Don’t let your weakness stop you from pursuing your dreams

Do you have a dream in your heart that you’re not pursuing because you fear that you’re not good enough? Do you have a passion that you’ve squashed because you think you don’t have the ability to be a success in that area?

In order to be a success as a Christian, you have to stop assessing your dreams in the way the world does. The world’s way of deciding whether or not to pursue a dream is to look at your gifts, strengths and natural abilities. If we are strong in a particular area, we will pursue the dream but if we are weak, our fear of failure holds us back from pursuing the goal.

But God’s way is different. God often asks us to pursue things where we are weak in. God uses our weakness to make us rely on Himself. God uses our weakness as an opportunity to show forth His strength by His grace.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul writes:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

David was another man who knew how to be strong in God through his weakness. When David faced Goliath with only five smooth stones, he was facing an adversary who had much more training and experience, who was much bigger and stronger and more skilful in battle than him. But David wasn’t intimidated by the strength of his enemy. David knew that despite his weaknesses, he could conquer any opponent as long as God was on his side. In the end, David defeated a giant with just a small pebble. God was strong in David’s weakness and His divine strength enabled David to accomplish something great.

In fact, God loves it when we are weak and we have to rely on Him for our strength. The story of Gideon fighting the Midianites shows that God purposely made Gideon weak so that He could glorify Himself when the weak Israelite army won the battle over their opponents.

In Judges 7, we find the account of how God reduced the number of men in Gideon’s army so He could gain the credit for their victory:

Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

 But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

 The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

In 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, Paul tells us how God chooses the weak to shame the strong, so no one can boast before Him:

 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

We can be encouraged when we see our weaknesses because God can overcome our inability with His ability. Let God’s supernatural help us overcome our natural weakness.

In Zechariah 4:6, the prophet says:

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.’

We can view our weakness as an opportunity to gain new skills, to grow, to be strong in an area you’re weak in, to gain new confidence in an ability that you’ve acquired that you didn’t have before.

Your weakness is an opportunity for God to do something new, to equip you with fresh power and might, to arm you with new abilities. Your weakness is an opportunity for growth, a chance for you to stretch yourself and conquer new frontiers.

So don’t let your weakness stop you pursuing your dreams and passions. Bravely decide that you’re going to pursue your goals no matter how weak you might feel, and rely on God to empower you to do even the impossible! If God has put a passion in your heart, then He will also provide the resources for you to achieve that passion. Rely on God and not your natural ability and you can fly to heights that you never thought possible.

Light and darkness

This week’s blog post reflects on the metaphor of light and darkness in the Bible.

In the Bible, we are told that God is light. In 1 John 1:5, the Apostle writes –“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

When we are in darkness, we can be encouraged that God lives in us and so we have a light that will never go out.

Whenever we suffer, we look forward to the time when the difficulty will be over and we can experience relief. We continuously look to God to remove the pain. However, during the dark times we have to learn that God’s light is still always shining amidst the gloom. We have to learn how to trust God and learn to see His light in the night. When you follow God, you are never fully in the darkness, his light is always there. When you experience God’s light in your darkness, that changes your whole experience and attitude towards darkness.

God’s light will guide you day and night. You might not know what to do far into the future, but  God gives just enough light for the exact moment you need it. Trust that the light from God is sufficient. When you are walking in darkness, take comfort in God’s light. No matter how dark your life is, in God you have an abundance of light.

Devote yourself to prayer and reading the Bible, so that when the false light comes, you can recognize it and return to God, the true light.

God allows darkness to come into our life because some things can only be learnt in the darkness.

Darkness can be a test, it enables us to grow spiritually and teaches us about God.

When you are in darkness, look for God’s light – His goodness and guidance. God’s light is always there, even in the darkness, but you have to look for it. Good can always come out of any situation, look for the light in the darkness. Reach out for God.

Darkness can lead you to a greater awareness of God’s presence as the greater the darkness, the more zealously you seek Him.

