A few weeks ago we had a lot of snow suddenly fall in our town, unexpectedly, and suddenly I found myself having to cancel a lot of plans. I was stuck inside, wondering if it was safe to drive up the many hills in our town, cancelling plans in case it snowed again and we got stuck on one of those hills…It was an incredibly frustrating time of waiting and putting things off. Usually I wouldn’t be so cautious, but when we were surprised by the unexpected snow it took 3 and a half hours longer than usual to get my four-year-old home from school, something I wasn’t keen to repeat.
Putting off all the activities I could have profitably been doing in order to sit at home waiting for snow to fall has given me time to dwell on this waiting and the parallels I see within my faith walk. Sometimes God asks me to wait and I don’t want to, and other times I am the one dragging my heels when God is saying “Let’s go, the time is right”.
I think there is a time to wait, a time to prepare, a time when God is telling us that it is a ‘Not yet’ for our dreams and plans. We like to be in control, and this chafes against us. Just as when the snow falls hard and we can’t go out and do all our planned activities because it wouldn’t be safe, sometimes God says to us ‘Wait for me, I will tell you when the time is right’. When I lived in the Middle East where time is fluid and people live in the now much of the time, I would often try to plan meetings only to have people pull out at the last minute. The time wasn't right, something else had come up... It drove me crazy! Learning to trust God that his timing is perfect and that He is in control sometimes feels just like that did, but we have to trust that He knows us better than we even know ourselves.
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you... 2 Peter 3:8-9
There are other times when God is saying ‘Come on, let’s move’ and we are afraid to step out, afraid of what the future might hold if we take the risk. The remembered pain of last week’s snowfall/frustration/disappointment means we become over cautious and opportunities start to pass us by. In my case my children didn’t get to go to their gymnastics class because I didn’t want us to get stuck in snow that when it came was nowhere near as bad as predicted, but in life this can have far bigger consequences. How many of us miss out on all that God has in store for us because we were too afraid to step out and explore something new?
What is God saying to you right now? Is he calling you to serve overseas? For some of you he has been stirring this for a long time and you have been holding back, for others of you this is a new thing and some time to prepare would massively benefit you. We would love to help you whatever stage of the journey you’re at.
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