I don’t pretend to get many words from God but I do sometimes come across a feeling or an inspiration or an opening up that makes sense and is surprising and doesn’t seem to come from my limited thoughts.
Three words have come to me recently and they have given me a way to pray every morning. The words are Forgive – Love – Wait. I use them in sequence.
It doesn’t take long for hurts, shame, frustrations, and disappointments to arrive every morning when I wake up. I know when that happens that it is time for me to forgive. I have to forgive myself, those close to me who have hurt me, and even people I might not have even met who spark my ire that I need to forgive. Then, I love.
This one is hard because how do you love someone that you don’t even know or someone that wouldn’t appreciate and accept common efforts of love. How do you love yourself? If love is an act of the will and not a warm fuzzy then love in each situation may look different and it can be difficult to discern what those acts should look like. But waiting is the word that has been the hardest for me.
I have had seasons in my life where situations and problems needed to be waited out or progress was slow in coming. But, lately, it seems that every situation I find myself in requires an excruciating amount of waiting with little to show for it. I am not used to all of this waiting and at times it seems torturous and cruel. But I think that is why God has brought that word to my attention and wants me to be intentional about waiting, even embracing it. If I don’t embrace waiting and even pray for the ability to wait and for God’s will to be done in the waiting then I can get easily anxious and frantic and let the waiting consume me. God is teaching me to slow down and let Him do his work. I need to wait for the best God has for me rather than the quick fix that will not satisfy.
These three words have given me a structure to pray each day and I thrive on structure. The word forgive reminds me over and over that letting go of things that have hurt me is the only way to walk in the Fruits of the Spirit. Hanging on to bitterness and loss only closes life in around me instead of opening me up to love. The sequence is important to me here, as forgiveness leads to love and love to forgiveness. The word wait is not what I want to do but if I don’t make it a practice and lean into it then it will push me to rush things and skip steps and take matters into my own hands. That is not a recipe for avoiding sin. I need to be reminded of characters in the Bible who waited and persevered for decades and their faith didn’t waiver.
Lately, this passage has spoken to my desire to forgive – love – wait.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”