I’m a huge fan of double entendres. One figure of speech, two different meanings. The wittier the phrase, the more enamored I am. Though I must admit they often go over my head. On those rare occasions when I grasp the meaning immediately, I get all warm and fuzzy inside as if I’d just won the mega million. Well, maybe not that warm and fuzzy, but I definitely feel like I’ve accomplished a huge feat.
The title of this blog is a play on words—a double meaning of sorts. It’s not at all difficult to comprehend, but for me, it’s been hard to master in real time. Sure, I understand the meaning of the words. They’re pretty straight forward and simple—nothing Shakespearean about them…But as practical lessons? Those four words have stumped me every time in one way or another.
Figuratively, it’s the answer to those questions we encounter at pivotal times in our lives. We’ve all asked ourselves at one point or another, “What now?” or “What next?” The answer, as we look to the sky for it to drop from the heavens, or to family, friends and loved ones, is always the same, “It’s in your hands.” Simple. Your life and its direction, your next move, what becomes or doesn’t become of your career, aspirations and future, is in your hands. It’s up to you—as mine is up to me. No complex code to crack here.
Of course we can factor in some degree of circumstance, lucky or tough breaks, divine assistance, tragedy, or stroke of God’s favor, but when the smoke clears it’s up to us. At the end of the day when it’s all said and done and we find ourselves at the pearly gates (hoping we all make it there) and God asks, “What have you done with your life? Your talents? The purpose given you?” we’ll have to give an account. And I’m almost one hundred percent certain He will not want to hear whatever it is we are telling ourselves right now in this moment that is keeping us from…you fill in the blank. Because there is always someone, somewhere, accomplishing way more with much less and a heavier burden. Read that again.
Have you ever heard of people that ask God for help, but they always miss the help’s arrival. You’ve heard the anecdote. There once was a man stuck in a little boat in the middle of the ocean during a raging storm. He cries to the Lord for help and the Lord hears his cry. The next thing he sees is a huge ship. The people on the ship toss him a life jacket and a rope. They tell him to place the life jacket on and grab the rope, but the man refuses telling them he is waiting on God to save him. Then comes the helicopter. They toss down their rope ladder. The man shoos them away. Why? He’s waiting on God to help him…That’s me! I’m him! I’m the man!
A few days ago I read a meme that’s been circulating for some time that credits several people as the author, but its moral is worth mentioning. It goes something like this, “People pray to God for cake. God sends the eggs, butter, flour, sugar, milk, baking powder, etc. and they get frustrated and leave the kitchen.” I believe the reasons people leave the kitchen vary. Some leave because they don’t want to do the work, while others may leave because they don’t know how to do the work. And others because they believe the work would take too long. And then, there’s others that can’t even tell the ingredients were sent—and so, they’re still waiting for God to move.
I’m definitely guilty of being in the latter group. I’ve been guilty several times in my life of waiting for God to move and send me something I already have. I’ve waited for a season to end, for another to begin, for a promotion, for a man to grow up, for my daughter to get old enough and am sure you can think of some waiting periods of your own you’ve initiated. Now I firmly believe there are times in life, spiritual processes that have predetermined waiting periods. You don’t have to believe that. But I definitely believe there are God ordained waiting periods we undergo in life as we become who we are meant to become in order to accomplish only what we can accomplish. These seasons are unavoidable and no matter how much you pray, fast or rail at God, you will wait until you are mature enough, strong enough and humble enough to live for that specific purpose. No green light until the selfishness, self-centeredness and reluctance to fully trust God has been minimized to a level of his liking. Now don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. We’re not meant to be still and do nothing during these periods, but we are waiting. Think about David waiting to be king, or Joseph waiting in prison until the baker remembered he could interpret dreams. Those times. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I am talking about self-initiated waiting periods.
Self-initiated waiting periods? Yeah. The ones when you already have everything you need in your hands to begin, and to end the waiting period, but you don’t, or won’t. The truth of the matter is, you may not be able to launch with all the bells and whistles associated with a million dollars in capital, but you can start where you are currently. Which brings me to the phrases literal meaning, “It’s in your hands.” The eggs, the butter, the flour, etc. It’s all right there. Go on, look. I’ll hold…You may not have a thousand dollars. But you have ten. You may not have a book. But you have a pen. You may not have a cooking show. But you have neighbors, family members, and a church that would love a home-cooked meal. But immediately, we think no, it’s not enough, I can’t…because it’s not PERFECT! You’re right, it’s not. It may not be anywhere near. It may not look like that big corporation’s product. It may not look like the girl or guy’s product you went to school with that’s been doing it for five years. You may not have the scale to take on five hundred clients. But you can take on one, or two. You can work your product based on the resources you have, and when you grow, and your customer base grows, you can upgrade it, improve upon it, or redo it altogether because you’ve learned your craft, your customer and your industry. But we don’t want that. We don’t like being beginners. We don’t like starting small, or allowing other people to watch us start out small. But in Zechariah 4:10, the bible clearly states “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” God gives us ideas, products, purpose and destiny in small doses. To be more accurate he gives it to us in seed form. That is his part. It is our part to water the seed and till the land so that we reap a bountiful harvest when it’s time.
So the next time you ask yourself, “What am I going to do about the layoff? The break-up? The severed business relationship? The missed opportunity? The loss in resources? The lack of resources? The theft of my idea?” The answer? You already know. “It’s in your hands.” But how? With what? Blank stare. “It’s in your hands.”