Timely Quotes from a Dusty File

Although it looks and feels like spring outside, the calendar says we’re still in the heart of winter. Hypothetically at least, that’s the best time of year to tackle all those inside projects that have been relegated to the bottom of my to-do list for longer than I care to remember.

There are bookshelves to decorate, budgets to update and photo albums to work on—but not until I finish filing stacks of old bills and going through other piles of paperwork that I’ve been meaning to organize for years.

I was pilfering through some folders full of memorabilia from my girls’ younger days—letters from grandma, early handwriting samples, doctor’s reports from preschool checkups, a thick packet of cards friends sent when we adopted Molly (was that really 11 years ago?)—when another file captured my attention.

It held a few favorite quotes that I used to post on a bulletin board in our home office, back when freelance writing and editing were part of my regular routine. That bulletin board has long since been stashed in a storage closet and I don’t work from home as much these days, but those words of wisdom and encouragement felt like old friends as I paused to read them once again.

Even though it’s been more than a decade since I gathered these quotes—and some of them actually were written many decades prior to that—I was amazed at how relevant they are today.

My little quote collection wasn’t fancy, but it might as well have had “blog post” written all over it. So rather than stuff the file back in a drawer and forget about it, I’m sharing its contents with you today.

• • •

This first quote—one that gets me every time I read it—was labeled “Author Unknown.” When I tried to locate the source last week, my internet search revealed nothing. So if you happen to know where these words came from, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

“Wait is the grand instruction. Never hurry past your impatience to see if God can be coaxed into joining your neuroses. Just wait. History is on the rails. God’s plan with final things is right on schedule. Your impatience embarrasses the angels who never burst in on an overture before the maestro’s downbeat. Nor do angels fidget over the tardiness of God. When you complain that God is too slow to satisfy your pace, your speed is but one more indication of your unwillingness to trust.”

Author Unknown

• • •

Thanks to my background in journalism, I’ve always valued accuracy in writing. But this next quote applies to anyone who writes, no matter what the topic is or where it’s published.

“You never reach a place where you can be at ease with the facts. Your task is to continually search, to study, to present the material in a careful and diligent manner. Get your facts straight. People are striving for a knowledge of the truth and you owe that to them. Be a wordsmith. Place value on communicating clearly and correctly and where you can, concisely. If there is any place we can find shoddy and careless writing, alas, it is among the Christian ranks. Make a difference. Follow Luke’s example.”

Chuck Swindoll, from a classic message on the Gospel of Luke (Quoted in Roaring Lambs by Bob Briner)

• • •

Why does a loving God allow us to experience pain? C.S. Lewis hints at the answer here.

“To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable.”

—C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain

• • •

Finally, a quote I’ve been pondering lately as I evaluate my commitment to a project I started a few years ago but have been putting off for a very long time.

“Once God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or to the left. God will do with you what He never did before the call came; He will do with you what He is not doing with other people. Let Him have His way.”

The Quotable Oswald Chambers, David McCasland, editor

P.S. I’m linking up this week with Purposeful Faith, #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community and #HeartEncourgementThursday.

18 Responses to Timely Quotes from a Dusty File

  1. Ruth says:

    Great quotes!
    I especially like the first one, though I like the ouch factor of Oswald Chambers who was so good at hitting the nail on the head. (Driving straight nails gets the job done better without all those do-overs.)
    So, on the one hand, wait patiently, and on the other, don’t stray from God’s call.
    Good stuff!
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. These are so powerful, Lois. Thank you!

  3. Brenda says:

    “Let Him have His way.” What a powerful little sentence. — Feeling a little excited for you as you look at this call again with fresh eyes. 🙂 — Great quotes, Lois. I have a “Quotes” document that I add to — I think it’s nearing 600 now! eek. Nice to know I’m in good company. 🙂 (And, going down memory lane is much better than budgeting, anyway. 🙂 ) — Thanks for faithfully sharing with #ChasingCommunity, friend. ((xoxo))

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Six hundred quotes? Wow, Brenda. That’s quite a collection. Maybe you should pick out your top 10 and put them in a blog post sometime (hint, hint). 🙂 I totally agree about memory lane vs. budgeting, too. 🙂

  4. I love quotes, so thanks for sharing!

  5. Lois, there are timeless truths in each of these quotes. I have a file full of quotes for different topics. I LOVE them. I think I love your first one best: “Wait is the grand instruction.” The rest of the quotation is good too, but this first sentence caught me. We are often waiting for something, or waiting for God to do something. So, may I (we?) wait well, intentionally, and actively. 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Quotes are my favorite too, Jeanne. And I also felt that way about that first part of the waiting quote. I think I may have first found that one when we were waiting to adopt Lilly, or maybe earlier than that. (I know you can relate to the agony of that kind of wait.) I don’t even want to think about what my life would be like today if we had tried to force open closed doors or hurry along God’s plan back then. 🙂

  6. Hi Lois,
    I used to have two French boards above my desk with inspirational pictures and words, but they got so cluttered I took them down. But I think we writers need them! Quotes are so inspirational and CS Lewis tops them all. Being reminded of God’s timing and his work in all areas of our lives is something I need to have always in front of me. Praying for God to have his way in all of our lives! xo

    • Lois Flowers says:

      C.S. Lewis definitely tops them all, Valerie! I think you’re right about writers needing quotes. This post excited me, but it didn’t do much for Randy (who’s not a writer). To each his (or her) own, I guess! Blessings, friend!

  7. Lesley says:

    These quotes are brilliant and, as a musician, I especially love this line from the first one: “Your impatience embarrasses the angels who never burst in on an overture before the maestro’s downbeat.” That analogy is really powerful in communicating why we should wait for God’s timing.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Lesley, it’s interesting how our gifts and backgrounds influence what we take away from various writings, isn’t it? I can see how the line you quoted would make an impact on you as a musician. Now that I think about it, it does make for a memorable picture of what NOT waiting is like. 🙂

  8. Trudy says:

    I love quotes, and these are so good, Lois. 🙂 Thank you for sharing them. Housecleaning folders can really come up with some treasures, can’t they? I’m sure Molly will enjoy seeing those cards. 🙂 Love and hugs to you!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Yes, I need to show Molly the folder, Trudy. She has her own batch of cards in her room that she has been collecting since she was maybe in kindergarten. (Just the other day I helped her organize them according to who gave them to her.) I think she’ll get a kick out of these too. Have a good weekend, my friend!

  9. Oh, my goodness! Those quotes are a gold mine and there are dozens of future blog posts that will bubble forth from the riches, I’m sure! (And such a diverse bunch of sources!)

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Michele, it’s fun to look back to the time in my life when I originally collected these words and think about what was happening. God has been faithful over the years, that’s for sure!

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