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Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:18,21, ESV)
A few weeks ago, I was strolling alongside a newly-walking one-year-old. He had tired of simply watching the gymnastics lesson and wanted to try out some moves of his own. Instead of letting him onto the gym floor with my kids in class as he first attempted, I took him outside to walk on the sidewalk. I wanted to hold his hand to protect him from falling and getting yet another bump on his face. He’s gained the nickname "Bruiser" because of all his recent spills.
Needless to say, newly walking one-year-olds think they have the whole walking bit down. He didn’t want to hold my hand this time. He hadn’t asked for assistance, but rather, he had a taste for freedom.
As I grasped his hand and wouldn’t let go, I considered that all he was hearing was, no, no.
No, don’t pull away from me.
No, you can’t go that way.
No, we can’t walk into the parking lot.
The list goes on. It would be pretty discouraging to continually hear no when freedom, permission, and adventure are what you are craving...
…so I changed my words.
Instead of saying no, I began to say, Yes, this way. That simple change made the exchange more positive. Pleasurable even.
Yes, yes, this way.
You’re doing a good job!
Yes, this way, as I used my hands to gently guide him into a more favorable path and away from potentially harmful footings.
The focus on the positive made all the difference. Our Heavenly Father is the same way.
God’s Holy Spirit is within us saying, yes this way. It is up to us to listen to His voice and to heed His direction for our good and His glory.
God’s yes may first come in the form of many seeming no’s. However, the encouraging news is that God’s promises are all yes in Christ Jesus.
For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us-- by me and Silvanus and Timothy-- was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. (1 Corinthians 1:20, ESV)
We are in the process of adopting. For anyone already involved in the foster care system or private or international adoptions, you know the many hurdles along the way. We try to wait patiently and in faith as we walk the slow road of adoption. I am confident that God is telling us to trust Him and to continue to walk this way with patience and faith. However, I can easily get distracted by the many closed doors and unanswered questions, the no’s. He wants me to seek His strength and to walk as He leads me. I can choose to focus on the roadblocks and detours to our ultimate aim and live in discouragement, or I can give thanks for the small victories and baby steps as they lead to the birthing of our third child.
God wants us to count even the waiting all joy. He wants to use our trials, trails, and triumphs for His glory and our good. He wants to tell more than our story in the waiting walk of faith; He wants to tell the Gospel Story so that all may come to the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In Mark 9, Jesus is called upon by a father to heal his mute son. Jesus tells the man, all things are possible for him who believes. The father cries out, I do believe, help my unbelief. As a crowd is gathering, Jesus commands the demons to come out of the child. Ponder this for a moment, Jesus in this instance waited for a crowd. He waited so that His works would be witnessed by as many people as possible. Why? Perhaps, in this case, to bring more glory to Himself and the Father.
Looking to the next verse, the demons which the disciples were powerless to cast out themselves, came out with the command of Jesus alone. Why? The Bible tells us this kind only comes out by prayer and fasting. Additionally, before healing the boy, Jesus calls that generation an unbelieving generation.
An unbelieving generation.
Is that us? Are we so bent on walking without the guidance of our Savior and the easy yoke of His commands that we disbelieve God and put faith in only that which we can see, touch, and accomplish with our own hands?
Walking by faith means trusting the yes’s and the no’s of God to work out His good, pleasing, and perfect will in His good, pleasing, and perfect time. God always sees further down the path. In fact, He knows the destination’s end. And whether the destination is the petitions that we have put forth or not, He will use every step of the journey to sanctify us and to bring glory to His Name—if we walk in obedience and by faith in the One who has called us.
Walking in faith is choosing to believe God long before the finish line is in sight. Walking in faith is demonstrating faithfulness to show up and faithfully serve God with what we’ve been given. Trusting that if He is going to work the miracle He will do it using the meager offerings we bring. And, if He doesn’t, then we will live lives that demonstrate our faith that God is more than what He can do for us post resurrection. He has already given us all things in the sacrifice of His Son, Christ Jesus. We are called to walk in faith and with the fullness of faith in the yes’s of Jesus Christ.
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Brooke Cooney is a pastor's wife, mother of two, and foster-mom of one. To capture the eternal in the everyday, she blogs about family, faith, and lessons along the journey at ThisTemporaryHome.com.