By Daniel Yoder
Harvest Warriors Publishing
If there’s anything in this life that we need more of, it’s patience. I don’t think there is a single person on the earth today that would say that they have “plenty of patience.” If you’re standing in line at the convenience store, you can at least see how many people are ahead of you, how far you have to go, and then determine what measure of patience you need to muster up. In this situation, we can clearly see that there will be an end to the need for our patience. We can find ourselves stretching our patience just a little bit more when we see that we’re “next.” Or maybe as we’re anticipating a trip or a family gathering that we’re anxious about . . . we can find patience as we’re able to mark off the days, seeing that each day brings us closer to the anticipated event.
But patience with God is a whole different story; more often than not, we’re not able to see where we’re going when we’re relying on God to lead and guide us through the details of our lives. It’s called walking by faith and not by sight. In our “faith walk,” we’re taking steps; we’re trusting and relying on God’s supernatural power; we’re trusting in things not seen. If we’re not keeping our hearts and minds focused on His promises for our lives, our patience is only momentary. When we’re faced with uncertainties in life, our human nature finds it virtually impossible to be patient when we’re forced to trust in the supernatural over the natural . . . it’s much easier to trust in those things we can see, rather than those we cannot.
More often than not, we will have to “wait on God.” His ways are higher; the fullness of His works are much too difficult for us to even begin to understand. Waiting on God brings us to a place of having to completely rely in and trust in Him, even when we cannot see the very next step in front of us.
There is probably no greater virtue in your walk of faith, than to learn how to wait on God. And to learn how to wait in a way that is pleasing to Him. That means without doubting, without complaining, without questioning, without second guessing. Patience is learned, it isn’t given and you can’t buy it. You don’t just pray for God to give you patience and then magically you’re filled with patience. As with anything else in your faith walk, God is going to grow you by giving you opportunities to “walk out your faith.”
So, as you struggle to have more patience with God; know that God has greater purposes: it is the testing of your faith that will bring you forth as gold. One vital thing we have to learn about God is that God does the impossible and He usually does it at the last minute . . . at least that’s what we think. Our faith should always believe that our lives are lived best in the timing of God, not our own. We must trust that His ways are always best. Trying to figure out God and His plan will only bring about more doubt and despair because it is impossible to fully understand Him. He has given us glimpses of His ways through His Word, but His Divine plan goes beyond all human comprehension. If God revealed everything to us, we would have no need for Him, we wouldn’t need to trust Him, and we would have no desire to have a relationship with Him. God wants us to know Him. And He wants us to know that at any given moment, He can move suddenly . . . and more likely than not, He’s going to move in a way that you weren’t expecting. Quite honestly, I think He likes to surprise us and often shock us by just how awesome He is.
In the meantime, while we’re waiting on God to act in our circumstances, we’re going to have to learn how to be patient. We’re going to have to learn to enter into the rest of God, trusting in His Promises, being assured of His goodness and His greatness. When your back is against the wall, when there seems to be no hope, simply Trust God. Seek out those Promises in His Word that will encourage you in your faith as you wait on Him. Allow this waiting time to be a preparation for the blessing that God is arranging for you. Trust that He is diligently at work behind the scenes of your life. Trust that He can take whatever failures and disappointments you have in your life and bring beauty from your ashes.
Whatever failures and disappointments you’ve had in your life, trust in God’s promise of Psalm 37:4, that He will give you the desires of your heart. He may not even give you a glimpse of what He’s doing, but don’t lose hope. Continue to seek Him, continue to develop your relationship with Him, ask Him for the grace you need to wait on Him; there is great purpose behind your season of waiting. Your greatest disappointment, your deepest valley, can develop the greatest faith and an abundance of patience that will carry you through to the victory God is preparing in your life.
