Do you ever find yourself counseling God? I often catch myself telling God the best way to handle a situation in my life. Of course I disguise my wise counsel as “prayer”, but when I stop and listen to myself I realize I am telling God what I need him to do for me, and how he should do it. For example, “Dear Heavenly Father, please help me in my marriage. Please draw Tom nearer to you and speak to him in a way that he hears you. Please help him to see what I need from him and how awesome I am and how lucky he really is to have me as his wife. In Jesus’ name, Amen“.
Don’t even pretend you have never prayed something similar to that at some point in your life. Well maybe not quite that obnoxious, but we have all “counseled” God in the best way to get things done from time to time. It’s especially tempting when we feel like we have been waiting forever for an answer to prayer- especially when we can see the answer so plainly!
Throughout the Old Testament we are introduced to people that experienced the same frustration. The “Hello God- you said this was going to happen yet here I am in the same situation and nothing has changed” frustration. Like our friend Abraham. He believed God when he promised Abraham that he was going to be the father of many nations, and for many years he lived happily expectant of this promise. And then one day he was like “enough of this waiting, I am going to take matters into my own hands” and he took a short cut to Gods plan for his life.
Abraham found out real quick that there are no short cuts to God’s plans for our lives. He found out that our genius ideas not only fail to fulfill the promise, but often delay it, and at minimum cause strife, grief, and even more frustration than the frustration of waiting causes.
God does not delay his promises because he enjoys watching us suffer. As author and speaker Susie Larson so eloquently puts it “He is making me wait because he is making me ready“. We think we can handle the dreams in our hearts but the truth is we do not know the full picture. We do not know what is happening behind the scenes and what the pressures will be when we get there.
It says in Exodus 13:17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, god did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt”.
We learn two things from this verse. First of all, God is well aware of the quickest route to get there. In other words He does not need our wise counsel. He knows how to read a map. More importantly we learn that one of the reasons we have to take the “long way” is because we are not ready for the battles that we will face on the road to our dreams.
There will be many battles along the way. We have to fight our own fleshly struggles with pride, fear, insecurity, and all that fun stuff. We will also face spiritual battles as the enemy of our faith hates nothing more than a Christian fulfilling the call God has on their life. He will fight us every step of the way. The Good News is we will come through victoriously, but only when we are ready. And only God truly knows what we will face and when we will be ready to face it.
If you feel like you have been put on the sidelines watching opportunity pass you by, do not get discouraged. God is preparing you. He is making a way for you. He is strengthening you in ways you don’t even know you need. Keep your eyes on God and remember that the only One that wants you to fulfill your dreams more than you is God himself!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the promises you have for me. Thank you for protecting and preparing me. Thank you for doing your perfect work in me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Love, Grace, and the Long and Perfect Way For Us All,