In our study on discerning the will of God for our lives, we've covered three points thus far. (1) We must follow the guidelines outlined in Scripture (2) We must seek God's counsel by reading His Word and spending time in prayer (3) We must surrender our wills to God, accepting that His will is best. Though there are other ways to determine God's will--like seeking Godly counsel from a pastor or elder in the church, laying out a fleece like Gideon did in the Old Testament and so on--I'm going to end with this one because, in my life, I've found that if I follow through with these four steps, God's way becomes clear even if it may take some time, which leads right into today's point.
Trust God's timing. Such a short sentence yet such an arduous task. Let's face it, we are not exactly patient people. We live in the day of fast food, express lanes, mobile everything. Rush, rush, rush. Always in a hurry. So much to do, so little time. Honestly, who among us has time to wait on the Lord to show us the next step in our path? Sadly, not many of us take the time even though we're repeatedly commanded in the Bible to wait on the Lord.
As many of you know by now, I have a difficult time with expectations. I set high expectations for myself and others (including God), and when those expectations aren't met, I fall apart. When it comes to seeking God's will, I "logically?" conclude that since God wants me to do His will, He won't hide it from me; therefore, as soon as I ask for clarity, He'll give it. All done. Case closed. Moving on. Only, I forget to factor in to my "logic" that God doesn't answer to me. He has His own logic, and it often contradicts and even opposes my own. Does He want me to do His will? Absolutely. Does He want me to know His will? Sure. But that doesn't necessarily mean that He wants me to know it right when I think I need to know it. He may have another plan.
I can't tell you when God will answer your prayer or how long it will take from the time you ask Him to show you His will until the time that He answers. I honestly have no idea. Only God knows that. But what I will tell you (and what I constantly have to remind myself) is that God's timing is always perfect. We see proof of that over and over again in the Bible. Even when it seemed God was late, He was still on time to perform His will--the greater picture that nobody knew or even suspected.
In my life, I find this step the most demanding. It can be so difficult to trust God's timing when I feel I need guidance NOW! But the truth is, nobody knows what I need more than God does. He sees beyond what I do and understands the perfect timing. That being the case, I can grow weary of waiting and try to jump ahead of God, doing things my own way and in my own timing, or I can wait on God to work things out according to His plan. (For those of you taking notes, the first one only leads to disaster and heartache, so it's a bad, bad idea!)
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. - Psalm 27:14