Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Faithfulness of God

I'm amazed. I know that God is faithful and good, and that He answers prayers. Yet, in this moment, I am once again awed by how precisely He works, how perfectly His timing is made clear, how elegantly His plans come to fruition. I am particularly confounded by the manner in which He has worked our prayers into His plans: how He positively delights in answering them, and is not slow to do so, but rather in the precise time that is right answers them perfectly.

Just over two weeks ago, I was riding a train to Ft. Worth to visit my beloved Jaimie. On the ride down, I wrote the final entry in a journal I began nearly three years ago (October of 2005, early in my freshman year of college). After finishing it, I began to reread the journal slowly and contemplatively, meditating on all that God had done and indeed is still doing in me: in my life, in my heart, in my knowledge of and walk with Him. In so doing, I crossed paths with the work he was doing in me last spring. And, thanks to the gracious prompting of the Holy Spirit, both then (having me write a few short but important phrases) and now (having me reread those at that precise time), I realized once more that that work is ongoing.

God began breaking down my misplaced pride a very long time ago, but it was last year that I truly began to see it as something not merely bad but truly evil: for the first time He made clear to me, in the fruit of that sin, just how vile it is and how much destruction it reaps. And He worked fiercely to destroy a great deal of that. In the same stretch of time, He radically dealt with my words. He has given us all a very great gift: we have power in what we speak, power to build up or to break down those around us. We have a great responsibility to do rightly with our words - and He began to show me more fully what that required of me.

The correlation between the work He did in me last spring and the opening of my eyes to many, many more things last summer is a direct one.

In my reading through those entries, the Holy Spirit reminded me of what He said to me then: the work didn't stop after spring break 2007. It was to continue. And so I asked, "Lord, continue to break me of these things. Continue to destroy pride in me; continue to teach me to speak only in ways that edify and build up."

Within the next 24 hours, He was doing precisely that. He presented opportunity after opportunity for me to choose how to speak. He began working through Jaimie to bring conviction about particular phrases, expressions, etc. that are less than edifying - and then for us to work together to eliminate them.

And that same weekend He brought up situations that, though less than perfect themselves, are very much His perfect way of exposing in new and deeper ways the pride that still remains in my heart. In the past four days, He has been steadily and faithfully exposing that pride, showing it for what it is, making clear just how dark and disgusting that festering rot is. He has spoken perfectly clearly - through Jaimie, through books I've read, and especially through His word.

That last is the reason for this note. I often try to read from Proverbs every day: there is much simple (yet so profound) wisdom to be had there. Yesterday, after spending the previous night deeply praying for God to break my heart more about pride and to continue to break through, I read in Proverbs 11. It's one of only four chapters in the book where God specifically addresses pride - and one of the four well-known verses where God indicates that pride leads to destruction, but humility to life and honor. Coincidence? Not likely. He orchestrated events in my life just so, in order that it would line up and I would be where I needed to be in studying Scripture at the right time. And today, as I continued to press in, gladdened by my heart's joyful response to conviction, I read in Proverbs 12. The second verse struck me profoundly: Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. It was as though God had chosen to speak directly to me to encourage me to continue pressing on, to continue delighting in His discipline and sanctification. (And it is not merely "as if" He had done that: being the great and awesome God that He is, He did do that, through a passage that has undoubtedly spoken to millions of others throughout the millennia.)

I am reminded, as I consider the perfection of His timing, of the words that Tolkien put in Gandalf's mouth: "A wizard is never late. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to." Wizards may not be, and they may not be so punctual - but God is, and He is perfectly punctual, arriving exactly when He means to, and thus exactly when He needs to.

- Chris

1 comment:

  1. Was it Jamin that shared a couple weeks ago, "God is always on time, but He's rarely early."

    It is a glorious privilege to see God's hand at work - in ourselves and in others.



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