“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” — Mark Twain
Has Jesus Left The Room?
“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” – Romans 15:4
After writing “On Being Afraid Of Not Trying,” my mind wandered over to this verse in Romans. I’m still in the process of trying to balance the use of my gifts of teaching and writing with the potential results of those gifts (such as financial gain, personal recognition and a plethora of speaking engagements. . .). While contemplating just how patient I am as I wait “for God’s promises to be fulfilled,” I read this quote by Oswald Chambers: “Are you drawing your life from any other source than God Himself? If you are depending upon anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone.”
You will never know when He is gone.
If, for some reason God only knows, I actually find a place in the world where my teaching and writing gifts are the source of my subsistence, how will I balance drawing my life from God and drawing my finances from writing and teaching? Furthermore, is this the lesson God is trying to teach me so that when I become a “successful” writer, I’ll remember that God brought me here?
Perhaps I’m still not ready for “success.” This is where patience comes in.
Now, my friends and family tell me I’m a very patient man. And for the most part, I am. One friend, whom I’ve known for over thirty years, says I have a “Godly” amount of patience. That’s not always bad. But I can’t help but wonder if my impatience is part of the reason I’m still where I’m at.
In other words, I wonder how many Ishmael’s I’ve impatiently birthed as I’ve waited for Isaac to arrive.
In his book The Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley said, “Your talent and giftedness as a leader have the potential to take you farther than your character can sustain you.” Sometimes my gifts have taken me places that I wasn’t able to handle. Since it wasn’t the Spirit of God who directed me, then God was under no obligation to sustain me there. Impatient to see my gifts used, I’ve jumped ahead of God, only to get so busy working for the Kingdom I didn’t notice when Jesus left the room.
Now I’m spending more time waiting for God to direct me. Psalm 1 says that we are to be like a tree planted by streams of water. It does not give us permission to build a house in the desert and pray that God diverts a river in our direction. I really don’t want to arrive somewhere and find that I’ve gotten there under my own steam, only to be so active in busily feeding my Ishmael that I don’t notice when God has moved on.