God enables us to be confident about His light by letting us test it in the darkness. When this happens, don’t be afraid. God has created darkness in this case to benefit you. Isaiah 45:7 tells us – “I form the light and create darkness”.

When you are experiencing great darkness, not able to see anything, be comforted by the fact that God is with you and that He hasn’t forsaken you.

Sometimes the greatest light comes after the deepest darkness.

Sometimes when things are dark, you may feel that you aren’t in God’s will. If you are in the dark because you have sinned, repent and God will lead you out of it. However, if you have been obeying God, you are in God’s will. God at times will lead you to darkness to grow your faith. Don’t be afraid of the dark, but see it as a good place to be. When the darkness surrounds you, God’s light inside you will shine brighter. God will give you light right where you are, just take God’s hand and walk with Him.

Be courageous and go on a journey where God’s light is your only light. Give God permission to lead you wherever He wants.

Don’t worry if you can’t predict the future. Trust in God even if you can’t see clearly ahead. And don’t have regrets about the past. Focus on the fact that you have God now. God is your light. And that’s all that matters.

When you are in the dark, try to see God’s light. God wants us to depend on Him so we can walk with Him on the path He has laid out for us. He wants us to come to Him so we can sense His presence always. There is a darkness that is not like the darkness of evil or the darkness of our disobedience. There is a darkness where God places His treasures. “I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who calls you by your name, am the God of Israel.” The treasure we find in the darkness is God.

God uses darkness to increase our knowledge of Him. The more difficult our situation, the more desperately we cling to God. Darkness can help reveal God’s great love and grace towards us. Sometimes, there are things that God can only teach us in the dark.

Sometimes what seems like the darkest step we’ve ever been on comes just before the brightest light we’ve ever experienced.

He wants us to trust Him so completely that He can take us on a journey where His light is our only light. Then when we take His hand, He can lead us anywhere.

Giving up comfort for risk

This week’s blog entry continues on previous weeks’ reflections on the story of Peter walking on water.

Here’s the Bible passage from Matthew 14:25-32 –

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

*

Peter followed Jesus’ command to get out of the boat and walk on water. However, while he was walking on water, he saw the stormy winds and rough waves and started to panic. When he lost his faith in Jesus enabling him to walk on water, he started to sink.

Peter failed in his attempt to walk on water. Yet though he failed, he wasn’t the biggest failure in the boat. In fact, out of all the disciples, it can be argued that Peter was the most successful. While the other disciples trembled with fear in the boat, at least Peter had a moment of glory when he walked on water. He experienced walking on liquid that was solid as a rock. The disciples in the boat were greater failures because their fear made them stay in the boat, in what seemed to be safe and they missed out on the opportunity of experiencing the miracle of walking on water.

God calls us to walk on water, to let go of our fears in the pursuit of an extraordinary dream. What’s your dream? Maybe it’s to write a book, make a film or start a new business. Maybe it’s to be a missionary to the lost in a distant country, or to adopt a child who has been abandoned by his mother. Are you willing to heed God’s call and risk failure and discomfort?

If you heed God’s call, it doesn’t mean that you won’t fail. Peter obeyed God’s call to walk on water, but he failed to stay walking. However, that’s ok. God doesn’t expect us to walk perfectly when we heed his call to get out of the boat because when you say yes to God’s call, you can learn and grow even from your failures.

When you answer God’s call, it will change your life. You will live a life extraordinary that is empowered by God’s strength. However, if you reject God’s call, you will also change. You will become a little harder, a little more resistant to God’s voice.

Today, Jesus is inviting you to go on the adventure of your life. He wants you to chase that impossible dream, pursue your passion and take on what will bring fulfilment to your life. You may be resisting God’s call because it means having to step into the storm. You may want to stay in the boat where it’s safe, secure and comfortable. It’s stormy and if you get out of the boat, it’s likely that you will sink. But if you don’t get out of the boat, you’ll never walk on water. You’ll never experience the thrill of being empowered by Almighty God. You’ll never know what it means to leave behind a mundane, ordinary life and abandon yourself to the high adventure of following a God who performs miracles.

