“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”

Often I am reminded of our Lord's faithfulness; especially during times of uncertainty. Even now as a storm rages and the wind and rain ponds against the window pane; I take great comfort in knowing who shelters me through the storms of life. It was God’s divine delay that paved the way for successful living during times such as these. But this realization did not come easy in the beginning of our journey together. Allow me to share.

After many years of practice I have come to deeply depend on the Lord. For you see to depend upon another you first must learn to trust them. And this was achieved when I made the decision to let go and allow God his way in my life.

Years ago, the area of waiting on the Lord hindered my walk with Him. Not that I was disobedient; more so my willingness to surrender control that included His leading and timing. However, yielding became a challenge to my flesh. It desired its own way. It is never wise to operate under one's own abilities. The Holy Spirit can only work within each of us to the extent we allow

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”

Spiritual pruning was very much needed at the time and was never comfortable. Why is that? It requires eliminating those things that will obstruct your fruitfulness and growth in Christ.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ...”

During my testing period I would mistake God's silence in answering my prayers immediately as His denial. His delay always has a purpose to fulfill. The ultimate goal is to teach us to trust Him completely while stretching our faith and establishing discipline.

It was God's unfailing love and an antique chair that taught me an attitude of gratitude for the changes to come.

My mother knew of my love of old things, especially antiques and came across a slightly damaged and in need of refurbishing a two-seat antique chair that was held together with only pegs (dowels, neither screws or nails). When I first laid eyes on the chair I loved it immediately, regardless of the condition. It is this way with our Father in Heaven who loves you and me, come just as you are, will he not accept you?

“Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.”

It was revealed much later that I at that time represented the chair.

The chair arrived from New York as a moving gift from my mother, who sent it not as one whole piece but in many pieces, with no instructions accompanying it for reassembly. I held no training in furniture building let alone reupholstery, so you can imagine my horror. The Lord instructed I am to rebuild and refurbish the chair. At the time I was at a crossroad in life where my wants had to learn to line up with His will and not the other way around. In months to come, God used this opportunity to dismantle, rebuild and re-upholster me into a new being in Him.

After a week of sulking because I felt the Lord was being unreasonable, I finally found the courage to seek His guidance on how to start this assignment. You see He will never force his will upon us; you and I must approach Him for all things. These were the instructions given: Remove the seating that was damage and required refurbishing; each piece of the chair was to be wiped free of particle buildup; gently sand each piece and re-wipe them once again; rebuild the chair and secure the joints; paint the chair; repair the seats with new padding and covering; and sit on it to test its durability.

Sounds simple enough?

Not quite; for I completed the task up to rebuilding the chair all within a week, and it collapses. And it continues to collapse for several more times.

Why?

I tried to find shortcuts to get the job done. How often do we give the lord just enough? He does not seek our partial participation in life. God's established rule requires our full uncompromised obedience to receive his blessing in all we do. And if unwilling out of love his divine delay will remain in place.

The Lord's instructions were intended to expose my need for him and my inability to live a victorious life without him.

You see, I had represented that chair, broken in many areas but repairable through the love of Christ. The particle build-up in me was pride. The sanding was Jesus creating in me a clean heart. I became a willing vessel who desired change and welcomed the joy of life. I was clothed in a robe of righteousness regardless of my history. I've learned to love myself inside-out as the Lord so loves me. And now I'm stronger; for my strength and endurance come from the Lord.

After six months and submitting to His will, I produced a finished product to be proud of. The chair came out beautiful and many years later my grandchildren got to enjoy it as well.

Always remember out of obedience blessings will always flow…

Until next time be blessed and go in peace. Shalom.

Bible references: 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 8:5 ESV; John 15:1-27; John 6:37; (Go to God) Acts 17:27-28; (love) Romans 5:8; (Pride) James 4:10; (Clean Heart) Psalms 51:6-7; (Willing Vessel) Psalms 51:8; (Righteousness) Isaiah 61:10; (Love) Romans 12:1-2; (Faith and Endurance) Psalm 28:7. To obtain the full benefits of each verse, please read the five verses before and after each verse.

Contributing Writer Edith Nevis can be reached at 857-2200 or at edith.nevis@houmatoday.com.