Today, I would like to talk a little bit about waiting.
God has a purpose and a plan for every person He has created. God will place a longing in us – a call – that fills us with hope and drives us forward.
Sometimes He gives us a glimpse (a prophecy; a dream; a vision; an impression) of what that call looks like. It becomes something that we think about, all the time. We want nothing more than to see that call come to fruition.
I don’t know what God has planted in your heart, but the call He placed in mine came via a dream. I’ll spare you the details, but it had to do with ministering to people. Lots of people! I received this dream in 2005 and it was so vivd that I woke my husband up at 2am to tell him all about it! Everyday, since the day I had the dream, I have remembered what God planted in my heart. I long to see that dream come true!
Twelve years later, I am still waiting…
I used to get angry and frustrated while waiting for my dream to come true. I would find myself doing things to try to make my dream come true a little faster. All of this was done in vain, of course; yet, I continued to push forward with MY plans rather than allowing God to simply open doors for me as He felt I was ready to take on the next step.
I would work to the point of exhaustion…and then push myself a little more. Because I needed to make this dream happen, right?!
Ummm…that’s not how it works.
God plants a call (or dream, or longing – whatever you want to call it) in our heart. But we are not ready to step into it right away. There is always a time of preparation. We must, first, go through a refining process. We have to allow God to get rid of the things in our life that would hinder an intimate relationship with Him. At the same time, we need to come to know God – beyond just knowing about God. We cultivate a relationship with God as we would anyone, really. In order to KNOW someone, we must spend time with them. Pursuing God, and knowing Him, requires spending time with Him. And intimacy with Him MUST come before pursuing your call. The call will always be secondary to your relationship with the Lord.
What He calls us to is always so much bigger than what we could ever imagine. In order to do what He is calling us to do, we must grow and mature. As we seek Him, first, He is able to help us become what He had in mind when He created us.
He wants us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). We can’t do that by ourselves. Our will is not strong enough to transform ourselves into what God has created us to be. However, our will submitted to His will through the power of the Holy Spirit? That’s a whole other story! There is no stopping a person who is fully surrendered to the Lord.
And this is achieved by walking in the Spirit.
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:16-26 HCSB
When we walk by the Spirit, we do away with the things of the flesh. When we do away with the things of the flesh (or “die to self”), the Lord is able to work both in, and through, us. Not only transforming us, but also allowing us to be a light to those around us.
This process takes time. Cultivating the fruit of the Spirit is not something that is done, overnight.
For about ten years, I thought that I was supposed to become a pastor. It made logical sense. God gave me a vision to minister to a lot of people. What better way to accomplish that than to become a full-time minister?
But, that wasn’t God’s plan. I pushed and worked and struggled, for YEARS, until my body was sick and my soul was broken…and I wasn’t any closer to making that dream come true. I finally had to lay all of my struggling and striving at God’s feet. As I did, I felt the Lord lead me to walk away from all of the various ministries I was involved in.
And then I waited.
As I waited, God met me in the secret place and began to truly reveal who He is, without my preconceived ideas of what He should look like. He brought healing and deliverance into areas in my life where I had been in deep bondage. The fruit of the Spirit began to grow…often through adversity and trial. As I waited, I saw others begin to walk in what I had thought I was being called to – and I had to be okay with that. Instead of getting angry and envious, God was calling me to rejoice with my brothers and sisters who were walking in their call. And I had to learn to remember who I truly was when the enemy would whisper in my ear that I had been forgotten by God.
Some days it truly felt like I had been forgotten, but then I would remember God’s promises that had been planted in my spirit through spending time with Him.
He has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and He never leaves me nor forsakes me (Hebrews 13:5). Even though I don’t always understand the wait (Isaiah 55:9), I know that He leads me to where I need to go as I trust in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). I do not have to fear (Judges 6:12) and the enemy has no authority over me (Romans 8:38-39).
I am loved (John 3:16) and I am delighted in (Zephaniah 3:17). And call, or no call, that is all that really matters.
And I would like to add something. Waiting on the Lord doesn’t equal sitting around and doing nothing. Sometimes He does call us to a place of rest. If He wants you to be still, then be still! Quiet yourself so that you can hear His still, small voice.
But even in the midst of your waiting and growing, He will begin to place people in front of you who need to hear words spoken from Him, through you. Oftentimes, they are people who are going through something that you have gone through, or are even currently going through.
Serve them. Love them. Be the hands and feet, the salt and light, that God created you to be. In your wait – wait like a waiter, and serve! Don’t be “busy,” but serve as the Holy Spirit leads.
If you are currently waiting on the Lord, take heart! He is working on a masterpiece. Don’t rush the process!
*All Scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted.