I smiled at the gentleman addressing my friend and me at Starbucks. He was probably in his early 70s, had a large study Bible in his hand, and I guess he figured two “young” dudes like us might not know the legendary preacher from Georgia was.
“Yessir, I know who he is” my friend said, at which time the man turned and looked straight at me and said, “Charles Stanley said ‘When God’s says wait, it’s because He’s got something better coming.’ ”
I almost laughed out loud, as did my friend. We had just been talking about the craziness of my life right now, and how God had been doing some crazy things to confirm He was in control. This gentlemen had obviously seen my friend in the coffee shop before, and came by to say hello. Then he dropped the Stanley-bomb on us.
“When God says wait, it’s because He’s got something better coming.”
I don’t know if those are Dr. Stanley’s exact words or not, and that’s not really the point. What I do know is they were words the Lord meant for me that morning. In many ways, and through many people, He has been quietly reassuring me that He has this, and us, and that I just need to trust Him.
If you’ve been following along with us on this adventure, you’re probably reading this and going “Matt…you haven’t learned THAT lesson by now?!!”
Well…evidently not. I’m a tad hard headed. And I’m thankful that when my hard-headedness rises up to full stature, Jesus has such a kind and loving way of meeting me where I am and reminding me, yet again, of His goodness.
Here is a snippet of some of the things the Lord has done the last few weeks:
- I was sitting on the porch one morning, drinking my coffee (have you noticed the common denominator of coffee in most of these posts????) and praying. Instead of communion with God and quietly trusting Him, my mind was filling with concerns, worries, and what jobs I need to be applying for today when a still, small voice whispers “Trust Me…I’ve got this.” I stopped and sat for a moment…and then started to spout out my “but what about” when, again, that still, small voice whispers “Trust Me…I’ve got this.”
- Three times in the last ten days, the Lord has drawn my attention to Isaiah 30:18-21. Once, in my devotions. Then the same day, a text from a good friend with a picture of those very verses. Then this week, my sisters shared with me that she was reading through that chapter, and when she did, thought of us. What are those words, you ask? “Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.”
- Friday night, I received an email from a friend back in NC who wanted to share his own journey with us. Reading his story brought tears to my eyes, as it is the same story as ours, when you get right down to it: waiting on the Lord. In my friends words, as he was waiting on the Lord to guide his decisions about work and family, the Lord reassured him that, “When I step in, you will know it.” He shared with me that “When He steps in, you, and all of us who have been waiting, are going to know it.” That couldn’t have come at a better time.
- And then there was the day that some of the leaders of our church here in OKC prayed over me, and for our family. The Lord put words on their hearts and in their mouths that only He would know, things that only the Holy Spirit could reveal to them, and thus striking a deep chord within me that resonated on and on: “I’ve got this, Matt…trust me.”
And if that wasn’t enough, for the last three weeks we have prayed a prayer from Lamentations 3:21-26:
My soul still remembers and sinks within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
But one of the smallest, yet coolest ways the Lord reminded me that He has us this week was the morning He brought me back to Isaiah 41:10, and to a little note in my margin that reads “10-7-16 Thank You Lord“. You see, that was the day last fall that I awoke early to find my wife’s side of the bed empty. I went downstairs where she was sitting in “my” chair, curled up under a blanket, writing in her journal. This was a week or so after “The Push“, but we hadn’t taken any steps yet. I was afraid of what the “next step” would be, as I knew it would require my stepping down from ministry and from my job.
Amanda looked up at me that morning, tears in her eyes, and said “Matt, I don’t know how much more of this I can take.” Remember, this journey had started earlier in the year, and we had been through a LOT of waiting and praying by this point, coupled with a lot of clear signs that we were about to go through some major changes. It was weighing on both of us, but especially my wife.
That morning, I knelt beside her, grabbed her hand, and prayed. I pulled a Gideon, putting out a fleece, as it were, asking the Lord that, if I was supposed to go and talk to our senior pastor, I needed Him to make it absolutely clear. Well, long story a little shorter: I arrived at church for our staff meeting, and a few minutes in our pastor looks at all of us and says, “Listen, if the Lord is moving any of you in a different direction, please come and talk to me about it. I want to help.”
Uhhhhhhhh…we got through the meeting, I called my wife and shared with her, and then I opened my Bible to read in Isaiah 41. These words leapt off the page and into my heart:
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
And from there, this journey began, and as I sat at my sister’s table this week and read those words again, I smiled.
“Wait…I’ve got something better.”
“Trust me…I’ve got this.”
“When I move, you’ll know it.”
Ok, Lord…ok…my thick head is starting to get it. You’ve got it. I trust You, because I know You’re good, and I know You love us. You’ve reminded me again and again, just this week.