In the quiet of the morning

In the stillness of the soul,
In his Word he brings us whispers
Of the things that make us whole.
As we read and pray and drink deep
Of the truth and wisdom there,
We’re given glory-glimpses,
Inklings of his heart laid bare.
~ Connie Storr

     Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  (Hebrews 12:3)
     Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9)
     Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix out eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2Cor. 4:16-18)

In our work for God, weariness and discouragement can overtake us when we are results-oriented, which comes naturally to us. We work toward a goal – helping, building, improving, teaching, etc. – and when we don’t see a positive result, we get deflated, discouraged, and even bitter.

But when God calls us to work for him, he wants us to be faithful in following his lead, and to leave the results in his hands. We may assume what the outcome should look like, but our ways are not God’s ways. We may well see an obvious result – perhaps someone turning to Christ and turning their life around – but we may not see any good or measurable result with our own eyes or in our lifetime.

What we can do is rest in the assurance that if God has called us to do a work, there will be positive results. These may have more to do with helping, building, improving and teaching us than those we set out to help. They may impact those in relationship with us, or with the object of our help, in ways we couldn’t imagine. This calls for us to trust that God does in fact know what he’s doing, and the recognition that he doesn’t have to prove anything to us. That’s why he’s God and we’re not. It’s about where we keep our eyes focused – are they on God and his wisdom, or on us and our results?

It really comes down to faith: believing when we don’t see, and leaving it to God.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, talks about how vital it is to keep our eyes squarely on God and put our whole confidence in him. Far from seeing hardship as proof that we’re not doing God’s work because we’re not getting the results we expect, James sees this as evidence that most of us learn the most effective lessons in the school of hard knocks, and that God has other results in mind:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2).

James wasn’t speaking hypothetically here. This letter was written in AD 45, a year after Herod murdered one of the apostles, James the brother of John, and was actively persecuting the church. James knew that despite the apparently negative outcome, God was achieving something greater and more necessary.

Let perseverance finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:3-8)

God needs us to mature if we are to serve him well. We are to be childlike, not childish. Part of being mature is to ask God before we charge ahead with our “good work.” Too often we ask him to bless what we’ve already done, sure we know what he wants. God also needs us to be complete in our trust in him, not hot and cold. When we don’t really trust him, he can’t really trust his work to us.

While it’s natural for us mere mortals to get tired and discouraged at times, we must quickly remind ourselves not to stay there. When we give in and cave in, what we’re really saying is that our God is too small, too short-sighted and too powerless to work out his purposes for our lives. The opposite is true; we can choose to live in the light and power of God’s greatness, goodness and glory.

Believe it. Leave it. We’re safe in his hands.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)