Yesterday, I was discussing how much we hate waiting. We want instant answers and immediate responses! And, this is especially true when our situation is causing a tremendous amount of stress or our decision has to be made right now. What are we going to do? Why do we have to wait? Our need is important stuff, and the delay is very unfair and unreasonable.
Well, let’s talk about this a little. If we can understand why the Lord hasn’t answered our prayers, it might help to relieve at least some of the stress. Maybe if we can know why we don’t receive the directions immediately, it will help us trust in His wisdom and timing! What do you think?
Okay, so let’s be honest here. In many of our lives we simply are not ready for the next step. Our God has plans for us, but there are instances when He has to stop us in our tracks until we do a little “internal housecleaning.” Oh, we don’t like thinking about that, but sometimes we have been tolerating a particular sin in our life or need to deal with bad attitudes or ungodly thought patterns. Yeah, that may be a little embarrassing to admit, but this is a reality for many of us. And this matters because the Lord has places to takes us, and He knows what baggage needs to be left behind!
It is also possible that His delay is for preparation, or training, for the calling He has on our life. David was anointed king when he was a teenager, but he spent many years in the wilderness, fleeing from Saul. During the difficulties he endured, his character was being refined and his leadership skills were sharpened. Then, when the time was right, Yahweh brought him to the throne!
So, maybe the Lord is keeping us in an uncomfortable place, a boring or difficult job, or a challenging situation, so that He can teach and train us; to prepare us for what He has planned. We need to learn to cooperate with His training while we wait, knowing that His plans are for our good!
Our need is to always remember that He is preparing us for something better. I don’t want to discourage any of you, but this happened to Joseph, and it took many several years to reach its fulfillment. I mean, when he was 17, he dreamed that his brothers would bow down to him (and yeah, he was foolish for sharing it with his brother), but it took 22 years for those dreams to come true! And for 11 years, he was a slave in Potiphar’s house, 2 of which were in prison! So you may have it rough, but compare that to Joseph’s experience.
Here’s another thought, that, to be honest, may not make it any better, but maybe all of the details of our Father’s plans for you life are not yet in place! We have to remember that He is the Master of time and sovereignly works out all of the details of His grand design for us. And, you might as well know now, no amount of prayer or fasting is going to move His Hand until it is time, and He is ready! When Moses saw the oppression of the Israelites, he tried to correct the situation by killing an abusive Egyptian. But the Lord used that situation to redirect him to the desert for 40 years, until the king of Egypt died. That was when Yahweh set His plan of deliverance in motion using a much humbler 80-year-old Moses!
No, I hope I don’t have to wait that long either, but there are times when the Lord’s delays are designed to increase our faith. Think about it! If He instantaneously gave us everything we wanted, we would never learn to walk by faith. But when all we have is a promise from the Scriptures with no visible evidence to rely on, our faith is put to the test. Are we going to believe Him or our circumstances? Well, if we can cling confidently to His Word and know that He has never failed to fulfill His promises, we will eventually see the evidence of His faithfulness every time!
He wants us to learn to endure! Like it or not, the ability to remain standing under difficult circumstances is an absolutely essential ingredient of our Christian life. Scripture clearly tells us that “We know that suffering creates endurance, endurance creates character, and character creates confidence! (Romans 5:3-4).
Our hardships and difficulties are never designed to crush us, but to refine us into the image of Christ! When we continue to stand under the pressure with complete reliance on the Lord for His strength and perspective, we come out of the process looking more like our Savior. And that, my friends, makes it all much more bearable!
Okay, so you are having a difficult time. You hate your job; the pain you have been suffering is, at times, seemingly unbearable; the financial burdens may have be overwhelming. I understand that. But we need to re-focus our attention on Christ! I know it is so easy to become absorbed in our own concerns, that we forget about Him, but nothing grabs our attention like a difficult or confusing situation. If our God doesn’t rush to give an answer or fix the problem, then we, in our desperation, start to make Him our main focus. However, there is a difference between seeking the Lord and seeking His intervention. If our thoughts are only on what we want or need from Him, we have missed the mark. To wait for the Lord means that our focus is on Him, not simply on our desired outcome. Does that make sense? Examine your heart, and if you see where you have been lacking, repent and ask Him to show how to rely on Him, and Him alone!
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