God’s Timing and Your Timing
They are Rarely The Same
One of the most interesting paradoxes regarding God’s purposes in our lives has to do with timing, both ours and Gods.
Are We Moving Too Slow?
On the one hand, God’s timing is almost always slower than we would like. It is rare that we say, “God is answering my prayers too quickly. I wish He would slow down.” Every now and then there are seasons when that happens, but they are typically far fewer than the times of “When God when? How long do I have to endure this?”
On the other hand, most people struggle more with waiting too long, passivity, and tolerating ungodly patterns than with being too quick and aggressive in pursuing God’s promises. How often have most of us said, “I’ll get started on that tomorrow” or “the timing just isn’t right yet”… for decades?
Some of this has to do with personality. A smaller percentage of the population is more action-oriented and, not surprisingly, they usually get more done.
A far greater percentage of the population likes to keep things basically as they are and has trouble with change. Whether you are more of an action-taker, a “let’s get this done” type of person or slower to move, God’s timing is usually slower than we would like.
How Long Will We Wait?
In working with people for several decades now, there is no doubt that most people hold back from taking action in moving toward the fulfillment of God-given dreams and purposes. Some of the most common thinking errors are:
- The “not enough” mindset: “I don’t’ have enough talent, time, money, experience, energy, education….”
- Fear of failure: “What if I fail? I don’t want to look stupid. I don’t want to be a bad testimony regarding following Jesus.”
- Past failures: “I don’t want to create an Ishmael” or “I tried and it didn’t work, so it must not be God’s will.”
- The circumstances aren’t right: “If God wants me to do it, then it will all fall smoothly in place.”
I know, it is very common to go through seasons of preparation, even years of preparation. journey. Sometimes it is impossible to take big action steps to go after that dream.
But let me encourage you, there is always something you can do, even if it is very small, to be moving towards your God-given purposes.
Being passive is not godly. Patience is godly, but not passivity. What’s the difference?
Patience is continuing to believe and take the steps you can for as long as it takes to fulfill God’s purposes. Hebrews 6:11–12 tells us, “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Notice the action language associated with biblical patience:” diligence, until the end, not be sluggish.”
Peter encourages us to “prepare your minds for action” (1 Peter 1:13a). Jesus said to “Go into all the world,” (Matthew 28:18–20) not sit around and wait for the world to come to us. Although the Bible teaches us to be patient and endure, it also tells us to take action today on the things we can.
Why Passivity is So Dangerous
“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial, in the wilderness” (Hebrews 3:7–8).
One of Exodus Israel’s biggest problems was they let fear and unbelief keep them from obeying God and taking action. They let “we’re not enough” thinking dominate them, rather than “God is for us and that is enough” thinking.
For four-hundred years they had been in Egypt, and for a great deal of the time they were in slavery. Then God led them out of Egypt’s bondage into the wilderness with the intent of having them there for around two years. He knew they would need time to learn His principles and live free.
He took them out but did not bring them in so He could teach them, strengthen their faith, and prepare them to take the Promised Land. But when they hardened their hearts and let some manifestation of fear and unbelief settle into their souls, they said no to God’s plans and as a result wandered for another thirty-eight years in the harsh desert.
Go Through the Desert, Don’t Live There
Winston Churchill famously said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Two years in the wilderness was God’s plan. Even though the journey only took a couple of weeks to go directly from Egypt to Canaan, God took them on a longer route to prepare them for the next phase.
The problem was, they didn’t think they were ready, even though God said they were. They said no to Him and wandered an extra thirty-eight years, missing out on the land that flowed with milk and honey. Instead of going through the desert, they ended up living there.
Why? Because the Promised Land also had big giants to be defeated. Giants that were bigger and stronger than them, so they would need to depend on God’s power to beat them.
They let their fear of giants stop them from taking action based on God’s power and faithfulness.
Let’s learn from them. Let’s draw strength from God, take a deep breath, and move forward when He prompts us to. Patience is not passivity.
If God is moving, shake off the excuses, the fear, the passivity and step into the land God has prepared for you to conquer.
If you want more resources on living a Jesus-centered, Jesus-empowered life take a look at www.TruVineMission.com
If you want to really focus on getting crystal clear on your God-given purpose and then fulfilling it, visit www.MarkFurlongCoaching.com