Pauses are places meant to strengthen our resolve, not weaken our faith. The Israelites chose to thoughtlessly throw the plunder from Egypt into the fire to make a false god rather than show their allegiance to God. For those of us on this side of Mt. Sinai, it’s easy to point a judgmental finger at the Israelites. But if we’re honest, we have a little bit of Abraham, Sarah, and the Israelites hidden within our hurried heart. I know I’m guilty.
For a while, publishing a book was my idol. Nausea sweeps over me even now as I confess this to you. As my sisters in ministry were getting their books published, I whined and my faith waned. Envy consumed me. Why can’t that be me, Lord? She hasn’t been serving You as long as I have, and now she is releasing her second book. It wasn’t pretty. Then one day I decided I was going to write a book.
I informed my family of the changes that would be necessary in order for me to write said book: fewer homemade meals, more chores for them, and less time with me. I threw my family to the wolves, and I threw my words in the fire and crafted an idol in the shape of a book. Tears rim my eyes as I type these words. Instead of strengthening my faith by tending to the sheep in my pasture and working out my salvation, I forged my idol.
Thankfully, before I lost all control, a friend had the courage to speak truth into my heart. “Wendy,” she said, “your writing isn’t that good, and it really needs a lot of work.” Honesty hurts, folks. These words wrapped around my heart like the tentacles of a jellyfish attached to its prey.
I felt the sting of my friend’s words. But after some time, I realized she was right and I allowed God to heal me. I laid down my idol and thanked God for a friend who loved me enough to speak truth. My writing wasn’t ready to be published, and my heart wasn’t ready to receive such a blessing. The pause was my protection.
I joyously resumed my position in my pasture of motherhood. When my daughter called from her room, “Mom, can you make me a ‘grilla’ cheese sandwich?” (a mispronounced word from her childhood), I responded, “Yes. You want it cut into triangles?” I had the time to make it because I wasn’t bowing at the altar of my idol. My husband didn’t have to ask if his underwear had gotten lost in the laundry, and watching shows about construction with my son no longer felt like an imposition.
Day in and day out, God demonstrates His mercy, power, and provision, yet in the pause it is easy to forget His faithfulness. We become impatient and try to rush the wait especially when life hangs in the balance or our funds have run dry. We often can’t wrap our head or heart around God’s timing or ways. When our pause seems more like a wilderness, we must be determined to strengthen our faith by trusting His timing. Cling to His peace, and remember—God has a history of working miracles.
“The nations’ idols are made of silver and gold, they are man-made. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see, and ears, but cannot hear. Indeed, they cannot breathe.”
Psalms 135:15-17 NET
“Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, “ I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.””
Hebrews 13:5 NET