What’s your boat? Your boat is whatever represents safety and security to you apart from God himself. Your boat is what you put your trust in when you face risk and danger. Your boat is what you find comfortable. Your fear will tell you what your boat is. Ask – what is it that most produces fear in me – especially when I think of leaving it behind and stepping out in faith? Your boat is what keeps you from bravely trusting God. Leaving your boat is tough and it might be the most difficult thing you’ll ever have to do.

You may want to avoid danger by staying in the boat, but not leaving the boat also has its dangers. If you live in the boat, you may die of boredom and stagnation.

Whenever you want to walk on water, you’ll encounter fear. Being scared is the price of growth. When you follow Jesus, it’s a path that will continually throw up temptations to be fearful. As John Ortberg writes:

Here is a deep truth about water-walking: the fear will never go away. Why? Because each time I want to grow, it will involve going into new territory, taking on new challenges. And each time I do that, I will experience fear again. Now you can give up trying to make fear go away. The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life.

Both choices – risk and comfort – tend to grow into a habit. Each time you take a risk, you will be more likely to take another risk. The fear doesn’t go away, but you get used to living with fear. Your fear can’t destroy you, so it doesn’t bother you that much. However, if you resist Jesus’ call to get out of the boat time and time again, His voice becomes quieter in you. Then in the end you don’t hear His call at all.

So learn to embrace the fear and get out of the boat to walk on water. You’ll find that the scariest decision you ever have to make is the wisest one that you have chosen as it’ll enable you to do the miraculous and help you reach your divine destiny, bringing you more joy and fulfilment than you ever thought possible.

 

The Power of the Mind

One of the greatest weapons that you have to combat challenges is your mind.

Psychologist Archibald Hart once said, “Research has shown that one’s thought life influences every aspect of one’s being”. Jesus once said that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. There is a link between our thoughts and the outward results of our lives. Proverbs 23:7 says – “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” How we think determines how we act. If you want to change your life, you will have to change your mind.

A lot of the problems that we face in life comes from wrong thinking. Negative thinking can lead you to experience fear and depression, blocking the light of God’s joy and peace, so that you are mired in darkness and unable to receive God’s loving guidance and wisdom. Positive thinking leads to faith and hope, a trust that God will take care of things, no matter how bad it seems.

The mind is like a battlefield, Satan is actively trying to plant thoughts that will make us feel anxious or discouraged, thoughts that tempt us to sin, so we need to be vigilant regarding our thought life.

In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Paul writes:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Our thought life is subjected to spiritual warfare, we have to fight to keep our thoughts holy and pure, obedient to Christ. One of the dangers with negative thinking is that if it becomes a habit, then it becomes a stronghold that Satan uses to keep you in misery.

Romans 12:2 tells us – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Our thoughts should be radically different from how the world thinks. As Christians, we are to change, transform ourselves by filling our minds with new, Christ-like thoughts. Then we will be able to know what God’s perfect will is for our life.

 

Do something spectacular

This week’s blog post reflects on the story of Peter walking on water.

The passage is found in Matthew 14:22-33:

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

*

I want to encourage you to follow Peter’s example, to get out of the boat and walk on water.

I see walking on water as a metaphor for the spectacular dreams that God plants in our hearts. Peter sees Jesus walking on water, performing a miracle and this miracle of Jesus inspires Peter to want to experience a miracle as well. Likewise, when we read about Peter walking on water, it should encourage us to step out in faith and do something spectacularly miraculous.

Too often, we are satisfied with lives that are average and ordinary. We settle into a routine that is mundane, and feel our spirits drained by boredom and stagnation. This is what happens when you don’t have a great dream in your heart, something spectacular that lights a fire in your soul. Peter felt safe in the boat, but when He saw Jesus walking on water, something stirred inside him. He wanted more than just a safe, ordinary life, he wanted to do something as amazing, he wanted to go on an adventure with Jesus, stepping out of the comfortable boat to join Jesus in the stormy water. Peter walking on water can be seen as an encouragement for us to leave our safety and security behind, and to pursue new life goals that are adventurous, amazing, magnificent, astounding – truly spectacular.

