The other day I was preparing to take our dogs to a local wilderness area to walk and play. They love running on the trails, chasing each other, rolling in the grass, and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. During my preparations I was delayed by some other matters. The dogs both knew what I was getting ready for and became excited to “go to the field” as we call it. I promised them we would go by the words I spoke and they acknowledged they understood with wagging tails and leaps of excitement. The truth of the delay in fulfilling my promise was not that I no longer desired to bring them to the field, there were just some other matters I needed to attend to first before setting off on this adventure.
Riley seemed to content himself with the delay, removed a bone from the bone basket, and sat on the foyer rug happily gnawing on it. He knew we were going for I had gotten the water dish we bring to the field out and set it by the sink to fill. He chewed his bone but each time I passed by the dish he stopped, watched carefully to see if I would pick it up and fill it and load it in the car or just pass by. He was satisfied to wait and trusted I would fulfill my promise at just the right time. Conversely, Madison did not enjoy the waiting. She followed me around the house whining, and then eventually threw herself on her bed and let out a sigh of exasperation. She appeared to be given to despair and evidenced trust at my word to her. In her own way she continued to ask and beg me to take her to the field even after I already said I would. Madison did not enjoy the wait, but Riley busied himself at what he had around him and each time I passed by wagged his tail as if to say, “Has the time come, my love?” When at last all had been prepared and settled that they could not perceive or understand, I picked up the water dish and walked to the door. Riley looked up from his bone, recognizing the signs. As soon as I said, “Ready?” he put down the bone, leapt to his feet, and happily followed me out the door. Madison bolted toward the door too, relieved that I fulfilled my word of promise to take them to the field.
In this everyday scenario the Lord taught me about trust and waiting. Riley enjoyed the wait and found contentment right where he was, trusting that I would move him and give him the desires of his heart at the appointed time when all had been orchestrated. Madison had a harder time with the delay. Even though she enjoyed the field run the whole process could have been easier had she only realized I longed to take them both to the field and even promised it; however, it was only delayed and not denied.
When we have communed with the Lord and heard His promises, let us not despair at the delay of fulfillment. We do not see what He is working in or around us that needs to be completed before we enter in. His word will not return to Him void but will accomplish the purpose for which He sent it. God is faithful. Let us always seek to stay in that place of quiet contentment no matter what we see around us or how far it appears we are from entering into the promised field of green and rugged adventures. Rather, let our hearts should trust safely that the Lord will do all He said and ours is only to keep our eyes on Him, trusting always with a heart full of faith, as we patiently wait for Him to say, “Ready?”
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: ‘He could not be found, because God had taken him away.’ For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones. By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated – he world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”