I’m not a fan of waiting for things. We live in a culture of expecting things immediately, and so when it comes to having to wait for something, we don’t always have the patience required to see it through.
I remember as a kid growing up, the pain of having to wait for Christmas Day to come, or for the summer holidays to finally arrive, wishing the time would speed up just a little.
But there’s something that happens during the waiting. The Bible is full of stories of people having to wait, and it’s during the waiting where God equips and readies the people for what is to come. We see it with Joesph in Genesis, where he spent years in prison before he finally stepped in to what God had for him. But, without the time spent waiting, Joseph would not have been prepared for what was to come, the waiting was necessary. Painful at times, I’m sure, but necessary nonetheless. It’s in the waiting where we are sharpened and prepared for the coming season ahead.
Last year was one of waiting for us, one of constant anxiety and strain as we endured 9 long months of pregnancy before the safe arrival of our boy. After what had happened the previous year, every minute of this pregnancy was a battle. Waiting was not fun. There is a song which I listened to a lot during this time, called Take Courage, by Bethel music. The song has the lyrics,
Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting, He’s in the waiting. Hold on to your hope, as your triumph unfolds, He’s never failing, He’s never failing.
These words really resonated with me, as we held on to the hope of a successful pregnancy, and the promise God gave to me in the days after losing Elias. The promise that within a year, we would have another child. God’s word and His promises will not fail. We don’t always know why some things happen the way they do, why we must endure such pain or trauma, but can we hold on to the hope that God has good things in store? If your situation is not currently good, Then take courage, for He is still at work.
And so, as I look forward to the new year and all that it may bring, as I wait for His lead on things within my life, it’s a choice I must make daily to hold on to the hope that He knows what He is doing, that He is bringing us to a place of fulfilled promises, joy and life. And it’s my prayer for you, too, that as you may be in a time of waiting and discerning, that the God of fulfilled promises will sustain you and guide you through all the decisions you need to make. It’s often only when we take the first step out that we see God at work.
In my church small group we recently read through the book of Job, highlighting anything which stood out along the way. Not always the most uplifting book to read, but at the same time I found it to bring some comfort and also new revelation, which I wanted to share in this post. Have a look at this…
He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food. But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked; judgment and justice have taken hold of you. Job 36:16-17.
Several things stood out to me as I read this verse. Firstly, the idea of God wooing us away from a place of distress into a place free from restriction. How often in life do we allow our focus to be on things which cause us anxiety or fear, which, the more we look at it, the greater the distress it causes us. God is inviting us to move away from that place and to sit at our table in comfort. He is our comforter and provider, yet we all too often can forget that.
The second one is this – “judgment and justice have taken hold of you” – judgment is reserved for God, and yet we take it upon ourselves to judge or demand justice for situations out of our control. Before Adam and Eve ate the apple, humankind had no knowledge of good and evil, no ability to judge what was good or evil, fair or unjust. The bible mentions several times to leave the judgment to God, and yet we choose to allow the judgment mindset to take hold of us, choosing rather to trust our own abilities and judging rather than God. Living with this mindset creates distress in our lives, so can we give it to God, and trust that His judgment is just and timely? That can be easier said than done, especially when we feel like someone has done wrong to us, or if we have gone through a hard season, but we need to adopt the opposite mindset, that of love, rather than judgment.
I don’t believe it was Gods intention for us to live under the mindset of judgment, as this passage says, but that He want to woo us out into an open space, a place where He has laden our table with choice food.
I love how God doesn’t waste a thing. He literally makes all things work together for our good, so, as I heard Kris Vallotton once say, if it’s not good right now, then God is not finished with what He is doing in your situation. He is always shaping us, always preparing us for the next season.
I spent six years living in America, where I felt God was preparing me and shaping me, breaking off old habits, mind sets and hurts, and bringing me into a place where I could receive from Him, and where I could have an impact on others around me.
Something God has been teaching me a lot recently is that once we have been in a season of preparation, we are then equipped with all we need to thrive through the next season we are coming in to. Whatever comes our way, God has given us the answer, the tools needed to succeeded through the situation. Sometimes we spend so much time looking at our problem and asking God to help us, when God has already helped us in the previous season, and has given us what we need to work through whatever has come our way.
The Bible says that God never puts us in a situation we cant get out of. If we believe that as truth, then that means whatever we are faced with, God has a strategy for us to get through. What keeps us from moving forward can be a mixture of fear, doubt, lack of trust or lack of fully understanding who we are in Christ. If we become focused on our lack, we will never move forward. If we instead focus on what is already in our hands, then nothing can hold us back. It’s like when a you are teaching a kid to ride a bike. For a time they require stabilizers and guidance to be able to ride the bike without falling over and hurting themselves. Once they have mastered that, its then time for the stabilizers to come off. There can then be a moment of doubt before they head off, but if they learn to put into practice what they have just learnt, they will soon be riding their bike. Yeah, they may fall once or twice, but the key is to get back on and get moving again.
Too often we put ourselves in a self imposed wilderness season, because we wait for the Lord to do something in our life, when He has already given us what we need to walk over into the “Promised Land”. We wonder where God is, when He is wondering what we’re doing hanging out in the desert! Let’s not be like the Israelites and spend more time then we need to out in the desert. God has a Promised Land ready for you, all you need to do is move forward. God wants to give us the wisdom we need to thrive through our circumstance, rather than us sitting back expecting Him to provide for us. Of course, God can and does bring in provision when we need it, but He also invites us to partner with Him to bring about the solution.
Today, while on the train traveling back to Edinburgh, I was reading in the Bible a passage from Philippians. I came across verse 14 from the first chapter, which God really seemed to highlight to me…
Because of my imprisonment, the majority of the fellow believers, followers of The Lord, have become confident to speak the Word with excessive daring and fearlessness!
