My apologies for writing every Daddypotamus post about vision, destiny, and intangible life meaning stuff. At this exact moment in my life, I can’t force myself to drum up an explanation of my paternal views on extended breastfeeding. What I CAN share is my focus and experience, and that leads me back into that great big, super-duper, all-important visioneering black hole.
The divine waiting game
After reading Joy’s , I was reminded yet again that sometimes God allows us to wait MUCH longer than we want for things because He’s more concerned about our hearts. I don’t want to establish a doctrine on the subject, however, because sometimes God wants us to walk into His provision and we’re sitting back expecting it to take forever. So while there ARE moments that God allows us to sweat because it’s purifying, we would be limiting Him if we choose to expect the same situation and response every time we want something.
When we encounter delay, we want to know why. We want to problem solve and “fix it.” At least I do. It’s in my nature to limit what God is doing by deciding that He’s making me wait because He wants to do X in my life (build character, show me my heart’s real desires, etc). It’s so easy to see one thing happening and decide that that’s what God had in mind. The problem is, that particular thing could be accomplished and the delayed solution may still not come. Then I would be disheartened, disappointed, and angry with God. After all, didn’t I just willfully endure the character pruning in that specific area? I should get my answer now! This isn’t fair!
And while I waste time having a crisis of faith, I could have been peacefully growing and abiding in Him. The truth is, God didn’t speak to me and say, “Daniel, the ONLY thing I want to do before I give you what you want is to fix X in your character.” If He did, I would know precisely why I’m here and to expect a change in circumstance afterward. But He didn’t say that. He only showed me an area of my life He wants to touch. I presumed this was the only thing on the agenda. Presumption leads to disappointment; disappointment leads to a crisis of faith.
Avoiding unnecessary crises of faith
Do you want to avoid a crisis of faith? Begin by taking an honest look at your assumptions and presumptions. Have you interpreted one piece of data to be the only subject on God’s agenda? Did you allow wishful thinking to generate presumption? Confess your error and start afresh.
We’re all going to need to do this from time to time. It’s just too easy to see AN explanation and presume it’s THE explanation.
I’m finding that there’s more peace in an open-handed approach to God, even though I’ve wanted answers and provision and a new property REALLY badly. I’ve prayed my desires for a while just in case God wanted to wow me with amazing provision from the get-go. But after months of no provision, I had to start asking the tough questions, and it turns out that there are several things I can let God do in my life. It doesn’t mean I’ll get what I want after He and I are through with these things. I don’t have that promise. But I do have less stress than I did before, because I’ve surrendered the tiresome assertion of my will.
When you pray for something and you don’t have the word from the Lord already that He’s going to do it, you’re praying in hope more than faith. That doesn’t mean hopeful prayers are bad… they’re just not the faith-filled prayers we sometimes want to assume they are.
And… where’s the pleasure, exactly?
The pleasure is such a new thing it bears some difficulty describing. There are these faint internal giddy feelings I get from experiencing the wait and the prayerful return to waiting on God. It’s like the difference between drinking a cup of green tea versus a Red Bull or Iced Venti Vanilla Latte (God’s fave). The green tea wakes me up, helps me feel alert, but doesn’t rock inside my head like a screaming emo singer. That’s more of the Red Bull effect. There are loud obnoxious pleasures and there are subtle, “uplifting” pleasures. It’s a discipline to settle for the subtle internal pleasures at first because they don’t cause sugar and testosterone to pump through my veins like a raging bull. But the pleasures are there, and I feel better about them as I learn to recognize them for what they are.
The moral of the story
The morals of at least some stories are not what we initially want to hear. At least, that’s proven true for me. I didn’t want to hear that God was waiting on me to let Him show me my own heart and establish a history of faithfulness in an area before He’d answer my prayers. But once I surrendered to the idea, I found myself less stressed and disappointed. Surrender of the perception of power is not easy. It leads us to approach life from an entirely different perspective than the ambitious seize what’s yours mentality of American business culture. But the proof is in the pudding. My quality of life has improved because it’s improving on the inside. Faithful in little, ruler of much.
Question from Heather:
Have you experienced a situation where you had to wait on something you really wanted? Please share it here.
When she guest-posted for, Joy had no idea what a comfort and encouragement her words would be to us and many others. Your experiences are so extremely valuable in bringing context not just to your life but to the stories we are all living out. Don’t keep them to yourself! You never know who will read your words at just the right time.