Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Good understanding produces favor.

Proverbs 13: 15

Unfortunately, I have found that developing a level of understanding that is actually good is not all that easy to do. There have been too many occasions when there were still parts left over when the midnight toy building session was finished, and some of those parts were too big and significant looking to label as “extra”. As regards wrong turns and frustration in trying to get somewhere on time when the directions were explained in great detail but I didn’t listen to those details; well, guilty is my plea. It would seem that I have been given far more chances to gain understanding during my life than I have taken advantage of, and my unwillingness to surrender my pride and to take the required time to listen and to study well has resulted in items that don’t work properly, time wasted, hurt feelings, lost opportunity, and damaged relationships.

Just as God will take all of the time that we require to help us understand everything that we need to function at a very high level in life, He also wants us to be committed to seeking the understanding that we need. In order to gain understanding of God’s truth, we need to get to know Him well; and like any relationship, it takes time and attention to get to truly know the Lord. We need to read His word in detail and keep on reading it until the details begin to reveal themselves to us. We need to talk with God and listen for His response; then, we need to continue to listen as He continues to clarify and to amplify the wisdom that He is providing.

Yet, when we take the time to gain this sort of deep understanding, God promises us that we will receive favor. To me God’s favor is an expression of His grace, for it is not something that I can pay for or earn, and it is something that He wants to grant to people in great abundance. Favor looks and feels like a sense of peace, joy, and contentment that comes from deep inside and that has little connection to life’s circumstances. Still, favor is something that other people will notice even if they can’t define what it is that they are seeing. Favor is to be worn like an exquisite silk scarf that compliments all of our best features, and it comes to us as a present given to us by God in love and in honor of our intimate knowledge of Him.

“So shall My word which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” declares the Lord.

God is known for His resolve; when He determines to do something, He just doesn’t stop going after it until it is done. Granted, the timing of reaching that finish line is also His to control, and that part of the entire process is often the one that seems the most mysterious and perplexing to me. For there are a lot of things that I am certain are the expressed desire of God’s heart that He just seems to take way too long to bring to completion, and either my attention span or my willingness to stick it out, or both, are tested beyond their limits of endurance.

However, that is really my problem, and, also, these situations provide me with a chance to engage in a little spiritual and emotional workout session. The simple truth is that I can trust that God really means what He says here; so, if I am hearing His word and perceiving His desire, God will make those things happen, and regardless of my skill, intelligence, or patience with the process, He will cause a great result to come out of it all. What I am seeing here as the greater truth is that God’s true desire is not about the situation, itself; He did not send His word of truth specifically to heal the illness, to provide the job, or to free the oppressed; rather, God gives us His word to bring us to Him. The Lord’s desire is fulfilled when people learn to love and to trust Him with all of our hearts and with all of our minds.

As we grow in our ability to trust God and to wait on His timing, His word starts to open up to our hearts in ways that it had not before, and the deeper truths that the Lord wants us to hear and to understand start to reveal themselves to us. I have found that as I start to embrace the fact that God will respond to everything in my life that is reflective of His heart’s desire and wait in trusting obedience on Him while continuing to act on what He has revealed to me, God’s word speaks ever more clearly and with a voice that is impossible to ignore.