As a lay evangelist, I sometimes have the privilege of preaching the gospel to receptive people. And in situations like this, often the Word preached produces immediate results – people get born again, healed of disease where the pain goes and often demons are cast out. If you like this sort of thing, then pray in the Spirit more, fast more, evangelise more, and meditate on the Word more. It makes life more exciting. Powerful and immediate results are wonderful – they are a demonstration of the Kingdom of God – but I need to also let you know that this is not the only way God works in our lives. 

Many times, between the time we hear and believe a promise from God concerning our future, and the time it actually comes to pass (or manifests) there is a waiting period. Sometimes that period is a very long time. And painful. It is often longer than we want it to be. There is no getting around this. It hurts, and sometimes we may even want to give up on believing the promise. For young Christian ladies, or ladies who are in their thirties, the promise might be the promise of having a godly and loving husband who will cherish them. It can be very difficult to wait and trust God, and many fail to do this. The result is to miss God’s best. Some give up the faith altogether.

For men, it might be the fulfilment of a ministry dream or a career goal, or an open door of opportunity. You believe God has promised a financial breakthrough or an open door in a particular way – but the months and then years drag on.

It might be something related to one’s family – like the salvation or healing of a family member. We really want our loved ones to turn to God and be saved. But because of free will and other factors, it can take years to happen. Somehow though there are plenty of records of people’s persistent prayers for the salvation of people they care about being answered.

I want to encourage you that God is fulfilling these desires all the time for different people around the world – but while YOU wait, it is painful for you and you might be tempted to despair or even doubt God’s love for you. You might feel like giving up, but don’t give up. You don’t have to live by feelings.

The Bible says, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9). It is important to keep ourselves encouraged in whatever way we can – through the Word, through fellowship, through being in places where God is moving, through listening to and reading the testimonies of others.

The Bible teaches us that God is looking for patience (long suffering) and endurance.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,  that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11,12)

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:35,36).

That might seems tough, but I can think of at least three pieces of good news that speak to this situation. Firstly, God will eventually fulfil His promise – even if it takes a long time. Secondly, it IS God’s will that even in the midst of this pain, we can have genuine joy (Colossians 1:10-11). Thirdly, it is also God’s will that we have peace in our souls right now.

In the midst of all our trials and waiting, Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1). Jesus told them these words a few hours before He went to the cross to pay for our sins. For the disciples, who had not understood the plan of salvation yet, the events of the trial and crucifixion must have seemed like the ultimate disaster. Where was this Kingdom of God if the alleged King is mocked and crucified? It would have been an awful time for them – yet Jesus had just told them not to let their hearts be troubled, and that He gives His peace to them.

What to Do While Waiting for God’s Promises to Come to Pass

Firstly, don’t rely on your natural power. Don’t rely on “the flesh”. Doing something in the flesh to solve your problem will make a bigger problem, that might endure for years – or even generations (if we still have generations to come before Christ returns). 

Abraham wanted a son more than any earthly blessing. God had promised a son to him many years before when he was gazing into the sky one night, and Abraham had believed God. But the years were dragging on and it looked like Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, would be his heir. So Abraham and Sarah decided to take matters into their own hands. Sarah suggested that Abraham have a child by her servant girls Hagar. This resulted in Ishmael – but this wasn’t God’s plan. God’s plan was to fulfil the promise through a son by Sarah. Even though Abraham got his son Isaac by Sarah around 13 years later, when Sarah was 90 years old, there was hostility between Ishmael and Isaac which in a sense continues to the present day through the Arab nations which oppose the people of Israel.

Don’t rely on the flesh. Don’t rely on your own ability to try to “make it happen”. Single ladies, don’t throw yourself at a man thinking you can change him later into a Christian – it rarely works. It usually will result in your personal destruction. Men, don’t create a major project just for something to do. Whatever it is, we need to trust in the Lord – and wait patiently for Him.

We read about Noah’s deliverance in Genesis chapter 8. After all the rain, while in the ark, Noah had to wait a long time for the waters of the earth to subside. After waiting a while, Noah first sent out a raven (a flesh eating bird) to go out. But the raven never came back. The flesh won’t take you where you want to go. It will let you down.

