In The Meantime
My wife and I have three kids. We have a 14 year old, an 11 year old and a 3 year old. With an eight year gap between the eldest kids and the youngest one, there are things I have forgotten about kids this young. I dare say it is consistent across the board with every kid. They all go through that phase where they ask the same question over and over and over and over. There are times when I answer the question, yet I somehow am asked the question again. There are times where I don’t answer and I definitely get asked again.
Either way, one thing I can usually count on from that little guy is he is going to get an answer. One way or another. He is going to ask, ask again, and ask again. Sometimes, when he doesn’t get the answer he wants, he asks again (or goes to his mom). His persistence teaches me something we find in Luke’s gospel about our relationship with our heavenly Father.
In Luke 18 Jesus tells us about a widow who continues to go to a judge over and over again until finally, out of complete frustration, he gives in to her request. Jesus then tells us that we can approach our heavenly Father in the same way, with determined persistence. He, as a patient Father, doesn’t throw up His hands in frustration and say “whatever” and give in. Instead He patiently guides us in the direction He needs us to go.
The answers aren’t always what we want to hear. They aren’t always quick to come, or easy to discern. So what do we do when we aren’t sure of God’s answer? What do we do when it seems like it is taking forever to hear from God? What do we do “in the meantime”?
I suggest three things:
1. Keep Asking – In Luke 18:6-8 Jesus explains that our righteous, heavenly Father will move on our behalf and to keep asking and not lose heart. We know that God is for His glory (Isaiah 43, 1 Cor. 10) and our good (Romans 8). His desire is to bless us as a father to a child (Matthew 7) but He also knows better what is happening in and around us. When I deny my child something the reasons are always greater than his understanding. This offers me the chance to teach him something or build patience in him to see it for himself and this grows his trust in me as his dad. The same is true of our heavenly Father, so keep asking and don’t lose heart.
2. Look Where God IS Working – Often we are only looking to the left where we desire to see things happening, and if we would only look to the right we would see God doing amazing things. We sometimes have to get out of our own little worlds and look beyond our own desires to see where God is currently moving. The children of Israel only saw the immediate hardship in front of them when led out of slavery in Egypt into the wilderness. If they were looking for where God was working they would see his sovereign work in bringing them out of Egypt, His omniscient work in delivering them from the Egyptian army, and his graceful providence to take them in to the promised land. But all they saw was what was right in front of them. They were looking left and missing what God was doing on their right.
3. Check Your Heart To Make Sure You Are On God’s Page - A lot of times we make plans and ask God to bless them instead of seeking out what His plans are and going after those. In Psalm 37:1-7, King David is encouraging us find our delight in God. Don’t worry about what is going on in other areas of life around you. Let Him be your source of comfort and He will give you the desires of your heart. I have often felt that my desires don’t always match up with God’s desires for me. What then? Whose desires win out? Then I began to understand King David’s words in a different way. When God alone is my desire, the one I trust, and my comfort, then my desires automatically begin to change. God’s desires become my desires. My heart is changed to reflect His heart. He doesn’t give me the desires of my heart, which are often wicked and self-focused, but He places desires into my heart. He “gives” me desires in my heart.
Do a heart inventory. Are you willing to learn as you wait? Will you seek what God would have you do during the wait? Are you sure you are looking for God’s will and not seeking to bend God to yours (good luck)? What will you do in the meantime? Or better yet, what is God working out in the meantime?