Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:10-11 NIV
It had been a not so great day. For the past couple of months I had been looking for work without any nibbles. I had reached that tired point where continuing on was an obligation without much dedication. The mail had arrived with another, “While we appreciate all of your skill and experience…” letter and frustration had me in its despairing grip. It was time for skipping rocks.
I walked to the creek, kicking a few weeds with satisfaction and sat on the beach once again. Any goodness or rightness associated with that place was lost on me that day. With robotic movements I began to pick up rocks and attempt to skip them on the small pond. The key word here is “attempt.” Frustration came over me again. The wind had picked up that afternoon and the steady ripples made an uneven surface, unfriendly to skipping stones. But I had met God in this place before, so I waited and listened and watched.
In time the wind would subside for a few moments, allowing the water to become calm enough for skipping. Timing was critical due to the small window of opportunity allowed by the temporary stillness. Listening for the rustle of leaves upwind; watching the reeds upstream for movement; noticing the stilled waters of the upper pond a brief moment before the lower one. These all became indicators of the coming opportunity for a treasured event. I let loose each stone with much more care and concentration, not wanting to waste the anticipated moment.
The rewards were immediate and satisfying as I watched stone after stone make the series of arcs from point of contact to the next across liquid glass. God had met me again and humbled me with each stone’s tap against the water. I had been so obsessed with finding work that I had lost sight of His will. Instead of becoming more and more in tune with His movements and motions, I was intent on skipping rocks in my own time and way. I needed to sit quietly at His feet and wait for His window of opportunity.
It was no more than a week later that I received a call from a church needing an interim preacher. They were looking for someone willing to make the trek into the mountains to speak on Sundays until they could find a full-time pastor. This allowed me to continue seeking work on God’s timetable and still be used by Him in the body. It is such a blessing to be in on what God is doing in my life rather than cluelessly barging ahead, trying desperately to fulfill my responsibilities as a provider.
I hope that I will not have to learn this lesson again. I hope that I will listen for the breath of God rustling through the events of life. I hope that I will watch for the movement of the Holy Spirit in the world around me and participate with His ministry. I hope I will see what is coming with wisdom and knowledge. In His time, in His way, in His will.