Reposted from Learning to be Full of Grace and Truth
It is starting to sink in that the forecast of having another 20 inches of snow by end of day tomorrow (on top of the 4 ½ feet we already have) almost certainly means being stuck at home again on Monday due to schools being closed. If school is cancelled, it will be the seventh day this season. I can’t remember the last time we had that many snow days.
I don’t get any work done when I am at home with my girls. So while they are cheering for having a day off, I feel useless…like I can’t do what I am supposed to. I feel stuck, trapped; and depending on how I have been doing spiritually, maybe even benched.
I know, I live in New England. It’s winter. It snows. Deal with it!
But do you know what I am talking about? We all go through times—some short and some long—when circumstances beyond our control force us to slow down or stop. Personal illness, recovering from an injury, having to take care of a loved one, financial struggles, being stuck in a dead end job, being home bound, all can lead to feeling confined. And that can be very frustrating can’t it?
What I have been learning is that I need to remember that I am not my own. I belong to God. He can decide what He wants me doing or not doing. When He leads me to a time of confinement, I can fight it as an inconvenience or welcome it as an opportunity for God to show me how I need to grow or change in order to be the person, father, and pastor He wants me to be.
Sometimes God makes it clear what He is doing in these times. Other times He is silent, working behind the scenes in me. When this is the case, I need to be humble and accept that and just do the next right thing. He does this to teach us that we need to live for Him and not for ourselves, to remind us that He knows best what we need or don’t need any given day.
When Paul said in Romans 8:28, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose, “all things” means all things, including times of confinement. These times are not a punishment or an incarceration as we might be inclined to think. If you are in a confining situation right now, I urge you to choose to look at it as a divine confinement. In the opening chapter her excellent book, Divine Confinement: Facing Seasons of Limitation, Brenda Smith writes,
The world views confinement as anything that stifles your activity, your dream, your options or your personal freedom. But divine confinement in its simplest form is recognizing that the hand of a loving and sovereign God has ordained a season of limitation for His glory and our good. The oysters of ordinary life create the pearls of eternity…these seasons give us a structured learning environment that prepares us for future use.
I have been learning that in these times of divine confinement, God keep you still so that He can work His love and grace and wisdom into your soul. If you are in one of these seasons, you have not been benched, you are being prepared. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10, NIV).