I’ve noticed over the years how often we associate God’s involvement or anointing with something that is large in size, scope, budget and growth. None of us would consciously admit this correlation, being aware of the stories of men and women of faith throughout the ages. And, knowing that there has been many “successful” individuals, organizations and companies without the involvement of God.
We see David wrestle with this in Psalm 37:7 where he writes, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
This is not to say that large enterprises that are Godless are wicked, but simply that they can be prosperous without God.
Still, we can react to a stories of large and growing endeavors, especially by Christians, with thoughts like, “God has really blessed it” or “God is all over it” or “He (or she) is anointed of God”.
The problem with this thinking is not so much if we are correct about our assessment of God’s involvement with another, but rather the conclusions we make about God’s involvement in our life.
You see, as soon as we use factors of size, scope, budget and growth to determine God’s blessing or anointing on something, we are in the unsafe minefield of comparison. And, comparison eventually finds it’s focus on our own life and harbors in the waters of disappointment and discouragement.
I’ve journey in those waters far too many times, even when I knew better. The measuring of blessing and significance through comparison almost alway ends in my wondering if God is involved or cares about what I am doing.
Scripture says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you…Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation…” 2 Peter 3:9 &15 NASB
I often regard the patience (or slowness) of God as reluctance, distance, disinterest, neglect or anger. I rarely regard His patience (or slowness) as salvation, meaning His loving work of delivering me from something or to something.
One of the difficult things about the pursuit of desire is the need to wait for it. Not to manipulate a desire into existence or abandon it out of frustration.
Perhaps the slowness of the development of your desire or dream is God’s protection from the traps that have been set for your destruction. Or it could be God’s engineering and sequencing of all the elements needed for the fulfillment of your life’s work. We must “regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.”
As Oswald Chamber said, “If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many things inevitable as possible, let the consequences be what they will.”
We must plant and water the seeds of desire and vision that God has stirred and then let Him bring the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:6) We must wait in the ready.
Timely post for me and my journey! I struggle with action, how much to take, in moving towards my desire? I desire to move my family to a new city and secondly, start a church plant with another family. The desire to move is years old…and planting a community is almost as long. I see movement on both fronts but it never “seems” fast enough in my humanity! Again, thank you for this blog and the 2 Peter text reminder!
Raymond, you’re welcome. God’s timing is always an issue for me, but when I look back I’m always amazed and grateful for God’s genius.
Thank you Gary. I needed to hear this today. I have been struggling with wanting to abandon my desires because I’m still stuck in my same crummy career. I completely agree that He is saving me from something and to something. I just need to wait. However, does His patience make us salivate or is He salivating? Sorry, couldn’t resist. 🙂
Grayson, good one! I think that it’s really helpful to invite a few friends to look at our life and heart and help discern if our lack of movement is the patience of the Lord or my procrastination.
Once again, thank you. You must remember my story Gary, because I’m pretty sure it has procrastination written all over it. I procrastinate because of my fears. And because the fear has been winning the battle so far, I’m tempted to just abandon my desires.
Grayson, hang in their my friend. Let’s pursue and fight on together.
What wisdom! “One of the difficult things about the pursuit of desire is the need to wait for it. Not to manipulate a desire into existence or abandon it out of frustration.” My own experience is of often falling off this seemingly very narrow balance beam on one side or the other. By God’s grace, I keep getting back up there and attempting to actively wait – without manipulating or abandoning. Thanks Gary.
Mike, you’re welcome. “Actively wait” – that’s it.
Gary, great post! I think there is a fine line between taking action and deciphering what God is doing in your life and a given circumstance. On one hand we’ve been given the “dignity of causality” to create stuff and make things happen. That’s a great gift given by God and our inheritance as sons & daughters. On the other hand, I don’t ever want to force anything that may be what I think I want but not following the path of God’s best for me. I guess this just highlights how important it is to walk intimately with Father and then when He stirs us, “make as many things inevitable as possible.” What’s your take on this?
Matthew, well said. I think putting things in place to make the God-given dream, desire, vision, idea possible is walking by faith. Then, not letting the fulfillment of that dream, desire, vision, idea be a life-or-death issue emotionally is walking by faith. I think all of this looks like walking with God, as you said.
Very helpful post, Gary.
Gary, I am amazed at how timely this was for me today.
This is awesome. I was contemplating the Oswald Chambers quote, and almost asked if someone could expand on that, but I think you guys did in the quotes and I’m getting it now… Thanks, Gary and everyone for your input! 🙂
Linda, another person asked me the same question. Here is how I answered it:
I believe that what he is saying is that when God gives you an idea, a compelling desire, a dream, put the necessary elements in motion for it to happen and then let God do as He pleases with it.
Lets say I had a dream of being a teacher at a Christian college. Then I should look at what type of degree I would need to teach at the college level and pursue that. Then I should apply to a college to get that degree. I should also check on Christian colleges that I might like to teach as – as to their theology, philosophy, and vision. Then, in my pursuit, I need to rest in the fact that God will allow this fall in place and happen or steer me another direction.
That’s so great, Gary, I’m getting it, thank you!!!
Do you think God can give us a passion to go somewhere or do something, but it can not be at all for the end result we were thinking of? I mean, in using your example still, let’s say someone had that dream to teach at a Christian college, and it never happens… Was it all just about the journey and who they were to meet or become along the way in just the pursuit of it? In other words, do you think God uses our desires just to get us moving on a path that isn’t related to the outcome of what we wanted in the beginning of that desire, or is not related to how we think it should pan out, i.e. get the teaching job? Is He sneaky like that?? It seems like it sometimes! : D
Scott Van yke
Hey Gary, I met you at the boot camp in 2005, we had a blizzard the day we were to leave. I came home all full of knowledge and hope. I was practically thrown out of my church. I was accused of being another Jim Johns. I went to a Nazarene church.Within a few years I left. I have not attended since. I have been self employed for almost thirty years and have failed in every in devour.I have worked as long and as hard as I could but was always blind sided by things far out of my control.
I am now 60 and am watching all those around me prosper. I have always felt since I was a kid that I would be successful. I don’t know what to think any more. How do I watch every one around me be blessed overwhelmingly over and over while I just drown? I can’t help but fell that I was left behind, Forgotten. It is very hard to not be jealous of others and sing the praises of God when every one can see where I am. Scott
I’m on week 4 of one of the largest challenges in my business life ever and it’s been like a heavy blanket over every area of my life for the last month.
Today I was working at a client site with my headphones on and iTunes on “Shuffle”, trying to focus on my work to get my mind off this current client situation. Then “out of the blue” I hear your voice from your “Calling” cd which I purchased and copied to my computer years ago. It was SO good for me then, and it was for me again today.
It was the light and insight I so desperately needed. I will be listening to it anew from the position I am now in and cannot wait till I leave for my 60 minutes commute home!
I just had to say “Thank You” for your work and for following YOUR calling – God continues to use you in my life.