“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’
So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’”
I heard a powerful story last week. About 30 years ago, John McCain spoke to a group of our military’s elite as they prepared for the possibility of becoming a prisoner of war at some point in their careers. According to the story, McCain shared three things that surviving prisoners of war had in common:
1) They had a faith in God.
2) They believed their country was coming to get them.
3) They did not put a date on their rescue.
This story has had a profound impact on me as I have reflected on 2012 and think forward to all 2013 will hold. Even nearer to my heart than a new year is John’s approaching 4th birthday on January 21st and all the emotions, disappointments, and hopes these significant dates conjure.
Clearly I am not a prisoner of war and I doubt any reading this blog are either. However, we all face challenges and trials and can learn a great deal from these insights about living well when it comes to the Lord.
First, we must keep the faith. Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). This is a daily battle, yet it is faith and hope that keep us going. Can you imagine a life without anything motivating you to get up in the morning, a life void of dreams?
Second, we must believe that our God is coming for us. He hasn’t forgotten you; He hasn’t forgotten me. This is where the foundational belief and trust that He is good comes in. He is really coming for us.
Third, we must not box God in or demand dates of Him. I think this has been the hardest principle for me as I seek out my own “rescue” of sorts. Ever since John was born, it has been tempting to put dates on aspects of his life and development. Surely he’ll fully hold his head up by his 1st birthday. Surely he’ll walk by 2. Okay, if not at 2, I pray he can walk down the church aisle as a ring bearer. I pray John will be able to help with baby Daniel, rather than Daniel quickly surpassing John. Lord, if you are there, let John at least crawl by my birthday. And on and on it goes. And I adjust the dates based on my disappointments… faith suffering rather than growing in this process. Eyes taken off the Lord and onto arbitrary milestones and dates I deem reasonable.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking forward to things or being a steward of the Lord’s work in one’s life. And I certainly don’t find it unacceptable to trust the Lord for His blessings. But the catch is trusting Him with HIS timetable.
By trusting in Him and His goodness while not anticipating a certain date for a desired outcome, we can truly become free. We all have things we desire “rescuing from,” however, in order to make it through the day to day and to some witness the fruition of God’s promises at some divinely ordained point in time, we cannot put a date on our rescue.
God is good (even when it's hard and even while you wait), and He is coming for you.
Happy reflecting on 2012, and happy anticipating 2013 without setting dates!
A great verse for the New Year, courtesy of Long to Love:
"You crown the year with Your good blessings, and You leave abundance in Your wake."
-Psalm 65:11 (NET)
|John on his birthday last year, along with his precious brother|