GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book Faith, Doubt, and God’s Mysterious Timing by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!
Sometimes God‘s timing just does not make sense to us. When hard situations last way too long and our deepest prayers seem to go unanswered, we often wonder, “What is God doing?”
But thankfully, the Bible is full of people who have experienced the same thing. They had to learn to trust God‘s ways and His timing, and their stories can help us trust God too.
So today, author Laurie Polich Short highlights these biblical heroes and unearths very practical, encouraging gems found within their trials. These gems will serve as a compass to help you navigate your story when the way forward is foggy or unclear.
As we talk about her book, Faith, Doubt, and God’s Mysterious Timing: 30 Biblical Insights about the Way God Works, Laurie will show you there’s hope in those seemingly hopeless circumstances.
Because let’s face it, it’s hard to hold on when difficult circumstances linger! But my friend, we’re living in an unfolding story, and as time changes the story, it reveals so much more of what God is up to.
So … let’s not end the story too soon! More is happening than we can see, and we can trust Him with the bigger story.
Laurie Polich Short is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and the author of five books. She’s also a featured Bible teacher on Right Now Media and has appeared on PBS, Focus on the Family, and World magazine. Laurie has served as a speaker over the last 25 years bringing encouragement to large audiences, and today she lives with her family in Santa Barbara.
[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]
- You can win a copy of Laurie’s book, Faith, Doubt, and God’s Mysterious Timing. Hurry—we’re picking a random winner on November 9! Enter on Instagram here.
Books & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
- God is Just Not Fair: Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
- Missing Pieces: Real Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
More from Laurie Polich Short
- Visit Laurie’s website
- Faith, Doubt, and God’s Mysterious Timing: 30 Biblical Insights about the Way God Works
- Follow Laurie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Links Mentioned in This Episode
- Can I Live My Life With Open Hands? With Laura Story [Episode 18]
- When God Doesn’t Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without – Book by Laura Story
Related Blog Posts
- Can I Let Go and Trust God? [Episode 82]
- Can I Trust That God Knows and Cares? With Lisa Whittle [Episode 251]
- Can I Learn to Wait on God? With Meredith Andrews [Episode 20]
- Can I Wait Well When Disappointment is Wearing Me Out? With Kerstin Lindquist [Episode 151]
- Can I Trust God Even When He Doesn’t Seem Fair? [Episode 10]
- Can I Trust God With My Singleness? With Bethany Beal [Episode 210]
- Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the 4:13 Podcast here.
- Were you encouraged by this podcast? Reviews help the 4:13 Podcast reach more women with the “I can” message. Click here to leave a review on iTunes.
4:13 Podcast: Can I Trust God’s Timing? With Laurie Polich Short [Episode 270]
Laurie Polich Short: I think that if we wait, which is so hard to do when we are waiting with a desire or a prayer request or something that we feel like God isn't listening, to stop and recognize what God is doing during those times. You know, I think sometimes we're so focused on what he's not doing that we're not paying attention to what he is doing, the doors he is opening.
Jennifer Rothschild: Sometimes God's timing just does not make sense to us. Hard situations, they last way too long. Or maybe it's that your prayers just seem to hang in the air with no answer and you wonder, what is God doing? Well, thankfully, the Bible is full of people who experienced the very same things. They had to learn to trust God's ways and to trust God's timing. And their stories, they help us trust God also. So today, author Laurie Polich Short is going to be here to unearth very practical, encouraging gems that are found in the lives of Biblical heroes, and that's going to help you trust God's timing yourself. So here is your compass to help you navigate your story when the way forward is very foggy or unclear.
K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and Biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
Now, would you welcome your host, my soul sister, Jennifer Rothschild.
Jennifer Rothschild: Hey, friends. That was K.C. Wright. He's my Seeing Eye Guy, my podcast buddy. I'm Jennifer, here to help you be and do more than you feel capable of as you're living this "I Can" life along with us. Based on Philippians 4:13, it is true that it is through Christ, his power in us, that we can do what he has called us to do. We can be who he has created us to be.
