If video fails to play, click here.
Tag Archives: waiting
Waiting on God to fulfill His promise can be like waiting to open a present at Christmas. We see it there with our name on it. It is ours, but we have to wait. Every day you see it there. You’re ready to open it and use it, but the time has not come. There is always a waiting period from the time you are promised something and the time that you get it. How you spend that time matters.
There are 3 lessons we can learn from Abraham and Joseph while waiting on God to fulfill His promise to you.
1. Don’t preempt God
When God spoke to Abraham and promised him a son, he was about 85 years old.He could not see how God would do what he said he would do. He decided to intervene on God’s behalf and make the promise come true. He ruined a relationship and started a feud that goes on to this day.
When God makes a promise, our desire is to see it come to pass immediately. Often we are the ones who are unprepared or ready at the time a promise is given. We think we are, so when it delays, we try to step in. God does not need your help to bring about what He has promised. He needs you to prepare to receive it.
2. Bad things may still happen to you
Joseph received a dream that everyone, including his brothers and parents, would bow down to him. Being young and foolish, he had no problem telling others what God had intended to be just for him at the time. While he waited on God’s promise, he was beaten by his brothers, sold as a slave, taken to a foreign land against his will, worked as a slave, was wrongly accused, thrown in jail and forgotten about.
I’m sure it was difficult to trust God to fulfill His promise in any of those situations. You never read of Joseph complaining or crying out “why me, God”. The bible simply says that in each instance, he worked. In working, he found favor with those around him. God used those situations to prepare him and to get him in place for the promise. You may not like or understand what is happening to you in the waiting, but if you trust God and work for Him, He will fulfill it in His time.
3. Have patience
This is easier said than done. Abraham waited 15 years before God fulfilled his promise of having a son. He just thought he was too old at 85! For Joseph, it was 13 years before he interpreted pharaoh’s dream. It was at least more than 7 years after that before his brothers came and bowed down before him. I’m not saying you will have to wait 15 or 20 years for God to fulfill his promise to you, but it could.
We want God to act in our time. We want Him to fulfill His promise when we think we are ready, not when He thinks we’re ready. Patience is tough. Waiting is hard. God may show you the end result now, but wants you to take one step at a time. He may not show you the step after that until you take this one.
What step has God called you to take right now to move towards the fulfillment of His promise? Are you willing to trust Him and His timing? Take each step one at a time. Don’t preempt God. Understand that things may happen between now and the time of fulfillment. They are there to prepare you and to place you. Above all, have patience as He works to bring it about. He keeps His promises.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
A fun game to play with a group of kids is Red Light Green Light. All the kids start out on one side while you’re on the other. You turn away and say, “Green light!” Their job is to run towards you as fast as they can while the light is green. Randomly, you turn and face them and yell, “Red light!” They have to stop immediately. If they move during red light or don’t stop, they get sent back to their starting point. You repeat this process until someone reaches you, then you start all over.
Following where God leads can feel a lot like that game. There’s a series of red lights and green lights along the way. If you’re looking for a pattern, you won’t find one. There are times when green lights seem to on,y last for a short while, and red lights can take years. We love the green lights because they make us feel like God is doing something in us and that we are being productive for Him. When the red lights come, it can feel like we’ve done something wrong. That’s not the case. Red lights come for many reasons. It can be to protect you, to teach you, to grow you, to wait for someone else’s obedience or some other reason.
The important thing is to wait where God has you for as long as He deems necessary. The Israelites went through this in the wilderness. Numbers 9:22 says, “Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud [of the LORD’S presence] lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the Israelites remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they set out” (AMP). We don’t want to go where God’s spirit isn’t leading us. If you’re in a red light season, it’s ok. You’re where God wants you and that’s the best place to be. Rest in His presence because your green light will come.
To be honest, I’ve always wanted God to operate on my time instead of His. Wouldn’t life be much easier if He did? There would be no waiting for the answer, no stress of things coming down to the last minute and no panicking that it might not happen this time. If only God would answer my prayers when I want Him to, that would be amazing, but it wouldn’t involve faith. Without the pressure of getting to the point that if God doesn’t answer things will go badly, there’s no growth in who we are as people. We are refined in the waiting process and our strength is increased. God doesn’t make us wait for the sake of waiting, He’s growing our faith.
David, who was a man after God’s own heart, was good at waiting. He understood that God knows better than we do and His timing is perfect. He didn’t try to make things happen when God slowed them down. He simply went through the process, trusted God and he was rewarded for it. Admittedly it’s no fun to be in the place of waiting. David had to live in caves and be on the run before he could live in the palace. God used that time to grow him into the best king he could be. Imagine what God is doing in you as you wait.
