If we're being honest, most of us would admit that we prefer our own timetables to those of our heavenly Father. But what blessings do we miss by rushing ahead of His plan? In this message, Dr. Stanley assures us that we always have time to wait on God, and that time will always be well-spent. Learn to surrender your schedule to God, trusting that His timing for all things is perfect.
Learning to listen to the Lord is an important lesson for all of us. Otherwise, we can’t obey Him because we won’t know what He would have us do. Furthermore, we need to know God’s timing because it’s perfect, even though it may seem slow from our perspective. But if we jump ahead of God, we’ll miss the blessings He has for us.
In Genesis 12:1-3, the Lord spoke to Abraham, saying, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God’s directions were very clear, but Abraham didn’t follow them fully. Like us, Abraham wasn’t perfect, but made mistakes as he walked with God. He was told to leave his family, but he brought his nephew Lot with him, which later resulted in problems causing them to separate (Gen. 13:1-13). On another occasion, Abraham jumped ahead of God (Gen. 16:1-16). Although the Lord had promised that he would have a son and his descendants would be as vast as the stars, Abraham was getting older, and there was still no son.
After living ten years in the land of Canaan, Abraham’s wife Sarah came up with a plan to speed up God’s promise. She suggested that he have a son through her Egyptian maid, Hagar. The reason Hagar was in the household was because of a previous detour from God’s will that Abraham had taken when he moved to Egypt to escape a famine. Now he jumped ahead of God and did what Sarah suggested. However, when Hagar conceived, conflict and trouble entered the household. Through their scheming, Ishmael was born, but he was not the son God had promised.
There’s always danger when we are listening to the wrong voices. Whether it’s our own or the voice of someone else, we must always be careful to follow the Lord rather than human reasoning. Sometimes we don’t understand how God could possibly accomplish what He’s promised, so we decide to help Him out in some way or do it ourselves. However, if we don’t wait for God, we’ll live in disharmony with Him and suffer the consequences. Following His plan, no matter how long the wait, is always a better option because He has infinite wisdom and full knowledge of the past, present, and future. When we listen and obey Him, we’ll experience His best for our lives even though it’s not always easy.
Because of impatience and an unwillingness to wait for God, Sarah obtained a son through Hagar, but she also received many days of conflict, strife, heartache, and trials. Eventually she conceived her own son with Abraham when he was 100 years old (Gen. 21:1-5). The Lord delayed this son’s arrival for so long because he wanted them to realize that Abraham’s promised lineage would only come through a miraculous act of God.
We probably don’t deliberately decide to jump ahead of God; we simply make choices that please us at the moment or that seem to be the answer to what we’re seeking. Since we live in a culture that doesn’t value waiting, we tend to imitate what everyone else is doing. This is true in almost every area of our lives—purchases, jobs, marriage, education, and everything in between.
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