Monday, March 3, 2014

Living in the “Not Yet”

Sometimes we feel as if we are caught between a rock and a hard place. We need a breakthrough and God does not seem to be coming through. We are at the end of our rope and we don't even have strength to reach down and tie a knot at the end to keep us from slipping into the abyss of hopelessness.

I've heard it said, “When you are down to nothing, God is up to something.” But it isn't really possible to have nothing. “Nothing” is impossible with God. We can take that statement two ways: God is able to do everything; it isn't possible for nothingness to exist with God.

The widow in the biblical story had nothing left to eat; the servant of Elijah saw nothing in the sky to report; the fishing disciples caught nothing; the barren Abraham and Sarah had nothing; Mary had nothing when she declared her fiat; Moses said he had nothing in his hand to use. When we realize that in our humanness we apparently have nothing, God is nevertheless working on a breakthrough.

But when? I want my answer yesterday. I am stuck in the cement of my time zone. I want to hurry although God's divine four letter word is “wait.” I am frustrated to be stuck in a “waiting room” stance. I may think Satan is trying to hinder me, and sometimes he does. But not always. He can't stop what God has ordained for my life.

It is hard to live in God's “not yet.” I fret while I am in the hall waiting for doors to open into rooms of His favor. Am I able to trust God and praise Him there? Able or not, God expects me to trust Him in this transition gap even if that “not yet” season stretches out for a prolonged time. With our Eternal God, it is still only a moment. 

He is active in my now although I don't observe it. It may not be my “due season” yet, not His “fullness of time.” I may complain that it is painful and difficult to hang suspended in the “not yet.” Nevertheless, how I respond and handle myself is vital.

I may not be ready for His blessing and breakthrough. God may need to work on me, to prepare me to receive what He has in store for me. I must be careful not to run ahead and do my own thing instead of waiting for God to act. Biblical examples are many and the consequences and catastrophes of forging ahead without His orders are certain. 

God may be setting up the circumstances that will have to be in place before He gives me His breakthrough, when the time is ripe to bring me into the season of His favor. I can't shorten the waiting period, but I can lengthen it by lack of trust in Him and being rebellious in my waiting period. It will only last as long as He has planned.

The Lord wants me to wrap up my faith and trust in Him with expectation. To watch for His moving hand, to expect the unexpected, the “exceeding above what we can ask or think....” While in my “not yet” period, I can ask God largely but overlaying my petition always with the sincere desire to do His will and not my own. 

While in the waiting room, I must examine myself to be sure I am doing obediently all that He has already told me to do. Am I up-to-date in my relationship with Him? I am not just to mark time. I must restfully accept this transition period as a gift from Him, an opportunity to enjoy my present season of circumstances which He planned for my good and for His glory.

Dr. Andrew Murray, a Protestant “saint” well-known to most Christians over several generations, a missionary statesman and prolific author of what are called deeper spiritual life teachings on the interior life and abiding in Christ, wrote: 

“In times of uncertainty, doubt, or in a waiting period, say, 'I am here 1) by God's appointment, 2) in His keeping, 3) under His training, 4) for His time.'”

My “not yet” time shouldn't be spent fretting, sweating, stewing, biting my nails, running ahead, or wearing a spot in the carpet with impatient pacing. If I think that nothing is happening, I must remember that “nothing is impossible with God.”

No comments: