Faithful Obedience by Nancy Wilson

Nancy has been a faithful friend to me. She continually points me to Christ, to His Word, and always away from myself! Isn’t it true that we need more friends like that? Thank you, dear sister for your prayers, your friendship, and all the many cups of tea you have served me! 

I trust that you will be blessed by her encouragement today in our series on Faithful Obedience.

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Faithful Obedience
by Nancy Wilson

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

From my experience, and I imagine from yours as well, God seems to like His people to wait. We wait for deliverance from all kinds of afflictions: healing from sickness and disease, financial provision for our bills, or direction and guidance when we are confused or lost. A single woman waits for a husband. A married woman waits to get pregnant. An expectant mother waits for delivery. Those who grieve wait for comfort. The soldier waits for his homecoming. We wait for so many things: the outcome of a job application, an offer on a house, a letter in the mail, a deal to come through, the plants to grow, the child to speak, the weather to change, the surgery to end, the repair to be finished, the team to score, the house to be built, our apology to be accepted, the line to move, the light to change, the test to be over, the dinner to be served, the ride to arrive, the waiting to be over. Much of our lives are characterized by this waiting. We even have a name for it: the waiting game. And we have places for it: waiting rooms. Waiting is a universal human condition, so it seems we should learn to be good at this. But it is hard to wait, and we are not good at it.

God’s kind of waiting is not like the worldly variety of impatient waiting during an inconvenient delay (think airports). It’s not a game, but a difficult, character-building, spiritual exercise. If we are truly waiting on the Lord, we are are not looking at the clock or the calendar, and we are not tapping our foot. We are looking to Him (perhaps desperately) to supply us with the patience, courage, and strength we need to endure the waiting. We pray for the outcome that we desire, but we also pray (just as fervently) for strength to wait on the Lord with patience.

Notice the repetition in the psalm quoted above. “Wait, I say, on the Lord.” It bears repeating. We are to wait on the Lord and for the Lord. We are to wait and watch with readiness, alert and hopeful that God will soon act. But we cannot do this at all unless our waiting is with our eyes on the Lord. We cannot look at the circumstances without growing hopeless. We cannot look at the calendar without getting distracted. We cannot run out all the scenarios in our minds without getting worried. The right kind of fruitful waiting comes only when we look to the Lord with faith, counting on Him to supply patience, courage, and strength while we wait. We are waiting on the Lord, not just on the outcome or the verdict. That is an important difference. But how do we get there? How do we wait on the Lord?

First, when you are in a season of waiting, remind yourself (often) that God has perfectly ordained the timing. He has given this situation to you (on purpose) so you can steward it as an opportunity to look to Him with expectation. Rather than focusing on the possible outcomes, we are to focus on our Father in heaven and wait patiently for Him to act. We are to draw near to Him, we are to be content in Him, and we are to wait some more.
While we wait, we are to stick to our duties. We do the next thing, and we do it with joy. We work hard to keep our mind full of gratitude and thanksgiving, and that means singing with joy in our hearts to the Lord. This is what it means to abide in Him, and this is how we continue to watch and pray with courage.

This kind of waiting is obviously not a natural human ability, but God is able to provide all the strength we need to do this. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). The context of this verse is about contentment. Waiting patiently is certainly an example of practicing contentment. Contentment says, “I am satisfied with His time table. I am pleased with how He is writing my story. I am content to wait on the Lord. He does all things well.”

“They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). If we wait with our own feeble strength, we will soon collapse. But if we wait on the Lord, He gives us fresh supplies of strength, and this gives us hope, encouragement, and endurance. Wait on the Lord. This kind of waiting is faithful obedience.

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You can find the introduction and index to this series here.

Nancy Wilson has written some wonderful books that I highly recommend. You can find them here. Mu favorite ones might be Learning Contentment and The Fruit of Her Hands.

Elisabeth Elliot and Nancy Wilson on Journal-Keeping

This very much summarizes what I believe on journaling…

“I was very cautious about what I put in the journals. I don’t think it was because I feared someone else would discover my secrets. I think I was afraid to articulate, even for myself, feelings I might have to get rid of. Better to stick  with what God was saying to me than what my heart was saying. It seemed the safer course. I do not repudiate it now. The only way to build a house on the rock is to hear the Word (I couldn’t have heard it if all I listened to was my feelings) and then to try to do it…”

Elisabet Elliot, Passion and Purity (p. 54)

Nancy Wilson also wrote a while ago two posts on journal-keeping that are worth considering:
Part One. Part Two (if you only have time to read one, read part two. It is excellent -a must I would dare to say-.

“[W]e should and must guard our tongues in all things spoken and written: “He who guards his mouth preserves his life” (Prov. 13:3). Psalm141:3: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” Our pens need watchmen and guards just like our mouths. And the fact that a journal is “private”does not mean the words can be left unguarded.” -Nancy Wilson

 

“Life is short. Write good words.” -Nancy Wilson

Becky

God’s Providence in Life by Nancy Wilson

Many women have influenced my life through the years, but one woman has especially made a great impact  on how I live my Christian life, Mrs. Nancy Wilson. Today I am grateful for her willingness to be part of this series that has proved to be a blessing to many.

When the glass casserole dish cracks, and half the lasagna falls on the floor on its way from the oven to the kitchen counter just as the guests are arriving, it’s good to have a strong confidence in God’s Providence over all things. In His good providence, He wanted this to happen. Tonight. Some day it will make a good story. But tonight, with dinner on the floor and guests in the hallway, it seems pretty tragic.

What is God’s Providence? It is God’s foreordaining of all things, and His care and protection of His creatures in the midst of all that comes to pass. When we trust in God’s Providence, we are saying we trust that He is working all things out for our good and His glory. And when we trust in Him in this way, we can rest. And we can know that He ordains all that comes to pass. Sometimes we call an event a wonderful providence. This is usually when we have our prayers answered in a remarkable way. But some events are difficult and painful. These we call a hard providence. But if our theology is biblical, we will know that they are both good because God is the author of all that comes to us.

When we view the world this way, we can interpret all God’s ways in a positive light. We know He is good, and we know that He loves us, His children. Therefore, we can walk through trials knowing that it is a wise and loving Father who has ordained this event for us.

Having this view of Providence is very helpful, not only in the kitchen, but in every area. Lasagna on the floor may be a mess, but it is not life-threatening. Cancer is another story. What about that? Is God overseeing even that

The first time I read All Things for Good by Thomas Watson, I was leading a group of women through the book all together. One of the women in the group had just lost her husband in a snowmobile accident. She had six children, and the youngest was five. When we studied God’s Providence together, we had a very close-up view of what a comfort this doctrine is in the midst of hard times.

Sometimes it is easy to see Providence at work in other people’s lives, but we may have a difficult time seeing Him in our own circumstances. We can send others encouraging notes about trusting God, but when the trial hits us close to home, it may be more difficult to actually submit to God’s Providence. It may be a hard providence. But God gives more grace. Not only is He the God of Providence, but He is also the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.

We must learn to interpret God’s ways as He intends them .We must never attribute bad motives to God. Circumstances may change, but He never changes. Our lives are His from first to last. And He does all things well.

The Puritans understood this. When they were in the midst of affliction, they tried to be good stewards of the affliction. This takes us back to the lasagna. If we can be a good steward of a kitchen mishap like that, then we can learn to take it to the next level, and learn to receive all God’s good providences, whether hard or wonderful, as opportunities to glorify Him.

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