• DANCE IN THE RAINLife is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.- Vivian Greene

in acceptance lies peace+

 

Turning the page of an old scrapbook, I am immediately flooded with emotion. At the top of Katie’s handmade card from preschool is the question: “What is your mother’s favorite hobby?” The answer: “Making meals for people with new babies.”

 

As I read those words, I feel my throat tighten. I’m not that person anymore. Years ago, I loved to cook and to take meals to people in need. But now I don’t take meals to anyone and even struggle to cook for our family. We order take-out often and my home-cooked meals are exceedingly simple.

 

But why am I crying? I have been dealing with this escalating weakness for years. But as I process what is happening, I realize that I still miss what I used to do. And since I can do less and less each year, I am constantly being forced to redefine myself. And I must find new things to bring me joy.

 

I hold this broken dream before the Lord and silently ask: “Lord, show me what to do with this. I don’t want to let this loss overwhelm me. I want peace.” Immediately, the words ‘in acceptance lies peace’ come to mind. They are strangely familiar.

 

The next day I remember a poem by Amy Carmichael entitled “In Acceptance Lieth Peace” which she wrote after a broken leg left her bedridden for the rest of her life.   I read it carefully, anxious to see what the Lord might be showing me.  In the poem, Carmichael details several ways, most of them futile, to deal with loss.

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  • September 22, 2016 - 7:02 pm

    Beth Paul - Vaneetha, thank you for sharing these thoughts. I was praying through these very struggles today. Trying to find purpose and value in what seems like empty or useless days since I have become chronically ill. Each of the authors you quoted in this blog are on my top 10 list of favorites! Good to be reminded of these truths by others who are walking through struggles. Blessings ~ BethReplyCancel

    • September 22, 2016 - 8:39 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful that the Lord used this blog to minister to you today, Beth. Chronic illness is so hard to deal with. The quotes in the blog were such a blessing to me and I’m glad they were to you as well. There is such peace in acceptance, but it often takes me a while to get there…ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2016 - 8:24 pm

    Shireen Jeyachandran - Dear Vaneetha,
    I am a niece of your Periappa Major Sam Victor. More than that I was your mother’s student in WCC. She was an excellent English teacher. Her love of the English language inspired me to take up teaching the subject though I did not “study” the same. Back home in India I coached students for their IELTS, GMAT and SAT and enjoyed the same. I am now in Auckland NZ with my son’s family. You seem to be able to use the language as well if not better than your mum does, to put down your feelings so forcibly on paper. You may never know how much your sharing impacts the lives of those around you. I am glad you have moved into another season in your life. I am sure the Lord will do mighty things through you and you will be Blessed.

    Love and regards,

    ShireenReplyCancel

    • September 22, 2016 - 8:36 pm

      Vaneetha - How wonderful that you are related to my uncle and you were my mother’s former student! My mom is a terrific teacher and I have learned so much from her. She definitely gave me a love of the language – but I think her ability to express herself is far superior to mine! I am so thankful that this blog has been a blessing to you. Thank you so much for writing!ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2016 - 6:19 am

    Elaine - This is such a timely written blog for me and others. There is a song by Michael Card with the following lyric: those who know sorrow are closest to His heart. I know that has brought such comfort to me, hope for you as well. Thank you so much for sharing and being honest and open. Blessings to you.ReplyCancel

    • September 27, 2016 - 10:45 am

      Vaneetha - I love those Michael Card lyrics! Thanks for sharing them, Elaine.ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2016 - 7:30 am

    Linda Swanekamp - This morning, as I was sitting here in pain, unable to sleep, your words are great comfort. I suffer from chronic migraine and muscle pain. Every treatment seems to make things worse. Sometimes it seems as my face is pressed against a brick wall, I do not know what to do next. I keep praying for a clear mind and the ability to do everything in God’s strength. It is hard to hold on sometimes and not despair.ReplyCancel

    • September 27, 2016 - 10:47 am

      Vaneetha - Oh Linda, I’m so sorry for your pain. I am praying as I write this that you will find peace and strength In Jesus even in the midst of debilitating pain.ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2016 - 12:51 pm

    Trudy - I’m sorry for your pain, Vaneetha. I know by experience the losses we go through with chronic illness. It’s hard to accept that we can’t do what we would like to do. But God. He gives us grace to pour out our troubles to Him and to rest in His plan. And as you say, the Lord is in our suffering and one day we will rejoice. Thank you for this encouragement. Have a hope-filled weekend! Hugs!ReplyCancel

  • September 24, 2016 - 2:33 pm

    Arlene - Good afternoon, dear Vaneetha:
    I spoke this morning at a ladies’ prayer breakfast at my church.
    I titled the message “In the Midst” based on Psalm 46:5, “God is in the midst of His people; she shall not be moved…..” As you had written, God is in your suffering and in your present life. He is indeed “in the midst” of His people. We talked about God being in the midst of our storms, deserts, and darkness. I shared a quote by Joni E. Tada that I would like to share with you in your present situation. Joni says: “In the midst of your own darkness there are treasures, riches, and rubies of wisdom that could never be discovered in the light of ease and peace. Needing God desperately will always make you wealthy.” Thank you for sharing, dear Vaneetha. This is not something you signed up for anymore than I signed up for being a widow. But we know that God is “in the midst” of our suffering, and will redeem it for His glory and our good. Thank you very much for sharing. I know God will continue to pour out His grace and peace to you during this challenging time.

