In Italiano

 

What does your WOD/Workout of the Day look like? Do you rotate between exercising the same group of muscles throughout the week, or do you tap into some muscles you never knew you had? Muscles that leave a mark for a few days, reminding you of all the time you put in. Muscles that make you have that “good sore” feeling and leave you stronger than you were before…making you want to continue to build up strength and endurance in that area.

Have you been exercising regularly throughout this Pandemic Waiting period? I don’t mean physically working out, I mean spiritually.  Have you been exercising your faith?  Perhaps it’s one of those muscles that hasn’t been used in a while?

Who reading this can’t wait for this Global “waiting at home” period to pass?  Now a days it seems like all we are doing is waiting.  Waiting for this virus to pass.  Waiting for shops and restaurants to reopen.  Waiting for society to get back to normal as we once knew it.

Maybe your someone who has been diligently studying these past 17 years of your life and are anxiously waiting to turn your tassel at graduation this year, only to find out that’s not happening.

Maybe you’re someone who owns their own business and has had to decide which employees to retain and which to let go, all the while trying to stay afloat during this uncharted territory.  You’re balancing things while waiting for the signal to get back to business.

Maybe you are that person that got let go of a job and is nervously waiting to find a job in order to care for your family every day.

Maybe you’re someone working around the clock on the front lines of this battle and can’t wait until it’s all over, so you can have a clear division between days and nights and return to normalcy.

Wherever you are in the wait, whatever the battle it is that you are fighting – global or personal – instead of focusing on the time of our wait and the question of “how much longer?” Why don’t we focus on the training IN our wait? Making sure that we are focusing our attention on strengthening our spiritual muscles so when the wait is over, we are standing strong and tall and ready for God to strategically move us to our next spot on the chess board.

 

While we wait…

 

Are we training ourselves in the exercise of prayer like Hannah?  Not only did Hannah persistently pray for years to conceive a child, but she was also facing a daily battle of being bullied by the woman who was bearing many children.  She emotionally waged war against this battle every day, and had to face this woman almost every waking hour, but Hannah’s silent weapon was her prayer to God.

“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard.  Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, ‘How long are you going to stay drunk?  Put away the wine.”  Hannah replied “Not so my Lord …I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.”  (1 Samuel 1:13-15)

“In the course of time” (1 Samuel 1:20) – in the course of waiting –  the Lord remembered her prayer and she conceived.  Yes, our time is not always the same as God’s timing.  In God’s time, the right time, He delivered her with six children, and one in particular named Samuel who was a wonderful man of God in the Old Testament.

 

While we wait…

 

Are we training ourselves in the exercise of being “Bold in Faith” like David?  David confidently fought and won many battles in his time – many of which were waged against the multitudes- but one of his most famous victories was against one particular individual.

When David, a shepherd who came fresh from tending his flock of sheep, arrived at the battle camp he was told about the nine-foot giant named Goliath.  The army explained the daunting situation and how they were too scared to approach this giant Philistine named Goliath. No problem for the shepherd David!

“He took five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand approached the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:40)

David didn’t have the horse and shining armor, but he did have the boldness and spiritual knowledge that “the battle is the Lord’s.” (1 Samuel 17:47) It’s already won! The question isn’t who won the battle, because the victory already belongs to God! The question is, are you on His winning side? Are you spiritually “readying” yourself in the waiting, so when you’re called up for duty against any giant, your positioning is perfectly aligned with God’s timing so that you can nail any giant with the strike of a stone?  Can we all agree that it wasn’t the one stone that killed that shrek like giant, but the powerful faith behind that aim.

Maybe some of us are like David who was in the waiting and didn’t even know it! While he was tending sheep and obediently serving God with his heart, I’m sure there were many times when David was saying to himself “I wonder if life will get better than this?”  Can you relate? Have you ever asked yourself that same question?  Little did he know that he was in the waiting and would soon be leading armies and become one of the most infamous kings in history.

Exercise your faith even when times are uncertain, because these are certainly the times God has a BOLD plan for you like He did with David.

 

While we wait…

 

Are we training ourselves in good posture? Do we have the right posture of praise and obedience towards God with our eyes fixed up? Or is our posture of praise and obedience inwards on our own selfish ways with our eyes fixed down like the Israelites did in the desert while they were stuck in the waiting for forty years.

While many find this story happy and celebrating the ways God abundantly provides, I find the story to be a relatively sad one.  It reminds me of exactly how I don’t want to act.

