Over the last few days, I spent some time at an amazing conference in my home town, the Gold Coast. The idea of the conference was to bring together Christians from different denominations and spheres of life, to help them understand God’s calling for their life and how they can create social reform in their communities.
There were mentors who had so much experience in business. There were amazing people who worked in the church. There were people from all walks and spheres of life.
One of the areas I was most encouraged about was God’s timing.
I heard, time and time again, different speakers talk about God’s timing for them. What I learnt from their stories is that God’s timing is beyond what we can contain or understand. I have experienced this in my own life but it was so encouraging to hear from people who were much older and wiser than me. These people could look back on 10 years or 20 years or 30 plus years and see how God had been faithful to them throughout their lives, and how his timing was perfect even though so often they didn’t understand why.
One lady, from Alpha Australia, talked about how when she was a teenager she wanted to go to Africa to share God’s word. As the years went by, she found herself in a completely different situation from this and had forgotten about it. But 15-20 years on, she felt God say Now is the time to go to Africa.
When she was young, she was ready and rearing to go but she obviously didn’t have the experience to go! But when she was older and felt God say Now is the time, although she didn’t feel ready she knew God had prepared her with the experience to go and share.
She remembered that prayer she had when she was little but then how later on God fulfilled that through her. She talked about how God moves slowly, slowly, slowly, and then suddenly.
This really struck a chord with me. Isn’t it so true in our own lives that sometimes one year can be so jam packed and full of change - we feel God calling us to do something and we take a step, following his voice. But then the next year might be slow, and we wonder “What’s next?”
So often we rush to know what’s next when we actually just have to be present in that slowly, slowly, slowly time, putting our roots down deep. We need to make sure we have our foundations firm for when those suddenly moments come.
So often we want to be somewhere now and do something now but so often God is actually preparing us for something in the future.
For example, maybe right now you are in a job and you’re thinking “why do I have to be in this boring job?” Maybe you feel like you should be higher up in your job, leading a team, or that you should be speaking and on the front line. Maybe you are working behind the scenes but God has actually called you to be faithful where you are right now.
Maybe you are studying right now and you don’t know how the things you are studying are going to impact your future and how you’re going to be able to use them. I want to remind you that nothing is a waste in God’s kingdom. God will use whatever he likes to make a difference in your future for other people and to point them to Jesus.
Last year I felt the Holy Spirit impress upon my heart to move on from my day job and work on content for She is Light full time. Hear I am in 2018 doing just that! Life actually feels a little bit slower than it used to, because I was the person who would work all day and then come home and work on She is Light all night. I would have my schedule packed to the brim! This year, it’s a little bit different - I’m doing my work for She is Light but I have more time than I used to.
I could look at that and think “God, come on, can’t you make things happen faster?” But I need to trust in God’s timing and remember that God has asked me to do this for a reason, which means I also have a little bit more time for a reason. So how am I using that time? Am I going to dig deep into God’s word? So in the future when things move from slowly, slowly, slowly to suddenly, I’ve already put my roots down so deep, creating habits with reading God’s word and knowing scripture, so that I have a deep well to draw from.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
In those times when we’re going “God, what are you doing?” We need to pause and trust in God - that he knows what he is doing and that his timing is best. So that in 20 years down the track we’ll look back and see why we were in that job or why we were studying that degree - we will see how God has orchestrated everything together for good.
But right now, our job is to be faithful to God, and to be faithful to the things God has placed in our hands, and always to trust him. God is our creator and our creator knows what is best for his creation.
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Maybe right now you feel like God has forgotten you. Maybe you feel like you have been praying so hard for something to change but it hasn’t happened yet. I want to remind you that God is the one who will direct your steps if you will let him.
This was a huge theme throughout the conference. I heard all of these people’s incredible stories and saw where they are now. But there really wasn’t a five-step plan. What I saw were lives surrendered to God. There is so much power when we say “God, I believe in you, I trust in you, you know what’s best for me. I want you to direct my steps.” God wants to direct our steps but we need to surrender to him.
The second part of Psalm 37:23 reminds us that God knows the details of our lives. If you feel like you have been forgotten, remind yourself that God sees every single detail of your life.
Just as I was encouraged over the weekend, I really hope this message encouraged you. I want you to remember that God knows what is best for you, and that his timing is best.
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