Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Progress Bars

"For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay."
Habakkuk 2:3
(ESV)

Recently, I took some outdoor photos, assuming I had the memory card inserted into our camera.
Imagine my frustration, when I came back inside to find that the memory card was still in my laptop, and the photos I took were stored on the actual camera where I couldn't transfer them over to my laptop.
"Don't worry, Mama.  All you have to do is transfer them from the camera to the memory card.
It will give you the prompt when you turn on the camera."
Zach was exactly right. 
As soon as I turned on the camera, the prompt appeared, I hit a button, and the photos began transferring over to the memory card.
As they transferred, a little progress bar appeared, showing me exactly where we were in the process and how much longer it would take to complete.

I don't know what it is, but progress bars comfort me.
They let me know that I am not wasting time—that something useful is going on behind the scenes and under the surface.
Even though my impatience grows if the progress takes longer than I think it should,
especially if I am in a hurry, think how much more frustrating it would be, if there were no progress bar proving that at least something productive is happening.

Don't you wish there were such things as spiritual progress bars?
Wouldn't it be nice if there were screens we could open and view little progressive lines in the center showing us how much spiritual progress we are making and how much more work needs to be done?

Wouldn't it be nice if we were able to "click" on something that would show us just how much farther we had to press before reaching our goal of Heaven?


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What about in the trials of life?
Can you imagine how nice it would be to know how much of the trial has already been walked through and how much more still remains?


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Waiting on the Lord, without knowing how much longer the wait will be, can be agonizing.
Especially if you struggle with patience impatience like I do.
Here are a few things I am learning while sitting "idly" in God's waiting room.

#1.  God's timing is His own.
One thing about progress bars ~ once they start, you can't rush them.
You can kick and scream at your screen and complain continually, but the progress is going to go as slowly or as quickly as it is designed to go.
I can still hear my dear Mom's words to me so many times,
"Cheryl, you cannot rush God.  God has His own timetable."
Regardless of how much I grumble, God will advance my time in the waiting room at His own speed.

"Though the mills of God grind slowly; yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"He hath made everything beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world in their heart so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."
Ecclesiastes 3:11  (KJV)

#2.  God is always working.
I may be sitting "idly" by but God is never idle.
However slow the progress may be, it is happening.
He doesn't waste a minute.
He never misses an opportunity.
The mills may be grinding slowly, but they are grinding.
"But Jesus replied, My Father is always working, and so am I."
John 5:17  (NLT)

#3.  Waiting produces strength.
However futile a span of waiting may seem to be, I always find out later that I am stronger for having waited.
Waiting requires stillness—a discontinuance of activity.
Waiting forces me to stop moving—something I don't like, but something that is necessary.
As I sit, waiting on God, parts of me that are so tired and weary from the fight begin to heal and be regenerated, and when God appears on the scene with the answer to my prayers, I walk forward with refreshed and renewed vigor.
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint."
Isaiah 40:31  (KJV)

#4.  Despite my misconceptions, the fact is, sometimes God is waiting on me.
Over the course of 41 years of living a Christian life, I have noticed a pattern.
There are times, in the waiting room, when it turns out that God is waiting for me to reach a place of deep-seated contentment before He makes His next move.
Sometimes, He wants me to come to terms with the fact that things may always stay the way they are, however unpleasant that may happen to be.
He knows the desires of the heart, and He hears every prayer that is prayed, but His answer may not come until I surrender my preferences to Him and, from the heart, I say, "Thy will be done."
It has happened too many times in my own life for me not to pay attention to the fact that though I am sitting in God's waiting room, it is, very often, actually God who is waiting on me to stop squirming.
"Then the LORD said to me, ‘You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward."  Deuteronomy 2:2-3  (ESV)

#5.  However long it takes, God is my only hope.
Turning away from Him, blaming Him, or being angry with Him is pure foolishness.
If God doesn't help, who will?
Who can?
"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him."  Psalm 62:5  (ESV)
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You."  Psalm 39:7  (ESV)
"The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him."  Lamentations 3:25 (ESV)

Physical waiting rooms are one of my least favorite places to be.
God's waiting room can seem even more difficult because I am a doer.
I want to jump right in and "help" Him out.
I think things should happen in a certain manner and in a particular order and by a personally-preferred and specified time.

God does not need my help.
God is omniscient—all-knowing.
God is omnipotent—all-powerful.
God is omnipresent—everywhere at the same time.

"God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him."
Jim Elliot

More often than not, when it comes to receiving God's best—waiting is involved.
The great thing is that it is always worth the wait.

