Holding On/Holding Out (Holdings part 2)

“Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.” (Psalm 77:4)

What’s the holdup?

“Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but Thou, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: Oh save me for Thy mercies’ sake.” (Psalm 6:2-4, emphasis mine)

What does it mean to truly wait on the Lord? To align ourselves with His timing? One way to look at whatever lesson  He’s teaching is to see that the only reason you’re waiting on Him, is because you love Him and you both know He’s real and also that He’s going to deliver. Come to think of it, those are the qualifications laid out in Hebrews 11:6. “…he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” God highly prizes our patience. We can’t see all the things that must be in order for us to receive our miracle and I’d wager that we probably wouldn’t be able to handle that knowledge if we did see it. So until then, keep waiting. Be “content with such things as ye have” (Hebrews 13:5). God hasn’t forgotten about you.

Withholdings

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27)

When we wait on the Lord for whatever it is we need, there’s usually some part of us that needs to be retooled, fixed, overhauled or otherwise made more Christ-like. I find that the patience I show others is directly proportionate to the patience I’m willing to show God. As God is the deepest part of us, everything that we do with reference to others, springs from that center. When Jesus said “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40), He’s only telling it like it is. We are made in God’s image and remade in Christ’s because of our new spiritual birth. Any lessons we need to learn are to be learned prior to receiving our miracle. So be patient with others. Be kind and compassionate. God will put other people in your path who are just like you. Treat them the way you’d like to be treated, by others and by God Himself. A tall order but totally doable–with God’s help.

Strongholds

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” (2 Corinthians 10:4)

I’m not saying it’s gonna be easy. The years it took winding up the ways of thinking that aren’t in tune with the character of Jesus may in turn take years again to unwind, to unravel. God’s gotcha, don’t worry. “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matthew 5:23-34) Jesus lays down guidelines for interacting with God. A pure heart towards others is what God requires of us. Granted, some people might shut themselves off from your penance but God sees that you made the effort. And in that case, it truly is the thought that counts.

Holdings

Job lost everything. “The greatest of all the men of the east” (1:3), he was reduced to a sorry excuse for a human being. Betrayed by his friends, his wife, his community, even his own body, it would seem that the answers to his dilemma were on another plane. Not one of those who commiserated with him had the answer that would allay his suffering and bring him comfort. However, toward the end of the book (42:11), we see this fact made plain: “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends:” God will do for us what we do for others. All of Job’s wealth and status could not prevent his life from being turned upside-down. And much like Jesus, everyone seems to have believed the worst of him. But just like with you (should you be encountering the same), God will speak from Heaven and set things in order. The truth will prevail. Just make sure you’ve made yourself ready to hear it.

By the way, the second part of that verse from Job reads thusly: “also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” How would Job be able to handle the added responsibility of a double portion of what he was initially unable to retain and maintain? I’d say that whatever he learned by going through the trials he did, enabled him to hold on to the blessing of a double-sized life.

“Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah: To Him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, He doth send out His voice, and that a mighty voice.” (Psalm 68-32-33)

Advertisements

Hold, Please (Holdings part 1)

Holding it in

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (Proverbs 18:13)

There are all sorts of opinions we could level at situations and circumstances. Think first though. Do we realize that, were we in the same exact position—down to the atom—of another, we’d probably make a similar decision? And if that decision the person made upset you, then you get the wonderful opportunity of lifting them before the Lord and forgiving them. In more ways than one (though not every way) are we a product of our surroundings and circumstances. We’d do well to make sure we have the facts—the ones we can ascertain and obtain—before we interject our opinions. A broad statement, I know, with a thousand applications but this is what the above verse is referencing.

Holding our tongue

“They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.” (Job 32:15)

This is Elihu speaking. He was too young to back up his “wise” opinions and assertions with actual experience. But he’s referring here to Job’s three friends, who, in spite of their age and experience had not learned to judge with mercy, compassion and forgiveness. All they could do was berate Job for something they had no hope of understanding. Even with all their combined “wisdom”. Those who might hold a position of authority neglect or reject the spirit of the law in favor of the letter. It might look like you’re just slacking off and lazy and lethargic, but you’re really under some sort of spiritual oppression because of your faith. Did you ever think of that? Job’s friends hadn’t and it doesn’t sound like Elihu was able to fathom it either. Hold on to God and He will exonerate you in your silence. As an aside, Job’s friends were silent for, it says, “seven days and seven nights…for they saw that his grief was very great.” (Job 2:13) Maybe they could have waited just a little longer prior to piping up?

Holding back

“Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” (1 Peter 2:23)

There are all sorts of reasons to hold our tongue. To keep our mouth shut in the face of slander and accusation. There are right reasons and wrong reasons. By declaring our position, we very well may be “answering a matter before we hear it” as Solomon wrote. Best to use wisdom when faced with any lie that would seek to hinder us in any way, shape or form. When Jesus “held His peace” before His accusers, He was doing it for many reasons. First would be because His Father didn’t want Him to speak. Simple as that. “For I do always those things that please Him.” (John 8:29). And sometimes, that’s the level of obedience that God requires of us in certain situations. “Because I said so” is extremely offensive to our pride. If you feel no answer behind an acute implication of obedience to God in keeping mum, know that He has the facts and He’ll justify you when your time is right.

Holding our peace

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)

It can indeed be hard to maintain our equilibrium in this life when we’re accosted and accused for things we had no hand in. I think it’s happened to everyone at some time and if it hasn’t, it’s bound to. Assuming it has, it’s probably something you encountered as a child and among your peers. And for whatever reason, it didn’t just remain confined to that time and place. Take heart. The peace from God that is rightfully yours is something that you can give when you do choose to speak. That’s the key. Opening our mouth to spew venom back at those who originally tried to infect us will only perpetuate the problem. You want to see them in Heaven don’t you?

“Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” (Philippians 2:16)