There Always Comes a Light
*Psalm 37 NIV Version cited
Thanks to God and my mother in law for this lesson!
So, Maggie, my almost three year old daughter, still comes into our room three to five times every night. It is baffling to us. She runs herself ragged every day. We assume she must be exhausted! But, alas, she continues to come into our room, hover beside my bed and simply announce "Mummy, I'm up. I'm done sleeping." I think each time " How special of you to share that with me at (insert timeany time really, it probably has occurred then!)
So, my mother in law bought us the Good Nite Lite. It's a plug in night light. It is meant to alert children to when it is okay to get up and leave their rooms. It is dark into the morning hours here, so, it made sense to us that she came in because she simply did not know the rules, or did not know that it was the middle of the night. This light glows like a happy faced moon until the set time, upon which it turns into a sun. The theory being, if the child wakes up and sees the moon face, they would know it was time to roll back over and go back to sleep. However, if the sun face is showing, waking mum and dad is now fair game. It is time to get up. A great idea. We were hopeful.
We tried it, it worked one night. Then, the batteries died. But, this came with a backup. Took a few days to find it, and in the meantime, just sort of left it to God with the understanding that the solution would come to me or I would simply have to accept Maggie for all her spazness and just gracefully escort her back to bed each night. Never mind that I have a sleep disorder and sleep is essential to my daily functioningbut I digress. It worked fairly well that first night though, until she simply unplugged it. I didn't plan for that one.
I bounced back and forth between being the enforcer and being the graceful parent who shows mercy and understanding. I am much better at enforcing! Why couldn't she just get this whole idea that she had to trust in me and this light that I knew best for her. I know how hard it is for her to adhere to the rules, to trust me and to just go back to sleep, rest, and wait. But stillwhy did she have to be this waythat thought crept in every time I am ashamed to say.
Well, a few more days and a then a week or two went by. Had not gotten the replacement battery. And so, the night time visits continued. Last night though, it was God, not Maggie that got me up and out of bed. I could not stop my thoughts, my mind from racing. In part thinking of my mother who recently passed, and in part just thinking, thinking.and thinking some more. My thoughts came to rest on Maggie and how I was surprised she had not come in yet.
I figured that I could not fall asleep and so got out of bed and headed downstairs to catch up on my bible study. When I got downstairs, I thought, maybe I'll watch a little Charles Stanley first. The topic "Waiting on God's Best." "Hmmm.sounds good", so I settled in, ready to absorb. And absorb I did!
So, he starts off with Psalm 37 verse 4.
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
This passage has come up a bunch, so I thought, I'll take some notes. There is a common misconception among the members of the church, "Our Lady of pick and choose scripture" that seems to cling to this passage. It is misinterpreted as "God will give us what we want." They could not be more wrong. In fact, to restate it, it would say "Spend time with God, enjoy God, build relationship with God, and He will SHOW YOU WHAT TO DESIRE", meaning, if we truly 'delight' in Him, our very desires are changed to fit His will and plan for our lives. This is a far cry from the familiar limiting interpretation of God as the gift giver.
Dr. Stanley continued on with verse 5
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
Hmmm....commit my way you say? So, it's not just a divine smack down, but my own will that comes into play here. Okay, so, that makes sense. I tend to avoid and dispute Him from time to time; especially when it comes to trusting that His way is best. Okay, I'm listening Dr. Stanley.
He continues with verse 6-8
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fretit leads only to evil.
"The justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Oh, so there is a benefit to all this, something good for me is coming that is nice. I thought I had it covered up until now.'Be still' you say"wait" you say..oh, and patiently you , forte out the window. That is the toughest part, is it not?
I mean, its one thing to be in tune with God, to listen, and to be able to discern his plan and direction from your own human thoughts, but then to "be still and wait". I know this girl is going to need one large order of the Holy Spirit to comply with this part.
And then the second part of this verse, "Do not fret" Okay, the heaping portion of conviction is beginning to tighten my belt here. I do fret, and fret some more, and well, it does turn against me and leads to evil. I thought, "Why do I do this? Why can't I just know that He knows best, follow the routine and plan He has for me? I know His way is best, I know it is good for mebut, deep down, sometimes, His way is harder and goes against my instincts of restlessness.
I had to press pause on the TIVO and sort of take this in. It was all sort of coming together. Okay, why is He showing me this, why is He pointing out the difficulty in this to me now? I've been living somewhat victoriously in some areas, what is He addressing in my life with this?
So, the prescription laid out by God and so eloquently brought to my attention by Charles Stanley is this"Tara, you need to commit to His ways. Trust in His ways. Trust that He knows better than you. Trust that He has the end result in mind. And, not just trust, but then wait, and wait, and wait, against everything in my human nature. Wait and rest when I feel like moving, wait when I feel like taking matters into my own hands."
I thought about my walk with God, my dependence in Him, my confidence in Him. He had never steered me wrong. Some things took a rearview mirror to appreciate, but appreciate them, I always did after the fact. He is our Lord, our all knowing parent. Why then, would I act like a disobedient child? There have been times I felt drenched in grace after sinning and times God had to strictly enforce some things for me to get His best and intended purpose from His lessons.
And, there it was. I was tip toeing to God in the wee hours of the night doubting Him, boldly coming up to Him and saying "I'm up. I'm done sleeping and waiting". In a nutshell, I'M MAGGIE. His Word is my Good Nite Lite. I gave it to her, explained its purpose, set it, tucked her in, and then left her on her own. She then ponders it, pokes around at it, ultimately unplugs it, and then disregards it, getting up to do what she desires without a glance back at the light. She ignores the fact that if she would just wait, when she did finally come in after the change in the light, I would welcome her into my bed to cuddle instead of sending her back to rethink. She would come to see in time that sleep is good for her and she would then want to go to bed to get that feeling of being well rested and in tune with mum and dad.
Who am I to hold back grace from her, when I do the same thing? He gives me a plan. I am supposed to commit to it, trust Him, rest in Him, stop fretting, wait, and wait, and wait some more, until finally, it is His perfect timing and I can take action. Instead, I, like my two year old daughter, start fretting, doubt Him, unplug from Him, do not find rest in Him, and waiting is thrown out the window. I take matters into my own hands, rush in to things, mess up the plan, and miss God's best for me. And, it's in that missing, that I am not delighting in Him. There are times that my desires are not changed because I haven't seen the change that His way can bring. Sometimes I miss the "best" that He has for me.
This passage was why I was awoken, not by Maggie for a change! Now, I need to remember, that, when I do obey and wait, there will always be a light. There will be a signal for action. I'm so grateful this has been revealed to me. And, I am so grateful that he gently gets up, takes me by the hand, or in some instances, carries me back to my resting place to rethink. There are also times I have received a swift "Trust me, I said go wait!" Either way, it brings me one step closer to rest and peace in Him. And, now, in the times that I do commit, trust, and wait, the end result is so bright. I can't think of a nicer way to be woken, then to the sight of the son.
Thank you father.
I am currently living in Milford, NH with my husband John, and our three children, Caroline, Maggie and Jacob. I am currently a fourth grade teacher. We have recently moved back to New England, and I thank God every day for the blessing of being close to my family.
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