So I’d encourage you to reflect on your life. What would be your equivalent of walking on water? Perhaps it’s leaving your boring job and becoming your own boss, creating a business selling products you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s screwing up the courage to share the gospel with your friends, or going on a mission trip with the intention of touching thousands of lives. Maybe it’s a dream of raising a massive amount of money for your favourite charity.

I want to encourage you to dream big. In Ephesians 3:20, Paul tells us that God can do immeasurably more than what we can imagine. Just as the disciples fell down and worshipped Jesus after they saw him walk on water, ask God to fulfil a dream that is so big that when He brings it to pass, you’ll fall on your knees and worship Him.

Favour of God

Do you want to experience success in every area of your life, being blessed in your career, health and relationships?

Do you want to see your dreams fulfilled?

If so, it’s time for you to discover the power of the Favour of God.

When you have the favour of God, good things will start happening to you – both big and small. You might experience great blessings like landing your dream job, or more mundane good things like landing a good parking spot in a crowded lot. Your son will get a place in a top college, or your family will get your favourite table in a packed restaurant. When these things happen to you – that’s the favour of God!

Below are some Bible verses that talk about how we as Christians have been blessed by God’s favour.

In Isaiah 30:18, the prophet writes:

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious(chanan) to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!”

God’s favour is an amazing thing and the good news is that we don’t have to beg Him for His favour. Favour (chanan) is translated as “gracious” in Isaiah 30:18. The verse tells us that God longs to show us His favour. His passion is to be good to us! We can claim the favour of God because God enthusiastically wants to bless us!

In Psalm 35:27, the Psalmist says

“Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.”

We can be assured that God wants to bless us because it gives Him pleasure when we prosper. Nothing delights God’s heart more than to see us happy, successful, healthy and doing well.

In Psalm 30:5, the Psalmist sings:

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favour lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

As Christians, we not only have favour, but His goodness to us will last our entire lives.

In Psalm 84:11, the Psalmist writes:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

God not only gives us favour, He gives us all good things! God gives us good things, not just in the spiritual realm – like love, joy and peace, but also things in the material realm, like wealth and good relationships. He gives us all good things!

In Jeremiah 31:2, the prophet writes:

This is what the Lord says:

“The people who survive the sword
will find favour in the wilderness;
I will come to give rest to Israel.”

We can expect favour in the wilderness. That means even if our circumstances look bleak – for example, if you are looking for a job during a recession – God’s favour will be with you through the tough times and you can expect success even when the situation looks like you’re likely to fail.

In Ezekiel 36:9, God tells us – “ I am concerned for you and will look on you with favour”. We have God’s favour because He loves us.

In Isaiah 60:10, God says –

Though in anger I struck you,
in favour I will show you compassion.

Have you experienced God’s discipline because of your sin? Take heart – God tells you that His favour is with you if you repent and receive His compassion.

The favour of God will help you overcome challenges

When you have the favour of God, good things will happen to you, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t have problems. As it can be seen from the lives of Joseph, Ruth and Esther, they all faced great challenges. What is true though, is that the favour of God will help you overcome great challenges. When we face problems, we have to not get discouraged or give up, but wait for the favour of God to make us winners, just as it did for Joseph, Ruth and Esther.

God promises to deliver us from our trials. As it says in Psalm 34:19 –

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but God delivers them out of them all.

When you have the favour of God, it doesn’t mean that everything will always go your way and your whole life will be a bed of roses. You’ll still face difficulties, sometimes even problems that knock the wind out of your sails. When that happens, you may feel that you have lost God’s favour. Fight that thought! Even though something bad has happened, continue to believe that you have God’s favour and that this favour will help you overcome your problems. When you feel that God’s favour has left you is when you have to make extra effort to believe in God’s favour. Don’t be discouraged. Put a smile on your face and put your faith in God – his favour will deliver you.

