Let me set the stage for this post: A few weeks ago, my wife asked me to clear a clog from the sink drain in our bathroom. It had been draining slowly for some time, and now it was practically useless. A day and a half later, we had no bathroom floor, a section cut out of our bedroom floor, and completely new plumbing top to bottom. So much for just clearing a clogged drain!
Working on the weekends as much as possible our 'little' project has taken on a life of it's own, dragging on for weeks. Such is life when working on a seventy or eighty-year-old house!
At the same time all of this was going on, for weeks leading up to the third week of January, I had been praying for some moving of God to give me a little hope for the upcoming semester of school. As usual, the means to pay for my classes were coming up short and I was worried that I would again have to delay my hopes of completing my degree. Despite my best efforts and my prayers, the start of the semester came and went and I withdrew from my scheduled classes for lack of funds.
Disappointment, yes... disappointment unspeakable, for
"Hope delayed makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life." -Proverbs 13:12
And yet, peace... somehow, peace. It did not come at first, and I won't say that I was not heart sick and perhaps even a little difficult to live with for a few days as I let my gloominess consume me for a while. But as the next few days wore on, I began to see things with a fresh perspective and slowly... ever so slowly... a sense of peace began to work its way into my heart.
Why, you ask? The changing of the seasons.
As I prayed and read my Bible daily, I began to see how God's providence is so much bigger that I am. I did not read a Bible verse that suddenly changed my thinking. I just began to see, in the narrative of biblical history, that yes, God provides, but He also knows the times, the seasons of life, and the deeper needs we each have. God knows the seasons and what they will bring long before they ever come to be.
I had no idea that this seemingly simple bathroom fix would have me up to my elbows in weekend work for almost two months, but He did. I began to understand that, although I didn't like it, had I had the means to start my classes this semester, I would not have had the time or energy to do the coursework. This needed to be a season of delay and dirty work.
Ironically, God used disappointment save me from further disappointment. How good it is to serve a God who knows both his people and their circumstances more intimately than even our dearest loved ones know us!
Sometimes, it's hard to see the forest for the trees, as they say. Believe me, I know how that feels. I have hoped and prayed for the opportunity to finish my college education for longer than I care to explain here. I won't share all the details, but suffice it to say that I have felt every emotion from hurt, to disappointment, to anger, to frustration, to sadness, to wanting to give up, alongside a few moments of joy and accomplishment. To this day I do not know if I will ever have the means to finish, but two things I do know:
There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven, (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
and, as the writer of Hebrews reminded us, He (God) himself has said,
I will never leave you or abandon you. (Hebrews 13:5)
I hope you don't mind that I have been somewhat more transparent than usual about my own life in this post, but the words just kind of flowed. Who knows, maybe it was just what you needed to read today as you find yourself in a season you do not like. Perhaps there is some purpose and blessing in the waiting. In spite of whatever you face today, try to keep your focus on Jesus, and remember,
He has made everything appropriate in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)