Thursday, June 11, 2009

Timing and Faith

Yesterday, my friend Diane and I started the day with an inspiring exchange. I forwarded an email that I get, called New Every Morning (from, which always contains a Bible verse and another, related quote. Yesterday's quote was:

Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on! hold fast! hold out! Patience is genius. -- Georges L.L. de Buffon

A therapist once told me "Sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says no. Sometimes He says, not yet." I hated that. I'm sure I've mentioned that I hate waiting. I tend to expect the negative, a trait that I see in my son - it is typical for kids who have Asperger's Syndrome. To wait with hope and expectation goes completely against the grain. It isn't just the waiting, it is holding on to the hope without continuous reinforcement, believing in that which is unseen.

Diane sent me a daily email from Joel Osteen, beginning with the verse: "And David turned away from Eliab..."(I Samuel 17:30, AMP; see Mr. Osteen emphasized turning away from discouraging voices, as David did, when his brother Eliab pointed out the power of Goliath and the futility of fighting him. Yet, David did defeat Goliath. He won the battle - and the king's daughter and a lifetime free of paying taxes.

The messages were not on precisely the same topic, but both referred to perseverance and hope, and the importance of listening to our own inner voice, rather than the voices of the many who are not attuned to the direction of their own lives, let alone to the lives of others. In response to the Osteen message, I emailed back this quote:

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. --Mark Twain

Those who discourage you (including yourself) speak from their own discouragement, or from an agenda that keeps you discouraged so that you don't achieve much or expect much. It is hard work to learn to hear your own inner voice, then to trust and to follow that voice despite that constant pressure to do what others are expecting. The theme carried right through a session of empowerment counseling with Hero last night. It is hard work, but the payoff stays with you.

On XPN this morning (my favorite, listener-supported radio station, 88.5 WXPN in Philadelphia), the musician Moby was interviewed for Michaela Majoun's series on Sustainability. Moby discussed Sustainability as a principle for a career in music. He stressed following your own individual passion and drive, rather than selling out for the momentary success (the On the Waterfront effect: think of Marlon Brando, muttering, "I could have been a contender").

Bruce Springsteen was cited as an example of a performer with a strong career for over 30 years - some things have been more successful than others, but Bruce continues to find success because he continues to work hard at doing what he loves. Moby admitted that he is not a fan of Springsteen's music itself, but respects and admires the man as a professional and as an artist. Ms. Majoun concluded by adding that Moby's advice is true for everyone, not only musicians: be ready to allow yourself to make mistakes, and stay true to what you love.

When ideas and incidents come together at the right time, like the various devotionals and the radio presentation this morning, it is more than a coincidence. It's serendipity. As a kid, I read the book The Cross and the Switchblade, in which the Reverend David Wilkerson would call serendipitous events "Holy Spirit timing."

However it happens, sometimes there is a confirmation of purpose in our lives or in our present struggle. There is a reason to keep on, and to keep the faith. The proof doesn't come when we want it, but when it comes. The last quote I'd thrown out to Diane was from the Tao te Ching of Lao-Tsu, "When spring comes the grass grows by itself." Some things can't be rushed (God may be saying "not yet"). We do the work and complain because we can't force the results, but when the timing - that timing we can trust and believe in - is right, the results come, almost without effort.

You can visit with my friend Diane:

Go to 88.5 WXPN online at to hear the Sustainability in Music commentary by Moby, and check out other great features, including the 2009 XPoneNtial Music Festival, July 24-26.

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