K.C. Wright: Yes.
Jennifer Rothschild: And I'm telling you, we've just been having a lot of fun the last few weeks around here in the podcast closet, and today is no exception. Just fun. I don't know. Isn't there just a lightness and a joy, K.C.? It's fun.
K.C. Wright: Yes. Hey, the joy of the Lord is our strength.
But I got to tell you. You confessed your sins to us.
Jennifer Rothschild: Last week?
K.C. Wright: The Bible says confess your sins and you'll be healed.
Jennifer Rothschild: Or embarrassed, right?
K.C. Wright: I want to jump in on this Venmo issue.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, yes, we talked about that last week. Yes, I know, I know.
K.C. Wright: So I'm going to read some of mine.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, 'cause you -- see?
K.C. Wright: Do you mind?
Jennifer Rothschild: No, not -- I love it. No, I love other people's drama. Go ahead.
K.C. Wright: All right. Well, I have two friends, and they're making payments for a hot tub. Okay, so that's interesting.
These boys that I paid all summer to mow my grass, they split the money, you know. So I give them $40 every Monday. They mow my grass. I ain't got time for it, I just don't. I'm not home. And they do such an excellent job. Plus, I love supporting entrepreneurship.
Jennifer Rothschild: Exactly.
K.C. Wright: And I had a lawn service when I was their age, right?
Jennifer Rothschild: I love that. Right.
K.C. Wright: But anyway, it's so funny, because when they split the money and pay each other on Venmo, they ain't got time to put descriptions. So it says, "Garrett paid Payton," and he just wrote "poop."
Jennifer Rothschild: That's awesome.
K.C. Wright: And then he writes again, "Garrett paid Payton. Huh?" Anyway...
Now, this is so funny. I bought a Facebook -- I also have another addiction. Excuse me. I also have another addiction. I need to stay off Facebook Marketplace.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, I understand that too, yes.
K.C. Wright: Because there are treasures to be had. And I do not need anything on there, but the other day this woman was selling these beautiful book shelves. They're metal framed and wood shelves. And it just goes with my living room, so I bought them from her for $40. So now we're friends on Facebook -- I'm sorry. We are now friends on Venmo -- right? --
Jennifer Rothschild: Right.
K.C. Wright: -- because I paid her that way.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, gotcha, uh-huh.
K.C. Wright: Well, it shows here -- how interesting is this?
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, good. Are we stalking her now?
K.C. Wright: Yeah. Well, I mean, I should unfriend her because, you know, our transaction's over.
Jennifer Rothschild: Right.
K.C. Wright: But anyway, she wrote -- she paid a gal named Ellen for a U-Haul and chickens and love. Now, J.R., what is the story there? U-Haul and chickens and love. These are the things that keep me up at night.
Jennifer Rothschild: I love it. Okay. Well -- so here now y'all know -- we're not going to keep talking about this, I promise -- but clearly, we're obsessed.
K.C. Wright: Right.
Jennifer Rothschild: So when you're not listening to The 4:13, you can clearly just go and scroll Venmo and it will keep you entertained. Because, listen, sometimes we just need to splash around in the shallow end --
K.C. Wright: Yes.
Jennifer Rothschild: -- right?
K.C. Wright: Right.
Jennifer Rothschild: Because The 4:13 can be a really good deep end experience for you. So we're glad you're here with us on The 4:13 today.
K.C. Wright: Hey, I do want to tell you real quick -- can I share now about how The 4:13 podcast ministered to my whole family?
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, yeah. You didn't tell me this. What is it?
K.C. Wright: Okay. So my mom, several months ago, went through a surgery.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, right.
K.C. Wright: And we were in the room where they prep for the surgery, and we're behind the curtain. We had heard that they would wheel her back in an hour, then the surgery would happen, and then the recovery, right? So I'm here to tell you, if you've ever gone through something like this, you are really on edge, because when you're older, there's always that risk of what could happen during a surgery.
