A friend and I drove past the golf course where I ‘golfed’ a half of a lifetime ago! He laughed out loud remembering my frustrations. My golf game was often more about grim resolve than joy. Not a natural athlete, I tended to be too much in my head, unable to find that balance between mind and body that some enjoy. As a consequence, I tensed up and hooked too many shots from the tee. On the green, my putter did not swing smoothly, but appeared to attack the golf ball. More than once I was coached not to ‘overthink’ the game. I left golf behind years ago but that same kind of tension still shows up in my life on occasion. As challenges come my way, I double my efforts. But, there is a part of me that understands that not every situation can be met with steely resolve or rigid strategies.
In Sunday worship where I am charged to lead His congregation into the Presence of the Lord, I sometimes take on more than I should. If I start to get tense, trying to make happen what only the Spirit can do, I hear those old words of my coach, “You’re trying too hard. Relax and accept my promise to be among my people.” Take a moment to let the truth of this text settle into your mind. “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift!” (Isaiah 30:15-16, NIV)
Are you fighting with something in life that defies you, that just won’t yield to your best efforts, that frustrates you? Perhaps this questions seems obvious, but “have you presented it to the Lord and waited on Him for resources?” God is perfectly capable of accomplishing His will in us. A favorite passage in the Word reminds me of God’s desire to do “immeasurably more” in me and through me! “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)
Could it be that we actually get in His way, that we make it so much about ourselves that we hinder the work of the Holy Spirit? Are we talking so much, thinking so hard, begging Him for an answer with such desperation that our hearts cannot hear His voice? Will we be quiet and listen for His lead?
I am not suggesting that we we retreat into resignation, thinking that God will do whatever He decides to do no matter what we do. The amazing and humbling fact is this – the Lord of the Universe works in partnership with us. Me, you, mere finite human beings are given the freedom to resist or cooperate with His purposes. Only the foolish choose to sit like lumps waiting for God to do something. Being lazy is unrelated to ‘waiting on the Lord.’ The Word urges us to engaged attention to the purpose of God, even as we remember that He is Lord and we are servants. “I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy.” (Psalm 123:1-2, NIV)
Let the Lord lead you, alert to His ways, attentive to His word. There is real rest found in a quiet heart. Instead of trying to wrest a blessing from His hands, we need only to open ours to accept what He was ready to give. Are you trying too hard?
Pause, wait, reflect, listen, give thanks, receive!
Here’s a word from the Word. May your soul sing with the Psalmist about the glorious works of our God.
“You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.
Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy. You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.” (Psalm 65:5-9, NIV)
Lord You have shown Yourself to be
Never changing always faithful
Lord You have shown Your heart for me
The loving touch of a caring Father
In ev’ry day that passes
And all the world’s distractions
Through seasons and life’s changes
You always remain faithful
To me with Your
Perfect love perfect love
Casts out all fear and shows me
That ev’ry word and promise to me
Will be fulfilled will be fulfilled
Faithful You are faithful
Faithful faithful faithful
Eoghan Heaslip © 2000 Song Solutions Daybreak (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)
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