A few days ago I preached a sermon titled, “Trusting God Is Trusting In His Timing”. The Holy Spirit had been encouraging me to talk about waiting, and trusting God instead of becoming anxious because we haven’t seen the answer to prayer. It started with an exhortation, two weeks ago, to my church’s weekly Prayerline. Since the exhortation the Holy Spirit has continued to encouraging me to talk about the need to trust that God is acting on our behalf, while we wait. The things that I have been hearing in bible studies, in talking to other believers, and in my daily quiet times are confirmation that we must wait on God’s timing because His timing is perfect.
Here’s what I said in my sermon;
When we grow impatient, it is easy to rush ahead of God’s work. If it hasn’t happened yet it doesn’t mean something’s wrong, it doesn’t mean God’s mad at you, it doesn’t mean it’s never gonna work out. God has already established the time down to the split second, you don’t have to worry, stress out, or be anxious. God is directing your steps not randomly, not vaguely, but down to the smallest detail. This takes all the pressure off you.
If you are waiting for the answer to a prayer right now and you have been waiting a long time, remember that God’s timing is perfect. He may just be putting things in place, or moving something out of the way for you. Trust Him because he loves you.
It really doesn’t matter what you are waiting on God for; a job, a spouse, a house, a car, a child, healing, whatever. God’s timing is always perfect. So whatever you are praying and trusting God for wait patiently, even if it’s very hard to do.
Today, in my quiet time I read a devotion from Dr. Charles Stanley that was even more confirmation. In this devotion, which I will share in this blog post, Dr. Stanley says that we should have perseverance in prayer. He said most of us have come to God eagerly in prayer about something or someone but when we didn't see the answer right away we became discouraged. The reason for that, he says, is that we get weary of asking and listening when all we perceive is silence. ln my sermon I said that In order to patiently wait on God’s timing and not “freak out” with stress and anxiety we have to know that God acts on our behalf. We have to rely on Him and HIs timing to guide our lives, not our own schedule and timing. What we can see and know is limited but God’s knowledge is unlimited because He knows the end from the beginning.
Isaiah 46:10 (NLT) Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.
God may be putting people in certain places just so they can be the answer to your prayer. He may be building a new ministry for you to join where you will find your answer. He may be creating a new job for you in a new city. There are any number of things that God may be preparing or removing,which involve other people even other believers, before He reveals the answer to your prayer.
While we're waiting on God's timing we should be persistent in prayer. Dr. Stanley says “Barriers can develop if we persistently cry out to God but nothing changes.” Continue to pray. As I have said many times when we pray God may not answer right away or He may not answer in the way we would like but we can be sure of one thing, that He will always give us peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
The following is Dr. Stanley's complete devotional.
Perseverance in Prayer
Romans 12:11-13 (NLT)11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
As a pastor, I speak with many people about their spiritual journey. From these interactions, I know that most individuals are not satisfied with their prayer life. They lack anticipation and faith, and time with God feels empty. Most likely, this is why many Christians pray so little and so passionlessly.
Yesterday, we began looking at obstacles to a healthy prayer life. Let’s explore one more hindrance that blocks vibrant communication between God and us: impatience.
Most of us have at some point brought our supplication to Jesus vigorously but did not see the desired results. Unfortunately, humans are, by nature, fainthearted. We get weary of asking and listening when all we perceive is silence. Remember, though, that God is not some “cosmic bellhop”; He does not act on our cue. In fact, if we could see the big picture as He can, we would gladly wait for His way and time.
Actually, I believe that we benefit by not receiving all that we request. Understanding this concept is a sign of spiritual maturity. When we are thoroughly satisfied with the Lord’s presence, our relationship with Him will flourish, even when we don’t get all we ask. When that is the case, we grasp what prayer is—not a long want list, but a relationship.
Barriers can develop if we persistently cry out to God but nothing changes. Continue to pray. Beyond this “wall,” you’ll sense God’s presence, where you will find peace, joy, and awesome glimpses of His glory. This will be completely satisfying, even if He never gives you exactly what you requested.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.