God… should I stay or should I go? I need to know NOW!
They traveled and camped at the Lord’s command wherever He told them to go. Numbers 9:18
I’ve recently been working through a series that had as its foundation a very deep question “What do you do, when there’s nothing that you can do?” Just 11 simple words, but when placed together like this, really calls the Christian (and the non-Christian!) to come face-to-face with their faith. As a western culture, when faced with adversity, we have a tendency to distance ourselves from it as quickly as possible. I know this is going to sound radical, but what if, the adversity we’re facing, can be seen as a gift from God, rather than something to hurt us? That in those times when we’re facing adversity, God is doing a work within us, and it can only be completed, if we trust in God’s timing, because He really does knows best… in all things!
If you’ve gotten to this paragraph, perhaps there’s hope and you’re considering those same 11 words as I have. So, let me share what I do when I get into those dark places… I wonder if I’m the only one who is going through what I’m dealing with. More lately than ever before, I’ve resorted to looking in the Bible, and time and time again, I’ve learned that the men and women of the Bible were not strangers to adversity, but continued to seek God for their strength, believed in God’s timing, and believed God to be a compassionate God, in the midst of their adversity! Do we? We speak the phrase that “God’s timing is perfect”, but when we’re faced with adversity, do we continue trust that God has a plan? Or, do we trust God’s timing only when it seems to benefit us, and when it doesn’t, we resort to pushing God aside because now He doesn’t understand?
Our primary struggle appears to be trust… that God’s timing is perfect, and more often than not, our time frame does not match His. Or better yet, in the midst of adversity, we wish that His timing was better… often times, faster! Biblically, there were times when God had the Israelites resting in one place overnight on their wilderness journey, and at other times, He had them camped at one location for much longer. No human could predict God’s next move, but God’s timing has proved perfect when it was time to go and to stay. But, just as He knew when to have the Israelites moves, God knows when we need rest, when we need discipline to wait, and when we need to move. We just need to be “doers” of what He’s telling us to do…
And while we don’t typically get the “burning bush” moments like Moses, or the “pillars of clouds and fire” described in Exodus 13:21 as clear and perfect signals, our Father praises those who believe in Him and His perfect timing. And for those who know God as Lord and Savior, we have the benefit of the Holy Spirit living in us to help guide us. But, it’s easy to fall back into familiar patterns… to rely on ourselves in those dark times. It takes conscious focus to break that pattern of reliance on self and more on Him. It requires relationship with Him that is nurtured outside those dark times so we can hear His voice more clearly when we really need it most.
Trust in Him and His timing, so we can allow perseverance to finish its work! As hard as it is to deal with the issues of life, nothing comes to us without passing through the hands of God first. We may not understand the reason for the challenges we’re facing… and we may never know the reason. But, His promised grace is enough to endure us in those dark times.
Father, help me to change my attitude towards adversity and to know that Your timing is perfect and to use this adversity that I’m going through until You choose to remove it. I don’t understand it, and if You can take it from me, please do, but Your will, Father. In the meantime, grant me wisdom and strength to make it one more day… Amen.