Lately I need to be even more patient than usual. That’s difficult for me. It took long enough for me to get the patience I have—and now I have to be even more patient?!? Things take longer than I ever could imagine. Things aren’t as simple as I first considered. The struggle is real. You know what I mean? I’m sure you are patiently waiting for this devotion to end (let’s hope not because I didn’t even share what God has shown me). Perhaps you are recollecting your drive home or the long line at the supermarket. A half hour ago, I waited 4 minutes for a red light. FOUR MINUTES!!
Despite my love of not waiting, I have learned to embrace God’s timing. Oftentimes, this means that I must make good use of that patience He has taught me over the years. Usually it means I will be stretched to the max, growing in patience or falling while pulling out my hair asking God what is taking so long. The truth is, I embrace God’s timing because I have realized He has the best plan. He has showed me how extra time brings everything in line the way He orchestrated. Waiting on His timing allows for people to step up that He positioned to rise. Waiting on His timing gives me the opportunity to see Him move in mighty ways. Embracing the timing of God is a walk in faith and it produces great fruit. Plus, I have proven time and time again that my timing is HORRIBLE!!
Today, you might not know what God is doing. You may even say He is silent or absent. I can promise you that He is not absent. He promises not to leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8). God is always moving too, so if you think He’s silent, it’s quite possible that you aren’t listening. I have many times found myself guilty of not taking a pause in life to listen to our heavenly Father. Take the time today. Pray. Read His Word. Simply sit still. Embrace His timing. Carve out some time to rest and listen. Wait for the Lord. Wait for the Lord.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14 [NIV]
In the grocery store check out, there is often a race to see which register to choose to get finished the fastest. In this rush rush world, people do not like to take the time to count out their cash to make a payment. It is so much faster to swipe a card. Companies have raised the limit required for a signature to make things go even faster.
There was a lady peering into each checkout lane as frequently done so as to select the lane which would most likely get her out of the store fastest. She came toward my lane because she did not see anything on the conveyor belt and assumed that she would be ready right away. Her quick glance missed that the man in front of her had not even had the opportunity to empty his cart. He had a large number of small cans of cat food in his cart. Her quick glance and rush to make a decision caused her to be in the lane that would take the longest.
From this story, we can be reminded the need to further examine before making decisions. We can also be reminded of the need to slow down in the first place. Why must we rush around so much? Today, take a moment to pause and take a deep breath.
“Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.” – Proverbs 19:2 [NLT]
In Judges 7, the Israelites were battling the Midianites. If you read closely, you will note a few things. “Each man stood at his position and watched” – no one was moving forward. Everyone was watching and ready for the Lord’s instruction. They then blew their horns as the Lord had instructed and the Lord brought victory without them going forward into battle.
We are told to be prepared. We are to be prepared for the Lord’s coming (Matthew 24). We are to be prepared to give an answer to others (1 Peter 3). We are to be prepared. In Judges 7, the Israelites were dressed for battle. They were ready to fight. But something happened so the fight wasn’t like what one would expect. The Lord acted in such a way that they simply needed to be prepared and blow the horns.
Be prepared. Understand that there will be times when you will need to do more work than others. There are moments when God wants you to do the work and there are times when He wants you prepared to watch Him work a miracle or do a great work. So keep watching and keep yourself prepared. Expect God to move. You may be amazed by what you see.
“Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the LORD caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.” – Judges 7:21-22 [NLT]
When the Lord spoke to Joshua about crossing the Jordan River, He told him to command the priests to take a few steps into the water and then to stop. That is an interesting order for someone to take because we do not like to only take a few steps. We usually have this grand plan that will be fast moving, be accomplished with little effort, and show visible rewards early.
The command was for the priests to take a few steps into the water, water which was at its typical high of the season, and then stop. Stop. Not continue across. Not rush on through. We like to rush. We like to do things quickly. But God does not think as we think and He does not move as we would always like. We want things in an instant, but there are moments in life where we take a few steps for God and then we must stop. We must wait. We must allow Him to move and walk according to His plan and His timing.
Too often we want to rush. We want to plug along quickly and squeeze as much as we can into the time we have on the calendar. Today, remember those two small steps. Remember the priests who had to stand still in the water after only taking two steps. Thank God for the two steps. Thank God for the stop to rest. Thank God for whatever lies ahead on your path.
“Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” – Joshua 3:8 [NLT]
I have found that in the past few weeks my patience has continued to be tested. Many people will agree that it is no fun to be driving and have a car pull out in front and not drive the speed limit. Long lines with a tight schedule can bring about anxiety and frustration. I know there are many times I could be more patient.
I could not imagine being as patient as Joseph was during his time as a slave and prisoner. When you read Genesis, it is difficult to grasp the time Joseph spent as a slave and the time he was falsely imprisoned. We read a few pages—but those pages are thirteen years. He was sold into slavery when he was seventeen; he became 2nd in command when he was thirty. Thirteen years is a long time.
What keeps someone going for thirteen years? We read again and again that the Lord was with Joseph during these dark moments. Just the same, the Lord is with us. We can’t grasp God’s timing. Whether our darker moments in life are days or years, we can trust one thing—God is with us and He is for us.
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31 [NLT]
“But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” – Psalm 106:13 [NIV]
When something is right in front of us, it is hard to miss it. When something is fresh in our minds, it is more likely to be remembered. The Israelites were able to remember the Lord when they were in the middle of a situation and He was providing them with their needs. But it did not take long for them to forget what he did and impatiently seek to find their own way in the world.
Again and again we are told to remember God’s Word and to teach it to our children. There are feasts in the Old Testament that were held to help remember. In the New Testament, Jesus participated in these feasts and during the Last Supper, He gave His disciples a new way to remember—Holy Communion.
Still today, there are moments when we forget what He has done and there are times when we are too impatient to wait for His plan. We take things into our own hands. We don’t wait. Today, make a point to remember what God has done already in your life and ask Him to show you the path to continue on for his plan to unfold.
We all seem to be in overdrive trying to rush through life. This morning I noticed something I see every day while taking my daily walks. The one street I walk on has a big dip which requires people to drive slowly or they will hit the underside of their car on the road. People that are unfamiliar with the street and do not slow down and pay attention to what is going on around them will hit bottom. Without fail, every morning or evening walk I will hear the all too familiar sound of the underside of a car making contact with the road. Sometimes I am even unfortunate to see the facial expressions the driver makes as they realise what has been done.
We are all guilty of doing this with our lives at some time or another. In a world that teaches us to be fast and to pile in as much as possible to our schedule, we rush. We think everything must be in a hurry. We do not have time to relax with family at dinner so we make a “quick and easy” meal or get some “fast food.” We listen to books in the car because we do not have a second to actually sit and read. We send text messages because we have no time to truly speak to another person.
What is worse is that we rush and make decisions without waiting for the Holy Spirit to illuminate us about the decision. We take it to God in prayer and then we do not like waiting for the answer. We pick and move along. We also get so caught up on what is going on later today, that we do not slow ourselves down to enjoy the right now. There is so much going on around us but we run the race as if we are wearing horse blinders, not able to take our eyes off what might not even happen on later today.
God did not create us to run around like crazy people in a world full of nuts. He wants so very much for you to have peace and happiness in life. If you are stressed out, overwhelmed, bogged down with so much on your plate, perhaps today is the day to take a deep breath, evaluate what is a priority and what is not, and have some “me and God time.” There is nothing so peaceful than some time with God. Whether you are reading His Word, worshiping Him, or simply resting in Him, you will find that He provides a comfort and a peace you cannot achieve alone. You will find that life can be so much better if you only slow down.
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
– Psalm 23 [NASB]