So here I go again.
No, I'm not complaining about dating, I am talking about having to go through a difficulty. Christianity is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, how do people do it without Jesus? But if I am being honest, there are moments, days and weeks that I wonder, how do I get through it with Jesus?
The ultimate goal of christianity is to become like Christ. God isn't interested in our comfort, He wants to build our character. The goal should be to develop spiritual stamina so when a problem occurs, we don't react out of emotion, but out of wisdom.
In the past week while making a difficult decision to do some tough inner work and take a break from moving my life in a direction I want to move in but know I am not ready to move in, I have seen this verse 100 times in various places (YES, God is trying to tell me something!!!)
"When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” Isaiah 60:22
But what is God saying here? God isn't saying it will happen soon, He is saying, "trust in me and when the right time comes I will hurry it along, expedite it - in its time, but not before its time."
Wait God, what??? It's not going to happen soon? Seriously? You mean I have to actually be patient? Ugh. I have no strength for that.
Again, character - not comfort.
So how do you develop spiritual stamina for waiting in wisdom? Here are three ways: (I believe you need all three)
Wait On God
That seems counterintuitive. But waiting builds strength. A popular Scripture that teaches us this can be found in Isaiah 40:31 MSG which says,
"but those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles,they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind"
We see from this verse that waiting invigorates and rejuvenates us. Something actually happens while nothing is happening. God uses waiting to change us. And it is through the process of waiting that we are faced with the choice of waiting passively or eagerly. I believe how we wait determines how long we wait. Everyday we should wake up with a joyful expectation that "today could be the day" that I meet my Breakfast of Champions, that the big deal closes, that the health report changes, that the job offer comes. Waiting produces hope. And I don't know about you, but to me, no hope is hell.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that
suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Draw On God
Usually while waiting, we get frustrated and antsy, and we want to do something. In times like these, don't rely on your strength and don't take matters in your own hands. To draw on God's strength we need three things daily - constantly : prayer, His word and time alone with Him.
Focus On God
If we are focused on Christ, then He has our attention; we are concentrating on Him and His word; He occupies the forefront of our minds. Set times in the day for prayer and mindfulness to God.
Circumstances + Perspective = Experience
The only one of those things you have control over – and complete control over – is “perspective.”
You cannot control the circumstances, but you have 100% control over where you fix your
eyes. God will not allow waiting to overwhelm us so long as we look to him.
Some of the greatest figures in the Bible — Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, David — had to wait for many years for God’s promises. Everything that happened in the meantime was used to prepare them, inwardly as well as outwardly. Then, when they reached their promise, they were blessed beyond measure.
God invites us to trust in his goodness today and his faithfulness tomorrow. Relinquishing control to him is the main route to experience his love and peace. It unites our hearts with his. It creates a level of maturity and character that we will take with us into the future, and it enables us to enjoy his future blessings all the more. When you ask? When the time is right.