Gracefully Truthful

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Read His Words Before Ours!

Isaiah 43:19
John 11:1-45
Colossians 3:23-24

“If only there were 30 hours in a day, I could get everything done.”
Sound familiar, Sister?

I’ve had this conversation countless times with other women, women in every stage of adult life. I remember so clearly when the lazy days of my childhood stretched out endlessly before me, ripe with infinite possibilities. But as I stepped toward adulthood, someone hit fast forward and my life became hurried and I became harried.

How many times have we run through our mental to-do lists for the 800th time and found ourselves on the brink of tears, swallowing desperately the panicked explosion, “I can’t do EVERYTHING!”? Or perhaps, “I can’t BE everything!”
Sweet friend, this is me.
More often and more painfully than I care to admit.
And some days, the entire episode ends in a heaping helping of condemnation and shame before I rush on. But other days, when awareness penetrates the emotion and I stop and listen, I hear Him reminding me,
“I haven’t asked you to do EVERYTHING. I haven’t asked you to BE everything.
Even good things. Even for our families, and our jobs, and our communities.
Even for the church, and the kingdom.
He hasn’t asked me, and He hasn’t asked YOU, to do ALL of them.
To BE all of them.

But we know from His word that He does have callings He’s placed on our lives.
We also know that some of these can change, as old seasons draw to a close and new ones unfurl. So when we find ourselves drowning in a sea of overwhelmed and overcommitted, let’s try something simple yet revolutionary.
Let’s talk to Him about it.

What are You calling me to do . . . who are You calling me to be . . . in this season?
We may need to gracefully step back from former roles and tasks. Or we may need to tell others, “Not yet,” with faith that when the fullness of time arrives, He will fulfill those desires and dreams.
When we are able to identify and partner with His will for the now, we find strength and passion to carry out His work wholeheartedly.

We find time to be intentional,
to give and to be our best.
We find time to rest.
We find time.

But hang on . . . could He really be showing me how to effectively work for His kingdom by slowing down and perhaps saying “not anymore” or “not yet” to good, even ministry-based opportunities? As I wrestled with this question, He brought the story of Lazarus to my mind. Lazarus was Jesus’s dear friend, and when Lazarus fell ill, his family sent word to Jesus (who was ministering elsewhere), asking Jesus to come quickly and heal Lazarus.

A request for help from a close friend – surely this is a good thing to do!
An opportunity to demonstrate the power of God through healing – surely this is a perfect avenue for ministry!
But Jesus doesn’t come.
At least, not right away.
His pace has a different focus.  

It’s two days before He journeys to Judea, and during the waiting, Lazarus dies.
So why wait?
He could have dropped everything and rushed to Lazarus. By all appearances, that was the right and good and holy thing to do. But I believe that He didn’t, for two reasons.
First, He knew there was work still to be done where He was. Departing immediately would have left the purposes of God for those people and in that place unfulfilled. However, when the fullness of time did arrive, He left. He closed the door on that season, because God had a new work for Him to do.
Second, He chose that which was most impactful in furthering the kingdom.
In John 11:4 and again in verse 42, He makes His intention clear: He is acting for the greatest glory of God, so that those around Him will believe.

Which is the more powerful testimony?
“Yeah, I heard Lazarus was a bit under the weather. But he’s doing better now, right?”
Or
“Lazarus was dead. I watched Jesus pray. And now Lazarus is alive.”

Jesus knew that hurrying to heal Lazarus from sickness would have been good. But He also knew that finishing His former work, then following God’s direction to move on to raise Lazarus from death was best.

So dear friend, rather than rushing to fight time, let’s choose to seek the Father’s guidance, step into His pace, and operate in the fullness of time. Let’s find the courage to say “not anymore” or “not yet,” leaving space for rest. Like Him, let’s choose to be intentional with our commitments, so we can give and be our best, letting Him choose what brings the greatest glory to God!

 

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