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Like everything else in the Christian life, patience is learned. When we’re waiting on God our patience will only come with a complete trust in His Promises for our lives. Patience is: the will or ability to wait. But what we must clearly understand is that it’s not just about waiting to get what we want, it’s ultimately about waiting for God to accomplish His purposes in our lives. We’re not waiting on our will to be done, but His. C.S. Lewis said that there are two kinds of people, “Those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘Alright then, have it your way.'” We’ve got to get this straight in our faith – real faith trusts God and HIS ways, not our own.Patience is about how much we trust God. If we’re doubting, frustrated, discontented, and angry about the situations in our lives, we’re declaring that God is NOT in control. We must rest assured through His Word that what He is preparing for us, what He’s working on behind the scenes of our lives, is worth waiting for. We must walk out our faith.
But waiting also includes expecting. If you’re waiting in line, you’re expecting that at some point, you’re going to be in front. You’re waiting your turn, AND you’re ready to receive. If you’ve ever been in this situation, and I know you have, you know that your attitude while you’re in the line can have an effect on the rest of your day, if not the rest of your week! It’s not always about getting to the destination . . . it’s about the journey. It has been said that “getting to the Red Seas is just as important as crossing it!” God wants to teach you some things along the way. In your times of waiting, God has the ability to capture your full attention. While He’s at work in our circumstances, He’s also trying to do a work in you. He’s bringing it all together. So, you should be expecting Him.
But for most of us, not very often are we expecting God . . . and even if we are, we usually have expectations as to how, when and where He should show up. Even if we’re waiting patiently for a period of time, we suddenly find ourselves losing our patience because “God is taking too long” OR He came through . . . just not how we thought He would. But what we must decide is . . . how long is too long to wait on God??? . . . we must trust that whatever He’s got planned, whatever He’s doing, He’s working for our good, and it is WORTH waiting for! Psalm 22:5 tells us, “You heard their cries for help and saved them. They put their trust in You and were never disappointed.” Trusting God doesn’t mean trusting Him to do things according to YOUR will . . . it’s trusting that WHATEVER He does, He does out of love, and although it may be beyond our understanding, He promises that if we will continue to trust Him, we will NEVER be disappointed.
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We can find ourselves disappointed in many ways along our journey, yet God instructs us NOT to allow it in our lives. John 14:27 SAYS, “Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.” God has given us a spirit of self control. If Jesus is truly living within us, then we are able to keep ourselves from being discontent. Contentment comes from fully trusting God. It comes from understanding that when you pray, God may answer “yes,” and He may answer “no,” but either way, God is never wrong. You can ask God for what you want, but you must trust that “if it is right” He will bring it to pass “AT THE RIGHT TIME,” and if it isn’t right, God will work His plans for what is the very best for you. We must learn to trust God completely if we ever want to experience peace in this life. As we learn to fully trust Him, we find ourselves living with greater patience than we ever thought imaginable. Listen, God wants you to not only trust Him in some things, but to trust Him in EVERYTHING. Your greatest trial or tragedy can grow your faith beyond all your comprehension . . . if you will continue to keep your eyes on God through it all.
“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” 2 Chronicles 20:12 (NIV)
Whatever it is you’re going through, whatever it is you’re struggling with, know that God is with you. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus said, “I am with you always.” God has not forgotten you, nor has He abandoned you. God is good, Jesus is real, and He gave you life on purpose. You were approved by Him and all of your circumstances are sifted through Him before they ever reach you. Whatever it is you’re going through, you can know that God has found purpose and significance in it. Draw near to Him during this time of uncertainty . . . continue to wait, to trust, to hope and to lean on God.
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So, while we’re in God’s “waiting room,” so to speak . . . what are we supposed to do? If we’re not to get agitated or disturbed, God must want us to do something! And He does. In our times of waiting, along our journey, He wants us to trust that He has a purpose for His delay. Believing God is not just believing Him for the things that you want, in the way that you want them. It’s believing that God knows what He’s doing and that He’ll do what’s best in your life . . . in His perfect timing. God wants you to pour out your heart and soul to Him. He wants you to confess your frustration, anger, discouragement, and bitterness. If you refuse to honestly express yourself before God, you cannot fully embrace His love and comfort. Let it out . . . God can take it. Nothing that you’re feeling or saying will shock or surprise Him. If you read Psalm 62:8 (AMP), you’ll get clear direction as to what God wants you to do in your times of despair, in your times of impatience, it says: “Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). [pause and calmly think of that!]”
