender.
And as much as I want to, I’m not sure I always do. I think I have surrendered it all and then a circumstance will come my way and I react completely different than I hoped I would. It is in these moments that I have to remember to have perspective. It is when God reminds me the world is much bigger than just me.
I was causally listening to the radio as I drove home this week when a story caused me to pay a little closer attention. It was about a boy who was born with a deformity known as “club foot” or a foot that is severely turned inward. His mother and sister also had the deformity and had given up on ever getting treatment. This boy, however, was not going to take no for answer. He believed God would provide a cure and went from hospital to hospital asking if anyone could fix it. He walked, despite how hard his foot made it, and rode buses by himself for four years searching for his miracle. And finally a hospital told him that they absolutely could fix it and they did!
To me, the pivotal part of the story is not that it got fixed, but that the boy remained faithful even after years. God could have answered his prayers instantaneously, but I don’t think God’s ability was ever the question. Rather it was His timetable. Too many of us give up at the slightest inconvenience or bump in the road. Things don’t happen on our timeline and we get discouraged or bitter or ineffective. God is searching for faith that is deeper than now or never; He is looking for faith that goes the distance even if that means years.
The story reminded me of one I witnessed myself on a mission trip to Progreso, Mexico my freshman year of college. I volunteered to join a distribution group that was giving out rice and beans to the locals. It was a nice break from painting and I thought it might show me a different outlook on the community. We had been there about fifteen minutes when we spotted a man way down the road. He was very low to the ground and covered in dust and dirt. As he got closer, we realized he was scooting along the ground to get to us; he was unable to walk.
One of the guys grabbed some supplies and went to meet him where he was on the road. The rest of us watched as grateful tears rolled down the man's face. My friend had also grabbed a handful of cookies we had been snacking from and offered them to the man who gladly accepted with laughter. He sat there in the middle of a dirty road full of joy and gratitude over some food and compassion from a stranger. He had more reasons to be angry or bitter than most of us but instead he looked up and thanked God. He didn’t let a thing like not being able to walk stop him. That story has stayed with me ever since-a sincere display of a thankful heart in tough conditions. I wonder if I’d be the same way.
Both of these stories are about overcoming obstacles but they teach us much more. They call to question our authenticity in following Christ. They question our dedication when the going gets rough. They ask not if God can do it, but if you will trust Him to move in His own time. As my cousin Emily told me this week, "You are going places. Don't let other people's timetables convince you otherwise."
God whispers to each of us, ever so gently, How much do you trust Me?
—Only Hope

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