Why Is God Taking So Long?
(Approx 5 min)
Wooooo what a fun one, amiright? Honestly, I had another devotion written out, but I’ll leave it for next time, because my good friend Kim prompted me to write about God’s timing. So, naturally, I stayed up late writing it out, because I absolutely love this topic. Well, actually, I have a love-hate relationship with this topic, because waiting on God has got to be one of the toughest and most challenging aspects of being a Christian, but if we can get it right, stuff falls in perfect rhythm.
Most of the time, I can deal with something coming AT me. I’m a pretty strong willed person, but I’m also a hardcore problem solver… (just ask my wife). Sometimes I can be too problem-solvery (is that a word?) and I end up not being a very good listener. (Maybe another lesson for another time?) (Maybe I should stop with the parenthetical statements?) HOWEVER, when time is working against me, I can get VERY VERY frustrated, and often times it can even be with God. (Can you even say that as a Pastor?) OK, I’m done with the parenthesis for real now.
Maybe you are positive about the calling God has on your life, and you just want Him to “go ahead and just fulfill it already”. Maybe you’re super hungry to see success or want to be an influential person so badly that you’re almost willing to bypass God’s timing and possibly sacrifice what he’s building in you. Just look at the crazy story of Abraham, Sarah & his mistress Hagar in Genesis 16 - yeah your Bible is more interesting than #KUWTK.
The waiting season is definitely a tough one. Most people do everything they can to try to avoid it. Why? Because sometimes the waiting season is boring, but often times it’s painful. Waiting for things to heal can be painful. Waiting for things to change can be painful. Waiting for that promotion can be painful. Waiting for your child or a friend to give their life to Christ can be painful. Waiting for your life to get to the point that you thought it would be at by now can be painful.
What if we changed our perspective? What if God isn’t trying to withhold you from it, but is rather preparing you to withstand what He knows may come against you once you have it?
Often times we want the promotion, but don’t understand the sacrifice that is going to come with it.
Often times we want the healing, but getting it too quickly may cause us to forget that God is the one that did it.
Often times we want to be an influencer of people, but can’t handle the weight of their constant need.
Often times we want our child to be in a relationship with God, so we try to force it on them in our timing, but forced religion doesn’t lead to lasting change.
Often times we believe we should be further along in life by now, but didn’t allow God to prepare us in the previous waiting season, and now we feel stuck in the current season.
So, let me ask it again:
What if God isn’t trying to withhold you from it, but is rather preparing you to withstand what He knows may come against you once you have it?
I remember when I first wanted to be on staff at Anchor Point Church (then it was Christian Life). I was leading worship every weekend, but I was working full time as well. I remember very vividly the night when Pastor Todd pulled me outside. It was directly after our Christmas Eve services, and I remember walking outside and noticing that the sky was extremely clear. It was almost awkwardly clear, as if God had swiped away all the clouds like Jim Carrey did in Bruce Almighty to impress Jennifer Aniston. It was very cold, and a breeze was blowing from behind me. He stopped me outside the double doors near the sound booth and he said, “I don’t take this lightly, so I don’t want you to either. I think it’s time to actually give you the title 'Worship Pastor’”.
I got chill bumps. Maybe because it was really stinking cold outside, but most likely it was because being a Worship Pastor was everything that I wanted at the time. Right then in that moment, I felt the beginning of the fulfilling of my calling.
Now, all that sounds pretty right? Let me finish the story…
I had the title “Worship Pastor” but I still had a full time job. I wanted to be on staff at the church more than anything, but I continued in that full time job. Day after day, week after week, month after month. I prayed. I fasted. I did everything I thought I should be doing, and probably prompted Pastor Todd about it more than I’m willing to admit. It took 2 years before God told him it was time. BUT I’M SO GLAD HE WAITED ON GOD.
You see, the business I worked for still needed me at the time. I still had a lot of growing and learning to do in that time, and learned a good bit of my Adobe skills, which we use a lot in the church world. I also learned, while being at the church part time, the vision behind everything that we do, so that when I did become a full time pastor, it was ingrained in me. It was then, after 2 years of waiting and praying, that the business I worked for went through a transition and sold out to another company. In that time, Pastor Todd got the “yes” from God (and the “YAAAAAASSSSS” from me) and hired me. Not long after that, the company that absorbed ours went out of business… Isn’t that crazy!?!?
God has perfect, and I mean absolutely PERFECT timing.
If I had been hired on the church staff before that, it would have been too soon. If it would have been any later, I could have been without a job. Could I have made it? Probably, but many times, if we are promoted before we are ready, it can do more damage than help.
So, if you are in the waiting season, or if you are asking “Why is God taking so long”, or if you’re frustrated, just like I can get, I want you to try something. Rather than asking God, “Why is it taking so long?” ask him, “What should I be getting from this season?” The waiting season isn’t a time for you to be lazy and lay around asking God, “when?” Pastor Todd said it in a sermon recently that was so good… Instead of asking God, “When?” We should be asking him “What”. What should I be learning right now? What can I be doing? What can I do to serve God while I’m in the waiting season?
“He works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Let me Quentin Tarantino that verse really quick. If you LOVE HIM and you are CALLED according to HIS PURPOSE, then He will work all things together for your good. Don’t miss that. Get to a place where you believe that. Get to a place where you are loving God whole heartedly and pursuing what you feel He's called you to do. Trust that. Rest in that. Wait in that, and I promise you that He is faithful to His word. Just because you are waiting on it doesn’t mean it’s a “no”, it could just be a delayed “yes”. He is faithful to your current season of learning and preparation.
Receive everything that He has for you RIGHT NOW, because you won’t be in this particular season again.
Don’t waste it.