Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
-Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)-
Waiting on God
Waiting on God can be really tough, especially in the midst of a highly tumultuous period in our country. It seems that every month, every week, and sometimes even every day there is a new controversy, a new tragedy, a new issue that demands the public attention. Each of these issues, whether they be politically, racially, or economically motivated, seems to poke and prod and sometimes ram its way into our private thoughts, and even into our churches. Some would argue that, based on Romans 13, the church has no place taking part in these sorts of hot button political issues, while others might argue that some of these issues, because they are centered on the wellbeing of our neighbors, become an important part of how we practice our faith under the umbrella of Christ’s command to love our neighbors.
These are both compelling points that warrant serious discussion in the church. . .but I’m not here for that today.
I want to talk about God and bring the conversation back around to Him. The verse from Proverbs at the top of this post is one of a myriad of examples in Scripture in which we are reminded that, no matter how much humankind might plan, prepare, and set out in pursuit of its own ideals, in the end, “it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
Another proverb I would like to share is Proverbs 3:5-6, which reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” You see, something that can easily (and in many cases, has quickly) be forgotten when we start to dig into our society’s darkest sins in an attempt to uproot them is that God, ultimately, is sovereign. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be finding and uprooting sin wherever and whenever we can, because we absolutely should! As Psalm 106:3 reminds us, “Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!” And righteousness is surely at times achieved through the active practice of our faith in the proclamation and defense of what is good, and the rejection of what is evil.
Nevertheless, we mustn’t forget that we are secondary actors in God’s plan. Even when we seek to be active in our faith, it is only by God’s gracious inclusion of us in His plan that we will find success, and it is only in God’s perfect timing that what is necessary to occur will do so. This is so important to remember during difficult times, because as Christians we cannot allow ourselves to forget that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). In recent months, are you falling in the camp of people who are worried about the coronavirus pandemic that the world is suffering through?
Increasingly angry about how the American government and its leaders has handled it? Or are you in the camp of people who think that the pandemic has been blown out of proportion, that the government is trying to control you, and that the economy has been put on life support for no good reason? Here’s the thing–both approach the situation incorrectly. Neither the pandemic nor the stock market have done anything to surprise God! Our Lord has not been caught flat-footed by the corrupt desires of politicians, no matter which politicians you personally believe to be the corrupt ones.
All these things have come at a critical moment for the church not by coincidence, but by design. And all these things shall pass in God’s perfect timing as well!
I’ll end with a reminder of the power of prayer. Believers are commanded to pray on behalf of all people (1 Timothy 2:1-3), about all things (Philippians 4:6-7), and at all times (Ephesians 6:18). When we pray, we align our hearts and minds more closely with God and His plans, even when we go to him with requests of our own or in ignorance of what would be best. The more often you pray, the more clearly you will be able to anticipate God’s timing. It’s like it says in Psalm 145:18, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
Bring God closer to you, and you will be able to see and understand what He is doing more clearly. Call on him, and He will be near.
Be patient in waiting for God as you pray about the many crises that the world is facing.
He’s not abandoned you.