Could you imagine saying to God, “Why haven’t You answered my prayer? It’s been fifteen seconds already!” Of course, you would not do that. You would wait at least thirty seconds. Right?
Though an extreme illustration, there is truth here: We are an impatient people. We want what we want when we want it, and we do not want to wait for it.
We want stuff, results, answers, and a swift, succinct, and concise response to our questions, demands, and expectations. We have places to go and things to do, and we do not have time to wait for whatever obscure thing it is that God is doing. Given how important we are to His plan, He should know this (we think).
This, however, is not how God works. You know that. (Sometimes, we need to be reminded.) We often have to wait. In the dark. Without direction. Not knowing what to do. Or where to do it. Or who to do it with. Or how long it will take. Or … (This could be a loooong list.)
Have you ever wondered why God is this way? I have. And I have no answers for you except to say that He is this way because it is what is best for us. At least I have seen it so in my life. I have seen the darkness, obscurity, and cryptic directions all work for my good in the end. I found along the way that the more insistent I was for a response, the less likely I was to get it. I also discovered that if I had known more about what He was doing, I would have messed it up.
I expect that is not what you wanted to hear. If you do not like it, read the last two paragraphs again. This is just the way it works. And there is something else:
In many situations when I could not discern a direction, answer, or help from God, I saw in hindsight that He was working in, through, with, by, for, and in some cases, despite me doing EXACTLY what needed to be done. What I thought at the moment was a lonely, dark time where He was missing in action looked like a precision military operation in hindsight. He was doing everything He promised; I just could not see it until it was completed.
This, too, is just the way it works. I have had to adjust my expectations, which means that I have had to adjust my faith to seek not results but God–for who He is in His integrity, character, and ways. I have to trust in Him, not in outcomes–and this is easy to say but VERY difficult to do. I have learned to trust that when I cannot see anything in front of me, He is doing exactly what needs to be done, and all I need is time to see it or understand it eventually.
Today’s Scripture passage is one of those that people like to read and get excited about. They appropriate it for themselves and expect God to do all those things–in fifteen seconds, maybe thirty on the outside. They want the gold, the good stuff.
Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler. (Isa 60:15-17 NIV)
The truth is that the good stuff only comes as God can complete what He needs to do in us to enable us to receive what He has for us. He will not give it to us until we are ready. And mark this: Our readiness to receive is reckoned from HIS perspective, not ours. “But Lord, I’m ready!” some declare to Him. The very fact that they say to Him that they are ready indicates that they are not.
God will give you gold for bronze, silver for iron–in other words, better than what you had or have–and all the other good things He has planned for you, but He will NOT give you anything until you are ready to receive it. Your readiness will only come in time. How much time, I cannot say. I can say that you cannot rush it. You must wait for it and trust Him implicitly in the process. This, too, is the way it works.
God can change any situation. He can restore any loss. He can give you double, triple, and more for all you have lost. He can turn your difficulties into gold (figuratively), which is essentially the application of today’s passage.
Are you willing to wait, trust, and allow Him to do whatever He needs to do in your life to make you ready to receive the overwhelming blessings He has prepared for you? I hope so–because this is the only way any of us will ever receive it.
So, put away your stopwatch and calendar, settle in, and through faith, get as comfortable as you can in your circumstances. God’s answers and restoration only come in time–God’s time.
From ministry friend Randall Vaughn.
(c) 2023 Randall Vaughn • All Rights Reserved • http://www.e-min.org