Here are some Bible verses David wrote about waiting on God.
1. My strength is found when I wait upon you. Watch over me, God, for you are my mountain fortress; you set me on high!
Psalms 59:9 TPT
2. Listen to my cry for help, my God and king! I pray to you, O Lord; you hear my voice in the morning; at sunrise I offer my prayer and wait for your answer.
Psalm 5:2-3 GNT
3. I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.
Psalms 40:1 NLT
4. Wait passionately for GOD, don’t leave the path. He’ll give you your place in the sun while you watch the wicked lose it.
Psalm 37:34 MSG
5. Wait for and confidently expect the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the LORD.
PSALM 27:14 AMP
I’m not always a very patient person. I don’t like to wait whether it’s for food, technology to work or even when God is trying to do something. I want to rush things and make them happen. The problem is that like a Polaroid picture, God develops things in our life over time. We prefer an instant picture, but the best things God gives take time. We have to learn to wait instead of trying to rush it. I believe there are many moving pieces and there’s an exact right time for things to come together for things to work out exactly as planned.
Knowing that, i still act like Abram at times. When God told him his wife was going to have a baby, he rushed things. In his mind, he felt like his wife couldn’t get pregnant so he married her servant and got her pregnant. He didn’t wait very well for the promise and messed things up. God was still able to deliver His promise even though Abram had been impatient. Waiting is tough for any of us, but how we wait is important. When God makes a promise, we need to trust Him and His timing. Don’t rush things, but be prayerful. You are capable of waiting well.
Here are some Bible verses on waiting and having patience.
1. But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
GALATIANS 5:22-23 AMP
2. I waited patiently for the Lord ‘s help; then he listened to me and heard my cry.
Psalm 40:1 GNT
3. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Psalms 27:14 NLT
4. The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 GNT
5. For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, Because it will certainly come; it will not delay.
HABAKKUK 2:3 AMP
My son has entered the complicated LEGO phase. For his last birthday he received several architectural LEGO sets. He’s at the age where he’s in love with the architecture, but he’s not where he can read the instructions, find the right piece and put it the right place. He knows the finished product is going to be cool, but sometimes struggles to wait for it as we try to put it together. I’m often having to remove pieces he’s added, which isn’t easy. He’s learning to wait for the finished product though.
He reminds me of myself as I wait for God to continue to build my life piece by piece. I know the finished product is going to be worth the wait, but I don’t always have the patience. I want to jump in and help. So I add a piece here or there. Sometimes I just take everything and say, “Oh! I see what you’re doing. I got it from here, God.” Like my son, I feel like I’m more independent than I am. I think I’ve got it figured out at times, but I lack the ability to do what only God can do.
King David must have learned this valuable lesson. After being anointed king, he had to go back to the pasture to watch sheep. After slaying Goliath, he still wasn’t made king. I’m sure he wondered when the promise of his future would happen. In Psalm 25:21 he wrote, “Use all your skill to put me together; I wait to see your finished product” (MSG). He learned to wait to see what God was doing and to not jump the gun, even though others around him encouraged him to. He realized waiting on God to complete His work was worth it.
I’m still learning to trust Him, and to wait for the finished product. Maybe you’re there too. What feels like watching sheep is really preparing you for what God has for you. There is a finished product in what God is doing in you. He will be faithful to complete what He began, but we have to learn to let Him work and to use His skill to put us together. Remember that He’s working for your good, and the finished product is worth the wait.
Have you ever tried to right your wrongs? Have you tried to do two good things for every bad thing you’ve done? Have you tried to play God in situations? We’ve all interfered with things thinking, “This is what God wants. Maybe He’s been waiting on me to do it.” So we stick our nose where it doesn’t belong and we try to do what only God can do. We try to enforce God’s will in a situation only to make it worse.
Abraham tried it with Hagar. He knew that God was going to give him a child, but he couldn’t see how. To me, that’s the most dangerous territory we can find ourselves in. When we know what God’s will is, but we don’t see the path to the promise. In those moments, we often try to do God’s work for Him. We improvise and innovate in order to make what God said co e true when we think it needs to. Why? Because we are impatient.
I imagine David felt this way too. It had been declared to him that he was the next king of Israel, but his best friend’s dad was the king. There was no path to the promise. As Saul hinted him down, David had the opportunity, on more than one occasion, to kill Saul and to inherit the kingdom. But David didn’t do what Abraham and so many of us do. He didn’t make his own path, he waited for God’s path to open up. What made him different?
