Sunday, July 23, 2006

People all over the world- join hands- start a love train, a love train

[Love Train, The O'Jays]

Church today was SUCH a blessing. Bible study with the other young adults was refreshing. There's something unique and special about studying God's Word among one's peers. I also love the couple that leads us. She's so tender-hearted and sweet, and she always applies scripture to life. He's dedicated to studying out the truth and he always has pages of notes because he's a diligent worker who prepares ahead of time. I really admire them and am so grateful that God has placed me where I am able to get to know them.

The service itself was also a blessing. One reason is because even though my church here is pretty much hymn-driven, today I knew almost every song we sang. I'm not saying hymns are bad, just that I didn't grow up in the church and I don't know many hymns which can make it hard for me to really center in on Christ and just worship. Usually I'm trying to figure out the words and where the note's at, etc. But today I could really just worship in song and it was wonderful!

The other great thing was that the sermon really spoke to me. It was out of Genesis 16, and the main thing I walked away with is that often when God speaks I take things into my own hands. I heard His promise, so I try to work it out. This is not an uncommon mistake- Sarah and Abraham did the exact same thing. God promised them that they would bear a son, and they took matters into their own hands by utilizing the servant Hagar.

The beauty of God is that even though everyone involved sinned (Abraham and Sarah for not believing God; Hagar for her attitude toward Sarah once she conceived; Sarah for her treatment of Hagar; Abraham for not keeping his wife in check and giving her free reign to mistreat Hagar) He still worked it out for His glory. He still gave Abraham and Sarah the promised son. He protected Hagar and was El Roi to her- the God Who Sees. He still blessed the son that Abraham ought not have ever fathered, as opposed to allowing Ishmael to shrivel away. The entire Arab race can trace their heritage back to Ishmael- and, ultimately, Abraham.

I'm not sure why this never struck me before, but I find great beauty in this truth: God fulfilled his promise to Abraham and Sarah by allowing her to give birth to Isaac. This was, however 14 years- 14 LONG years, I am sure- after the birth of Ishmael, and we don't know how much time elapsed between God's promise to Abraham and the birth of Ishmael. Therefore we don't know exactly how long Abraham and Sarah had to wait for God to come through on His Word. It was, however, at least 14 years. This is over half of my lifetime. It's a long time in many respects.

Frequently I know God has promised me something, so I expect quick payout. This isn't how He operates. I constantly remind myself that God is concerned with the process of working out His glory in me far more than He is with the end result. Without the refining process the end would never be reached.

I pray I would always wait on the Lord. Though He may choose to tarry, I will wait.