 

In Isaiah 54:17, God promises us that “no weapon formed against you shall prosper.” We may face weapons from our enemies but in the end, through God’s favour, we will defeat these weapons. Our enemies’ downfall and our victory is guaranteed!

 

Don’t be afraid of making a mistake

At some time in our life, it is likely that you will face a situation where you will have to make a difficult decision. You will have tough choices to make and may be afraid of making a mistake.

When I talk about making a mistake, I’m not talking about sinning. I’m talking more about situations like wanting to know whether to stay in a job or quit, whether to marry a certain person or whether to fire your boss, become an entrepreneur and start a new business. Situations which aren’t necessarily sinful, where God’s will is not obvious and there are good and bad sides to the various choices that you have.

When faced with such situations, it’s important that we not be afraid of making mistakes and most importantly, not be afraid of taking risks.

A lot of times we miss out on good things because we are scared of taking a risk – it can be safer to stay in a bad situation that you are familiar with, that you know what is involved, rather than reaching out for something better when you don’t know for sure that the alternative will be better.

We might make mistakes but we have to remember that we serve a powerful and loving God. God is powerful, if we do our best to discern his will, even if we make a mistake, He can use it for our good. Our God controls the universe, and He can alter circumstances for your advantage even if you’ve made a mistake. Also, God is a loving God who wants the best for you. God will lead you and guide you to the best place for you, if you continue to have faith in His love and follow His guidance.

Just remember the promise in Romans 8:28, that God works all things for the good of those who love Him. If we make mistakes even as we love God, God can turn the mistakes around for our benefit.

A Christian approach to waiting (Part 4)

This week’s blog post continues my series on the topic of waiting.

In Romans 5:3-6, Paul writes:

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Paul tells us that while we are waiting for God to save us, we suffer. But this suffering produces a lot of good in us, as it endows us with endurance, which builds character and births hope. Christ creates these good qualities in us while we wait. So waiting is not just an inconvenience that we have to endure before we can get what we want. Waiting shapes us into the person that God wants us to be.

Some notes about what waiting on the Lord is not. It is not burying your head in the sand, waiting passively for something that will help you escape your trouble. It is not an excuse not to face up to reality, take responsibility or act in a way that is needed.

Waiting on the Lord is a confident, disciplined, expectant, active and sometimes painful clinging to God.

Waiting on the Lord requires patient trust. You have to trust that God has good reasons for making you wait. You have to remember that God looks at time differently because He views it from an eternal perspective.  As Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:8 – “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

Waiting on the Lord requires confident humility. Waiting is only something that the humble can gracefully do. When you wait, you realise that you are not in control. In modern societies, waiting is linked to status. The higher your status, the less you have to wait. Lower-status people always have to wait longer than higher status ones. An example would be special VIP lines that allow wealthy, trendy beautiful people to skip the queue at a hot night-club. I also read of a story about a busy CEO who was so frustrated at having to sit in a doctor’s waiting room that he actually sent the doctor a bill for his time.

Waiting is humbling because it drives home the point that you are not in charge – and that’s humbling. But when Christians wait, they are not just killing time, they are waiting on God. So you can trust God’s wisdom and timing. You can wait with confidence.

As Lewis Smedes writes:

Waiting is our destiny as creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for.

We wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light.

We wait in fear for a happy ending we cannot write.

We wait for a not yet that feels like a not ever.

Waiting is the hardest work of hope.

 

A Christian Approach to Waiting (Part 3)

Waiting can be painful. A lot of times we are waiting to be delivered from a negative situation. This negative situation is causing us to suffer and God is telling us to rest in Him amidst the pain. When we wait and nothing seems to be changing, that can cause frustration, fear and discouragement as well. Often, it’s not pleasant to wait, we long for things to change for the better and get discouraged when God’s only answer to our desperate cries is – “Wait”.

In those times when waiting is painful, your attitude towards waiting can make a big difference. Instead of getting upset over your negative, unchanging situation, release your negativity and relax in God. Rest in God’s peaceful presence. Fill your mind with Bible promises that God has a plan to prosper you (Jeremiah 29:11) and that God will work all things out for good (Romans 8:28).