I believe the answer is in many Psalms, including Psalm 19. In verse 13 David prayed, ” Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I could take over your work” (MSG). David prayed often that God would keep him from doing what only God can do. He asked God to keep him from deliberate sins. He used the power of prayer to ask God to help him live the way God wanted him to. In return, he got the patience to wait for God’s plan to work itself out without him messing it up.
I was thinking about the story of David this morning. He was tending sheep when The Lord sent the prophet Samuel to anoint him king of Israel. He was doing a menial task that was assigned to him because he was the youngest of his brothers. When the prophet told Jesse to bring his sons to a sacrifice, he didn’t even bother to invite David. As Samuel looked at Jessie’s sons, he looked at them, saw one and according to I Samuel 16:6 thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”
When all of Jessie’s sons had passed in front of Samuel, he was confused. God had rejected all of them. When Samuel asked Jesse if these were all his sons, Jesse said, “There’s still the youngest, but he’s out in the fields watching the sheep.” After he was anointed, David went back to tending sheep. He didn’t go to Jerusalem and proclaim himself king. Instead he waited for God’s timing for the call to be fulfilled.
To me, the waiting is the hardest part. How do you go back to tending sheep when you’re anointed to be king? How do you go back to sleeping on a hillside under the stars when you know there’s a palace waiting for you? David was able to trust God’s timing even though he knew where he was going in the future. He continued to be faithful to where God had called him for the present while waiting for the future calling to be fulfilled.
I think that has to be the hardest part. If God has called you to do something in the future, you don’t have the right to slack where He has you in the present. There are lessons to be learned still. There are responsibilities that must be tended to in the waiting. When David was told by his father to go to the battlefront to check on his brothers, he left his sheep with another shepherd. He didn’t neglect his present responsibilities for his future calling.
We all can learn from his example. You may have been called by God to be a missionary, preacher, evangelist, writer or something else. In the waiting time, you still have to take care of the responsibilities He’s given you. You have to continue be faithful in the “little” things. They may seem menial like watching sheep, but there is a purpose behind keeping you where you are until the right time arrives. David’s path to the throne was not an easy one. Just because God called you to something, it doesn’t mean the heavens will open, angels will sing and you’ll have a clear path to it. You may endure some difficult times getting there.
God has your steps ordered. It’s up to you to take those steps and to walk in the path that He has laid before you to get to where you’re going. Continue to trust in God’s plan even when it isn’t happening in the timing you thought it would. He’s still lining things up. He’s still preparing you. He hasn’t forgotten you or what He called you to. Do the things necessary to be ready when He says it’s time. Above all, be patient in the waiting.
I have tried to see the Pan-STARRS comet a few times this week. I’ve had clear skies, a decent view of the horizon and have been outside at the right times. I just haven’t seen it yet. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Clearly it is. I’ve seen pictures of it on the Internet and friends have reported that they’ve seen it. So why haven’t I seen it? It turns out there are a number of factors that could be keeping me from seeing it: light pollution, my location and my vision.
I think seeing God sometimes is a lot like looking for this comet. We can know something is true without being able to see it. Often in our lives things are going on that cloud our vision. We aren’t looking through the right lenses. Just like a pair of binoculars will improve my vision and ability to see the comet, God’s Word improves our spiritual vision and helps us to see His hand at work. Psalm 119:105 in The Message says, “By your words I can see where I’m going; they cast a light on my path.”
Just like my location determine what if I can see the comet, my location in my walk with God determines how well I can see Him. When I’m on His path for my life, I’ve found it’s easier to see Him and to follow His voice. It’s when I stray off the path that I can’t see where I’m going. At times, I forget which way the path is and lose my way. God is faithful to put me back on the path when I admit I’m off of it and need His help again. All of a sudden, things become clear again.
Light pollution is the other thing that seems to keep that comet out of my sight. To see it best, I need to get away from the things that are preventing me from seeing it. There are people in our lives, places we go and problems that arise that we allow to block our view of God. The light that they are putting out changes our focus and keeps us from seeing Him. Jesus made it a habit to get away from the things that polluted His vision of God. He went away to desolate places to regain His focus so He could see. Even in the darkest moments of Gethsemane, He moved away from His disciples to pray.
God wants you and I to focus on Him and to see His hand in our lives. He wants to show Himself to us. In Ezekiel 38:23, God says, “I’ll show you how great I am, how holy I am. I’ll make myself known all over the world.” Just like that comet is there and can be seen by some, God is there and wants to be seen by you. Make sure you improve your vision of Him by reading His word, change your location by walking down His paths and get rid of the pollution in your life that limits your view of Him. Get alone with Him today and spend some time with Him. I bet you’ll see Him. In Jeremiah 29:13 God says, “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. He’s when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”