Thursday, August 9, 2012

Enlarge in the Waiting ~ Romans 8 Part 5

by Dina Sleiman

In late August and early September we'll have some fun changes going on at the Inkwell, so I'm going to wrap up my Romans 8 series today. Rather than try to cram twenty more verses into this post, I'm just going to hop through the end and focus on the elements that blessed me the most. During this series we've discussed how to move from heaviness to freedom and light. How to overcome sin not in our own strength, but through God's. How to get past religion and develop a real relationship with God. And how to look forward to an exciting future with adventurous expectation. But sometimes it takes a while to get where we're going. And to wrap this all up, we're going to talk about waiting.

 18-21That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. 

Yes, life on earth can be kind of rough. That's because we live in a fallen world, and nothing was ever meant to be quite like this. The world itself is waiting. Waiting for a full restoration to God's original plan. For the glorious time ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. We don't need to bemoan this situation. We're still children of the king. We ourselves have been restored to right relationship with God through the price that Jesus paid on the cross. So we wait joyfully, looking forward to that full release of God's kingdom. 

 22-25All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. 

This section particularly meant so much to me during the month I was meditating on this chapter. It seemed I had run into a delay with my writing career yet again, and I had no idea how long it might last. I was feeling the birth pangs. In fact, in the fall of 2010 God had given me a special scripture about the barren woman singing and becoming the joyful mother of many children. So I know God fully understands how it feels to be a writer. To be waiting for our "children" to be born. I'm sure this applies to any unfulfilled dream. It's okay, though, because the waiting does not diminish us. Just the opposite, we are enlarged in the waiting. Even when we don't see it. Reading that filled me with joy. I'm growing larger for Jesus. If the baby comes too soon, it might not be ready. It might not make it. By waiting, I'll be even a bigger, better vessel for pouring out his good news to the earth. And because of that, I can be joyful and expectant.

 26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. 

Yes, sometimes we grow weary, we get discouraged, but God's spirit is right there with us. Praying through us. Interceding for us when we're so worn out, we have no words left to express it. Those of you who have had children understand, the end is the hardest. I had three completely natural childbirths, so I probably understand this better than most women these days. Just before you have to push that baby out, the pain is more than you think you can bear. You think you'll never survive it. It's not something you can do alone.

But praise the Lord, every detail in or lives of love for God is worked into something good!!! He is there helping us every step of the way. Clearing the path. Comforting us. Cheering, "Push, push, you can do it!" And delivering that baby safely into our arms. God has a good plan for each of our lives, and He will see it through to completion. If you have a dream to write, or go on missions, or just raise Godly children, whatever it is, the pressure is not on us to make it happen. If it's God's plan, we just do our part as faithful children, and He will take care of the rest.

I hope you enjoyed this series. I've decided to call it my freedom series. Let's all let go of the heavy load and let God do the work in us. Stay focused on Him, spend time in His presence, learn to dwell in the Holy Spirit, and let God move in your life.

Blessings!

What are you waiting for? How do you endure the waiting? How can you grow during this time?

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Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. She was the Overall Winner in the 2009 Touched by Love contest for unpublished authors. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, is now available at amazon and other online and ebook distributors. Her latest novel, Love in Three-Quarter Time, will be the launch title for the new Zondervan First imprint. Dina is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. She has recently become an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire as well. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at http://dinasleiman.com/

11 comments:

  1. I've really enjoyed your series. Romans is so rich!

    I guess I'm waiting for the next door to open. I'm in such a transitional part of my life right now. The waiting has been full of time with family and time to dream.

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  3. That's an awesome way to spend your waiting time, Deb.

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  4. That "not diminished in the waiting" phrase just jumped out at me like a warm fuzzy... What a comfort to look at these waiting seasons (and all the time in our lives we've spent waiting in the past) as times of growth and increase rather than wasted time.
    I've loved this whole series, Dina, such a blessing!

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  5. Thanks, Niki. I just couldn't keep such wonderful revelations all to myself.

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  6. I've loved this series so much, I'm a little sad for it to end. I love your insight Dina.

    I'm waiting for my debut novel to be released - finally. I'm trying to fill my time with lots of prayer and lots of writing. I'm waiting for the day I can become a grandmother, and as I await that day, I pray for a spiritually blessed and healthy relationship between my son and the woman who will one day be his wife - so they will be prepared to be the best parents possible. Oh, and I try to image what name my grandchildren will call me. Nana? Grandma? Mamaw? It's fun to think about. :-)

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  7. Nice waiting, Suzie. I can't believe how fast my Zondervan novel is coming out. Almost no waiting at all there, although I'm ready to see the cover.

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  8. God's been working on some of the issues that, unsurprisingly, have been featured in your Romans series. He has a way of tapping us on the shoulder, doesn't he? I've been reminded that during seasons of waiting, it might look barren to me, but God is at work.

    How do I spend my time waiting? Working on trusting, trying to be more deliberate with my time, and attempting to keep balanced. We'll see...

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  9. I read your post this morning, Dina, but couldn't leave a comment although my other tabs were working fine. Finally I reset my computer and voila! Here I am. :)

    This post was wonderfully inspiring, as was the complete series. I don't know how you do it, but I'm glad you do it and then share with us.

    The post reminds me of the ACFW conference the year the theme ended up to be 'Waiting'. No matter if we're writers, agents or editors, we're all waiting for something and the important thing is how you wait. It's easier to think of waiting as a blessing, so it follows that you should spend your time praising Him for it - before the fact. Much easier to wait that way.

    Thanks again, Dina.

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  10. Excellent, Anita. Spend your time praising him. I know during my toughest waiting period this blog was a huge blessing to me because I felt like I had a voice, an audience, and a ministry. This past year much of my waiting time was spent volunteering as an editor for WhiteFire. I learned so much that way. And now it's slowly moving into a paid position, which is awesome.

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