Jennifer Rothschild: Right, right.
K.C. Wright: So her pastor comes in, prays over us. I am praying over my mama. We're in this room. We know all will be well, but guys, I'm telling you, our nerves, Jumanji level, right?
Jennifer Rothschild: Right.
K.C. Wright: Well, here's how The 4:13 ministered to me. The curtain pulls back and it's the lead woman that is going to take my mom back for surgery. She walks in and she goes, "You're K.C." And I said, "What?" And she goes, "I listen to the 4:13 Podcast."
Jennifer Rothschild: No.
K.C. Wright: Yes.
Jennifer Rothschild: She recognized your voice?
K.C. Wright: Now, I have been recognized with my voice for years from being on local Christian radio.
Jennifer Rothschild: Right.
K.C. Wright: This is the first ever being recognized from The 4:13. And she goes, "I listen to the podcast every day, I go to Fresh Ground and Faith." She goes, "I recognized your voice from the desk outside your mom's room."
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, K.C.
K.C. Wright: And she goes, "So this is your mom." And she said, "Well, since you're K.C.'s mom, you're going to get extra care."
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, K.C.
K.C. Wright: "You're going to get extra attention." Now, here's where -- you talk about just Jesus and God. We're all on the edge with the nerves. She grabbed my mama's hand, my hand, and she prayed one of the most beautiful prayers ever. And I am so sorry, but I forgot her name.
Jennifer Rothschild: That's okay.
K.C. Wright: And I told her, I said - you know, we're weeping and we agree in Jesus' name. And I go, "I'm going to give you a shoutout," and then I forgot her name.
Jennifer Rothschild: That's okay. She knows who she is.
K.C. Wright: But whoever that nurse was, which I believe was an earth angel in our life that day --
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, yes, yes.
K.C. Wright: -- a 4:13er, thank you so much for ministering to my family.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, that's beautiful, K.C.
K.C. Wright: Yeah.
Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So I know you didn't plan this, because I hadn't heard this story, but, I mean, that fits perfectly, though, with what we're talking about, God's timing.
K.C. Wright: Yeah.
Jennifer Rothschild: I mean, look at that perfect God's timing. I mean -- gosh.
K.C. Wright: Our steps are ordered.
Jennifer Rothschild: They are.
K.C. Wright: Yes.
Jennifer Rothschild: Laurie's going to love that that is what the Lord led you to today, because that's what Laurie Short is talking about. So let us introduce Laurie Polich Short.
K.C. Wright: Laurie Polich Short is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and the author of five books. Laurie is a featured Bible teacher on Right Now Media and has been featured on PBS, Focus on the Family, and World Magazine. Today, however, she is talking to our Jennifer about her book, "Faith, Doubt, and God's Mysterious Timing." Doesn't this sound good? Oh, man. Let's listen in.
Jennifer Rothschild: All right. Well, Laurie, here's the thing. An author does not write about faith, doubt, and God's timing unless she has grappled with faith, doubt, and God's timing. So that's where I want to start. Was there anything in your life that happened maybe to prompt taking you to this place of deeper faith and understanding of God's timing?
Laurie Polich Short: Absolutely, Jennifer, yes. I had a crisis of faith. It started with a long unwanted season of singleness, which I thought in my 20s is when I told God I'd like to get married. And then when I hit 30, the prayers got louder; and when I hit 40, I began to suspect that God was deaf. And just, you know, had been a professional bridesmaid at this point, and countless baby showers and watching all my friends do life, and felt like, what is going on? And I know people live long, very fulfilling lives as single people, but for me that was a desire of my heart.
