Have You Missed It?
For about as long as I can remember, I have had a strange phobia.
If I am waiting in a doctor’s office or for my table at a restaurant or to be answered if put on hold, an actual panic begins to stir up thoughts like, “They have misplaced my name; they skipped me; they didn’t see me; maybe they said my name and I missed it!” It’s pretty unreasonable, given that this has rarely been the case.
Each of our lives have times of waiting. Mine feels like it has consisted of little else!
One day recently, while I was pounding the doors of heaven, insistent that I needed to have some answers about my latest “waiting time,” I felt like I heard the Lord saying, “Stop worrying. You don’t need to know as much as you think you do. If you truly needed to know, wouldn’t I tell you? Be still….” He went on to ask me, “Are you listening to Me?”
“Yes, Lord,” was my answer.
“Are you available?” He asked.
“Yes, Lord,” I answered again.
Then He lowered the boom: “Then stop worrying like you’re going to miss your name being called.”
Immediately, I knew what He was referring to. When the waiting takes, in my opinion, too long, I begin to fear that I have been forgotten, overlooked, passed up.
Often, when we read the book of Acts, we don’t realize the passage of time that is occurring within the story. It seems to us that immediately after Paul has his Damascus Road experience, he is plucked up for ministry and sent out to the nations. But all this actually takes place over many years. There is approximately 13 years between Paul’s conversion and his first missionary journey. He even spent three years alone in Arabia before he ever met with Peter and James (Galatians 1:17-19). Other leaders were skeptical, fearful, hesitant about Paul. They weren’t sure if he could be used by God at all!
I wish I could interview Paul. He had been given promises by God that he would be used, and yet he had to often wonder when and how it would come to pass. In hindsight, we can see the purposes in the waiting, but in the muddy middle, it had to have been frustrating. Had he missed his chance? Had he created such fear through his persecution of the Church that he would never be heard or accepted? Had he messed up too much for God to use him? Was it too late?
We know it wasn’t too late for Paul. Can we have the faith to believe that it isn’t too late for us either? Can we trust in the midst of waiting that there is good that will come of it? I believe many of us come to this juncture, come to the wrong conclusion and quit. I believe more dreams die through the waiting period than at any other time.
Let me encourage you today to hang on. Keep listening and being available to be obedient in the waiting time, my Friend. It won’t be for nothing.
“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31