    In Him,
    ArleneReplyCancel

    • September 27, 2016 - 10:50 am

      Vaneetha - LOVE THAT QUOTE, Arlene. Needing God desperately makes us all rich beyond compare! Thanks for writing, Arlene.ReplyCancel

  • September 26, 2016 - 9:44 am

    Kimi Gay - Thank you! This is the first time I’ve read your blog. I’m 51 going through menopause. It’s been hard. Just got married for the first time 8 months ago and my last cycle was on our honeymoon. God is good. Moved away from my community to be with husband who is a widower and living in their old home. Lots of challenges. This is Gods best for me. I’ve been failing in my attitude but now repenting and trying to find my way. Looking forward to reading more. If you have any resources, they would be much appreciated. I’m in Wilson NC.ReplyCancel

    • September 27, 2016 - 11:08 am

      Vaneetha - Not sure if I have any resources to point you to- I’ve read numerous things but honestly the Bible and the Holy Spirit can give you all the direction you need to make it through this new joyous but challenging season. God will walk you through this, Kimi, as you lean on Him. I’m praying for you as I write that God will make all grace abound to you.ReplyCancel

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trust unfinished+

 

I walk into the house and I’m immediately confronted by the mess in the kitchen. Cups on the counter, dishes piled in the sink, papers and mail scattered in disarray on the table. Though I don’t complain aloud, it’s clear from my exasperated expression that I’m unhappy.

 

My daughter sighs. She’s spent several hours that morning doing something for me. Yet here, in the moment, I still want more. And she voices what I’m sure she often feels, “Sometimes it seems I can never do it all right. There’s always something you’re unhappy with. There’s always more I could have done.”

 

I carry her words with me for days, saddened by my behavior. She is completely right. I often overlook the things she does well and focus on what isn’t right. And it seems there’s always something that I’m unhappy with.

 

A friend shared a similar struggle as she listened to her grandchild read. While she was overjoyed to see her granddaughter overcoming some of her prior reading difficulties, she privately pointed out to her daughter the areas that were still not right. And gave some suggestions to make things even better. Rather than rejoicing at her granddaughter’s progress and her daughter’s diligent efforts, she focused on what needed improvement.

 

Later, her daughter mentioned how painful that interchange felt. All of her efforts in teaching her daughter to read were simply disregarded because the end result didn’t seem quite right.

 

As I listened, I was sharply reminded of my own shortcomings. My desire to fix everything. My focus on what was not done. And then my friend said the words I needed to hear-  “I realize that I need to keep my ultimate focus on God in the midst of the unfinished.”

 

Yes. That was it. I need to have my eyes on Jesus rather than on the problem. To trust Him rather than fixate on what is wrong, I need to look at the whole situation. Notice what is right. Celebrate small victories. Dwell on the positive.

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  • September 8, 2016 - 1:47 pm

    nebonita john - Thanks for sharing this small experience of ur life….I got encouragement by reading this….god bless you.ReplyCancel

  • September 9, 2016 - 7:33 am

    Allyson - When I saw your name in my email inbox this morning, I felt like a dear friend had written me! I hope you rested well this summer. My daughter just started kindergarten and is having trouble following the class rules. I have been wrestling back and forth with letting God be my daughter’s God and trusting Him to continue the great progress in her that we’ve already seen. Your words today are a reinforcing reminder of how to move forward. Thank you Vaneetha!ReplyCancel

    • September 9, 2016 - 1:08 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful the Lord used this to remind you that He is ever working, even when things don’t look quite what we’d like to see. I need to remind myself of that daily!ReplyCancel

  • September 9, 2016 - 7:39 am

    Tamlyn - Thank you. I so appreciate your honesty, and can’t tell you how much of an encouraging and timely reminder this was for me.ReplyCancel

    • September 9, 2016 - 1:06 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanking God that He used this in your life- because He is definitely teaching me this in mine!ReplyCancel

  • September 9, 2016 - 8:47 am

    Keith Magnuson - As I finished my devotions this morning and turned to my mail, I was honestly heartened to see you name jump out. Your message touches an important issue in my life — learning patience and contentment.
    Your insights bring Christ to the forefront for me and I deeply appreciate the wisdom you share.
    Thank you, Vaneetha! I’m glad you’re back.ReplyCancel

  • September 9, 2016 - 10:02 am

    Arlene G. - Hello dear Vaneetha!