So when I got engaged when I was 42, it was a huge celebration in my family and with friends. And my mom had two bridal showers for me so fast and I got my wedding dress. And then just a couple of months short of my wedding date, my fiancé was deployed and he was going to be gone for nine months. He was a Marine Reservist as well as a lawyer. And so we contemplated the shotgun wedding, but decided not to and to wait. I had already waited so long. And in the course of his deployment, his ex-wife -- who had actually left him -- began having second thoughts, and they were communicating unbeknownst to me. Anyway, he came home and we broke up and he remarried his ex-wife. Which, of course, is a beautiful story. I mean, my own parents are divorced, and that -- you know, it was such a godly, wonderful story. But I could not believe that God thought I was strong enough here with the desire of my heart to play the part that I played in the story.
And so for me, that was a crisis of faith, just wondering where God was in that desire that I thought he had granted me and now had taken away. And I was not just the person going to church, I was a speaker at that time and the one that was brought in to encourage other people to follow God, and here my own disappointment with God and my relationship with God was in a crisis. And I discovered so many things about God in that season. And even in the sharing in what I call the middle of the story, before the story was resolved, I ultimately did get married at the ripe young age of 49, which I know is every girl's dream. But God had that for me, and it was beautiful. And I married a man, and he had a little boy who was six whose mom moved to Australia, so I got to be a mom. So all of these things happen later in life.
But in the middle of that season in my mid to late 40s, I had the opportunity to learn about this God who doesn't always do things the way we want him to. And I also learned about how powerful your testimony is when you share it in the middle before it's resolved. Because I think people live in the middle of the story, and they need people saying, you know, I don't know what's going to happen in my life, I don't know if I'll ever get married, but I'm choosing to hold on to God. And I just think that gave so many people the strength that people need to live through the seasons that so many of us have that are so disappointing.
Jennifer Rothschild: Well, because there's many who are in the middle of the story. And I love that perspective, because sometimes we wait till we've been able to put a tidy little bow on it so that we can --
Laurie Polich Short: That's right.
Jennifer Rothschild: -- present it. And it's in the messiness where the real power is.
In fact, in your book, you write that our perspective might change if we wait for more of the story to be revealed. Okay? So that's where you are, in the middle. But you say the perspective may change if you wait for more of that story to be revealed. So what do you mean by that?
Laurie Polich Short: Well, I really believe -- and that's a huge theme in my book, that time changes the story. And I don't think I could have written this book any younger. You know, one of the advantages of starting to grow older in the faith is that you see so much more of what God was up to. I always call him the rear-view mirror God. And some stories that you thought were one thing ended up being another thing altogether. And I think that if we wait, which is so hard to do when we are waiting with a desire or a prayer request or something that we feel like God isn't listening, to stop and recognize what God is doing during those times. I think sometimes we're so focused on what he's not doing that we're not paying attention to what he is doing, the doors he is opening.
And in my own life, I experienced that because it was actually a job opportunity that happened four months after my engagement broke up, that was in Santa Barbara, and it was a church. And this guy that I had not spoken to in years who called me -- I always put in quotes -- randomly to say that, oh, we've been praying about this position and your name came up, and I don't know if you're interested. And, Jennifer, I was not looking for a job, but that door that opened was at such a strange timing that I thought I need to pay attention to this. And it was really funny because before I left, I was informed that there are no single people in Santa Barbara. So just as I was leaving, I was going, oh, perfect, you know.
Jennifer Rothschild: Great.
Laurie Polich Short: And I always think that God chuckles because -- I always like to say that we can stack up the impossibilities and then watch God move. And I think Easter week is the perfect week where we discover that, where all is lost and gone and done, and it's not the end of the story. So I think sometimes people end the story too soon, and they need to hold on and wait for this God who is always taking longer than we'd like.
Jennifer Rothschild: What a good word. So let's rewind just a little then to -- I can only imagine what this felt like, Laurie -- okay? -- in the aftermath of the disappointment, the despair of losing your dream of being married at age 42, plus with the juxtaposition of it being in a weird way a good thing that his marriage was restored. Okay, so that's such an emotional tangled mess. Okay? So I'm curious, what kept you going during that season? Like, what did you discover? You said early on you discovered so many things. So what did you discover about God, or what did you experience with him that kept you going?
