I don’t usually review my own poetry, but I feel like this one needs some commentary so that in 100 years when people are finally reading my stuff, they are not coming to wrong conclusions of what my intentions were. What’s the point of writing poetry if everyone’s going to come up with their own ideas of why it was written? Here’s the poem to help jog your memory.
May 29, 2011
Spring expects growth,
new life and an increase.
While Winter ran rampant across the earth,
we expect God to work in the soil,
in the trunks of the trees,
in the hearts of men.
Spring brings disappointment when the Winter is over
and nothing has changed.
The garden is empty,
The trees have no leaves
and the heart is unsteady.
No blame is afforded to God –
only to the stubbornness of the soil.
It is my fault that I am the same.
I wrote this poem in Spring and it wasn’t meant to convey any spiritual Truth, only to illustrate a truth in my own heart. I’ve been doing a study with some ladies at church and this week, while we were discussing feeling frustrated and disappointed with the stage of faith that we are in, I remembered this poem. It seems to encapsulate all my feelings of waiting and the season God has for me. I feel frustrated that my times of waiting are so much longer than I think they should be. I feel disappointed that I don’t seem to be making the progress “required” to move on from my time of waiting to actively serving God.
But as I thought of the poem and the thoughts that are speaking out of it, a big, glaring “LIE” was stamped across it. This is a lie that has taken root in my heart and is permeating through my faith that A + B = C. In faith, it is not always the case. Faith + Time does not = certain growth. Growth in faith is not contingent, is not comparable to the amount of time spent in waiting. It is a lie to think that God expects you to be at a certain stage or level of faith at the end of a time of teaching or testing. (I’m saying this a couple different ways because I know we all think and process things differently.) Those expectations are man-made and Satan-fed.
How many of us have been told by our parents, “You’re xx old now, you ought to be…?” My life has been filled with “ought to’s.” We have come up with a word in our Bible Study that I think expresses what God’s expectations are for his children – “verbing.” Verbing represents the act of pursuing God or working on whatever He has for you. Whether that task is growing your patience, practicing faith, trusting Him more, serving Him and others – the -ing signifies that the verb is continually taking place. You are either verbing, or you are not. What verbing does not explain is the speed or strength at which it is happening. For example, a child may be running to greet his dad at the front door. An Olympic runner may be sprinting a world record. Both of them are running, but the pace is completely different.
God is not concerned about the pace at which we are following Him. He only wants us to follow Him. Verbing.
You might be wondering how I can say this – as a person with the gift of prophecy, I will take you to Scripture. Noah, preparing for the flood, took years to complete the Ark. God did not tell him he had so much time to finish the Ark, not until 7 days before the floods were going to come and, at this point, the Ark was completed. He had only to gather the animals onto the Ark and then God sealed it up Himself. Verbing – Noah was verbing what God commanded. God was not concerned about the amount of time it took, so long as Noah was faithful.
Elijah is another example. I love the story of Elijah challenging the prophets of baal and wooping their butts – literally, they were all massacred after the victory. And the rains came, and Jezebel sought his life so he ran and ran. And God came to him and asked him what he was doing. Elijah said “I have been very jealous for You, Yahweh, that Israel would worship You.” And then God told him to go out of the cave he was hiding in. There was a strong wind that tore apart trees and then an earthquake and then a fire, but God wasn’t in any of these things. He was in the whisper, and the whisper asked Elijah again what he was doing. When Elijah repeats his plan, God tells him that who Elijah is to anoint as king, who is to be prophet after him and that there are 7,000 others in Israel who have not bowed down to baal. Elijah’s faith reached a point where it was verbing at a very slow pace, but it was still there. He was still seeking to glorify God and God didn’t discredit him because he had just done this great thing in faith and “ought to” know better. God still had plans for Elijah.
My final example is Jonah. Jonah is a whole basket case of verbing and non-verbing. He ran from God’s initial call. Then when he finally obeyed God, he went up on a mountain to wait for God’s wrath to pour on the people of Nineveh. And when it didn’t, he non-verbed. He began to despair of his life. The book of Jonah ends with God chastising him for thinking a little tree that Jonah didn’t make grow is more important than a whole city filled with innocent children who could not even tell their left hand from their right hand. Jonah was not verbing and THAT was what God took issue with. He was no longer trying to understand God, to know Him and to let His Word abide in his heart. God had just caused a fish to swallow him and to spit him up after 3 days, and yet Jonah did not get the message. God’s compassion was on the people in that great city who were finally verbing after such a long and terrible life.
I may not be verbing strong enough in some people’s opinions, but I’m verbing to God and all He’s concerned about is that. Not with how hard, how fast, how much – just that I’m doing it. And that’s what this life on earth is for – to be verbing towards God. One day, when His children reach heaven, we will no longer need to be verbing – we will just verb. And we won’t be verbing towards God, we will verb with God. How I long for that day.