Friday, August 30, 2013

The Fullness of Time

"That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, 
both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him..."
Ephesians 1:10
(KJV)

There is a day of fruition to and the fulfillment of every prophecy contained in the Word of God.
A date when the prophecy becomes reality....
when the prediction comes to pass.
A fullness of time.
The time of coming full circle.

There is an expiration date to every trial and 
a moment of completion to every season of life.

Only God knows when that moment will be.

Sometimes, we become complacent...content with conditions as they are.
We settle in to a level of comfort from which we would never budge...
if God didn't come along and jolt us to the fact that it is absolutely time to move on.
Many times, the way He reveals this is by completely closing a door
or by allowing a situation to become unbearable.
If He didn't do that, we would never realize that the fullness of time has come.
That we have fulfilled our duty...our stay...in a particular place or situation.
That He is finished with us there, and it is His will we go forward.

I have found throughout my Christian journey that God is absolutely faithful.
He never allows us to stay where we will eventually dry up and become unfruitful.

Aunt Joyce and I went shopping yesterday in one of her favorite stores.
She has shopped there for years.
I have, too...on occasion, but not nearly as often as she has.
She and I have both become well-acquainted with two particular ladies who work there.
They have faithfully donated box upon box of clothing hangers to Charity's Closet.
Recently, we found out that the store is closing...very soon.

It is sad to me.
The saddest part is wondering what will become of the two ladies
who have always been so kind to me and to others,
and who rely upon the store to provide their livelihood.
Where will they work?
How will they survive?
What will they do?

The chapter is closing, and there isn't one thing they can do about it.

As we stood there talking to them, 
Aunt Joyce said,
"God never closes a door, without opening another one."

She is so right.
Everything has a fullness of time.
Life is full of seasons.
Though we feel they will go on forever,
all things in this life will come to an end.
But as one door closes, God has something new in mind.

We are so resistant to change,
but change is not always a negative thing.
Sometimes, God has something much better in mind for us...
when He chooses to bring something to an end.
I know it will prove true for the ladies at the closing store.

Everything in this life is temporary,
and we are passing through only once.
None of us know when the fullness of our time will come.
Every second is important.

Nothing proves this point more to me than being a mother.
Zachary is growing up so fast.
We waited so long for this little guy, and now, just look.....he is quickly becoming not so little.
I want to make this time...
this season of motherhood...really count.
Because I know one day, he will be grown.
And though I will still be his Mama after he is grown and leaves home,
his growing up years will become sweet memories...tucked safely away....
inside the deepest chamber of my heart....
where I keep the ones that are most precious.

I won't get to do this whole thing over.
There are no second chances.
God help me somehow get it right....now....while I have the chance....
while he is still in the making....
under the protective umbrella of a loving home.

The other night, he came to me with a heavily-burdened heart.
He was so troubled.

I picked up on it instantly and dropped everything I was doing.

We sat and talked for the longest time, as he expressed feelings he had buried deep.

How I treasured every word!
How long will he confide in me like this?
I keep dreading the moment he decides to shut me out.
Will he always consider Kevin and me his confidantes?
Will he always be this open with us?
Some of the things he shared with me were deeply personal.
It was beyond precious.

In the course of our conversation, I discovered some very profound hurt.
I have known it was there for a long time.
I guess I just didn't realize how much he hated the ones who inflicted it.

Recognizing the magnitude of the opportunity,
I gently spoke.
"Zach, we have to deal with this.
We have to forgive...we have to let it all go.
Think about Jesus...on the cross.
He forgave, so we would have the grace to do the same."

We talked, then prayed together for a long time.
His heart melted.
His will broke.
He prayed clear through...to glorious victory....
until he could honestly let it all go....and forgive.

The fullness of time had come...for his healing.
I had longed for it...wished he could find peace....tried to make it happen.
I couldn't do it.
It was not something that could be rushed.
It wasn't time....until that moment.

He has been a changed boy since that night.
If names of people who have hurt him come up in our conversations,
I don't sense the hate anymore.
God miraculously took it all away.

Isn't grace amazing?

There are certain things that cannot be rushed.
Things like healing...and forgiveness....and promises from God.