Laurie Polich Short: Well, it's interesting. I have a chapter in the book called "God Is In The Hard," and that is really what I discovered. But you're exactly right, it was such a conflict for me, because it was such a beautiful story on one hand, and yet from my angle it was a little bit feeling like Job, where all your friends are going, well, isn't it great that God used you to bring them back together? And I think that sometimes we live through things that are for other people, and I believe that God always has his eye on others when he's at work in our lives.
And that was another thing that I discovered at that time, is that so much of what he's doing is for the ministry that you're going to have with others. Because I believe that he uses the painful parts of our lives so much more powerfully than some of the seasons that we went through where we did get everything we wanted. I always say that when you -- a spotlight shines on you when you're going through hard times. That's when people notice your faith. Because if everything's going great and you say, you know, "I follow Jesus," well, good for you. But when things are not going great and you say, "I'm still choosing to follow because I believe he's real and I believe he's going to show up. And I don't know how he'll do that, but I'm going to believe."
And honestly, Jennifer -- and maybe you can relate to this -- I felt a little bit like I was in too deep also. You know, it was a little bit like Peter when Jesus started having hard teachings, and then he turned to his disciples and said, "Well, what about you, are you going to leave too?" And Peter said, "Where would we go?" And I do believe that I felt that I had already discovered enough about God that I couldn't not believe. I could not not be in a relationship with him. I just didn't like what he was doing in my life. And I think at that point you have to trust, just like Job got to in his life, that the world is so much bigger than you are, and that you are a part of a much bigger story, and that more is happening than you can see.
Because I think about how God ended up using Job's life, his story, and how many millions of people have taken solace from really a book about suffering. And Job never knew why he suffered, but he did get that perspective shift at the end of his life by seeing how big God is. And that's certainly what I have discovered more and more as years go on. I just can't believe how big and detailed and involved he is in everything, even when we don't see it.
Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and you're describing humility, Laurie. You know, it -- well, this is the way I used to say it to my children, because I've observed it in myself and in others. Selfish people are not happy people and selfish people suffer harder. And when we can have a sense of humility and a recognition of a right estimate of ourselves, I think we can suffer more soundly and the redemptive work of that suffering can begin more quickly. But when it's all about us, we suffer harder and it lasts longer.
But you actually write in your book that loss is not absolved from our story even when we have a greater understanding of why that loss occurred. So unpack that for us.
Laurie Polich Short: So I think where we see that the most is in the story of Joseph, because we get ten chapters about his life. You don't often get that much of the story of these people's lives. And I think seeing all of the journey that he went through that was so unpredictable -- and that's another point in the book, is that you could be hours away of a complete change in your life and not know it. And we really see that in Joseph, because he goes from having these dreams of greatness and then becoming a slave and then going to jail for no reason -- he did not commit the crime that he was sent to jail for -- and then having a brief glimmer of hope with Pharaoh's attendants who were there with him. And I always like to picture him saying, "Don't forget me when you get back to the palace," and, of course, that's exactly what happened. And then he's remembered at just the right time. But I would say just the right time, it happened in an instant plus two years of sitting in jail thinking he was forgotten and probably going to sit there forever. And so then his life drastically changes.
But, of course, we have the brothers who ultimately set him on this journey because of their jealousy. They sold him into slavery. And so when he's reconciled with them, you hear him wail and you get to see that scene where he's so conflicted and ends up hiding something in his brother's backpack and doing all of these things that are so psychological, you just know that he is wrestling with deep pain that some of us have to wrestle with from our childhood and from things that have happened.
And even at the end of the book, after they're reconciled and they move and Jacob comes -- when Jacob, their father dies, the brothers are worried that now Joseph is going to turn on them. And here he is at the end of his book already seeing why God did all the things he did, and yet when they come before him, he cries again. And I don't think a lot of people see those verses in the Bible sometimes that show us that these people lived very human stories. And even though Joseph could see the purpose for everything he went through, he still carried pain. And I believe that we all do about the painful things that have happened to us.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. And I'm glad you brought that out, because feeling the pain is not the same thing as a lack of faith. Feeling the conflict is not the same as being open handed with what God has allowed. And it reminds me, too, in your book -- you say something about faith I want us to talk about. Because you talk about -- well, I'll just phrase it as a question. The difference -- what is the difference between acting in faith and actually, like, forcing, making something happen? Like, how do we do one without the other, and is there a difference?
