Friday, January 13, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - January 13, 2017

Today's Reading:

Luke 11:29-54

Genesis 20

Psalm 13


Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on today's reading:

Psalm 13 seems so depressing at first glance. Yet, it's one of the many reasons I really appreciate the writings of David - he's so REAL. It's not all rainbows and sparkle dust with David. No, the Psalmist had a walk with God that was to be greatly desired - yet he was very honest about it having up times and down times. There were moments of victory and moments where God seemed silent.

What about you? Can you relate with David in Psalm 13? Have you ever had God's silence stretch on for so long that you started to wonder if He'd forgotten about you? That's a tough spot to be in! But every Christian will experience it at one time or another. I call it God's Waiting Room. 

But, just as David mentions in the end of this chapter, when we have finished our time in God's Waiting Room, if we have been patient and faithful, we will find cause to rejoice at last. He will hear and answer. No, He hasn't forgotten us! He merely tests our faith in the crucible of His Silence at times. And there we learn that His Timing is always perfect.

One of my most intense experiences in God's Waiting Room happened in 2012. A man had approached my husband and I about the purchase of a gorgeous ministry property located on a pristine lake, here in Oregon (picture shows the lake and dock). The facility, a former church-camp, included a lodge (perfect for holding our ministry events, spiritual retreats, and meetings), some cabins (perfect for the people to attend) and even an amazing dining commons complete with a commercial kitchen
(see the picture). Since my husband and I host spiritual retreats twice a year and were hoping to start a spiritual warfare and Scriptural training facility, this property was everything we needed - and more. We were very excited about it! 

But much a we thought the property was perfect - exactly what was needed for us to do what God was truly calling us to do - we didn't actually have the money to buy it. 

No worries! God owns the cattle on a thousand hills - so we figured He could just sell a few and send the funds needed to do His Work. We were totally confident that He would provide the funds - since our request wasn't based in any self-interest at all. So we prayed - and we prayed - and we prayed some more...

Now, I should tell you here that the property was selling for a bargain price, which was still more than we had to invest! We really needed God to come through with the funding.

The man who had first brought this property to our attention was a logger. He wanted some of the back timber (he promised not to ravage the place, but would leave plenty of beautiful trees to enjoy). So, he was offering to co-purchase the property with us. He would pay half and we would need to pay the other half of the purchase price. And there was a two-month time limit. We had to have the money together in a short amount of time.

I've rarely prayed so much about anything - nor fasted and prayed so much - as I did about the needed funds for this property purchase!

"Oh God," I prayed, "You know that we believe You have called us to open a training center, teaching people to be spiritual leaders, effective prayer warriors, and lay-ministers in Your Cause. You also know that we host spiritual retreats twice a year - which You have also called us to do. This property is perfect for all that You've asked of us. Please, Father, send us the needed money. What is any amount of money to You? It is nothing more than a drop in the bucket."

My faith was great (and still is - as I know Who He is!) So, it sounds like a lot to ask of God. But it is far easier for God to provide money than it is for Him to save a lost soul - and He turns hearts and saves souls every day! So, we weren't worried about whether or not He could do it.

But the silence of God stretched on. And the days passed. A month came and went with no answer to our prayers. Still, we prayed - fervently. We were so convinced that buying this property would bring Glory to God and help the people He was calling us to bless.

We took many people out to the property...  friends...  family...  everyone who saw it agreed with us. This was the perfect property for the ministry Work God had called us to do.  Many even volunteered to help us staff the facility. Now we truly had everything we needed - except the money, of course.

We continued to pray. We fasted and prayed. In fact, I fasted for more days, asking for this property, than I had ever fasted for before. Still, God was silent. Time was slipping away.

The logger, who wanted to co-buy the property with us, began calling more and more frequently. Time was running out! We had told him from the beginning that we didn't have the funds, but we explained that we were praying for God to send them. And God has always sent funds in answer to our prayers, when it was needed. (We were inspired by George Muller's powerful testimony. So, we have the policy of not asking people for money - rather we pray. And God provides.) 

But, after all was said and done, the deadline came and the funds didn't. We were still sitting out in God's Waiting Room when "D-Day" arrived...  God had done a "pocket veto", saying "no" by merely not giving us the needed funds to make the purchase.

To say that I was disappointed would truly be an understatement. Devastated was more like it. How was it possible that God hadn't sent the funds? He knew what we planned to do with the place! There wasn't anything selfish about it! We had only asked it of Him to do His Work with greater facility in which to do it. I couldn't understand. And I cried, with David in the Psalm, "How long will You forget me, O God?"

Honestly, it took so much energy out of me, praying to the fervent level that I had been over this, I almost had no energy to pray. The wind was completely gone from my sails. My husband and I sadly told the volunteers that there would be no Lighted Way Ministries' church camp facility. The dream had died - and it had seemed to be a dream from God Himself!

Time passed. We recovered. And the property, which we thought was a "promised land", was sold to someone else.

It wasn't until two years later that we came to understand, at least one of the reasons why God had said "No."

A new family joined our Bible Fellowship Group. They told how the husband had once been in business with a partner. They told how that partner had seemed so trustworthy, but had actually been quite deceptive. The partner had financially ruined our new friend's business and had destroyed this family financially. Now, several years after the unexpected betrayal, this family was recovering. But never again had they returned to lucrative business.

To our shock, we learned that the nefarious business partner who had financially destroyed this family was the logger who wanted to co-purchase the church-camp property with us! When I learned this, my heart melted and I fell to my knees, thanking God that He had lovingly protected us from this purchase. Had we co-purchased this property with the same man, no doubt his backstabbing character would have caused much harm to our ability to labor for the Cause of Christ! Finally, I understood.

After that experience, I got a new perspective on God's Waiting Room.  His timing is always perfect. And, if He says "no", its because He can see the end from the beginning. God always knows best. And recognizing this gives me great comfort anytime I again find myself in God's Waiting Room. 

So, if you find yourself experiencing God's Waiting Room today, be of good cheer. His love has not failed. His watch-care over your life hasn't disappeared. His timing is perfect. His wisdom is infinite. So pray, wait, and be encouraged - He's got you, even in the Waiting Room.

Be sure to add a COMMENT on this blog, sharing with us anything you found meaningful in your reading of today's Scripture passages. We will all love to hear from you (please keep the Comment relevant to today's reading - Thx!)