Last week I shared how I’d struggled through a spiritual drought and decided to read the Bible in a year, using a consistent schedule again. As I’ve been reading the familiar stories, God took my hand and drew me into His arms. He refreshed me with confidence in His faithfulness and filled me with a revitalized hope.
This week, I decided to pick up where I left off last year on my blog, with the chapter 9 reflection questions from Waiting for God. I re-read the chapter I’d written in 2018 and laughed at God’s perfect timing when I read the following:
“I learned that spiritual growth is a lifetime process and that God’s timing is purposeful and necessary as He prepares us for all He has in store for us. God, the Maker of time, is not a timewaster. He knows when we’re ready to step into the next phase of the plan He’s designed for us and when we need more time to prepare. He also knows how easily we forget our lives are entwined with the lives of others—those we know, strangers, and those yet to come.” (p. 51, Waiting for God, X.E. Dixon)
Am I the only one who forgets what God has already confirmed?
Am I the only one who wanders into the valley of discouragement and doubt when I fail to savor the sweet fragrance of God’s unchanging word and never-ending assurance?
The Bible is filled with examples of God using the priceless commodity of time for our good and for His glory.
In Genesis 1, God took His time to create the world and showed us how to rest.
Noah had to work in obedience and faith for years, facing ridicule and rejection.
Doing the math and calculating the years passed between Shem and Abram makes my head spin.
How many times did Abram have to wait for God to show him the next step as he followed Him into unknown territory?
How long did Sarah wait to experience the fulfillment of God’s promise to her?
Jacob required quite a bit of character refining, which included his personal investment of time and suffering before God reunited him with Esau.
And Joseph powered through every twisted turn in his faith-journey and ended up proclaiming God as sovereign and good.
All of these people struggled and cried out to the Lord during their seasons of waiting. All of them faced some sort of opposition. And all enjoyed close relationships with God.
Each one of these faith-warriors still inspires us to trust that the Lord has a pace set for our life-journeys, and time is necessary for our preparation.
- How do you feel when someone says you’re not ready to do something God has placed on your heart to do?
I’m a recovering people-pleaser. When someone questions a decision or is critical, I can be tempted to question if I’m following God’s nudging or making a decision based on my fleshly desires and ever-changing emotions. I experienced more peace and gained confidence as I committed to praying before making decisions. I would seek wise counsel and ask for prayer support. Since then, when people offered unsolicited advice or harsh criticism, I was able to stand firm in my personal relationship with Christ and walk by faith.
- Describe a time when you jumped ahead of God and took on a role you weren’t ready for or a role that wasn’t meant for you.
I wanted to make friends in a local writing community, so I volunteered when they expressed a need for someone to help with an ongoing project. I didn’t pray or seek wise counsel before committing. As soon as I started the position, an anonymous complainer slammed me with harsh criticism and false accusations. After months of working under a leader who failed to support me, questioned every decision I made, gossiped about me, and judged me unfairly, I started praying for direction. With my health declining, the decision became clear. Within weeks after I stepped down, we found out we would have to prepare for a cross-country move. Several people stopped “being my friends,” but God wrapped me in peace. Since then, He provided so many opportunities for me to serve in ways that aligned with my passion‒sharing God’s truth and love to the ends of the earth! I grew through the experience and tried to restore the relationship with those who were upset with my decision to leave. Though my attempts to reconcile have been rejected, I am sure that leaving was the best thing for me and, hopefully, for the organization that I continue to pray for as God uses them to advance His Kingdom.
- How does knowing that God includes preparation time in His planning help you trust Him when the wait feels endless?
When I remember that God is working while I’m waiting for Him, it helps me to remember He is good, in control, and always with me. Trusting that His character never changes helps me to rely on His sovereign goodness when I don’t understand my circumstances.
*** Thanks for joining me to discuss the Waiting for God end-of-chapter questions. Please remain focused on what God is doing in and through your life and refrain from sharing full names or negative comments so we can keep this blog family a safe place to share. All comments will be monitored and modified to maintain a loving and encouraging atmosphere that is glorifying to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to growing with you.
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