Laurie Polich Short: Wow, that's a great question. I think that I tend to be a person who relates with Jacob in the Bible, the control person. And he's one of the ones I talk about in that chapter, how it was already prophesied that he would do what happened, he would get the birthright. And he was the younger, so he shouldn't have gotten the birthright. Esau should have gotten it. But you see him throughout his life struggling with God until the ultimate wrestling.
And I think there's a difference in our life. And I really first saw this in Isaiah 50:10. This is so interesting. But this verse was my theme verse for three years in my journal, during my time of not knowing what God was doing and everything had fallen apart, and now here I was. And the verse is, "Let him or her who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on your God." And that verse I kept writing, you know, like we have our favorite verses. But I had never looked at the next verse. And the next verse gives us so much insight about what it's like to force our way. The next verse says, "But woe to you who light your own fires and provide your own torches. This is what you will receive. You will lie down in torment."
And I always say that's not exactly the verse you share on social media. But it gives us so much insight about when we are done waiting, and God's not done waiting, and we just say, you know what, I'm done. My biological clock is ticking, I want to be a mom -- which was definitely a desire of my life -- and so I'm just going to find someone. It wasn't for a lack of people being out there, but it was a choice to say am I going to wait for what God has? And that's going to mean sacrifice sometimes. And for me, it did. Because, Jennifer, I always wanted to be a mom in the way that I didn't ever get to be. And I was a mom every other way. But sometimes we have to loosen our grip on the things we want, in the way we want them, and still hold on to that desire. Because God may want to meet it, but it just might look different than you think.
And I do believe that Jacob learned that lesson, and especially when he finally wrestled with the angel. And he overcame the angel. He won the fight. That's why the name Israel, you know, he overcomes. But he was the one who left with a limp, which means that he left with a new dependence on God, and that is what God wanted to take him through. So there's just so much in these stories that I think give us so much insight, but they're the parts of the stories that we don't often see.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, you're right. And as you describe that, you know, and I think of -- I think of your wrestling, your desire to be that mom, and your loss, though, I can only imagine for that sweet little boy, who is now part of your life, what his life would be like without you, you know? So your loss became his gain. So it really is a beautiful -- it's a beautiful story.
So let's talk about something else you talk about in your book, remembering. Okay? Because you write that it's not only the act of remembering that matters -- because obviously we're taught to do that in Scripture -- but it is what we remember that builds or diminishes our faith. Good distinction there. Okay? So talk about what you mean by that.
Laurie Polich Short: Well, I use the Israelites as the perfect example of this. Because when they came out of Egypt in their slavery and they saw the sea part as they walked through it, and for the first month they were singing about it, and you can just read all about this in Exodus. And a couple of chapters later, we find them now struggling to find food and looking at Moses and saying, "Why have you led us out here?" But what you notice is what happens to their memory. Suddenly they're going, "Remember the good old days in Egypt where we sat around and ate pots of meat." Literally that's a verse in Scripture, "sat around and ate pots of meat." What are you remembering here? You know, maybe you got fed, but you were slaves.
Jennifer Rothschild: Right.
Laurie Polich Short: And just the fact that they didn't -- they skipped over the memory of the Red Sea, which they should have continued to sing about how God rescued them. And now they're remembering the good old days that never really were what they are remembering. And I think we do that sometimes. When we look back, what matters is what we remember. Are we remembering the times that God was faithful or are we remembering things that didn't really happen the way they did? And I think that when God says, remember, remember, remember, we are such creatures of forgetfulness.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.
