My husband and I moved cross-country last year. Not only that, but it was my hubby’s first time to move out of state in his entire life. He had spent his whole life within a 2-hour radius of the place he was born. He doesn’t make decisions lightly, and he is very resistant to change.
Then God said to move. So we did. We packed up our family and moved to a new place.
Not only that, but God spoke promises over our lives before we left. We were expecting to just step right into the promise, but instead, God had another plan. You see, God had to move us through the wilderness first. You see it throughout scripture time and time again.
God makes a promise, but in order to get to the promise, you walk through challenges first. In order to step into the promise, you need to go through a refining process, a strengthening process, and a faith process. Do you trust God to get you there if it’ll take a year? What if it’ll be 5 years? How about 14? Or even better, 40 years.
You see God is working on a different timeline than we are.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV)
While this verse in context is discussing the coming of the Lord, it reveals a truth about God that’s hard for us to comprehend. When God makes a promise, He keeps it. But his timing of a moment could be longer than we intended to wait.
You see, I understand a little about God and His promises. He kept it when He spoke over us that we’d have a son within the year when we had struggled with infertility for 3 years leading up to that moment. He kept it when He answered the heart’s cry from my son for a sister.
We’ve walked through tough times in our 14 years of marriage. But as we cling to the promises of God for a hope and future, we can’t help but know that God is working something out in us. And that God will work all things for our good, because He loves us.
But what of it? What’s it like waiting for the promise? What’s it like to wait for God to come through?
It’s wearying. It’s a battle with your flesh. And it tests your faith.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.James 1:2-4
Part of the process produces maturity. Can you imagine being given $1Billion but you have no idea how to manage a budget? How long do you think it would take you to blow through that money? What if instead, you were given $1000, then you were given $10,000, then $100,000? And at each step of the way you learned how to manage the money in a way that was pleasing to God.
The same goes for our calling. God allows us to go through hard things on the way to the promised land to give us pieces of it at a time. As we learn and show maturity in handling those things, He gives us more.
He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little thing is also dishonest in much.Luke 16:10 (AMP)
Read the book of Exodus. In short, it’s the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt and their travels through the wilderness to get to the promised land. They complained. They whined. They worshipped false idols. They asked to go back. They faltered out of fear. You name it, the Israelites experienced it.
But God still had a promise to fulfill. You see, He promised to bring them to a land filled with milk and honey. A land He set aside just for them. They wanted to get there now. They wanted it to be easy. They didn’t want to walk through the desert or fight giants to get there. But that was the way.
Even in the midst of their complaints, God loved on them, took care of them, and even blessed them.
I am guilty of this. I get distracted by the hardship. I get focused on the storms. I complain and ask God, “why aren’t we there yet?”. I am no different than the Israelites.
I’ll be honest, I am weary of waiting. I am weary of being in the wilderness. But I know God will fight for me and my family when we face giants. I know He will provide manna when we have nothing left. I know He won’t let the enemy overtake me. And I know, that on the other side of this wilderness, God’s promise is waiting.
So, if you’re weary in the waiting. cling to God’s promises. Say them out loud. Say them in your head. Say them when you wake and when you go to sleep. Because like the scripture says, God is not slack in His promises.
Here are 4 ways you can re-energize yourself in the waiting:
- Volunteer-I don’t know what your schedule looks like, but find a way to give back to your community. Babysit for a single mom without charging her. Collect food to give to the food bank. Paint pictures for the elderly in nursing homes. Teach a class at your church. Helping others has a way of helping us focus on the most important things.
- Be honest-Evaluate the choices you’re making to see if there is something not aligned with God. This could be in your finances, in your relationships, or in what you spend your free time doing.
- Pray-Pray for others. Pray for your community. Pray for the people in your “promised land”. Speak God’s promises and blessings over the lives of others. And ask to pray with people.
- Meditate-Not the yoga kind, the kind where you meditate on God’s word. The kind where you think about His promises.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.Philippians 4:8
So if you find yourself weary in the waiting, just know, you’re not alone.
It took David 14 years after he was anointed king to step into the throne.
It took Joshua and Caleb 40 years of wandering in the desert to enter the promised land.
Noah built an ark when he had never seen rain before.
You are not alone. God is with you in the wilderness, and He’ll be with you in the promised land.