“In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.  The Israelites said to them, ‘if only we had died but the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into the desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3)

Keep in mind that this “grumbling” happened shortly after God parted the sea for them to walk through and escape the persecution they were facing from the Egyptian Pharaoh.  But God doesn’t stop there, He “said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you.” (Exodus 16:4)

After that incredible provision from God, it’s what doesn’t happen next that actually pains me.

Not only did God rain down bread for everyone during the day, but he showered them with meat during the night.  “He heard the grumbling of the Israelites.” (Exodus 16:12)

However, along with His love for His people, also came discipline.  God carefully instructed the Israelites to only take enough bread and meat per person for that day.  Not only did this teach them to not hoard, because any excess food would go bad if they didn’t obey, but it showed them where to put their trust.  If they trusted the Lord with each day of their life, then He will feed them (physically and spiritually) and they won’t need to worry about tomorrow.  Even though God was abundantly providing for them, He was still discipling and teaching them strong character like an earthly father would do.

Are we following those same guidelines during our waiting?  Are we worrying only about today and then giving the rest to God?  Are we 100% confident that He will pour down mercy and grace on us during our wait in the desert – quarantine?

There were always some that strayed and didn’t listen to God – not believing in Him, or thinking they knew best.

“Some of them paid no attention…they kept part of it until morning, but it was full maggots and began to smell.” (Exodus 16:20)

The saddest part of this story to me isn’t in fact written.  It’s missing.  It’s missing because it didn’t happen.  I was waiting , and kept reading and reading and looking for the part where the Israelites praised God.  Where they repented in their ways and promised to obey and be grateful for what He’s blessed them with.  But that part never came.  In fact, the second verse in the following chapter starts by saying “So they quarreled with Moses and said ‘Give us water to drink.” (Exodus 17:2)

Where are you exercising your praise and obedience – inward or upward?  Who “rains” in your world? Yourself or God?

 

While we wait…

 

Are we training ourselves in the exercise of discipling?

Prior to a few years ago, I didn’t really understand that word – disciple.  It means “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another. “

One of Jesus’ most well known disciples did not start off on the right foot.  In fact, he was one of those people I described earlier – waging war against God and believing his own selfish ways were higher and better.

I remember feeling such a sense of shock when I first learned that the Apostle, who is credited for writing much of the New Testament letters that encourage church’s to keep their faith strong , was not only a sinner like you and me, but attacked and murdered Christians.

I love this story and seeing how God can use every single one of us (no matter of our past), as long as we accept Him into our lives as our own personal Savior.

God knew that Saul needed a rude awakening, so that’s what he got.  He was on a killing and imprisoning spree with Christians, until God intervened.

“On his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘ Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?”  (Acts 9:3)

Saul’s response is one of my favorite parts, he said Who are you, Lord?” (Acts 9:5)

I love thinking if Saul asked that question because he legit didn’t know it was God’s thundering voice coming from the sky? Or, was it Saul’s deepest heart’s desire to know God better, and therefor, was pleading for God to reveal more of Himself to him.

I don’t know which one he was thinking, but I do know that this divine intervention changed Saul’s life forever.

After this incident, God disciplined Saul and took away his eye sight for three days.  For these three days (which probably felt like three weeks), Saul also did not eat or drink anything.  He was 100% committed and devoted to God (which is a foreshadowing of his future life as a disciple).

While Saul was trapped and waiting in the darkness of his own sight, God finally instructs him to go to the house of a specific disciple named Ananias, one whom Saul would typically want dead, and he would restore his sight.

The second Ananias restored his sight “immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.  He got up and was baptized… At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, ‘Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on His name?” (Acts 9:18-21)

You may not be too familiar with the name Saul, but I’m pretty sure majority of you know the name Paul.  That is who this story is about.  One of Jesus’ biggest advocates started on the wrong side of the battle line.  He was fighting his own battle, but when he let God into his heart his life changed forever,  God was able to use him in an infinite number of ways so that Paul could mentor, lead and disciple others in having a strong relationship with Christ.

One thing about Paul that is a contagious attribute, is that Paul didn’t wait.  He didn’t allow the waiting to rule his life.  Whether the waiting was while he was being imprisoned, or under house arrest, or due to weariness, sleeplessness, hunger, or thirst, it wasn’t an option to stop him from proclaiming God’s good news.

When the scales from his eyes fell off, so did his old self and his old vision.  Paul shed Saul that day and established a new vision and a new person in Christ.

 

Here is what I have been waiting to tell you!

 

The wait is over! If you take time each day to exercise yourself in prayer, bold faith, obedience, praise and discipleship then your spiritual strength will be as strong as David’s.  If you want to have God’s armor as your workout uniform- custom made to your exact size, so you can suit up and be ready to take on any battle or period of waiting with Him at your side- then make sure your WOD includes GOD.