“What may seem to us as “accidents” are no such things in the universe governed by the providence of the true and living God. Prayers may be directed to this mighty and reigning King knowing that while he tenderly and compassionately hears the cries of his people, he “sits” in the unique position of knowing perfectly what is best and possessing unthwarted power to bring to pass what he wills. The world is not spinning out of control; in fact, not one atom or despot or demon acts in any respect to hinder the fulfillment of what God has eternally ordained. To know this God, and better to be known by him [Gal. 4:9], is to enter into the security and confidence of a lifetime of trust in his never-failing arms.” Bruce Ware: God’s Greater Glory, p. 15
A famous preacher was pacing back and forth, obviously upset. A friend came upon him and asked this normally calm and collected leader what was causing him so much agitation. The preacher responded, “I am in a hurry. God is not.”
I think we all can relate. It is a universal condition that all believers face. We think we know what should be done. It is a good thing. It is right thing. It is a God thing. From our perspective, the time is now. We have prayed. When it doesn’t happen when we think it should, we begin to ask questions and fret. “Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I have sin in my life. May be God has other priorities. Maybe I have to do more. Maybe the devil has intervened. Maybe I don’t know God at all.” The more important it is, the greater the urgency, the more prone we are to frustration and agitation.
However, if you do a quick study of the Bible, you will find there that one of the most prominent lessons godly men have to learn is how to “wait.” Here are some key examples:
Ps 27:14 “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Isa 64:4 “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I identified over fifty verses in the Bible that make waiting key a vital walk with God’s blessing. It seems that God is concerned not only about doing the right thing, he is also concerned about doing the right thing at the right time. And there is our problem. From our perspective we see no reason for delay.
In those times, it is essential that we go back to our foundational beliefs about God. He is the same and never changes. What he says about himself and his will for his people can always be taken to the bank. There are no accidents in a universe that God provides for and protects. In the words of Bruce Ware, “Prayers may be directed to this mighty and reigning King, knowing that while he tenderly and compassionately hears the cries of his people, he “sits” in the unique position of knowing perfectly what is best and possessing unthwarted power to bring to pass what he wills.” So, if a God honoring request has not yet been answered, there must be a good reason.
First, we need to know is that God’s concept of time is different than ours. Because he knows all things and because he has all power over all things, he never wrings his hands or acts in a fit of panic. Second, God mysteriously uses time to prepare circumstances, so that when he decides to “move” everything is ready. Galatians 4:3 cites one example of this principle. Paul writes: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son.” The phrase “fully come” was used to describe a woman who was pregnant and ready to be delivered. The baby was fully developed with two arms, two legs, ten fingers, and ten toes. Everything was in place in the womb. The time was ripe.
Paul says that everything was in place for the coming of the Son, Jesus Christ, to be delivered. That everything included: A teenage couple engaged and preparing for marriage, a Jewish nation anxiously looking for a Messiah, a religious center that drew Jews proselytes from distant lands; a Roman peace that allowed travel between nations; Roman roads that facilitated that travel to speed the gospel; and a common language [Greek] to speak and write and understand the gospel.
That pregnant moment, the one that the pious prayed for and cried out for and waited for, was finally at hand. God had meticulously worked out the biggest scenarios and smallest details to set everything in place for the right moment. Think about what he had to do to bring it about: Roman superiority had to be established; rulers had to be elevated and others defeated; nations established and overthrown; rocks set down and roads mapped out, hundreds or thousands of men had to make crucial decisions that would lead to this moment; a Joseph had to fall in love with a Mary. During every moment of man’s waiting, God was working, putting together that precise moment when all things would be in place to bring Himself the greatest glory and man the greatest joy.
Right now I am waiting. I see things that I believe should be done. I have seen needy places I need to go to. I think I have important things to say. I have both personal and ministry needs to be met. I have prayed and waited and prayed and waited and prayed and waited. Then the other morning, as I was doing my morning devotions, I turned [quite by “accident” for it was out of my normal Bible reading order] to Psalm 37. There I read the following:
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Ps 37:3-6
Here is how I read that awesome passage. God was telling me to trust him and continue to do good, even though I do not see how he is working. I am not to get so caught up in what should be or where I should go in the future. I am only responsible for the place he has put me in the present. I am not to fret or pace or wring my hands, but I am to enjoy the bountiful blessings God has already prepared for me in the pasture he designed for me here. My primary goal and purpose, both now and for eternity, is not to strive to accomplish great things for God, but to enjoy the great God who has given me his best at the cross, in the past, and will give me all things that I need, in the present. [Romans 8:32]. He simply wants me to place my life and my gifts and my resources and my desires into his care and keeping. In other words, I need to trust him so that in his time and in his way, when everything is perfectly in place, he will act. Then, He will make his righteousness shine through me. Then, he will sort out the motives of my heart so that his glorious “cause” would radiate from me as the noon day sun. In God’s way and in God’s timing, he gets the most glory and I get the most joy.
Hudson Taylor, the great pioneer missionary to China, once listed three requirements that new recruits needed to be successful missionaries: “1]Patience; 2] Patience; 3] Patience.” He could have said, “Wait. Wait. Wait.” In God’s economy waiting is not sitting, doing nothing and “twiddling your thumbs”. It is “doing good” and “dwelling in the land”. It is actively hoping in Him. It is trusting that when God calls us to a great task he will do it. It is knowing that “he who waits on the Lord, will renew his strength.” It is knowing that God is working even though I cannot see his hand and at the right time and the right place he will bring glory to his name and delight to my soul.
Permissions: Permission is granted for reproduction and distribution of this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 1,000 physical copies.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Dr. Gary Rieben. © Give Me That Book. Email: Grieben@aol.com. Website: www.GiveMeThatBook.org. Postal: GMTB | P.O. Box 1045| La Quinta, CA 92247 USA | 619.829.2390
© Give Me That Book