A Good Place To Stop

If you've been following my posts lately, you know there's been a lot of talk about valleys and waiting on God and feeling like you're stuck in a rut.  God has given me the privilege and duty to write the things that He lays on my heart, but frankly, sometimes those things are not easy to write.  It's not always easy to open up my heart and pour out those feelings that I would rather keep inside.  Still, I know God has a purpose for them, and He has shown me (even through your many e-mails and comments) that God uses these posts to encourage others.  Knowing that makes it all worth it.

Sticking with the theme that's been running rampant through my latest posts, I want to share with you a little "hallelujah moment" the Lord gave me the other day.  As is common, I was reading.  In fact, I was nearing the end of a rather exciting fiction book about a Christian archaeologist and his two children who were solving a mystery in the deserts of Africa.  Jason arrived home after a long, grueling day at work, and I wanted to be able to give him my complete attention.  The problem was that I hate stopping in the middle of a chapter.  It was bad enough that I was only a chapter and a half from the end of the book, but it really rubs me raw to have to stop reading in the middle of the chapter.

Trying to be a good wife and put my own pet peeves aside, I read to the end of the paragraph, then placed my bookmark in the book and closed it, determined to give my husband the attention he deserved.  But Jason knows me all too well.

"Go ahead and get to a good stopping place," he urged.

"I read to the end of the paragraph," I assured him.  "I can stop there."

He shook his head.  "That's not a good stopping place.  Get to the end of the chapter.  You know that's a good place to stop."

By that point, I didn't care whether I finished the book or not (well, not too much).  Something Jason said struck a chord within me, and it was like I finally saw the light.  Crazy enough, it was something I had known all along.  The end of the chapter is a good stopping place.  So, could that be why God is not allowing me to get to the end of this particular chapter in my life?  Could it be that's why this valley has stretched on for so long?  Could it be that this rut is actually a blessing?

Like all things in life, running the Christian race requires momentum, and once we stop, even if it's just to take a rest, we have to gain that momentum all over again, right?  Maybe God is doing me a favor by keeping me going.  While I'm not exactly enjoying my time in the valley, I'm learning a lot along the way, and I've certainly gained some momentum.  There will be an end to this valley, and there will be a "good place to stop," but I haven't arrived yet.

As Jason's words echoed in my head and my heart, it was as if that still, small voice of the Lord said, "Yeah, Dana.  Get to the end of the chapter.  You can't stop in the middle.  You'll know when it's the right time to stop."

The crazy part for me is that once I stop reading a book, even though I found a good stopping place, I can't wait to pick it up and start reading it again.  Perhaps the Christian walk can be the same way.  By going when we're supposed to go and stopping when we're supposed to stop, we not only gain momentum, but we also gain a desire to continue the journey.  And with that mindset, the end of the race will be here before we know it.

There is a good place to stop, but you may not be there yet.  Hang in there.  God will lead you through to the end of the chapter.  Until then, enjoy the story.  After all, it's not just about the destination; it's also about the journey.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have another book to read, and I'm pretty sure that once I start, I won't want to put it down.

I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. - Proverbs 4:11-12