Do you pay attention, pray, and journal? Do you recognize when God sends you answers? Many questions to ponder yet, how many of us can honestly answer ‘yes’ to each of them?
This story stirred on a Sunday after church eating lunch alone in our sunroom surrounded by Bible, books, and journal. Reading, writing, and studying the Word are among my favorite things to do, so I keep books and journals in my favorite places around the house, at work, and in my car. Finding time to read, write and study, as would suite my fancy, can be difficult. So, I stay prepared with resources in place to enjoy my favorite things just about anywhere I am. Keeping a journal and book in my pocketbook give great opportunities to read and write while waiting. Many minutes in our days are spent ‘waiting’; make them productive by pulling out a book or writing a note to brighten someone’s day. Reading and writing in small segments of time give greater appreciation for days and nights when no deadlines or obligations ‘take me away’ from a few of my favorite things!
Finishing my lunch while watching the squirrels play tag in my backyard, “You’re Late Again, Lord”, a book – with a story – beckoned me to browse through the dog eared pages. This book was given to James and me when we were married. James and I sat down with our family before we left for our honeymoon and opened wedding gifts with glee. He opened one small package that brought laughter and wonder to us all. We searched but no name was to be found with the gift; thus, the giver of this awesome book remains a mystery.
It would be wonderful knowing who to thank, for this book, “You’re Late Again, Lord”, because it blesses me beyond words every time I reread it. The front page says, presented to James and Becky Vann on the occasion of their marriage – January 5, 2013… with no name on the ‘given by’ line. We kept the book by our daybed and read it on Saturday mornings while drinking coffee. James loved hearing me read and reminding me to be punctual! My sweet husband was always ‘on time’ and worked hard teaching me to value time in our two years together. Never meaning to worry James, I would be dressed in a flash and ready to go before he was. Yet, I would busy myself doing one last task before leaving home – making us late! Does anyone reading relate? Oh, I get so much done in those few extra minutes but am determined ‘in this season of my life’ to stop, depart, and get where I’m going on time.
Once, James and I arrived at Wayne and Lesa Moore’s barn picnic as the last guest left. James sat in his truck shaking his head and watching me humbly apologize for being late and appreciation for being invited. Lesa graciously gave us ‘to go’ plates while Wayne enjoyed tormenting and telling James he was a good man for putting up with me. James and I left with regrets for missing a great gathering and rewards of a good meal we enjoyed together by candlelight at home. We made a bad situation a blessing; a precious memory that makes my heart smile while remembering when!
Today, I read our book with reverent fear for God’s timing! His timing for all things is ‘spot on’…even when we wonder why things happen as they do! In His time (IF WE PAY ATTENTION) God will clearly reveal answers to the ‘whys’ and ‘why nots’ that can keep us living in the past with bitterness blocking our blessings. Letting go and getting in gear with God at the wheel is wonderful…even when we think He is late…again! Life is precious, fleeting moments. Enjoy each day with passion and purpose. Cherish loved ones who color your world with joy and keep you company when the road is long and nights are lonely. In His perfect timing, they (we) will be called Home.
Pushing my plate to the side, I sit back to read where the book opened, page 104 —-Pay Attention! The words pierced my heart with a message I am convicted to share with you.
“As you get to know who you are, you will recognize when God sends you answers. You’ll see that many times you neglected to use what you learned in the past, even though it was plainly there. The lessons are hard to follow when they are new and painful, but they illuminate like a thousand lanterns the ones to come if you will only let their clarity shine on your path. Today does not stop and start. It is the continuation of yesterday and the preliminary to tomorrow. It all continues for a reason.
The past will prepare you for the future if you WILL LISTEN to those lessons. One of the reasons we spend so much time stalled and waiting is that we failed to learn what God tried to teach us in the last similar circumstance. So HE sits us in the waiting room again and again until we finally get it. The signs are there, but we refuse to read.”
If you continue to find yourself frustrated in a certain type of relationship or job or other situation, perhaps it’s because it’s not who you are, who God means for you to be. You continue to put yourself in the wrong places and then refuse to see the unwelcome results as a call for change. Then, you wait through the pain and loss and confusion while God is waiting for you to find a purpose for it all. Your frustration mounts, and you can’t overcome it because you won’t stop long enough to pay attention to and trust what God is trying to tell you, even though HE lets you ask all the questions you want and will never lie to you.
The past isn’t there just to fill up history books. It is an endless spring of self-knowledge if you will drink from it. Before you go forward, you must look back and see what worked and what didn’t, what made you happy and what didn’t. Pay attention to your history, improve your present, unlimit your future. GOD has the TIME!”
Closing our book, I pondered many things in my heart. His Spirit settled inside with a sweet peace and precious promise; I was paying attention. God sees our hearts, hears our prayers, and brings good from the bad in His perfect timing.
I thought of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Test everything. Hold on to the GOOD” and I knew the Lord had not been late. The things I pondered in my heart were peacefully put in place and I thanked God for being on time in all things…even when we don’t understand.
If you are reading this story and know who gave James and me this special book, please tell them ‘thank you’…for it blessed us then and blesses me now. Going forth in faith, one day my (your) last chapter will be read and written, and He will take me (and you) Home too. God will not be late; we must be ready for this very important date!
Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.