    I can’t remember how I first stumbled across your website. Perhaps there was a link on the True Woman site. At any rate, I
    remember reading some of your articles and being so blessed. I have found a new online friend and sister in Christ in you! I signed up to receive your blog posts through my email, and received this one today! By God’s grace, I, too, am learning to
    “dance in the rain.” In 2014 my precious husband of 31 years went home to be with the Lord after a 3 1/2 year battle with terminal cancer. I have also been struggling with chronic physical pain these past five years, and it has worsened this past summer. By His grace, I am trusting God “in the midst of the unfinished.” My story has already been written out from before the foundation of the world. God has called His children
    to trust Him as the “Divine Playwright” of our lives. What a merciful, loving and FAITHFUL God is He!

    Blessings,
    Arlene G.
    Ps. 73:25-26

    P.S. I so look forward to reading more of your articles as God brings you through your “story.”ReplyCancel

    • September 9, 2016 - 1:02 pm

      Vaneetha - So glad the articles have been a blessing. I’m sorry for all you’ve gone through and are dealing with now but trusting that God is doing something beautiful in you and through you. He is the Divine Playwright!ReplyCancel

  • September 10, 2016 - 9:37 am

    Effie Darlene Barba - As always, beautifully written. Your willingness to always share your life with such clarity and vulnerability makes you such a gifted writer.ReplyCancel

  • September 10, 2016 - 9:06 pm

    Carlene - Vaneetha – I’ve had a heavy spirit all week, struggling to pinpoint what was wrong. The Holy Spirit revealed my sin to me today and it’s exactly what you have shared. How timely and what a gracious God to open my eyes to the truth and then lead me to these healing words! Thank you for sharing your struggles with fellow sinners.ReplyCancel

    • September 12, 2016 - 4:57 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful that the Lord used this, Carlene! God is so good.ReplyCancel

  • September 17, 2016 - 10:46 am

    Pat - My daught forwarded your message from 9/8. Right on! Thank your for ministering into my life. Blessings to you & your’s.ReplyCancel

    • September 17, 2016 - 4:46 pm

      Vaneetha - You’re welcome, Pat. Thanks for writing!ReplyCancel

  • September 25, 2016 - 12:42 am

    Matthew Arntzen - Thanks for the beautiful reminder! Life’s been challenging as I’d lived with so much trauma from childhood that perfectionism became a standard I’ve always ended up running from all my life long with the booze and drugs…God’s opened the door to where I’ve been able to finally hear it’s okay to be imperfect and that He who is perfect can work marvelous things in my latter years. Thank you so much! And I can only credit Him for finding your page that had this message for me today. God bless!ReplyCancel

    • September 27, 2016 - 10:54 am

      Vaneetha - God does work wonderful things through our brokenness. That is the glorious truth of the gospel. He makes masterpieces out of messes so we can rejoice!!ReplyCancel

  • November 4, 2016 - 10:06 am

    Leah LaRosa - I’ve just now read this post and I’m so glad I did. This is me. I’m often torn between seeing the gift or the progress, instead of the mess that is so obvious in front of me. My son who struggles with demons from his past, has come so far in his recovery. Choosing to stop drinking and moving to a new town to be closer to family. But, I want more and now! (Can’t you just hear my foot stomp and my hand on my hip?) It’s painful to watch the slow progress. To see the mistakes he’s still making. To feel so useless and helpless. All this good advice in my head left rattling around and leading me to complaining and worry. God reminded me again today through your post, that He began the “good work” in my son and what I see may look like the “mess” of that process. I need to see past the mess and keep my eyes on Christ and trust Him with the result. Thank you for your faithfulness to write the words he speaks through you. Thank you for your reminder and encouragement to keep looking up. To see the beauty.ReplyCancel

    • November 4, 2016 - 3:34 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks so much for writing, Leah. That is such a struggle for me – and always has been. I write to remind myself of the truth and your comment reminded me once again. I’m so glad that Jesus is so patient with us all.ReplyCancel

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rest in unforced rhythms+

 

Rest.

I’m a huge proponent of it, in theory. I see its value for other people. I just can’t seem to figure out how to do it myself.

What’s undone weighs heavily on me. I can’t escape the feeling I’m not doing enough. My to-do list looms before me daily.

Draft a blog post. Call a struggling friend. Write a thank you note. Schedule a doctor’s appointment. Work on a talk. Figure out how to use Evernote. Plan a graduation party. Purge the file cabinets. Finish the girls’ scrapbooks (from 10 years ago).

I’m ashamed to admit it, but a good day to me is defined by getting things accomplished on my list. Not the people I’ve touched. Not the time I’ve spent with God. Not the things I’ve learned. Just what I’ve done.

But what am I accomplishing with all my busyness?

I had been sitting with this question for months, when a friend mentioned Jesus’ rhythm of life. He changed the world in His three years of public ministry. Yet He also knew when to rest.

So I started looking at the life of Jesus, how He spent His days, as detailed in the Gospels.

Jesus never seemed hurried, though He was inundated by people with urgent needs. Much of the time He was surrounded by crowds, with barely enough time to catch His breath. Events happened quickly, tumbling one after the other. He went from preaching in a synagogue to casting out a demon to healing a sick friend to ministering to the whole city gathered at His door at sundown. And this was just one day! (Mark 1:21-34)

But after this one day, “very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

After ministering to others, and before pouring Himself out again, Jesus left everyone and spent time with God. This pattern is repeated throughout the Gospels.

