Monday, July 18, 2016

Living Through the “Not Yet”

Sometimes I feel as if I'm waiting for God to act and He seems to be doing nothing. I've heard it said, “When you are down to nothing, God is up to something.” But I'm frustrated in a “waiting room” stance. 

I want my answer yesterday. I'm stuck in the cement of my time zone. I want to hurry although God's divine four letter word seems too often to be “wait.” I might suspect that Satan is trying to hinder me, and sometimes he is, but not always. He can't stop what God has ordained for my life.

It's hard to live in God's “not yet,” although I know that is one way He answers prayer besides a yes or a no. I fret while I'm in the hall waiting for doors to open into rooms of His favor. Am I able to trust God and praise Him while waiting? Able or not, God allows me at times to linger in this transition gap of “not yet” even if it stretches out for a prolonged time. To our Eternal God it is only a moment.

I know that God really is active in my now, although I don't observe it with my senses. It may not be His “due season” yet, nor 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 during that period is critical.
I might not be ready for His blessing. God might need to work on me to prepare me to receive what He has in store for me. God may be setting up the circumstances that have to be in place before 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.

I must be careful not to run ahead during my “not yet” time and do my own thing instead of waiting for God to act. Biblical examples are many, and we are shown the consequences and catastrophes of forging ahead without His certain orders. Think of Abraham barging ahead and fathering Ishmael without waiting for Sarah to conceive the promised Isaac. 

Those of us in our senior years who are climbing toward the pinnacle of our summit of life tend to be especially impatient. We are aware that our earth-time is short and there is no time to waste. We are inclined to be restless and impulsively take action without waiting for God because He appears to be dragging His feet. Do we forget that He has the eternal perspective and sees the due time already? There can be no “not yet” with Him.

The Lord wants me to wrap up my faith and trust in Him with expectation and watch for His moving hand, expect the unexpected, and the “exceeding above what we can ask or think.” My waiting room is also my examining room. I must examine myself to be sure I'm doing obediently all that He has already told me to do. Am I up-to-date in my relationship with Him? I'm not simply marking time. I must restfully accept this “not yet” 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 many Christians over several generations, a missionary statesman and prolific author of what are called deeper spiritual life teachings on the interior life, wrote: “In times of uncertainty, doubt, or in a waiting period, say, 'I am here by God's appointment, in His keeping, under His training, and for His time.'”

It is pointless to spend my “not yet” time fretting, sweating, stewing, biting my nails, running ahead, or wearing a spot on the carpet with impatient pacing. If I think that nothing is happening, I must remember that “nothing is impossible with God.”

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