Laurie Polich Short: I tend to look at the Israelites and I go, how could they do that? It was only a month and a half. And then I think about myself on Sunday afternoon after church. I've just been worshiping God and now look at my thoughts right now. What am I thinking? I don't trust him. And I just think we all go through that, and that's why that steady diet of looking back at our rear-view mirror God, who shows us so much if we take the time to look. And I try to do a lot of that in this book, because I think now as I've lived longer, I can see these stories, not only in Scripture but in my own life, of how God has shaped the stories that I've been in, and that is such an amazing exercise for strengthening your faith.
Jennifer Rothschild: So you're looking back to those stories, seeing how God has shaped them. Because that's what I was going to ask you, Laurie, is -- so let's say -- I guess it's simply about how we remember correctly. Because the Israelites remembered, oh, we had beef stew --
Laurie Polich Short: Right.
Jennifer Rothschild: -- and did not remember they were in slavery or did not enhance that part of the memory. So events in our lives can carry a mixed bag. So how does one look back and remember well so that it does inform a right understanding of self and God and future?
Laurie Polich Short: Well, I think so much of it is doing the remembering with community, with somebody else who also remembers some of the things that God has done. We need our community. You know, honestly, church is not checking a box and doing something because you think God wants you to be there. Church is where we need to be because we remember who we are in church. Because life throws so many things at us, and we're not always in environments that are conducive to our faith. And so sometimes we have to get together -- I think Communion is an exercise of remembering. It's remembering who Jesus was, what he did, all of the things that we do that we could call rituals. We need to remember so that we know who God is.
And for instance, for me, if I just thought about and stewed over the fact that I never got to be a biological mom -- and believe me, Jennifer, I have cried over it.
Jennifer Rothschild: Of course.
Laurie Polich Short: I wished I could put my son in my belly and had him. And my husband has been so dear, and we've held hands and cried, and I -- but I know that my part in his life, just like what you said, was so crucial to who he became because of my job at the church, that I went to Santa Barbara because of my broken engagement and I started working in this wonderful community that ended up raising this boy and coming around him and bringing a youth pastor into his life, and ultimately baptizing him in the ocean. And now he's on the worship team and he works with the junior high kids, and now he's enlisted in the Marine Corps and he's just living this life that I know -- and it's not just me, it's the people that were brought into his life because of this union that happened out of brokenness. So God can do so much.
But I think we do need to think about things differently than just the regret and the remorse of the things that haven't happened. What has happened? How has God used you? Because you're the only you who can live your story.
Jennifer Rothschild: I just want you to know how much I appreciate that word, because what you're basically saying is we can't change all the stuff. We can't. But we can change the way we remember it, we can change the way we process it, we can change the way we live it now. And, yes, God is sovereign and God is kind, and he gives us that opportunity to cooperate with the story that he is writing. So good, Laurie.
And your book, I'm just very grateful that we get to talk about it here and recommend it, because I know those pages are much more full of good stuff that we can't cover here, because we're going to get to our last question. Okay, so here it is, Sister Girl. So how can our listeners -- like, they're tracking with this and they want to be able to, like, okay, turn the page basically. So how can they look at this unknown future and still anticipate God's faithfulness? Even if there was bad stuff in the past -- I guess simply put, like, what does it really mean to wait well and live fully in the meantime?
Laurie Polich Short: Well, two things come to mind. I think the first is -- and I've alluded to this -- to be sure you are looking at what is happening and not just what isn't happening. I do believe there's an over-focus on what isn't happening when there is a deep desire or something that we want so badly to happen that's not happening. But God is always doing something. And there have been so many stories that now that I am married and have this desire fulfilled, I am so grateful for the stories that I lived as a single woman that I never would have been able to live. And we could sit here all day and talk about some of those stories. So to remember that he's always got a story for you.