After John the Baptist’s death, Jesus said to the disciples, “’Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (Mark 6:31-32, italics mine)

Jesus knew that when the disciples were physically and mentally exhausted, too busy even to attend to their own physical needs, it was time to withdraw and rest.

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  • May 19, 2016 - 4:55 pm

    Anne - I was absolutely fine with your timely and encouraging blog post until I got to the part about your not posting! 🙂 Enjoy your rest! I will be excited to learn from you once again what God has taught you through your rest.ReplyCancel

    • May 19, 2016 - 5:02 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Anne! I’m excited to see what the Lord will do IN me during this rest. May your summer will be restful as well!ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2016 - 7:48 am

    Martha - Vaneetha, the words you ended spoke to the depths of my heart, and I truly sensed God was speaking right through the you. Your journey has been a difficult one, but I have been so richly blessed as I know many others have with all you have shared that you have learned through difficulty.
    May you experience much rest in every aspect, and may the presence of God encompass you with His peace, grace and mercy. He will continue to do NGOs in you:) I am looking forward to hearing about them!
    Blessing and much love.ReplyCancel

    • May 20, 2016 - 2:01 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Martha! Praying God gives you His abundant rest this summer…ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2016 - 7:55 am

    Laura - Your words are so true! Thank you for sharing your heart and the scriptures with us. Enjoy your rest and blessings to you.ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2016 - 12:29 pm

    Elizabeth - Your words are always so perfectly timed for me. This morning as I read your post, I told my daughter I thought you crawled right up into my brain and heart. We are leaving in the morning for the first family vacation in a very long time. My husband and daughter have been excited for weeks. Me, on the other hand, have only been more stressed thinking about packing, pet care, cleaning, keeping up with work and other obligations while I am gone…These words: “But in actuality, nothing is ultimately up to me. It’s all up to God. And He doesn’t need my exhausted, frenzied help to accomplish His purposes. He is inviting me to slow my pace, savor His gifts and enjoy the present moment without worrying about what’s not done. And as I do that, I make space for the things that are life-giving to me. I feel energized, creative, and open to new ideas. And my soul feels more at rest.” are what I am packing right after my Bible, journal and favorite devotional. Thank you for sharing your heart and words. Hugs through the computer, my friend, as we go rest in Him. Phil 1:3ReplyCancel

    • May 20, 2016 - 2:03 pm

      Vaneetha - I so relate to your struggle, Elizabeth. I find leaving for vacation the least restful time for me! But I pray that as you are away, the Lord will give you a sense of His perfect rest.ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2016 - 2:30 pm

    Elaine - I will miss reading posts but have something to look forward to. I am so glad that you are doing what you shared in this blog. Prayers of renewal, refreshment and peace. Blessings my friend.ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2016 - 12:24 am

    Allyson - I want to cry and protest how much I need your blog posts, but 🙂 that would defeat the whole purpose of this post!!! As an individual with multiple autoimmune illnesses that have crept up over the last two years, I have struggled so much in finding the balance with rest and serving whomever is in need in front of me- friends, family, my children, coworkers. I think Christian culture has fueled a lot of guilt and shame over rest that I have acquired into my faith. This post is such a great reminder to forget about Christian culture, and let’s look at what Jesus did. I suppose I will just have to spend the next few months rereading your previous posts. There are so many that are so precious to my heart!ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2016 - 1:34 pm

    Tamlyn - Thank you! Such timely God-breathed wisdom. I can see from other comments that I’m not the only one who felt that this post just nailed it. So many of us caught up in that cycle of the false virtue of busyness, guilt about resting, and total exhaustion.
    I’m very much going to miss your writing, because God uses your honest faith in such a powerful way and has given you a real gift for writing that touches so many of our lives. But I’m glad you’re doing this brave thing. I pray that it is a rich time of replenishment for you.ReplyCancel

  • May 22, 2016 - 5:11 pm

    Suzanne (princapecos) - I’ll miss your posts and I’ll be watching my feed for your (hopefully) eventual return! While you’re gone, I need to dig back into your archives to see what I missed before I discovered your blog. Blessings, sister.ReplyCancel

  • June 5, 2016 - 2:09 am

    Su - Vaneetha, thank you so much.Just what I needed to hear. I long for a rest. Like you’ve said,I’m praying for time and a place for ‘rest’.God bless and refresh you as you rest Vaneetha – and thank you so much for your posts.ReplyCancel

  • June 9, 2016 - 7:45 am

    Juanita - Enjoy your comment regarding rest. God will provide all our needs.ReplyCancel

  • June 17, 2016 - 12:05 am

    Terry - Vaneetha;

    (My previous post didn’t send). Anyway, it looks like so far I’m the only male to respond (!), but I just want to say that I’ve been reading your blogs for a while, and have always gotten so much out of them. This one, though, felt like you were speaking directly to me. You described me to a T. Such a great reminder for me to slow down, take time to rest, and have a quiet time each day with God.ReplyCancel