Also, use the time of waiting to do good. Waiting doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re just sitting around doing nothing. While you’re waiting, find positive things you can do to fill up your time. For me, the time that I’ve spent waiting for a new full-time job to open up has been spent very wonderfully working on Christian book projects. These past five months have actually felt like a wonderful writing sabbatical, as it has given me the opportunity to study crucial Christian topics that I always wanted to study but never had time to do so. I’ve been studying topics like God’s favour, the prosperity gospel and how to overcome suffering and problems, and these past five months have been a great period of accelerated spiritual growth as I’ve had time to learn about great spiritual truths from the Bible and good Christian writers.

The key to waiting is to trust God to do it His way. It’s realizing that God is sovereign, He is in control of the universe and He is working behind the scenes to provide a way to save and bless you. Through our own logic and human reasoning, we often have preconceived ideas and our own plan of how things should turn out for us to be happy. Waiting forces us to give up our own plans and our own logic of how things should turn out, and makes us submit to God’s ways and God’s plans of doing things. As God says in Isaiah 55:8 –

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

Waiting means giving up our own ways and surrendering ourselves fully to Him, saying to God – “My life is in your hands, do with me as you will”. Waiting means resting, trusting and peacefully watching God unfold events in your life, instead of clinging stubbornly to your own ideas of how you want your life to turn out.

One thing that will help make your waiting more bearable is to count your blessings. Look for the positive things in your life during your period of waiting. For me, during my job search, apart from it giving me time to work on my passion Christian book projects, it’s also allowed me to spend more time with my friends. Since I’m working from home and have a flexible schedule, not having a full-time job has given me the ability to have more opportunities to have lunch with friends and I deeply value the time God has given me to fellowship with my friends. It’s also opened up opportunities for me to spend a lot of time at home with my mother, who I love dearly, so I value the time every day where we can share a tea break together, chatting over rooibos vanilla tea and dessert. God is good and God is light. You’ll find that even in the darkness of waiting, God has blessed you with certain things and by focusing on those blessings, it will increase your gratitude towards God and make you more appreciative of your time of waiting, and this will make the waiting more tolerable. The ideal situation is that by focusing on the blessings in your waiting period, you’ll see how many positive things have come about in your waiting situation that you’re actually happy that you have to wait. This is certainly true of my situation. I’m learning to enjoy the free time I have to study God’s Word and work on my personal writing projects, and spending quality time with friends, that I know that I’ll miss this time of joblessness when there comes a time when I have go back to the full-time job that God will provide for me.

The time of waiting can also be used to glorify God, as your patience is seen by others as a great testimony. As you cope with waiting with a positive attitude, bearing it with patience and not complaining, not despairing, the peace in your heart will shine like a light to inspire others to trust in God as well.

Seasons of waiting can be seen as times of testing. God uses the time to test you, to see whether during the waiting period you will trust Him with a peaceful attitude or succumb to fear, discouragement and impatience. Pass the test of waiting and you will receive a good reward from God. Those who wait will be rewarded with the gift of His salvation.

So it can be seen, that with the right attitude, handled correctly, the suffering of waiting can be transformed into a time of blessing. Be at rest, be patient, trust and depend on God and you’ll find that you’ll be able to rejoice in the night as you wait for the sun to shine again.

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A Christian Approach to Waiting (Part 2)

This week’s blog builds on last week’s post about the benefits and challenges of waiting.

Patience is an attribute of God. When we are patient, we are like Him. Thus waiting is good because it makes us more like God.

When you wait, at times it seems that nothing is happening. When you feel like that, remind yourself that you are always going somewhere in God’s plan. God is constantly moving you according to His purpose for your life. Your job is to be patient and wait for Him to accomplish it His way and His time. Even when your life is standing still, as long as you cling to God you are moving forward on the path of God.

Obedience to God is key. If you continue to obey God and take the steps you know are right, you will end up in God’s perfect place for you. The process might take a long time, so it’s important to not get discouraged. You can encourage yourself through prayer and reminding yourself of the promises in God’s Word.

