Monday, June 28, 2010

Waiting for the picture to clear up...

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)

I've known this scripture for years and I've heard it preached on for many years but I don't think I really understood what it means until now. (Actually, I probably still don't fully understand what it means. You'll see why in a minute).

As I've thought about how we wait on God and look for His plans, His direction, I realize that it is a difficult thing. I think we are used to a model that goes like this...I have a need. I pray for an answer. Then one of two things happens, I either don't recieve a quick answer and move on to other needs and stop praying for that one or I latch on to the first thing that comes along that might resemble an answer and I consider the case closed. Sounds about right, doesn't it.

Here is where I feel like the picture begins to get fuzzy. Recently in my own life I've seen some opportunities come along that looked very much like an answer to my prayer. They would have fulfilled the need I had at the time and they seem like very reasonable, good opportunities. So what is the problem, you might ask.

Well, even though my normal instinct would have been to jump on these opportunities like an ant on a cheese cracker, I felt something deep down that said, "Wait". I'm thinking to myself, are you crazy? Here is your answer. Here is your way out of this struggle. But I still felt that voice saying, "Wait." So I let that opportunity go by. This has happened 3 times now for the same need. I've seen a possible answer but it hasn't been God's answer. This is the first time in my life I have been presented with possible answers to prayers that I realized weren't God's answers. They were my answers. Man's answers.

I'm reminded of this scripture in Isaiah 30:19 & 21:

How gracious he will be when you cry for help!...Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

This gives me a promise to hang on to when I'm unsure about God's plan or His path. He will be like a voice behind me saying, "This is the way: walk in it."

Of course, now I'm really wondering how many times in the past I've gone down a path that wasn't really provided by God. I probably even gave Him credit for it and He's saying, "You came up with that one. You didn't wait on me. I had something even better planned for you. I had nothing to do with that."

So, where does the fuzzy picture play into all of this? Have you ever seen one of those optical illusions where in the middle of the page there is a small image, but as you widen your gaze you actually see that it is just a part of a larger image. Maybe you see a lion and then when you back out it is really a portrait of an old man? I tried to find one somewhere to illustrate but I didn't have any luck.

I think this is us as we are waiting. We finally get wised up and prayed up enough that we can see the smaller image. We see the lion and we think, "That is it. I've figured it out. I know God's plan." We accept that answer, good or bad, and then move on to other things. We are totally oblivious to the bigger picture - the bigger plan. Sometimes we need to wait a little longer. Pray a little longer. Be a little more sensative to hearing that voice from behind us telling us which way to go. We may never see the bigger picture.

The opening scripture said, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror." We may not ever see the whole picture clearly until we are in the heavenlies with the Father. And I think that is why we have to try harder to wait on His plan. If we go off on our merry way with only the vision of the smaller picture to guide us, we may take the wrong opportunities. Only by waiting on that voice behind us can we know we are taking the right opportunities. Staying on God's plan.

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