God’s timing & our patience
What happens when God gives you a vision for something in your future? What is your response? Maybe there is an excited exclamation of ‘Yes!’ Maybe there is a ‘Wow God, really?’ Maybe there is an acknowledgement of our inadequacy, ‘This will have to be all you God, as I have nothing.’
Whatever our response, one of the big lessons I have learnt is that God controls the timing of when that vision comes to pass. There is nothing we can do to speed up the process.
To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 AMPC
We have the option of ignoring this truth and toiling away in our own strength to make things happen in our perceived perfect timing. I have found that this option always leads to disappointment, frustration and often exhaustion. And to make matters worse, most often the vision doesn’t actually come to pass, and if it does, it doesn’t happen the way that God intended!
The other option is that we choose to let God be the leader, submit to Him and practice patience.
Patience is a supernatural fruit of the Holy Spirit.
But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. Galatians 5:22-23 TPT
What does practicing patience look like? Here are a few of my thoughts …
- Asking the Holy Spirit for help to practice patience
- Removing all our expected time-frames. This means not just erasing them from our plans, but saying to God, “I let go of my time-frame and submit to Yours.”
- Recognising that even though you prayed the prayer in #2, you may still be operating with your expected timeframe. So keep a careful watch on your reactions when something doesn’t go as you thought it would. Are you disappointed? Is there frustration? When you think about what happened, does your body tense up? If you are having these type of responses, take some time to ask the Holy Spirit a few questions … Why am I are responding this way? What is it that I haven’t completely surrendered to God? Holy Spirit, what do You want to teach me through this experience?
- Regularly remembering that God has the big picture. Reflecting on all the times when God’s time-frame was different to yours, but unsurprisingly, it turned out that His time-frame was always perfect.
This scripture always helps me to put my plans and thoughts in their rightful place ….
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV
The project God gave me to write a book about the first three years of our journey with Victoria and the brain tumour, has taught me many things, including patience. My time-frame for finishing the project was completely unrealistic in many aspects, from overestimating the actual time that I had available, to the unanticipated time for the emotional processing that would be required for me to complete the project.
As I missed each of my self-imposed deadlines, the more aware I became that this project wasn’t really my project at all. Yes, God had birthed the book project in my heart, but, as I now know, that did not mean that He had handed over the managing of the project to me. With each of my missed deadlines over the years, God was subtlety changing my mindset showing me that it was His project, and He was going to do it His way and in His timing. And I would just have to be patient.
Years on, I understand just a little bit of His plan. But that little bit is enough to know that His plans will always be better than mine. And that the more I practice patience, the more I am able to enjoy the time that it takes for His plans to unfold. It becomes like an adventure, not knowing exactly when the next step will happen, but making sure that I am listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to ensure I am prepared and equipped for when it does come to pass.
So if you are in the waiting season and finding it a bit frustrating, I encourage you to have those authentic conversations with the Holy Spirit, let Him guide and be open to what He wants to teach you.