There is beauty in waiting on God. There are many lessons learned while waiting on God. There are many opportunities while waiting on God. The wait is a time of refreshment and renewal. The key to benefiting of all there is during a waiting period is to listen for His voice even when He is quiet.
Abraham took Isaac up the mountain in obedience. If you read the story in Genesis 22, you will see that God called on Abraham, gave him direction and Abraham followed the direction. It doesn’t say that while he was in the middle of his journey he questioned God or what he was instructed to do. We see his faith when Isaac asks him where is the lamb for the burnt offering. His answer was simple – God will provide.
Wouldn’t it be something if the story went a little different? If Abraham had stopped a mile into the journey and turned around, questioning and doubting what he was supposed to do? I see it as a scene from a spoof movie: Abraham, head down with pursed lips and a serious look on his face, one foot stomping in front of the other, coming to an immediate halt then pivoting on his toes to head back to their tent. A quarter-mile back he changes his mind again, another pivot and he’s headed back towards the mountain. What if his entire journey continued like this? Back and forth, back and forth. He would eventually reach the mountain but it would take quite a bit longer than if he had just made up his mind to begin with, which is how the story is actually told.
In scripture, he immediately obeyed and began to do something that I believe we overlook. He began to gather the necessary items he would need to accomplish what God told him to do without God telling him exactly what those items were.
He gathered the wood he would need for the burnt offering. He gathered his son, their donkey, a couple of traveling helpers. The knife. All the things needed to perform the burnt offering God instructed him to perform. He didn’t go shouting it out to everyone around either. He kept quiet.
We live in an era where everything is immediate. We also live in an era where God is unchanged. He is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. We are fortunate enough to have the Bible and all of its information at our fingertips to learn from.
Reading the story of Abraham and Isaac again this morning, I realized something about God. He gives us instructions. With those instructions, we have choices. When we choose to obey, there is a time of preparation. A time of gathering.
God didn’t talk to Abraham while he was in the middle of traveling to the place he was told to go, at least the Word doesn’t mention it. God didn’t tell him specifically to chop wood and take two of his helpers, a donkey and a knife. These were things Abraham did in preparation for what God was about to do in his life.
I believe Abraham knew he wouldn’t actually have to kill his own son because of his answer to Isaac when Isaac asked where the lamb was. Abraham said God would provide his own lamb. If Abraham knew he wouldn’t have to follow through, why did he even start? Why did he even gather the items needed for a burnt offering? Why didn’t he just say, “Well, God, I know you aren’t going to have me kill my own son so I’m just going to hang out here at the tent and go on about my business. You know, the let’s not and say we did kind of situation?”
He didn’t spend time asking what if either. He didn’t ask – What if I get all the way up there and go through with it then God jumps out and says, “Haha! Just kidding. You weren’t supposed to do that!”
He trusted God had a greater purpose and that all would go as planned. He knew God wouldn’t have asked him to do something unless there was purpose behind it. So he exercised his faith and followed instructions.
I have spent the last two months on this journey myself. I’ve never been in this kind of situation before. I can’t speak about all of it yet but I can say this much. The company I worked for is closing down and began phasing out positions in January. I was the second to be let go in April. I knew it was coming so it wasn’t a surprise and I knew God had, and still has, a plan for my life and my husband’s life. The only instruction I received from God at the time was this: Read in the Word as much as you can and pray more than you ever have. Seek Me daily.
That doesn’t seem like a lot of instruction (especially when it’s something you already do) when you are facing no job, no income. Really? Can’t you tell me where I’m supposed to work next? Are you going to have ravens drop big bags of money out of the sky? Can’t you sit down with me and use little green army men to demonstrate every strategic move in my life so I can just go with it?
God has been quiet on this journey and it has driven me crazy. He’s never been this quiet in my life, especially during the times I’m seeking Him in prayer. Unlike Abraham, I have been the one during this season to pivot and turn back and pivot again. I’ve had to work through doubts and fears. It wasn’t all for waste though.
During this time I have learned many great lessons about who He is in my life. I have seen the strength of my faith and I have seen the weakness in my faith where Christ is made strong. He has built me up. Even though He has been quiet, He has not left me. My relationship with Christ and God and the Holy Spirit is deeper than it was before. I’ve seen Him, yet again, provide.
He has been training us and encouraging us for greater things, for the plan He has for our lives. We see the strings attached to each event that for all appearances, wouldn’t seem to work together for His good, but they do.
We have prayed all along, Lord, open the doors that need to be opened and keep closed the doors that need to stay closed according to Your plan for our lives. We both have a desire to serve Him and be a Christ-like example to those around us. I haven’t always succeeded at this and there are still a couple of conversations I need to have with some individuals and I trust God will provide those opportunities.
I told my husband during the days that this season has been the hardest, “I know in the end all will be amazing and there will be such a great testimony of God’s grace, mercy and favor in our lives which is why I can’t understand why I’m having days that are this hard to comprehend and trust. I know better.”
God didn’t want me to just draw closer to Him, He wanted me to see who I was in Christ. I’m a conqueror. I’m a warrior. I stand back up when I’m knocked down. I don’t give up. I trust God ultimately. I have put myself at His feet. I have removed some pride in my life that needed to be removed. I am more humbled than I was before. I don’t give up because He never gave up on me and He never will.
2 Chronicles 15:7 (KJV)
Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.