The shadow of his hand

The purposes of God remind me sometimes of March. They often develop slowly because his grand designs are never hurried. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.

Spring can often be a period of some of the dreariest weather around these parts. Statistics show that the month of March, along with November and January, is one of the dreariest times in Wisconsin. It’s common in March to have less than 24% of the available sunshine in those 31 days. It is, therefore, a long month to get through. It’s been said that if it weren’t for April, March would have very little purpose at all. How true that is. March is a time of waiting for April and the late spring days to follow. We just have to get through March to meet up with April. There’s no getting around it. March is all about shadows: gray ones. We look up and see gray; around and we see gray. The beautiful design of April and spring is there, we just have to wait patiently through the shadows of March to get there.

The purposes of God remind me sometimes of March. They often develop slowly because his grand designs are never hurried. To get to them we often have to wait around in the shadows of his hand to see the sunshine of his grace.

Here’s a story. The great New England preacher Phillips Brooks was noted for his poise and quiet manner. At times, however, even he suffered moments of frustration and irritability. One day a friend saw him feverishly pacing the floor like a caged lion. “What’s the trouble, Mr. Brooks?” he asked. “The trouble is that I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t!” Some of the greatest missionaries of history devotedly spread the seed of God’s Word and yet had to wait long periods before seeing the fruit of their efforts. William Carey labored 7 years before the first Hindu convert was brought to Christ in Burma, and Adoniram Judson toiled 7 years before his faithful preaching was rewarded. In western Africa, it was 14 years before one convert was received. In New Zealand, it took 9 years; and in Tahiti, it was 16 years before the first harvest of souls began. Thomas a Kempis described that kind of patience in these words: “He deserves not the name of patient who is only willing to suffer as much as he thinks proper, and for whom he pleases. The truly patient man asks (nothing) from whom he suffers, (whether) his superior, his equal, or his inferior...But from whomever, or how much, or how often wrong is done to him, he accepts it all as from the hand of God, and counts it gain!” (Our Daily Bread.)

I anticipate April and the grand scheme of spring and everything that accompanies it: the budding leaves of the maples and beech, tulips, daffodils, apple blossoms, and the gentle rains. I anticipate these characteristics of spring because March allows me to value them, as the things that we value are the things that we have to wait for. God does grant some things as soon as we ask, no wait at all. Nonetheless, this is not God’s nom de plume. His modus operandi is to hear our prayers, look out over our lives, decide if the request is good for us, choose the appropriate moment to grant it, and then send us March so that we value April. Are you living under the shadow of his hand today? Perhaps he is calling for you to listen, wait and anticipate what comes next? Exciting!

We pray. Heavenly Father, it is our nature to be impatient when we want something, and we know that there is nothing we want that is impossible for you to do. That is why we sometimes fidget spiritually when what we ask of you is sunshine and all we get is shadows. Forgive us Lord when we are impatient, when we don’t see the purpose of waiting and the eventual joy of valuing more intensely the bounty of your grace because we waited for it, from March until April. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)

Thank you for tuning into This Passing Day. Join us at May this PASSING day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don’t let another day pass without your day blessing someone else’s.

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