In my last post, I began to unpack an explanation of why your breakthrough sometimes lingers longer than we desire. If you did not read it, please take a few minutes and do so before reading today’s post. Most of us have a hard time waiting on God to move when we sense that the pressure is rising while the clock is ticking. It can be a frustrating experience for the Christian to learn that God does not ever operate in a sense of hurried frenzy. He has never panicked. He has never sacrificed getting His work done rightly in order to get it done quickly. We are tended by a thorough God who takes His time with us. Until we accept this as a clear component of who God is and how He operates, we can live in a state of spiritual unsettledness. Worse yet, we can prematurely respond to circumstances in life and make the mistake of taking matters into our own hands. Today I want to pick up with the next of the final two verses from Exodus 23 which will allow us another chance to learn more deeply why our breakthroughs seem to be delayed at times. I will finish up with the final verse later this week but, for today, let’s look at Exodus 23:30
“Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.”
Last time, I covered “the what, how & why” of God’s movement during those times when we sense we need immediate breakthrough. This verse speaks of “the when”. Isn’t that the question we find ourselves reduced to during those seasons when our backs are against the wall? When will you send help, Jesus? When will you change his heart, Holy Spirit? When will my answer come, Father? We need to confess that we usually find ourselves wanting God to move immediately when we sense a need. Because we are convinced that God can do anything, and because we know that He is good, and because we are certain that He loves us, we do our spiritual-math and conclude that all of those things should equal an effective and immediate response to our present need. Yet, as God told ancient Israel through Moses, He often takes the little-by-little approach. God measures out incremental breakthroughs and offers them to His children. We are so fixated upon immediate solutions so that we can resume our normal hurried pace, that the little-by-little tactic of the Almighty does not usually suit us. We ask, “When, Lord?” God answers, “Soon enough, child.” The next day we suggest, “How about today? He reassuringly repeats, “I am on it, child. Soon enough. I am doing my thing, and the end result will be perfect.” The next day we say with a notable quiver in our voice, “Today? If not today, please just tell me when so I can relax.” Our faithful Shepherd tells us, “Your sense of rest is to be anchored in my character, not in you understanding what I am doing. I am developing your trust in Me – who I am, how I work, why I do what I do. You still trust in me only to the degree that you grasp what I am up to. Because of your need to grow, and my desire for you to fully possess your inheritance, I am taking the little-by-little approach with you, My child.”
We are going to wait on Him. The only question is how we are going to wait on Him. Peacefully, joyfully and confidently? Or some other type of waiting which we are all too familiar with?
Does it help you to know that there are some things that I have prayed about for more than twenty years that still have not come to pass? When I first started praying for these things, my assumption was that they would come to pass quickly. Needless to say, they have not. Twenty-plus years is long time to wait, as far as I am concerned. Yet, God has taught me so much through these “delays”, that now I can honestly say that these things I have asked for rest squarely in His omnipotent hands. Candidly, there are moments when a familiar unease will rise up within me as I sense that the window is closing on my breakthrough in these areas. Yet, I eventually regain my inner-equilibrium and find rest that He is wiser about the timing of His answer than I could ever hope to be. He has trained my spirit to understand that His ways are multilayered, and that He works most often through human beings. He does not usually override the human will. It is staggering that God actually chooses to frequently wait on us. If God chooses to wait on us so often, is it not reasonable that we would eventually learn to wait on Him? When a breakthrough is delayed, God is taking care of things little-by-little. He is dealing with the opposing forces which are working against your breakthrough. He will not give you what you want before you are able to receive it, or before you can steward it in a manner that leads to greater blessing. He drives things out of our hearts…little by little. He increases our understanding…little by little. He works outside of our line of sight, setting up some things that we are not even aware of – things we will need when the breakthrough comes. All of this TAKES TIME. God is outside of time, but we are not. Because He has to work inside of time in order to work with us, we will need to expect delays (as we like to call them). Again, our desire for immediate and comprehensive solutions do not jive with the overall ways of God. He does not mind impersonating a snail when we thought we were calling out to a cheetah.
We want to go far. God wants to go deep. We want to sprint to the finish line unhindered. God wants to stroll to the finish line hand in hand. We are addicted to results. God is committed to process. We want victory from God. God wants companionship with us.
He is not going to change His approach because it is the best. So we are going to adjust ours if we want to experience the breakthrough that He is setting up for us.