  • June 18, 2016 - 9:38 pm

    Martha - Dancing in the rain clears my mind and soul. A soft warm rain. Look up.ReplyCancel

  • July 5, 2016 - 5:41 pm

    Michelle - I found your blog thanks to a post from DesiringGod! And it’s so funny that late last year I sensed that I was just reaching the end of myself, so to speak. And I actually started to pray to God about needing a break. I found myself repeating that a lot. That I just wanted a break. The terrible winter was wearing me out, in combination with a difficult commute and work was tough and personal life stress. Well…the second week of January, following a bad snow storm, as I walked to my bus. I slipped and fell and I broke my humerus bone. For the next couple of months I worked from home and I actually got the break I wanted. Although not in the most painless way! But your post reminds me of where I can get a lot of the times…that constant need to see my ever growing to do list get completed and repleted.ReplyCancel

  • September 9, 2016 - 8:54 am

    Rani clare - Vaneetha, I soooo BLESS GOD FOR YOU! All you learn from your pain and suffering and brokenness…feeds and points the way to the rest of us, and so encourages and blesses us. I love the results, but shy away from the trials, tribulations and pain that bears the lovely fruit you do. May GOD forgive and have mercy on me!!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS DARLING, AND CONTINUE TO EXTEND HIS KINGDOM THROUGH YOU. with love, Rani xxxxxxxxReplyCancel

    • September 9, 2016 - 1:04 pm

      Vaneetha - We all shy away from trials, Rani. I certainly do! But God in His mercy gives us not what we want but what what will ultimately maximize our joy!ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2017 - 3:28 pm

    Richard Brown - Hey and thank you,

    You nailed it. I have been meditating and contemplating the unforced rhythms of grace for a while and wanting to get to grips with it. I am so glad I found this post. The funny thing is I do rest, I am very good at it but I like to ask my wife to rest better. I let her read what you had written and tears flowed. Thank you.

    By the way, I love the rain – very short hair!

    RichReplyCancel

    • April 23, 2017 - 4:51 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful that this was helpful, Richard. I honestly had to go back and reread that post and as I did I was convicted again about my need for rest. Less than a year after first writing this post, I’m still trying to learn the unforced rhythms of grace! I’m so grateful that the Lord is so gentle with us, and sends us reminders when we need them.ReplyCancel

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agony waiting God+

Waiting can be agonizing.

It’s hardest to wait when I am uncertain about the outcome. When I’m trusting God for the best, while at the same time preparing for the worst. It would be much easier if I had a guaranteed good outcome. Or at least a promise from God to hold on to. Or some reassurance to anchor my prayers.

But God often seems silent when I’m waiting. I have no idea whether He’ll ever answer my prayer, so it feels like I’m waiting in the dark.

I have read and reread Psalm 13: “O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?”

How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?

O Lord, how long?

I have asked that question many times. Waiting patiently. Waiting impatiently. Waiting well. Waiting badly. Waiting.

If I knew God would eventually answer my prayer with “yes,” waiting would be easier. But when the wait seems endless and I’m not sure if there’s any point to it anyway, it feels excruciating.

Even an answer of “no” would be easier than “wait.”

Several years ago, I went through a period of torturous waiting.

At the beginning of my wait, I had searched the Bible to find a promise that related to my situation. A word that I could “claim.” An assurance of the victory I longed for.

As I was waiting, I read in Romans 4, “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” 

While I admire Abraham’s faith, this passage often frustrated me. Of course Abraham never wavered. He had a direct word from God. If I had a direct promise from God, an assurance of my answer, then I’d be content to wait too. Abraham could wait because he knew he’d get what he wanted in the end. View full post »

  • May 5, 2016 - 9:24 pm

    Dora A. K. - Very inspiring post, thank you. However, wasn’t Abraham confident and rooted in the promise that Isaac would be his heir and that God would, if need be, bring him to life again as well as the Promissor? “He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” (Hebrews 11:19 ESV) Undercutting the promises of God makes faith in Him as the Promissor shaky.ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:32 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you so much for pointing that out. I totally agree that undercutting God’s promises makes our faith in Him shaky and I especially appreciate the Hebrews reference.

      I was trying to say that Abraham wasn’t clinging to his own understanding of the fulfillment of the promise. God could fulfill His promise any way He chose, including raising Isaac from the dead if He needed to. So ultimately Abraham’s faith lay in the trustworthiness of God.