So, God wants you to get honest with Him . . . lay it all out, and then He wants you to serve Him. If you’re hurting, find someone you can comfort; if you’re lonely, go visit someone who is alone; if you’re in need, find someone who needs your help. Give and it will be given unto you. God has promised to provide your every need. Listen, don’t wait for God to fulfill your desire to answer your prayers before you serve Him. When you step out to meet the needs of others, you are allowing the love, mercy, and grace of God to flow in and through you and God will bless you for it.
While you wait on God, He wants you to prepare yourself for His answer, by seeking Him and finding contentment in your current circumstances. If you are enjoying your life “as is,” then you’re demonstrating your faith in Him regardless of what you see. You’re showing Him you are ready to receive what He has for you; you’re showing Him you know how to walk by faith.
When you walk by faith, you’re showing God gratitude and thanks, declaring your faith in Him, living out your belief that He is sovereign. You know, there is no such thing as God being “almost” sovereign. So if we’re truly trusting God, if we’re believing that He is who He says He is, if we believe He is sovereign . . . then our Spirit and soul should be content. In Philippians 4:11-12, the Apostle Paul said, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Here’s the secret, it’s trusting God . . . it’s relying on Him for your every need. It’s walking by faith and not by sight. It is contentment that is firmly grounded in Christ.
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Listen, waiting on God is never wasted time . . . it doesn’t mean doing nothing. God can use the “waiting times” in our lives for greater purposes than we can possibly imagine. Use your “waiting” times to draw nearer to Him and use them to gain strength for what lies ahead. While we wait upon God, He’s getting us in step with Him, He’s working behind the scenes, and He’s preparing us for His answers to our prayers. Trust God, He won’t let you down.
Although it can often times seem like time is being wasted, like nothing is happening, and possibly God has forgotten about us . . . We must get the facts straight, so that we do not live a lie. We must clearly understand that if we’re declaring our faith in God, He never lets go. You see it’s not that God has abandoned us; it’s that many times, too often, we abandon Him.
There is nothing more important in your life than living a life of Truth . . . living a life that is grounded in God’s Promises for your life; if you do not, you are sure to travel the road of destruction. If you’re being patient with God, then you’re fully trusting in Him, you’re walking by faith and NOT by sight.
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While you’re waiting on God to work His plans in your life, you can increase your faith by trusting in Romans 8:28. I says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” He didn’t say that “some things” are useful to God and others are wasted. He’s saying He will use it ALL. The good and the bad, the pain and the joy, the fullness and the emptiness . . . He will use it all. It’s not just that God is working His good purposes, it’s that He’s working thing for YOUR good too.
Now, some might be tempted to believe that God can’t be such a loving God when He allows tragedy and heartache, but the Truth is that we live in a fallen world, filled with sin; God’s desire is to reconcile that world to Himself. As He works to open the hearts of His people, there are hearts that shut Him out, and there is darkness in the world in which we live. But if we are calling upon God, He promises that He is with us . . . and whatever we must go through . . . He is with us always. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. God is watching over your life.
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” . . . For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Here’s a little story, I think you’ll enjoy . . . and hopefully you’ll take its message with you in your life.
Some years ago, on a hot summer day in Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother in the house was looking out the window and saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go.
A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived . . . His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal, and on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flash in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.
The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he could show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms too. I have them because my Mom wouldn’t let go.”
We can relate in our lives as we reflect upon God’s love for us. The enemy has been pulling on us, tugging on us, and we have scars. We have scars of a painful past, of sins that have left their mark. But what we must never forget is that some of those wounds are because God refused to let go. In the midst of all that you’ve been through, God has been holding on to you.
While you’re “waiting” on God in your life, as you’re struggling with the difficult circumstances in your life, God wants to increase your faith and draw you near to Him. He wants to better reveal Himself to you and bring you to a place of contentment and peace, knowing that He is holding on to you. He is in control, and He is overseeing and working in and through every detail of your life. You may not be able to understand His ways, you may not even get a glimpse of what He’s up to, but if you’re trusting in His Word, you can know with confident assurance that He is working all things for your good, He is with you always, and He will never leave you nor forsake you.