Last week in A Time for Work (Part One) I wrote about my recent struggle with desire, trust, and a heart divided in light of an upcoming vacation my family is taking this summer.
Perhaps this all seems a bit silly, a bit overboard. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I’m blowing everything out of proportion, if I’m making a big deal out of nothing. After all, it’s just a vacation, right?
Vacation or no, it is a matter that has caused turmoil in my heart for quite some time which, to me, is a clear cut sign that it’s time to dig a little deeper and figure out what’s going on below the surface.
When I took the issue of my heart’s desire and lack of trust to God, I came across an unlikely story buried in the book of Haggai. (Haggai? Tell me, when was the last time you took a look at this unpopular prophet?) I say buried because finding this nugget of truth was like finding buried treasure.
When the Jewish people returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile, God entrusted them with one task: rebuild His temple. At first the people tried their best to fulfill this charge but as time went on they became distracted, they lost sight of their priorities, and they ceased to complete the work they started.
Instead of building the temple they started to build fine homes for themselves, but as they worked they were unable to reap any sort of harvest. No matter how hard they worked they never had enough.
Finally, God sent the prophet Haggai who instructed the people to refocus their efforts on building the temple.
“… ‘be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:4 NKJV)
Along with His instruction, God made a promise to His people.
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations…and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:6-9 NKJV)
In short, if the people could remain faithful to the task God had given, He would, in turn, fill His temple with blessing, glory, and peace.
Blessing, glory, and peace.
As I read this passage everything started to make sense.
Now is the time to work.
When it comes to my husband’s business, when it comes to my own “business” of writing, now is the time to work. These are the tasks we’ve been given and these tasks are our temple.
As God’s truth and promise filled my heart, I could see it clear, how all this time my heart has been divided. Divided between staying and going, my husband and my family. Divided between work and play, sacrifice and pleasure.
So what do I do with my desire? With my heart divided?
As I sat in the quiet and listened to God, the words came soft and sure, “Do you trust me?” In that moment I knew my answer to this question had the power to change everything.
Soft and sure I answered, “Yes, God, I trust you. Yes, God I will work. I will be strong for I know (and it is a little while) that if we build the temple you’ve asked us to build you will fill it with your blessing, your glory, your peace.”
Blessing, glory, and peace.
Don’t get me wrong, I still long to taste the sweet fruit of my family’s upcoming vacation. I long to hunt beauty, to be with them, to find rest, but for the first time in four years I’m willing to work, I’m willing to trust, I’m willing to wait because I know that the fruit God has in store for me, for all of us, is far sweeter.
In the end, I can move forward with a desire that is first and foremost for God and the work He has given me to do. I can trust Him because I know that His words are true and His promises are good. And I can be strong and settled because my heart is no longer divided.
By deciding to take God at His word, by deciding to focus my efforts on work I’ve been given, by deciding to wait and trust God for the fulfillment of my desire, my heart has been made whole.
With muscle and steel, my husband builds his business.
With pen and paper I write.
Together we hammer out our temple and trust, wholeheartedly, in the Lord of the harvest.
How about you? Are you currently is a season of work or a season of harvest? What does your temple look like, what task(s) has God given you to do? What blessing, glory, or peace has God brought into your life as a result of your faithful effort?
I’d love to hear what God is doing in this season of your life.