      I am going to make that change on the post itself. Thank you!ReplyCancel

      • May 6, 2016 - 5:47 pm

        Dorah A. K. - Thanks to you for your shining faith as we make our journey home to Him who loves us.ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2016 - 10:39 pm

    Jacob David - Thanks Vaneetha for this beautiful article. You echoed my thoughts. I am waiting and waiting. No answer. “How long, Lord?” Psalm 13 has been my chorus over the years. All seems like wasted years. “Will you forget me forever?” Years have gone and no answer. Only pain and suffering. This promise keeps me going. “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”

    As you have written “Perhaps God is making me, and you, wait …… To forge our faith. To make us attentive to His voice. To deepen our relationship. To solidify our trust. To prepare us for ministry. To transform us into His likeness.ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:42 pm

      Vaneetha - Waiting is such a struggle, isn’t it? Praying with you that as you wait, God will forge your faith, make you attentive to His voice and transform you into His likeness.ReplyCancel

      • May 6, 2016 - 10:26 pm

        Jacob David - There could be nothing greater than being transformed into His likeness.
        Thank you for your prayers.ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 8:14 am

    Kathleen Owens - Thank you for sharing your experience on waiting on God. I too have prayed for some things that God has not answered. Rather He has not answered the way I desired Him too. Some of the prayers were prayed so many years ago, that the desire is not longer as strong as it was when I first made the request. However, through it all I know God does what is best for me. He does what is best for us. And I’m grateful for that. God Bless You.ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:45 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your distinction here: “I too have prayed for some things that God has not answered. Rather He has not answered the way I desired Him too.” I need to remember that. It is comforting that He always does what’s best for us. Even when the wait is agonizing…ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 8:18 am

    Elaine - Waiting is so darn hard, but verse 5 of psalm 13 is the key. To trust, which Abraham did and I need to be reminded of that. Thank you for the encouragement. As I read this blog several times, it made me think of my children when they were young. They would have a hard time waiting for the car trip to be over that they missed the beauty all around them. A good lesson for myself. As I have times of waiting, Lord please don’t let me lose sight of the beauty of each day and all your promises.ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 10:09 am

    Debbie - Through this article, God has answered the question I’ve asked every day of April: Why am I just waiting? March 29 my doctor called to tell me I have cancer. Since then it has been waiting waiting waiting. No treatment started. No specific plan. No surgery date scheduled. Just waiting. And now you have told me “Waiting draws us to God in ways that having answers cannot.” And that’s all I needed to hear, because I’d choose being close to him above everything else. You’ve reminded me I already have everything I want.ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:48 pm

      Vaneetha - Praying for you, Debbie, as you await next steps from the doctor. Your faith is a testimony to the surpassing worth of God.ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 12:12 pm

    Trudy - Hi Vaneetha. Waiting is so hard, isn’t it? Like you said, sometimes it’s easier to get the “no” right away instead of waiting so long and still getting a “no.” I love how you bring out that Abraham’s faith was not in the promise but in the Promiser. And this is so encouraging – “It was in those seemingly wasted years that God transformed him.” Even when we don’t “feel” Him, he is busy working for our good. Blessings and hugs to you!ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:49 pm

      Vaneetha - I keep reminding myself of these truths too. He is busy working for our good!ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 3:55 pm

    Mike R - Wonderful post, Vaneetha. Thank you. Your words captured my feelings and thoughts. As I struggle with my health and the doctors fail to find a direction of treatment, I am left to simply wait, ashamed of my lack of faith. As I read the list of heroes of the faith in Hebrews, I see that they died without ever seeing their faith fulfilled in this life. As I study Job I see a man that suffered more than I can imagine. And he had not a clue as to why or if or when. If he could have known what God’s thoughts were towards him, how much easier would have been his suffering! “God has thought so much of me that he has made an example of me with Satan, himself.” And while I don’t presume to suggest that any of us are the righteous man Job was, or that we are similar in our trials, his situation was the same–he had to wait.

    Thank you for remaining me of God’s provision. No matter how desperate I sometimes become, God sustains me. He gets me through the night, even though it feels as though it is insufferable. It is easy to fail to notice the myriad of ways that he provides for me. To forget his goodness. Depression sets in and God seems to disappear behind a dark cloud. Yet he is there. Surely God moves in mysterious ways. We are humbled and he is glorified.

    It is easy to mouth the words, “Thy will be done,” but learning to say them sincerely is surely only obtained through the furnace. I’m not there yet, I admit. But God is surely faithful. May I learn to desire his will more than the desires of my own heart.ReplyCancel

    • May 6, 2016 - 4:51 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks for writing Mike. Praying that you will sense the Lord’s presence afresh in your trials as you lean into Him. So thankful that the Lord sustains you, me, all of us, when we are in the furnace.ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2016 - 5:43 pm

    Joel - Hi Vaneetha, I saw this post on crosswalks before coming here. This is EXACTLY what I am going through and I had the same thoughts as you about Abraham as well. Really glad to see that someone else understands!