20 comments:

  1. Powerful post dearest Cheryl. Each point was a great reminder that we need to have surrendered daily, minute by minute to Him. As we let Him have control He will accomplish that which He wants. I pray you are doing well! Sending hugs, love and prayers your way.
    Noreen

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    1. Oh, thank you for your precious, kind words of encouragement, dear friend! Your visits always bless me so much! May the Lord bless your richly. Praying for you faithfully.

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  2. Amen!
    What a great reminder and what an encouragement!
    God is our only Hope!
    I'm blessed by your post.
    Came over on Modest Mom.
    Linking for my friend Pam Blosser at JourneytoHim.com.

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Melanie! What a blessing your words were to me today! I am so grateful God led you here. May He bless you richly!

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  3. How Cheryl, do you know exactly what I need to hear in these devotions? I am such an impatient person and I am also “a doer.” God has had me waiting many times over the last several years. And on top of that, I am a natural worrier. That anxiety thing you know?! You have given me much to think about this morning. I hope all is well with you, Kevin and Zach. You’re all in my prayers daily.
    Many blessings my sweet friend,
    Betsy

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    1. Oh, sweet friend! I surely didn't know, but God knew. Oh, how we can relate to each other! The impatience, worry, and anxiety must all go together hand-in-hand and continually bring us trouble. I am so thankful we can fight together and hold one another's hands up in the battle. You will never know how much Kevin, Zach, and I appreciate your prayers for us. You are so dear to our hearts. Praying faithfully for you, too, and trusting God to bless you richly! Sending hugs your way today!

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  4. Oh my Cheryl, I so needed to read this post today! Yes, I often wonder on the progress of my prayers to Our Heavenly Father, and when (or if) my prayers will be answered. An actual progress bar would be so nice, but patience is the key and it's all up to God's will being done. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words that I needed to hear.

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    1. I am SO thankful you found encouragement here, sweet friend. You are such a faithful blessing to me, and I so appreciate your support and friendship. I am praying for you and sending hugs your way!

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  5. It's encouraging to know He waits for me, how patience. I think I trust the waiting much more then I did in my early years of walking with Him. Age brings a little wisdom and I don't need answers as quick as I use to. He has changed my heart into to wanting quick to wanting "deep" and going deep with Him is never quick. As always you pack more truth into your post and it all points to the only one who is worth waiting on. Bless you sister.

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    1. That is so true, Betty. We do tend to not need the answers as quickly as we get older. I like how you worded that—wanting deep instead of wanting quick. It was so wonderful to see that you had visited, my friend. Thank you for your encouragement and support. God bless you!

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  6. Dear Cheryl, God is certainly putting thoughts into your mind leading you to post just what your readers are yearning to see. It is a blessing that you have been given and you are blessing others with your messages. Have a good day dear friend.

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    1. Thank you, dear friend! Your sweet comments and kind words are such an uplift and encouragement. I am so grateful for you and your friendship! May the dear Lord bless you!

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  7. Oh Cheryl, I hit a hard battle last night that seems will last a long time.I was so hurt that my blood pressure went plum out of sight..This evening being drained from the fight I sit and read your wonderful words of wisdom..What a comfort it was to Me..Reminds Me we have to die daily.May God bless you and yours in a tender way.Keep up the good work.Alot of folks need you..Love Loads,Elaine Dunn Otvos

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    1. I am so thankful you found comfort here, my friend! Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words. I do trust you will see God's hand at work in this awful trial. Keep encouraged. Heaven will be worth it all, and your dear Mom is there waiting for you, cheering you on as she did so faithfully on earth. I am praying for you and sending much love to you.

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  8. Thanks a million Cheryl! Prayers is all I live on and I can never have enough of them..May God bless all 3 of tenderly!! Yes, I know Mom is waiting for Me and I get pretty homesick to go see her
    and Dad and oh to look on the face of My Jesus..I just wrote a song on June 6th The name of it is He's My Hero..And oh how I love and need HIM each moment of my life..Keep writing you are making light paths for others to see the way more clearer..Love Ya,Elaine

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend. You will see your dear parents one day in a land where there are no more good-byes. Praying for you and love you.

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  9. Great analogy! Sound and wise words, sister. Boy... I wonder of the progress bars would feel like my school report cards? They were less than stellar! You've got me thinking in many ways!

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    1. Wow, that is a great thought and question, Floyd. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement ~ I appreciate it so much. God bless you, brother.

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  10. Thanks Cheryl,It is a huge comfort to know others are praying and May the great God hug you all close this day..Loads Of Love,Elaine

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  11. Hi Sweet Friend! LOVE this! Such a good analogy!

    I was convicted and encouraged when you talked about how sometimes God is waiting on me. Yet everything that He is waiting on me for, He has already provided. He has not left us without a tool box to navigate life AND He goes with us every step of the way. You shared my life verse from Deuteronomy because indeed The Lord will never leave us or forsake us.

    Sending you much love and gratitude.

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