Do you ever struggle to trust God’s plan for you or to wait patiently on His timing?
Chances are, you do… at least, according to our recent reader survey.
Some variation of “Trusting God’s plan and His timing – especially when things don’t seem to be going my way” kept coming up again and again as I read through the answers.
I can understand this.
You see, ever since high school I’ve always known that God has something big planned for me someday, and I’m still waiting around to find out what that is.
And while I’ve mostly made peace with the fact that I’m in a much-needed time of preparation right now and I’m content with that, there are definitely plenty of times when I’m tired of waiting around, and I’m ready for some action!
I don’t imagine it’s necessarily a bad thing to be so eager to take hold of the mission or all the blessings that God has in store for us… but when it’s time to wait and trust — then that’s what we need to do.
Of course, that’s not always easy. So at the end of this blog post, I have four very practical steps you can take when you’re struggling to trust God’s plan and wait on his timing.
But first – a story.
The Story of Abraham and Sarah
(Genesis 12 – 21)
Abram was 75 when he first heard the Lord’s call on his life.
I don’t know what his life was like before then (the Bible doesn’t give us much information), but that seems like a long time to just hang out, wondering what God might have in store for you, if anything.
But the Lord tells 75-year-old Abram to leave his family and travel to an unknown land so the Lord can bless him, and Abram obeys.
Abram’s journey is far from easy though…
- There’s a terrible famine in the land, which forces Abram to reroute to Egypt.
- Worried for his life, Abram lies about his relationship with his wife and almost loses her — twice.
- War breaks out and Abram’s nephew Lot is captured as a prisoner of war. Abram has to rally his men, face the enemy head on, and save him.
- And all this time he and his wife Sarai are childless, which is a huge source of shame in their culture.
Time and time again, God confirms His promise to Abram. He will protect him, he will reward him, he will make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky…
And yet, despite God’s continual promises, Abram isn’t getting any younger, and neither is his wife Sarai. They want to believe God–and they do–but the situation looks so impossible. And at this point, it has been over a decade since God first appeared to Abram. He’s 86 now.
So Sarai, tired of waiting, decides maybe God will fulfill His promise through her servant, Hagar. She tells Abraham to sleep with Hagar instead, Abram listens, and Abram and Hagar have a child together.
Of course, Sarai is incredibly jealous, and the tension between the two women is so awful that Hagar runs away into the desert — twice.
God’s plan isn’t for Abraham to have the promised baby through Hagar, but through Sarai. But Sarai still isn’t pregnant. So… they wait.
Then, when Abraham is nearing 100 years old, God finally decides it’s time. Three passing travelers inform Abraham and Sarah that after just one more year, Sarah will give birth to the son God has been promising Abraham for 25 years now.
By this point, both Abraham and Sarah have about given up hope. When they hear the news, they both laugh. Surely they couldn’t have a baby. They’re too old! There’s no way!
But nothing is impossible for God. And He comes through, just as He has promised.
Abraham and Sarah not only have a baby, but that baby goes on to be the father of descendants too numerous to count, including even Jesus himself.
I’d say that’s a promise worth waiting for.
How to Trust God’s Plan – When You Don’t Know What it is
So, that’s Abraham’s story — what’s yours?
- Are you waiting, struggling to discern the Lord’s call for your life?
- Have you already heard His call, but you’re confused, wondering how all of the pieces will fit together?
- Are you going through a time of trial, wondering “What happened? I thought God had such great plans for me, but all I see is hardship!”
The good news is – you’re not alone. Abraham and Sarah went through it, and so have countless others.
You may not know how your story ends yet, but God does. He’s got it all under control and He’s busy working it all out.
Your job isn’t to fit all the pieces together. It’s simply to follow God’s lead as HE fits all the pieces together.
Still, waiting is never easy. It’s hard to trust when you don’t know what’s going on.
So here are four very practical things you can do in the meantime.
1. Remember that God is All Powerful
First of all, can God do anything? Yes, yes He can. He is God. He is capable. He created the entire universe–from the smallest speck to the hugest ocean–with nothing more than the sound of His voice.
It does not matter how impossible your situation seems to you. It’s never too big for God. Never.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” –Luke 1:37
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” –Matthew 19:26
Then Job replied to the Lord:”I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” –Job 42:1-2
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” –Jeremiah 32:27
**By the way, these are GREAT verses to memorize or write down and post around your home so you can meditate on them often!
2. Believe That God Truly Cares for You
Of course, for me, the issue has never been whether or not God CAN do great things, but whether or not He WILL. After all, it doesn’t do me any good if God has the ability to come through for me, but chooses not to.
When you consider what Scripture has to say, however, you see that this really shouldn’t be a concern.
God doesn’t just love you — He’s crazy about you!
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” –1 Peter 5:7
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” –Matthew 10:29-31
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:19
“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you–you of little faith!” –Luke 12:28
3. Consider the Big Picture
Of course, just because God loves you and wants what’s best for you doesn’t mean that you will always have things your way. After all, God does allow suffering in this world (Here are three reasons why).
And yet, when we’re in the middle of a trial, we have to consider the big picture.
Sure, your circumstance may not be what YOU would prefer, but God isn’t just concerned ONLY with your happiness. His plan is much larger than that. And sometimes the painful circumstances we endure now are exactly what we need to prepare for the amazing things God has in store for us (or others!) later.
We may never know why we go through the things we do, but God knows, and that can be enough.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
“Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.”
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” –Romans 8:28
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
4. Practice Being Patient
And lastly, sometimes it just comes down to being patient.
The fact of the matter is, we’re not going to get everything we want and everything doesn’t always work out on our timetable. That doesn’t mean God doesn’t care or that He’s not in control. That’s just life. That’s how it works. Might as well make the most of it.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” –Galatians 6:9
“but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” –Psalm 27:14
Do you ever worry if the Lord has forgotten about you or what is taking Him so long? How do you keep the faith through a season of waiting?