    I was thinking, maybe God didn’t say no to your request? Maybe he answered it in another way? I don’t know if this is being intrusive but if you don’t mind, could you share what was it you were praying for and the situation/circumstances surrounding your issue?ReplyCancel

    • May 7, 2016 - 12:24 pm

      Vaneetha - I can’t really share the issue, but God did say no. But having a “no,” while disappointing, is not a bad thing. I truly believe that God’s refusals are always His mercies- we just may not see why in this life.ReplyCancel

  • May 7, 2016 - 2:02 am

    the agony of waiting | what heights of love - […] The Agony of Waiting As I let that promise sink in, I see my waiting differently. Perhaps God is making me, and you, wait for the same reasons that He made Abraham wait. To forge our faith. To make us attentive to His voice. To deepen our relationship. To solidify our trust. To prepare us for ministry. To transform us into His likeness.- Vaneetha Rendall  […]ReplyCancel

  • May 7, 2016 - 8:43 am

    Jeannine Weeks - I adopted Psalm 13 three years ago as my “personal” Psalm. I,too, have wished that if God is going to say no, I’d rather He Had told me sooner than 3yrs desperate,gut wrenching praying only to still suffer great loss, questioning why, trying to pick up the pieces of a shattered life. I have been comforted by so many of your posts; weeping as I read; finding someone who GETS it.ReplyCancel

    • May 7, 2016 - 12:27 pm

      Vaneetha - Oh Jeannine, I’m so sorry for all you have been through as I know how difficult waiting has been. But my comfort has been that God sees and knows what’s best for us. Praying for you now that you will sense God’s presence and love afresh today.ReplyCancel

  • May 16, 2016 - 12:13 am

    fullmoons - Hi Vaneetha! Your column just made my eyes well up! Thank you for putting into words what has been a heart struggle for me for a long while. The only comfort I find in waiting is Who I am waiting for, not what, or when, or how. Though i would not deny that it has been a difficult time -filled with heart breaks and agonizing silence, I trust that the Lord hears the deepest groans of our hearts even in our silence. Holding on to His promises and love as I go through each day.ReplyCancel

    • May 18, 2016 - 10:13 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful that you are holding onto God and His promises in the midst of your wait. God is doing so much we cannot see in this often gut-wrenching process- that one day we will thank Him for!ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2016 - 4:14 pm

    Suzanne (princapecos) - After reading this wonderful post, it occurred to me that the Christian life (mine, at least) is full of waiting. I tend to get bogged down with all of the on-earth stuff I’m waiting for, neglecting the ultimate, the true hope that I have. Thanks for a lovely piece reminding me of God’s never-ending faithfulness.ReplyCancel

    • May 19, 2016 - 5:05 pm

      Vaneetha - I get bogged down too, Suzanne. So I wrote this post to remind myself of His faithfulness too!ReplyCancel

  • June 7, 2016 - 12:05 pm

    Kristen - Thank you so much for this post as well as so many others of yours that I have read. Waiting can be such a difficult thing to do. Especially when we really aren’t sure of the outcome. This post really expressed a lot of what I am constantly reminding myself and my kids of…our hope is in God, in who He is, and His faithfulness. He will take care of us!ReplyCancel

    • June 7, 2016 - 11:50 pm

      Mike R - God will deliver his saints. Not always in our timing and not always in the manner we desire. But always, and always to our ultimate benefit. What you are teaching your children is wonderful, and they are seeing your faith lived out before them. What a blessing for them, even if you visibly struggle to hang on. I think pf Paul who even “dispaired for his life.” O that God would give us peace in the furnace. I find myself reciting Psalm 23, which has become my most constant prayer of late. Praying for you and your children.ReplyCancel

  • June 11, 2016 - 6:55 am

    PRECIOUS - “……. I see that while
    Abraham was waiting, God was
    working. Molding his character.
    Teaching him patience. Building their
    friendship.” God truly builds our friendship with Him in the process of waiting. So we can have the right perspective on His answer after the wait.If He says ‘No’ We know it is out of Love and He has a better plan. Like our dear friend,if He answered ‘yes’ to your prayers you may not write this article on ‘the agony of waiting’. Which is as refreshing as an oasis in this desert-like-world where ‘wait’ seems like a cuss word.Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • June 15, 2016 - 10:50 am

    Cathy - Think you enjoy reading the poem entitled “Wait” by Russell Keller (google it), which summarizes in poetic form your steps of waiting (and mine).ReplyCancel

  • June 15, 2016 - 11:04 pm

    Michi - Amen. Thank you for stating so eloquently why God makes us wait. I am in a waiting period now and found your post encouraging and a good reminder of what God’s goals for us are. His goals are often different than ours. We often focus on the destination but God focuses on the journey.ReplyCancel

  • June 16, 2016 - 2:24 pm

    Caitlan M - Vaneetha, this post is beautiful and raw and touched a spiritual nerve just right. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You encourage me to do the same.ReplyCancel

  • June 17, 2016 - 5:01 pm

    Carrie Dahl - Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I cried the entire way through. The Lord gave me these words as a gift at the perfect moment.ReplyCancel

