By Simone Gregor –
Ever walked an unwilling dog on a leash? Growing up, I had a ridgeback puppy who would flop onto her back when she’d had enough of being obedient – which was pretty much most of the time. Because we were almost equally stubborn, it would end in a tug of war. Usually, she won.
Sometimes my heart feels like it’s straining on a leash, tired of going in the direction it’s meant to go in. But unlike the victorious, smug-puppy-on-her-back situation, allowing my heart to give in to weariness and accepting its refusal to move forward has more serious consequences. Luckily the struggle of coaxing my weary heart forward is not up to me.
The world teaches us to fight our own battles, to be strong. The temptation to do just that is great. Our human perception of mercy and justice pales in comparison to God’s inexplicable currency of grace. Having studied law, I know all too well that legal consequences and obligations arise as a result of actions. God’s grace can’t be categorised within that context – He defies and redefines our perception of this. We were ransomed by the death of Jesus on the cross. What defies logic is that in return, all He expects from us is a relationship with Him.
When the hard things of life cloud my heart’s vision of this Truth, I have to fight unbelief. But He is always alongside me, reminding me of the promise in perseverance. Jesus set the ultimate example in perseverance – He walked the earth as a human and therefore faced all trials and tribulations that we face. (Hebrews 4:16) There was no divine get-out-of-jail-free card He could pull out when things got tough. Instead, Jesus fixed His eyes on the Father.
Sometimes we tend to focus on the problem and scramble for man-made solutions rather than focus on the One who overshadows – and overcomes – all of our problems. Surrendering to His plans versus scrambling to make our own requires patience. In this sense, waiting is a word of strategy. Waiting means reminding your heart of His promises.
In times of waiting, doubt has caused me to question my strategy of waiting – and caused me to wonder whether my prayers have been heard or whether they’ve disappeared like boats in the Bermuda triangle. But this isn’t how God works. He’s ever so attentive to our prayers, but on His terms, and in His time. (Psalm 66:19 – 20) Ann Voskamp put it so well: ‘Time can’t dictate dreams or hijack hope or determine destination. Time may have hands on the clock but its arms are too weak to rob anybody of hope, steal anybody’s prayers, destroy anybody’s joy.’
So in those moments when your heart’s unwillingness to persevere reminds you of that puppy I mentioned earlier, take courage, and gather your strength in Him. In His kindness, God wages war against the lies that make our hearts weary and cause us to grow discouraged. (2 Chronicles 32:7) As your heart is reminded of who He is, and His promises, it will be strengthened and encouraged for the journey ahead.
Picture by Holly Perrett