Prayer is also crucial. Pray that God will wash away all fear, anxiety, doubt, impatience, lack of trust and discouragement. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit, with His love, joy, peace, strength, wisdom and hope.

Waiting also increases your wisdom and improves your knowledge of God. Waiting helps you grow in the understanding of God’s ways, if you will not give in to fear, impatience or discouragement because your timetable does not coincide with God’s.

Develop contentment during your times of waiting. God has shown you that He wants you to tread the path of patience and waiting, so be content with this season of your life and don’t yearn for things to move faster.

Cultivate hope. Though your waiting times might be in darkness, have hope that the sun will come up again and at the end of the waiting period, you will bask in His light. Psalm 30:5 tells us –

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favour lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

You can encourage yourself by coming to the realization that waiting is good for building and increasing faith. In Hebrews 11:6, it says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” When you are in a season of waiting, you need to have the faith that God will reward your waiting with something good. You’ll have to believe that you’ll receive that good thing before it happens. You’ve heard the expression – “I’ll believe it when I see it”. For Christians, we have to believe before we can see it – that’s faith. We walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Waiting is also good because it helps build endurance. God is training us like spiritual athletes, pushing us into longer periods of waiting to build our stamina and increase our endurance. Endurance is something that can only be developed through the long passing of time, thus God at times calls us to a season of waiting.

Waiting helps us develop a trust, reliance and dependence on God. You have to wait for Him to work for you rather than relying on your own efforts and strength. Instead of you making things happen, you surrender the situation to God who does all the work.

Waiting can be tough because you have to give up control, something which many people struggle with. It’s especially difficult when there’s nothing you can do to change the situation. In this case, all you can do is relax, be still, be at rest, release and surrender things to God, trust and depend on Him. Do not get troubled, anxious or disturbed, but hide under His strong and comforting wings.

Waiting requires you to trust God’s timing. Our timing is often different from God’s timing. If we had our way, we would want everything to happen immediately. Especially in the 21st century, we are used to a fast-paced life, we expect everything to happen quickly, even instantly – so when God’s timing slows us down, we can get agitated and frustrated.

Trusting God’s timing is a test of obedience. Will you submit to His timetable or insist on your own timetable? A great deal of growing in your relationship with God is surrender and submission – and waiting is about surrendering your time to God, submitting the “when” to the Lord of Time and trusting that He knows the best time for you to receive your promise.

God promises us many great things – but usually there might be a time lag between when the promise is issued and when the promise is fulfilled. Abraham had to wait twenty years before He saw the promise of his son Isaac being born. Joseph was a teenager when God gave him his dream of greatness and it was also nearly another twenty years – and through hard times of being a slave and a prisoner – before Joseph saw his dreams fulfilled when He became promoted to the prime minister of Egypt. A lot of times God promises us great things – things far beyond what we can hope or imagine – but the price of receiving that dream is waiting – we have to continue to trust and not give up even when everything tells us that the promise we are waiting for won’t happen.

Waiting is a process of not giving up. Waiting is the promise of clinging to God’s promise fervently, zealously, not allowing negative circumstances make you discouraged or lose hope.

Thus waiting requires great strength. Accepted correctly, waiting doesn’t make you passive, it makes you active as you build the muscles of perseverance, patience, endurance, hope, faith – all these things will strengthen your character and make you a mighty believer of God.

When you have to wait and your circumstances start becoming negative, there is the temptation to panic and take things into your own hands. But this only leads to more problems. For example, Abraham had problems waiting for Sarah to conceive Isaac, so he had a child with Sarah’s maid Hagar and the child Ishmael only brought them grief. The tragedy happened all because Abraham lacked the patience to wait for God’s promise to be fulfilled.

So when you’re waiting, be patient and look forward to God’s deliverance instead of taking things into your own hands. You’ll find that your patience will be well rewarded when you wait on God.

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If you enjoyed reading this post, do visit my website again. I update the blog once a week, usually on Wednesdays.