Week of August 2
"Love is patient . . ." ~ I Corinthians 13:4
Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a work assignment, knowing the project is of God and knowing that you're right in step with His timing, when suddenly things seemed to stagnate or get stuck?
What did you do? Did you stop and pray and wait to hear God's response? Or did you persist along your path, leaning on your strengths and talents and understanding of what had worked for you in the past, what you knew to do?
Did you receive an answer from God? Or did frustration and anxiety begin to rise as you feverishly ran harder to try to make things work to meet your deadlines?
God's pathways strategically include divinely appointed times. And when He sets us out on a journey, His directive is to sometimes simply wait. This is where our faith gets tested.
So often, God's ways do not make sense to us, especially when we feel the pressures of meeting a deadline. And in these times, we feel like we're waiting on God to show up and clear blockages, organize things, make people cooperate with us therefore making a way for us to get the job done. But the truth is, as we await God, He's awaits us. He desires us to stop and listen and worship Him during the wait. And He desires to do a work in us in the process.
Patience must have its perfect work. While we're working, God is doing a work in us, to perfect us, to do things His way. He longs to bless us, to reward our faith. But will we pass the test?
Consider the prophet Habakkuk. The people of Judah took to behaving in Babylonian ways, and the righteous were grieved. When taking this issue before the Lord, He seemed to withhold His answer for a while. But God ultimately revealed to Habakkuk that He would take care of the issues through a release of judgment using the Babylonians to bring His people to their knees. This was not a solution that Habakkuk expected. Nevertheless, after hearing from God, Habakkuk did the right thing and awaited God's plan with a spirit of worship.
Sometimes, God has to take care of a few things before we can move forward. And sometimes we just need to stop and get out of God's way. While He aligns people and circumstances, He expects us to align our faith with His purpose and timing and exhibit that fruit of the spirit called patience.
Though often not easy for our carnal nature to cooperate, God is actually doing us a favor by offering us an opportunity to advance. In this process, we get to surrender our arrogance and self-reliance to God's higher ways. And if we pass the test, He takes us to the next glorious realm of faith and reward. Like a deer, we become able to stand on the higher places.
Do you believe that God loves you enough to groom you to stand in higher places? Do you love Him enough to cooperate with His plan? My prayer is that you will not fear God's heights and that you will excel, not accelerate. May we worship God during His appointed times, resting in His love, exercising patience.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ. Check out the God's Love at Work 2009 Women's Conference & Expo [http://www.godsloveatwork.com/2009womensexpo] in the Atlanta area on Saturday, November 7.