He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Ps.91:1
The autumn rains have returned. I plunked a Vitamin D capsule by my cereal bowl this morning. We are braced for a change in weather. In other ways this is a new season for us. Changing seasons usually bring unsettled weather. That’s been true too. I made a wardrobe switch this week, digging out all my turtlenecks and long wool skirts, tucking away my sunny wear till the sun returns. Getting ready. And with the wet roads we’ve parked the tandem so I ‘m back to my ‘hamster wheel’—the elliptical trainer upstairs. What’s good about this absolutely mind-numbing exercise is the chance it gives me to praise and worship. I pop in my earphones and press a button and my mind is turned to the glory of God and the truth of the gospel. As my heart pounds and my muscles contract my soul sings for all its worth and I am freed to worship with body, mind and soul.
I needed that tonight. There had been tears and sadness today. Disappointment. A sense of loss. A passionate voicing of our core values and our concerns–a being heard but not really understood. A knowing we have let others down in our decisions, have caused them sadness, but cannot do otherwise. Convictions not shared. Friendships maintained, but changed. Seasons change…
How do I prepare for a new season? First I run to the shadow of God’s wings (sit myself down alone, journal in hand, worship music playing…and cry!) and resting here I begin to know He is the King. He orders our days. Times and seasons are in His hand. He knows all that concerns me.
I remember Sunday’s sermon taken from Acts 1. Jesus had risen. The disciples were sure their freedom from the rule of Rome was just around the corner. Would Jesus set up His Kingdom now?! This would seem to be the obvious opportunity. Jesus had shown His power. He could do it NOW. But He didn’t. We can have our plans. We can think them His. We can lay out the whole triumphant scenario in our mind’s eye and believe it is God’s game plan too—and that we are key players. Then he shatters our worlds with:
“It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”
He has bigger plans than our most compelling interests. His kingdom building entails details far beyond the scope of our knowledge. In this case, Israel becoming an independent nation wasn’t in view, not for a long while. The disciples had overlooked an enormous interim project–the coming of the Gospel to the whole Gentile world! The disciples were thinking in their little sphere, of their own especial interest—their own temporal freedom. God had plans so much bigger. His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom. He’s in no rush. He will plug us in where He will, when He will, how He will. It’s His call.
But there is a promise given that restores our hope. He does plan to use us. And he will equip us for our task. For this He sends His Spirit, to make us able witnesses. This too, in His time. In this instance, the disciples are told to wait…another reminder that the Father is in control of times and seasons. This first coming of the Spirit, token of Christ’s ascension to the Father, was perfectly timed to fulfill the long-held Jewish Feast of Pentecost. Did they know? Did they imagine the significance of this moment for which they waited? They only knew they held a promise and they waited…
And this I know, that this same Spirit blows where He will. He touches lives, He enlightens, He revives, He imprints us for the Kingdom…And as wind blows in changing seasons, so the Spirit is at work in His good time, in our days. In my disappointment, my sadness. In change. I can rest in this certainty. All is well in the shadow of His wings.
And there is nothing quite like worship to turn my woes into carefree worship of the One who is worthy to be rejoiced in!