The second thing to do while waiting is to trust the Holy Spirit. After sending out the raven, Noah sent out a dove. The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The dove came back – first time with nothing. Like this, God will send a message to you from the Holy Spirit to encourage you from time to time, but nothing has changed outwardly. After another week, Noah sent out the dove again, and it came back again with an olive shoot in its beak. Noah couldn’t see the dry land, but the dove brought back a sign that something what happening in a place Noah couldn’t see yet. Remember while you wait that God is at work doing things you cannot see. You might find out what God was doing afterwards. Also, the Holy Spirit will give us signs of life and hope (like the olive shoot) if we pay attention.

The third time the dove was sent out, it didn’t come back. The parallel ends here (because the Holy Spirit will never leave us), but what this meant was that it was time for Noah and his family to open the ark and seek dry land. The period of waiting was over and Noah could go into his brand new life together with his family.

How Do We Trust the Holy Spirit?

Firstly, we can trust the message and promises of the Bible. We should meditate on those promises daily. We should do this because all Scripture is God breathed – inspired by the Holy Spirit. We should trust the Holy Spirit by trusting that His words in the Bible won’t fail us. They will give us life and strength and joy while we wait.

Secondly, IF we have received prophetic words from trusted servants of God, we can use these promises to “wage warfare” for the fulfilment of God’s plan for our lives.

This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, (1 Timothy 1:18)

Clearly there were prophecies Timothy had received and by recollecting them and speaking them out, Timothy could encourage himself to believe that God would work to make him effective and successful in doing God’s will and fulfilling God’s plan for his life. But this activity is still a warfare. It is a fight. Satanic powers were working to discourage Timothy even while God had said certain things and made certain promises to Timothy. You and I will also face an inner warfare to keep believing God’s promises when things look dark. We need to draw near to God as much we can – in good times as well as bad – so we can have spiritual resources to overcome Satan’s attacks on the tough days. This is one reason why I like to seek God diligently even when there is no crisis on at the moment. And believe me, I have received powerful and amazing prophetic words from proven prophetic ministers which would take a lot for God to fulfil in the current spiritual climate. I have to remind myself of what God said from time to time.

How to Stay in Faith

During trials and periods of waiting, God still wants us to enjoy our lives. Don’t allow your happiness to depend on having the promise of God fulfilled today or tomorrow. God wants us to enjoy His presence and be thankful for all the things we do have even while we wait for something else we hope for. Thank Him always for what you have – and also thank Him for the bad things YOU DO NOT HAVE. Every time I see someone broken down besides the road, or having had a crash, I thank God for protecting me and saving me from such problems. (I am not a mechanic so I wouldn’t know how to help them practically – in Australia we had roadside service for that). As you go through life, you will observe people – even Christian people – who have to endure things far more difficult than what you face. Some have terrible family crises – divorce, disabled or rebellious children. Some face economic trials. So just keep thanking God. It will make you happier. It will please God, for it is God’s will ( 1 Thessalonians 5:16). And also, thank God for His promises and what He has done and will do. This is an expression of faith that pleases God.

Seek the comfort of the Holy Spirit by praying in tongues (Jude 20). This is something any Christian can have – see Mark 16:17. It is for praying beyond the level of our human understanding. Praying in tongues builds up your faith supernaturally and defeats the devil’s plans. The more you pray God’s will, the more good things will happen according to God’s plan.

Seek the comfort of the Holy Spirit by going to Christian meetings where God is moving.

Seek the comfort of God through the Body of Christ. You need to develop several relationships if you can. Try to be a blessing to others even in your pain, and it will help you be happier. As you sow, you will reap. Try not to overload one or two people with your problems.

Act in obedience. Sow even in famine according to God’s leading, and like Isaac you may well reap one hundredfold (Genesis 26:12). Be in the place God wants you to be, and don’t make major decisions while you are down.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the landand feed on His faithfulness.” (Psalm 37:3). “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4). If we can delight in God while we don’t have the other blessings we want most, then God finds it safe to give us those blessings a lot faster. It is all about putting HIM first – and then all these other things will be added to us – including the promises we are waiting for (Matthew 6:33).

I hope this helps. I know God will help you if you will do these things. And in the end, just having the presence of God in your life is the greatest blessing we can enjoy in this life, and there is usually no reason why we cannot enjoy His presence today. Every other blessing will come if we endure. Remember also that in eternity the children of God get to inherit all things (Revelation 21:7)

 

Michael Fackerell