Over the years, I lived in many places ordained by the hand of God. These were places that I loved, places that I liked and places that I did not want to be in at all. Each place was multifaceted in its purpose to help me grow in Christ. I didn’t always see it at the time but God is greater than me. I don’t discount anymore that wherever God places me, there are adventures for me, journeys in the spirit, and many lessons to be learned.
God tells me to settle in. (Please know right at the start I am not saying to stay in any abusive environment or relationship. Never, okay?) I am not only talking about physical location, okay? Settle into His plan for me, in whatever location I find myself. Whether I am in the desert in the Middle East or in the city of LA, He knows where I am at every moment. He sees me.
He always knows what He wants to ‘get at’ in me and His grace is always in abundance for the moment and season at hand. Grace is the oil that helps me move through the hard places. Without grace, I could not do it because everything in me avoids pain or suffering at all costs. Yet, it is in the suffering that growth occurs. That’s a lesson I learn each day, as I grow older.
God says to me, ‘Settle into the NOW. Trust Me. My grace is sufficient – grace to overcome, to grow, and to live. When the time is right, there will be another grace place. For now, this is it.”
And He said to me, “ My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJVS)
Let’s face it. It is hard to BE in some places – jobs, marriages, family situations, and even church environments. Any other suggestions? I am sure there are many facing you right now. God says to settle in – into what? Into Him – wherever you are. He is not unaware of your suffering. He is not mean, angry or vindictive. He is a good Father and a good Father allows discipline for growth. We don’t always get out and we don’t always get what we want. That is the message of the false prophets of the day, okay?
Today’s blog may make a bit more sense if you read “The Journey Out Is By Settling In” from yesterday. The Jews wanted OUT. God wanted IN. For God to BE in their lives, He sent Jeremiah to tell them to settle down and to live right in the now.
My life can often flow in a divine tension: moving between what was, what is and what will be. The past, the present and the future. My thoughts can flow into all directions if I allow them to. Grace calls me to live in the now for His grace is sufficient for me and Christ is in me. That places me in His rest but I also remember, I am human, not robotic. There are up days and down days. His grace is always sufficient for my life. My focus is to live in the now, taking one step at a time, trusting God for His promises in my future. I am learning not to get ahead of God by trying to avoid learning patience along with wisdom, NOW.
In the past, I discounted the value of my “NOW” lessons and wanted out. In doing that, I missed many opportunities that I can’t get back and regret always tries to pull me back there. I can’t go there anymore. It is self-defeating.
What do I do? I settle into the NOW, knowing there is a purpose to it and God’s timing is perfect for me.
Here’s my perfect example. When I lived in Abu Dhabi, my focus was always on the future, not the now. How to build a ministry. How to position myself so people did not forget about me. How to be in the mix with people in case they forgot me. In doing that, I often missed some divine opportunities in the present, living in Abu Dhabi. I did learn a lot there and saw a lot but I passed up several opportunities to travel into the Seychelles, or India, or Turkey because it did not fit into my focus of building a ministry for the future. God was in the now, I was in the future. For that reason, I often went back to Finland to stay on top of a ministry, rather than settling into the NOW in Abu Dhabi where there was an abundance of opportunities I missed.
Seeing this now, I often struggle with regret. I have many more examples of this weakness in my life. What I am happy to say is that I don’t really do this anymore. I am in the NOW rather than living in the past. I am in the NOW trusting God with each step. Remember, you may want out, but God may want in…..to your life.