Faith in God includes faith in God’s timing!
I’ve given up coffee for Lent. Typing that statement sounds so simple, it’s just a beverage right? But you see, I am addicted to coffee. I guess to be technical, I am addicted to the chemical caffeine contained within the marvelous coffee bean. Today a caffeine deprived headache woke me up long before the phone rang, indicating the kids had another snow day.
So what is Lent and why am I giving something up? Lent is a season leading up to Easter. A time when Christians prepare their heart and mind for Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues until Easter Sunday. Many choose to celebrate this season with a fast. I chose to fast from coffee. This sacrifice during the next 40+ days pales in comparison to the sacrifice Christ gave on the cross for our sins.
I’ve been preparing and praying in advance for this fast. I knew the headaches would come, so for several weeks prior to Lent I began mixing decaffeinated coffee (gasp) with my regular brew. I also began praying for myself many weeks in advance. I prayed for God’s strength to overcome this addiction. I prayed for God to change my desires and for God to have me crave time with Him more than coffee!
The evening before Lent I poured my heart out the Lord in prayer. I wrote page after page in my prayer journal admitting my frustration with God. In the beginning on 2014 God planted the word “Abundance” into my heart and Psalms 31:19 “How abundant are the good things the Lord has stored up for those who fear him; good things to be give to those who seek refuge in Him.” Since January we have had nothing but problems around our house. Here are some examples: The heater in my car was broke for 3 weeks. The day the car was repaired, the tub drain leaked flooding the basement. Chris repaired the drain, but we still have a hole in the ceiling in the laundry room. Then our heat pump broke for 8 days (during the massive 18inch snow storm). And to top it all off we owe more money in taxes!
Be joyful always.
Give thanks in All circumstances!
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
All these problems left me feeling frustrated with God. I wondered if I had got my signals crossed. An abundance of problems in not what I was expecting! In the mean time I had been encouraging others to “bloom where you are planted” (see Planting Hydrangeas post) all the while I felt like instead of blooming I was being pruned back…way back. Lord what is going on?
“When you can not trace God’s hand
you must learn to trust his heart.”
I continued to pray even though I didn’t see God’s hand working. I continued to journey through the book of Psalms and when I read Psalms 50:10 “He owns the cattle on a thousand hill.” I actually prayed, the evening before Lent, “God to sell some of your cattle for us.” Also the evening before Lent, I researched prayer and fasting and wrote these verses in my prayer journal:
Jesus said “I revealed something: There is a level of difficulty in life
that will only win with prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21
“So we fasted and prayed to God about our difficulty and he answered our prayer.” Ezra 8:23
This morning my friend sent me a text message that read “I read Psalm 50:10 and thought about you.” I knew I had recently read that verse but I couldn’t recall what it said. I looked it up and saw the words “The Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hill.” My friend did not know I actually prayed for God to sell some of His cattle. Could He have possibly….. I raced to the computer and logged into the bank website. Sure enough God sold some cattle and the profits are in our bank account! Only God!
Faith in God includes faith in his timing!
It took a long time before I could get my face off the carpet this morning as tears mixed with praise! I wrote in my prayer journal explaining to God our situation and why He is so good! (By-the-way He already knows our situation and He knows he is good, but God wants to hear it from us.) I reminded God that on March 4, the day before Lent, I thanked him in advance for what He was going to do during this fast. I thanked God for opening up the flood gates of my heart and it is only the 3rd day of Lent.
Third day. The significance of that is not lost on me. The reason we celebrate Easter is because of God’s work on the 3rd day- the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
I am filled with an abundance of hope today! It is only the 3rd day of Lent and I wonder what other surprises does God have up his sleeve for those who seek refuge in Him?
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12