God gave the Old Testament prophets a foresight to envision things that were to come.
They wrote about it and declared it to the people of their day.
They told of a Messiah Who would be born to a woman who had never had intimate relations with a man.
They prophesied specific details...so particular and so precise.

It didn't happen overnight.
They longed for it to happen in their day, but it just wasn't time.

God has a plan.
His thoughts are way above yours and mine.
He is not governed by our timetable.
He has one of His Own.

We can push and shove and pound our fists towards Heaven,
but God will not be hurried.
He will move at His Own pace.
He does not adjust His plans to suit our impatience.
He does not alter His will to appease our demands.
We are foolish to think the world and plan of God revolves around our whims.

When the fullness of time came,
Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary in a town called Bethlehem,
just like the Old Testament prophets predicted and foretold.
His Father was the Holy Spirit Who overshadowed Mary's womb
and implanted the seed of life that grew and became the Son of God...in the flesh.
He lived a sinless life.
He died a horribly painful, anguish-driven, cruelly-inflicted death.
He bore the sins of every man, woman, boy, and girl who had ever or will ever live and breathe and sin.

I love reading the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus,
then turning to the New Testament and seeing them fulfilled...right to the tee.
God allowed the prophecies to be fulfilled....exactly when they were supposed to.
Not a moment before.
Not a second after.

All things done by God are orderly and transacted in the exact manner in which He intended.
Nothing fails that He wills to be done.

In late 1991, I prayed...flat on my face...on the floor of the spare bedroom of our apartment.
Kevin and I had been married for 3 1/2 years and wanted desperately to have a child of our own.
It wasn't happening.
Instead, my health issues had become worse and more pronounced.
Dad was seriously ill, and we weren't sure how much time he had left.
I was desperate to get a hold of God.
I remember that night like it was last week.

During the course of that prayer,
God promised me a child.
He didn't say when it would happen.
But, I had His word on it.
I knew it.

Multiple doctor visits, medical testing, fertility experts,
tears, and feelings of failure were mingled among the happiness and peaceful married life
Kevin and I were blessed to enjoy during the next nine years...
as I clung tight to my promise from God.
I admit I didn't always understand.
I didn't always believe.
My faith wavered.
I even questioned whether or not it had really been God's voice I heard that night on the floor.
Sometimes, I fought bitterness and resentment.
Always, I yearned....each time I saw a newborn baby.

Dad's health was up and down, but never good.

Finally, out of the blue, in April of 2000,
Kevin and I found out we were expecting!
Could I ever express our joy in mere words?

On December 26th, nine years after God promised,
Zachary made his way into our waiting arms....and hearts...and home.
The fullness of time had come for my promise to be fulfilled.

Dad was never to see our sweet angel....not on this side.

Dad died shortly after we got to share our wonderful news.
He knew Zachary was on his way.
He just didn't live long enough to see him arrive.

I struggled for a long time with trying to understand God's timing.
Couldn't He have taken Dad a few months later than He did?
After waiting that long....couldn't He have waited just a little bit longer?

I don't understand...to this day.
But, I have come to trust God's wisdom.

It is not all about me.
His will and my will don't always come to a place of agreement.
His will trumps mine, and the best thing I can do is to relax in His arms
and allow my will to surrender to His.
Fighting it and trying to analyze it will only end in exhaustion and frustration.

Just before Jesus ascended to Heaven,
He told His disciples He would come again.
That was nearly 2000 years ago.
Scoffers say it will never happen.
Atheists say He doesn't exist...that He never did.
Skeptics say it is all a myth.

The fact of the matter is, God always keeps His word.
God does exist, and He holds every bit of control.
He doesn't operate in a box of our making.
He does what He will, when He will.
It is all according to His plan.

Jesus will come back.
We don't know when.
We just know He will.
In the fullness of time.
When God is ready.
Jesus will call His children home to live with Him forever in eternity.

How about you, my friend?
Anything you are waiting for?
Has God given you a personal promise that yet remains unfulfilled?

May I encourage you to wait on God?
He never makes a promise He doesn't keep.
Never.
The fullness of time will come...in your situation.
You will see that He was right all along.
You will find Him 100% faithful.
Don't give up.
Don't give in.
Always believe.

It will be worth the wait.

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