Divine timing. All in God’s time. God doesn’t run on our time.
But God’s prep work is always long term, right?
So often I wonder how God is going to use the situation that I am in later on in my life. I have the mindset that whatever God is going to use it for will be waaaaaay later on in life, because it takes years for God to prepare me for something, right? I mean, Abraham and Sarai didn’t have children until they were OLD, the decades that Moses spent raised as a prince prepared him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, John the Baptist and Jesus both didn’t start their official ministry until they were in their 30’s so God obviously takes a looooooong time to prepare people for BIG things. After all, I have to completely understand what God wants me to do so that I can follow His plan fully.
But, wait a minute, isn’t this me limiting God into my close minded timeline and my actions?
God can do whatever He wants but He has to take years to do it?
That’s a little ironic.
About a year ago, God lead me to Acts 10 that demonstrated how He really does work on His own time frame. In this passage God uses a vision to prepare Peter (a Jew) for an opportunity that would happen that day to witness to Gentiles. The vision which Peter experiences shortly before lunch is described in verses 11-14. After the vision, Peter resists what God shows him three times (verse 16.) As a Jew, Peter had followed the Law his whole life and now God was telling him to not just break the Law but to also witness to the Gentiles who were considered unworthy of the Gospel. After he resists he ponders what he is to do and is perplexed (verses 17-19) all the while God brings Gentiles to his door at that very moment. It was at this point in the passage that it hit me that God uses years to prepare some people for His work and others He uses mere moments. God had just provided a vision to prepare Peter to preach to the Gentiles when two Gentiles came knocking on his door. There wasn’t much lag time at all. Peter was still mulling over what he saw for goodness sake! He still didn’t fully understand what God was telling him before God gave him an opportunity to follow up on the vision. I know my immediate reaction would have been “Hold up, God. How can I be fully prepared for this if I still have questions, and I have LOTS of questions! This is gonna take a few years for me to process. Tell the Gentiles to come back then.” God tells Pete in verse 20 to “Rise up and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” You know what, Peter did just what God had prepared and told him to do. No hesitation. He still didn’t fully understand what was going on but knew what it meant to be faithful. God used what Peter needed on that moment to prepare him and as he accepted Gods invitation God supplied him just what he needed at the right now. If you keep reading to Acts 11:18, you can see the big picture and how God used Peter’s faithfulness and obedience to bless the church.
So often in my “open mindset” of God taking years to prepare me for something, I lose sight of here-and-now opportunities that maybe He just prepared me for the day or week before. God has strongly placed the concept of faith and what that looks like on my heart for about 3 years now. Sometimes He prepares me for ministry opportunities, or tough conversations, or a move, or job change, or a new relationship. I am consistently finding ways of how God has used those years of studying faith to prepare me for situations. Specifically, I have recognized how He has molded my mindset of faith to allow God to use whatever time frame He deems necessary to prepare me for His work. A couple of months ago God used a conversation that my friend and I had about how I needed to reach out to others for help more often to prepare me for a wreck that would happen less than a week later. There have been other situations in my life that God has obviously used a short amount of time to prepare me for something and instead of making excuses, dragging my feet, using doubt as an excuse I have been able to recognize the opportunity and follow in faithful obedience. God is actively at work in my life right now, I need to abide in Him and be aware of where He is working.
To bring it all together: God doesn’t always use years to prepare us for tough situations or for His work, sometimes He just prepares us in moments. He also doesn’t always wait for us to “have it together” and understand exactly what He wants of us and that’s where we step out in faithful obedience.
Are you aware of how God is active in your life right now and are you ready to step out in faith right now with what He has used to prepare you?