I love how God uses all things for good. The enemy tried to shut down what He was doing by having Paul thrown in prison, but all he really succeeded in doing was to spur on fellow believers to speak out about God with outrageous boldness!
Many people may have feared that with Paul in prison, the early church would soon crumble and fall apart. The opposite seemed to happen, and Paul rejoiced in the fact that even with him in prison, the Word of God was being preached with great confidence.
It is impossible for the enemy to win. It is impossible for him to shut down what God is doing. However, it is possible for him to cast doubt in our minds over whether or not God is still at work in our lives, if we allow him to. We need to resist his lies, hold fast to the truth and remember that it is actually impossible for the enemy to shut down a move of God. God flipped what the enemy had done on its head and as a result, many of the followers Paul had under his care began their own ministries. The enemy actually helped to advance the kingdom of God! We get to use what the enemy throws at us as a launching pad to catapult us forward into what God has for us!
So, if you are experiencing a negative feeling or difficult situation today, take a step back, get God’s perspective and flip that what the enemy is attempting to do on it’s head. What he may shut down in one area of your life only gives way for abundant life to happen in other areas. He isn’t even fighting a losing battle, the battle has already been lost by him and you are walking in full victory.
John 16:33 Jesus says “In the world you will have oppression. But be brave! I have had the victory over the world!”
Jesus has had the victory, it’s already done, whatever our situation, we get to be brave, to move forward with extreme confidence in who God is, and to flip any attempt from the enemy to derail us on its head. Be brave. The victory is already ours.
Familiarity can be a good thing, we all want to feel safe, comfortable and secure. The only danger with familiarity is that we can become content with where we are, and instead of pressing in for more, we take a step back and get comfortable. I wonder how many moves of God are stopped in their tracks because we become familiar and comfortable with where we are and so don’t see the need to press in for more of God. God is calling us to pursue Him, and when we do, we find more of Him, there is always more to God than we know, there are always deeper levels of His love to experience, fresh revelations to be made aware of and greater intimacy with the Father to be had.
I believe that God is calling us out to experience greater levels of Him, and with that in mind, we need to spur each other on to keep moving forward, to keep believing for breakthrough, healing, restoration in our lives. God did not call us to live average lives, we are called to live in a way that reveals the Kingdom of God for all to see.
We need to stay hungry – the difference between Spiritual hunger and worldly hunger is that in the world when we have our fill, we are no longer hungry. With Spiritual hunger, the more we feed off of God, the hungrier we get for the more of God. God is inviting us to the banquet table, to eat and drink of Him, to go deeper in our relationship with Him.
So, this week, let’s get hungry, let’s break off the shackles of familiarity and believe God for more of Him. There are no limits to God, only the limits we choose to place on Him.
What if what we had experienced of God was only just the beginning? What if there was more to God than what the church was moving in today? Imagine what our country, our world would look like if we had more of God…
Well, the Bible tells us that there is no limit to God, there is always more, always deeper levels of His love, His grace, His presence, His faithfulness, His power. Isaiah 9:7 tells us that “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” In Genesis, God created, and He hasn’t stopped creating ever since then.
Paul writes about it in Ephesians, praying that they would come to know the “love that surpasses all knowledge”. The moment we become familiar with God is the moment we stop pressing in for more of Him, instead becoming content with the way we are today. But what if God was inviting us into deeper levels of relationship with Him? What if God had so much more available for us, and all we needed to do was press in to Him a little bit more?
I remember hearing a story about a man during the gold rush time in California. He spent years and years mining away to no avail, and after years of finding no gold, he gave up and returned to his home town. A little while later, another man came across the mine this guy had been working in, and took up where he left off. After mining several feet deeper, he struck gold, lots of gold. If that first man had just dug a little deeper, he would have uncovered enough gold to last a lifetime and beyond. It’s time to dig a little deeper, breakthrough is coming.
It excites and amazes me to think that there is more of God, having already experienced so much of Him, to think that I am only scratching the surface is incredible.
So today I encourage you to dig a little deeper with God. Not been hearing from Him? Maybe He is inviting you into deeper levels with Him and you are almost there. Don’t give up. Don’t stop now. Keep going, because there is always more.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled.
This week has been an incredible week full of fun gifts and surprises. Just yesterday my wife was thinking to herself how she would love for us to go out to dinner, and then we received in the mail a dinner voucher and money towards going out for dinner from a relative of mine! I love how God will put a thought in our minds only for it to come to pass later on in the day. Some might say that is coincidence, I like to give God all the glory regardless.
God is concerned not only with the large decisions and things we are faced with, but also right down to the smallest detail. He who knows every hair on our head loves to lavish His love and provision down on us each day.
Last week we were forced to get rid of our car as it was going to cost too much to fix, which left us car less but full of excitement and anticipation for what God might do to help us. The next day we were offered a car from a relative of my wife’s, and then on Wednesday I was offered another car by some people I had only just met! So within 5 days we had been offered two cars. Can’t help but imagine God having a little chuckle to Himself about that. God is not a God of limited resources, and always provides us with options, usually from places we would never have expected.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 says “…we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”
God is at work bringing to fruition our desires and rewarding us where we create space for Him to move through our acts of faith. Emma and I had no idea where a car would come from, we just explained to God the need we have for one and then took a step back, excited to see what He would do. God is always faithful, always true, He will never leave nor forget about you and He always provides us with more then we ever could have expected.
I pray that this week you have a renewed hope in pressing into God for breakthrough in the situation you are faced with. Take a step out in faith and allow Him the room to do what He does best.