Lots has happened recently in my life. I recently finished graduate school, got married, and moved over 500 miles to Arizona to be with my wife, as she finishes her doctoral program in Audiology. It’s a really exciting time in our lives, but it wasn’t so exciting when I first arrived in Arizona. You see, I went to school to be a pastor, or, at least, learn things that are helpful when you’re a pastor. I had applied to churches leading up to moving to Arizona and was making progress two churches. The plan was to get a youth pastor drop right when I moved out here, but, as it usually happens, my plan didn’t pan out. The two churches went with other candidates.
I had already accepted a job as a banker as my backup plan. The backup plan is the chicken tenders of plans. If you go to a restaurant and don’t know what to get, get chicken tenders, since you know they’re not going be terrible, but they’re also not going to blow your mind away. And that’s how I viewed working as a banker. It wasn’t going to be terrible, since my wife didn’t have to work and she could focus solely on her academics and we’d have a place to live, but it wasn’t going to blow me away. I wasn’t going to be doing what I know Jesus has created me to do: be a pastor.
Haven’t you ever felt like you were destined to do something or be with someone and things didn’t work out? Everyone has felt this way, but this doesn’t make it any easier for you and me. Well, what did I do when my youth pastor job didn’t work out? I did what any newly married husband would do: I pouted like a little boy.
For the first three weeks living in Arizona, I was despondent. I went to work frustrated and came home frustrated. I wasn’t attentive to my wife at all, and, to make matters worse, I was second guessing God’s plan for my life. Man, I really started this marriage thing off on the right foot didn’t I?
But, then something happened. As I was reading random church leadership books, listening to youth ministry podcasts, and getting alone with Jesus, I finally caught a glimpse of what Jesus was doing in my life. I thought Jesus was mainly calling me to Arizona to become a pastor, but I discovered His focus was calling me to Arizona to become a husband. Jesus has called me to be a pastor, but, above all, he’s called me to love my life. If I work to become a great pastor, but also happen to be a terrible husband, I’m actually a terrible pastor (1 Timothy 3:5). I have to trust what Jesus is doing in my life.
I bet you’ve struggled trusting God’s timing on things, it’s only human nature. Maybe Jesus has called you to a certain occupation, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe you’re really hurting emotionally and you’re waiting on Jesus to turn things around. Whatever the case may be, we all can resonate with the idea of waiting on God’s timing. Sometimes, we can know God will come through, but we don’t know what to do in the meantime.
Waiting on God’s timing is less about waiting for God to act and more about us acting ourselves. It’s like Jesus tells us, “I’m going to build you the biggest house ever one day. You, me, and everyone else will live in it forever. It’s going to be awesome. You’ll have Taco Bell there, so you’ll love it. But, as I get that sorted out, can you do some things in the meantime to get ready?”. Jesus is preparing a home for us in Heaven. In fact, He’s already prepared it. He died and resurrected to build that house for all who call upon His name as Lord (Romans 10:9-10). But, in the meantime, just like anytime we wait on God’s timing, we have things to do ourselves and the main way we figure that out is through prayer.
If you’re waiting on Jesus to give a job, go get an internship, read books in your field, talk to people who are doing what you want to do.
If you’re waiting on Jesus to bring you a spouse, prayerfully ask Jesus to mold you into a Godly spouse first. Lots of people ask Jesus to bring them a Godly spouse, but few first ask Jesus to mold them into a Godly spouse.
If you’re waiting on Jesus to open up a specific opportunity, ask Jesus to give you eyes to see your life in the way He sees your life. Ask for His perspective on things, so you can trust what He’s doing.
If you’re waiting on Jesus to turn your life around, first turn your life towards Jesus. I know you might be dealing with a lot of hurt that I couldn’t even understand, but maybe before He turns your life around He wants you to turn your eyes to Him? Every journey begins with one step. That first step is not focusing on your circumstances, but focusing on your Christ.
For me, as I wait for Jesus to get me that youth pastor job, I’m accepting His challenge to make my priority now what it should always be: to have my wife be more important than my job. It’s funny, since I would always told people that I wasn’t going put work over family, but then, I moved to Arizona and put work over Ariel right away. That’s life sometimes, we make goals and we sometimes fall back, but God always presents opportunities to come back stronger.
We’re all waiting on Jesus in some way, so as you and I wait, let’s realize that waiting on God’s timing is less about waiting for God to act and more about finding how Jesus wants us to act. God usually works by making a promise to us, then asking us to do something. In Genesis 12, God makes huge promises to Abraham, but then tells him to leave his home to “to the land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). Abraham didn’t know what God was doing, but as he waited for God to show Him the land he was being sent, he acted.
So act. God has big plans for your life and you’re probably waiting on some of those plans to unfold, but don’t just be stagnant. Act. Seek God’s face through serving others, prayer, taking to Godly leaders, and things like reading God’s Word. There’s many things we can be doing, so realize waiting on God’s timing is less about waiting for God to act and more about figuring out how God wants us to act.
What’s been your experience with waiting on God’s timing?
What has God taught you?
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