“A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” 1 Corinthians 12:7
We are all on the same team if our goal is to glorify God, so why do we act as if this is a competition? Our culture encourages us to compete and compare, God does not. If we look under the ugly rock of competing in ministry, we either find sinful pride slithering there or the creepy crawling of jealousy. Both focus on self, not serving. Where, then, does God come into focus? He should be all we are thinking about and serving the best we can.
God gifted each of us to build up the body of Christ, not our own reputations. We are fellow laborers, not contestants. If we can help further develop someone else’s gift to make them shine brighter for Christ, we should not hoard what God has given us since the gift was never about us in the first place. Competition in the body of Christ shortchanges the ones we are called to serve. Why would any of us want to dim someone else’s light just so ours outshines theirs? Nothing about that looks anything like Jesus.
God has this gifting thing beautifully rigged so that we only win when we share. The needs of the world are big enough for all of us to find a dark place to shine. Throwing all of our gifts together makes a bigger bonfire of glory to God than our individual ones ever could.
Let us examine our hearts: “Lord, give us a generous spirit in working together in the beautiful partnership of ministry. Search us, O God, root out any hoarding, jealousy, and competing. Forgive us for turning your church into a corporation. Renew a right spirit within us and let our iron sharpen someone else’s iron so we both are sharper tools of sharing in your powerful hands. Amen. “
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
We humans love to have answers. Sometimes hard things go down a little easier when we have a concrete reason why life goes crazy. It is normal for our brains to try to make sense of things that do not compute. God is a great Comfort when He graces us with a C that answers A and B.
What about those times when He doesn’t? God’s silence can feel like meanness or apathy. We assume that because mean and uncaring people give us the silent treatment, God is doing the same by His silence. Not so. We must remember that if the Only Wise God is silent, we must not need the answer in the way we might think. He is incapable of evil motives, and when we look at the cross the question of His love should never cross our mind.
Just because our circumstance has not changed does not mean God has. Dead air from heaven speaks volumes if we choose to listen. Having no response is an invitation to see deeper than we would if He returned an answer in the way we hoped. Ask Him to guide you in this silent time. He will.
What then, is the best response to silence from the Almighty?
Even when our mind says it doesn’t make sense, trust. You will be glad you did. His peace will hold your hand, and His love will put its arms around you while you wait. The God Who never does anything halfway will be faithful to complete what He started in you as you hold still in faith in His divine silence.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
If God is everywhere at all times (and He is) and has all power and knowledge, how can we doubt that He is in control?
Reading the book of Esther rekindled in me a fascination at the precision in God’s timing. I love how God inflicted insomnia on the king when Haman just happened to enter the palace to arrange to have his godly enemy killed, only to unknowingly write a prescription for his own death! My heart chuckles with delicious revenge when Haman is ordered to parade Mordecai through the streets loudly declaring the praise he thought he was going to get for himself.
Do you agree that it’s easy to see God’s timing and activity in this true account, but harder to see it in our own lives sometimes? We wonder if God is even working on our behalf, or we second-guess His willingness to make things happen for us.
Take heart, My Friend. God has not forgotten you nor has His power to work in your favor dwindled the least bit. What you need is patience and trust; patience to wait until He deems the time is right and trust that He will do what’s best when it’s best. Remember that His agenda is bigger than what you see and is worth whatever discomfort you may be experiencing right now. Besides, no one ever got a premature answer and been glad about it for long.
Because the all-seeing, all-knowing, all powerful God is also always faithful, you can be SURE He is even now causing all things to work together for good in your life. Don’t let your eyes do your believing for you; instead let your faith usher you all the way to the day when God fulfills His promise.
It is as important to notice what God is not blessing as what He is.
Abiding in Jesus is more natural and more fun than Christian religion!
“and thus, having patiently waited, he received the promise.” (Hebrews 6:15)
Have you been waiting a long time for God to fulfill a promise to you? So many times you feel it will never happen, and your frustration tempts you to either give up or try to make things happen. You may have even second-guessed whether you understood the promise right, but every time you revisit it, the promise is still there.
What do you do, then? You make a choice (again) to be patient with God. Remind yourself that a loving Father would never give a gift if the time is not right. Your circumstances and your heart are stomping and screaming for things to happen now, but you must tame their tantrums with patience. It may even help to remind them of past times of the pain they caused when you allowed them to push you to do something you now regret.
When the right time comes for God’s promise to become reality, the victory will be so much sweeter if it falls on a bed of patience than one jagged with thorns of regret at how poorly you waited.
“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19)
Keep in mind that while you are waiting, God has plenty for you to be doing now. If you focus on fulfilling today’s assignment, the sting of impatience might not bite as hard. What can you be doing and becoming today and now while you wait? I have learned that sometimes God’s delay is because He wants to work out the very weaknesses that would hinder my enjoyment of the promise if it came today. Trust that God is making you ready, My Friend. Let’s both renew our determination to be patient daughters as we wait on our Father’s best.