And if you're in a dark place, a disappointing place, something that I found that was so helpful in my life was to put myself in a situation where other people were suffering more than me. I think that perspective shift -- when I was single and disappointed and it wasn't happening, I started working in the inner city and volunteering once a week. And just that exercise of going downtown and ministering to these kids who, for no fault of their own, were born on Skid Row and that is the life that they have. And being a part of their life once a week did something to my heart that I think was so powerful. And not only that, I got involved in a story -- that we don't have time to tell -- that was one of the most precious stories of my life, that I look back on, that I got to be a part of because I did that.
So there are opportunities all around you at any given moment to jump into life. And I believe that that's what God wants us to do. And what's interesting is -- and this is where the hope comes through -- is that sometimes the door you're focused on is not the door that's opening. But the door that is open, if you go through it, one door could lead to another door that leads to another door that actually leads to the door you want. It's just a different route. And so that's why God wants us to pay attention to what is happening, because that might be the road to exactly what you want. It just doesn't look like it right now. You don't see it right now.
And so that is the part of our faith journey that is something that I've learned in my life, and especially looking back, that I would really encourage people to see. And I know that for me, it was the door going to a place where I thought there was no single people, that ended up being the door to marriage for me. And I just think -- just like Ruth, I think about her following her mother-in-law because she wanted to help her and be a part of her faith. And even her mother-in-law said, "You'll never marry if you come with me." And Ruth's husband was waiting for her in this new place. And not only that, her bigger story of being one of the five women in the genealogy of Jesus, that was all waiting for Ruth when she said yes to the need in front of her. And so I think that sometimes we have to recognize there's a bigger story behind everything we see.
And also, you are the only one who can live the life that God has given you, and you have a specific part to play, and God wants you to embrace that. Because when we get to eternity, this whole life will be such a flash. And I think that we will have such regret if we don't live it the best we can. And that doesn't mean putting on a smile when everything is not going well, it just means living it, be in it, and see what God is doing.
K.C. Wright: I really liked her statement, "Be sure you are looking at what is happening, not just what is not happening." Whoa. 100% right. That's a drop the mic right there.
Jennifer Rothschild: I know. Yeah.
K.C. Wright: God is always doing something. And remember, he always has a story for you. And here's the story: it's a good story because we serve a good God. So find an opportunity to jump into life.
Jennifer Rothschild: You know, Laurie also talked about putting yourself in a situation where other people are struggling or suffering more. That's what you're talking about, jump into life. And, in fact, I thought -- I loved when she said that, because I always have said to my people, "Find a bigger problem." You know, it doesn't mean that yours doesn't matter, but it right sizes what you're struggling with. In fact, one of the things that I have appreciated so much, K.C. -- you know Laura Story --
K.C. Wright: Yes.
Jennifer Rothschild: --the singer-songwriter of that beautiful song "Blessings"? Her husband was diagnosed early in their marriage with a brain tumor, and it just changed their whole lives. Anyway, she has always said that -- when that happened with Martin's brain surgery, she said, "You know, I thought that was a detour on the path that God planned, but really it turned out that was the path." And I thought that was so powerful. Same kind of thought process there.
K.C. Wright: So good. Well, clearly this is a needed message for all of us. So if you need her book, we are giving one away. Go to Jennifer's Instagram for daily encouragement and also giveaways. Hello? Go to @jennrothschild to register to win one. And go to the Show Notes at 413podcast.com/270 to read a full transcript and find a link to purchase her book.
So this episode is a wrap.
Jennifer Rothschild: It's a wrap.
K.C. Wright: Man, I just want to keep going. But until we are together next time, trust God, trust his timing in all things. You can, because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.
Jennifer Rothschild: I can.
Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.
K.C. Wright: With trust, I'm always reminded of the Scripture. It's the Amplified Version of trust in the Lord.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, yeah. What is it?
K.C. Wright: It says -- oh, goodness, hold on. Hold on.
Jennifer Rothschild: It's in there. Look it up.
K.C. Wright: Here it is, here it is, here it is. "Roll your works upon the Lord. Trust them wholly and completely to him, then he will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to his will, and so shall your plans be established and succeed."
Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh. And all the 4:13ers said.
K.C. Wright: Amen.
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