I was having a discussion with a brother in Christ the other day and he mentioned that his 20 something son was struggling because he wanted to desperately be married. His son had been praying for well over a year that God would lead him to a perfect mate, yet nothing remotely positive was developing on the relationship front. To make matters worse (in his son’s mind at least) several other men his age were being wed or preparing to wed. Frustrated, confused, and discouraged were the words I heard his father describe him as.
Can you relate? Have you ever prayed for something that you knew God approved of (marriage, work, restored relationships, a growing ministry, etc.)? Early on your prayers were probably offered earnestly and often. However over the course of time, as nothing seemed to be changing from an earthly perspective, and while other people’s lives seemed to be changing for the better, your life and your faith were stuck in neutral.
Here are three biblical truths, which remind us of God’s perfect timing and teach us to be patient, yet diligent. Reflect upon these if you find yourself in a similar situation. How can you do a better job of trusting God and making the most of the wait?
1) Remember the Law of Possession
Toward the end of Exodus chapter 23 (Exodus 23:29 & Deuteronomy 7:22) God shares with the Israelites how He will lead them into the land of Canaan. He makes two points very clear – the Israelites are to act in trust (obey) and act in His timing (patience). Little by little God says he will turn the land over to the Israelites. Why – because they are not prepared to occupy the full scope of the land. They are not strong enough yet. They need to increase. God is withholding the entirety of the land for the good of the Israelites, otherwise “the land will become desolate and the wild beasts will multiply against you.”
And so it is with us. God wants to give us good gifts (Matt 7:11) however He won’t give them to us if we aren’t prepared to handle them. Could God in his all-knowing goodness and kindness be using this time to build you up so that you are prepared to receive what you are asking for?
2) Seeking God not an outcome
In the beginning of the 29th chapter of Jeremiah God instructs the Israelites to make the most of the time and resources that He has provided them while they wait to return from exile (v.5-7). He then reminds them that during this time He will increase their faith, and through this increase He will be found (v.12-14).
The Bible promises that if we seek God, we will find Him (Matthew 7:7). And if we allow Him to, He will transform us into new people who can know His will (Romans 12:2). Are you desiring that God transform you during this time? Are you more desirous of having your will accomplished or His will accomplished in your life?
3) Embracing the truth of perseverance
Perseverance can be defined as steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. If we are persevering we are engaging an opposition in battle; and we are doing so with a confident expectation of victory.
James 1:25 speaks to this truth. It is not enough that we hear God’s word and know God’s word; we must do God’s word. A Christian who perseveres in serving God and following God’s commands will be blessed in the very act of persevering. The more we persevere in the Christian life, the more God grants His blessings upon us, thereby enabling us to continue to persevere.
Recall some of the sweetest victories you have won in your life. Most likely they came at a great cost of time and effort to you. That is what makes them so sweet. Could it be that you are in the midst of one of those moments?
The truth is that God gives us the strength to overcome in His perfect timing. God and His promises are sufficient in all circumstances. It is only our insufficient knowledge and belief of God, and His promises, which lends us to discouragement.
“For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God – his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:29-30
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© 2016 Michael Martin