  • June 18, 2016 - 3:43 pm

    Crow - Thank you again Vaneetha for a wonder insightful article. How we all struggle with waiting. God does indeed use waiting to strengthen our faith in God AS GOD. We want to know so we have a sense of our controlling our lives. We belong to our Creator God. He alone is God and that is the hardest lesson we have to learn. Adam & Eve failed to learn it initially. Abraham came to see God as God and so could seemingly give up his long promised son because it was God’s will that mattered to Abraham now. It took many decades for Abraham to trust God to be God and to stop wanting to be God himself. The whole book of Job is about the loss of the gifts and submission to the Giver as God Almighty. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised” said Job, but only once he had made his argument and had been shown it was God who was in charge of everything, and Job had no right to be angry at the loss of anything for all is God’s and is from God, including Job himself. It wasn’t about sin, it was about Job recognising who God is and who Job is relative to Him – just as Abraham did. Even Christ wrestled enormously in Gethsemane before he could say “Yet not my will but yours be done” – perhaps his divine nature was wrestling with his human nature so that he was whole-hearted towards God His Father when the final trial came. While he was without sin, we do have a new nature and an old nature and they will wrestle with each other until we also are whole-hearted towards our Master. Then the blessing will come.
    Just one more point – Abraham did not have the whole of Scripture, replete with promises and truths about God, Christ, salvation etc as we are blessed with. That is why Hebrews speaks of our being blessed and of our forefathers wishing they knew what we know. We really already have the richest of God’s blessings in Scripture – with the Holy Spirit of Christ within us to inform our meditations. You’re absolutely right Vaneetha – it is in the waiting that we truly come to meet with the all-sufficient God Almighty who alone is God. It is the breaking of our prideful sinful nature that God would bring about in us (our sanctification). We need to learn just how weak and needy we really are – the hardest lesson indeed. Thank you again.ReplyCancel

    • June 19, 2016 - 3:33 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you for writing! Although waiting is hard, it is truly amazing all that God does in us as we wait.ReplyCancel

  • June 18, 2016 - 11:07 pm

    Faith - Thank you so much for this wonderful post 🙂 I have been discouraged quite a few times because I am unsure of the outcome and many times I imagine the worst outcomes. Right now I am in the process of waiting and your wonderful post reminded me the reason why I chose to wait in the first place: to learn to be fully satisfied in Him before anyone else and to be moulded into the woman He wants me to be. Thank you for an encouraging post <3ReplyCancel

    • June 19, 2016 - 3:30 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you for writing, Faith. Praying for you as I write this that God would encourage you as you wait.ReplyCancel

  • June 21, 2016 - 1:38 am

    Madeline - Thank you for your post! Currently, we are going to a “waiting” period and it is gut wrenching. We put plans in motion, but it has not come into light yet. Waiting upon the Lord and His timing is very hard. We want to jump the gun and do something in our own power…..but the Lord shuts that door also, which leaves us to turn to Him alone. We think that He will fulfill our prayers in our own time, but I learned that it is in His time. He has put us in very uncomfortable situations in order to help us be creative and patient .ReplyCancel

  • July 15, 2016 - 5:19 pm

    Tamara Walker - Thank you for posting this… It comes at a time that I am also ‘waiting’ in… 3 years of IVF, 5 miscarriages, countless money and time spent, and still no baby… And still we wait…

    I also ‘stumbled’ across this recently… It’s a poem I found that had also encouraged me. I thought I’d post it here. I hope that’s okay.

    Wait – Russell Kelfer

    Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
    Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
    I plead and I wept for a clue to my fate,
    And the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait!”

    “Wait, You say? Wait!” my indignant reply.
    “Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
    Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard?
    By FAITH I have asked, and am claiming Your Word.”

    “My future and all to which I can relate
    Hangs in the balance, and You tell me to WAIT?
    I’m needing a ‘yes,’ a go-ahead sign,
    Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.”

    “And Lord, You promised that if we believe
    We need but to ask, as we shall receive.
    And Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
    I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!”

    Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
    As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
    So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
    And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting…for what?”

    He seemed then to kneel and His eyes wept with mine,
    And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
    I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
    I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
    All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
    You would have what you want — but, you wouldn’t know ME.”

    “You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;
    You’d not know the power that I give to the faint;
    You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
    You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there;
    You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
    When darkness and silence were all you could see.”

    “You’d never experience that fullness of love
    As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
    You’d know that I give and I save … (for a start),
    But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.”

    “The flow of My comfort late into the night,
    The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
    The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
    Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.”

    “You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
    What it means that ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’
    Yes, your dreams for your loved ones overnight would come true,
    But, oh, the loss! if I lost what I’m doing in you!”

    “So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
    that THE GREATEST OF GIFTS IS TO GET TO KNOW ME.
    And though oft may My answers seem terribly late,
    My wisest of answers is still but to WAIT.”

    Thank you again, and may God bless you, your family and your ministry…

    Tamara,
    Emerald, Australia xReplyCancel

    • July 26, 2016 - 8:38 pm

      Vaneetha - That poem meant a lot to me during some dark times of waiting. Thank you for reminding me of it! Praying you will find God’s comfort as you wait…ReplyCancel

  • July 26, 2016 - 10:36 am

    John - I just reread this post. So good. I recently learned about the translation of Yahweh-Yireh found in the passage about about Abraham being told by God to sacrifice Isaac. The meaning is helpful to me: “the Lord will provide” and/or “the Lord who sees ahead of me” – so I find myself repeating Yahweh-Yireh as a mantra when I need strength. This is where I found it: http://www.hespeaksinthesilence.com/2011/05/yahweh-yireh-the-lord-will-provide/ReplyCancel

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