When, Lord, will Your promises be seen?
When God speaks His promises to our hearts, prophesies on our lives, He’s working behind the scenes to achieve the goal. What then, when we’ve not seen results? When will they come to pass?
Though you heard confirmation and have been waiting, the answer you expected has not yet occurred. In fact, things seem far from in God’s control. Did you hear Him wrong? Wasn’t it God’s voice you heard? Doubt has begun its death march into your heart, tainting the hope you’d once joyfully held.
Have faith. Whether you think He’s paying attention or not, God’s will is still being done, on earth as it is in heaven. In many ways, the story of Christmas offers great encouragement that God is working behind the scenes on things not yet seen in our personal lives today.
God Influences Many as He Works Behind the Scenes
It was a decree, an order that all return to their places of birth. The decision was made by one person, one man in authority. Without his realization, he’d been influenced by God. You see, it was necessary. In order for prophecy to be fulfilled, movement had to take place. It was announced and executed. Many people had to be involved to bring such an order into fruition. Shifts in location of multitudes of people were in the works long before the moment of Jesus’ birth.
Before God prophesied to you, He’d already set into motion the elements required to fulfill His intent. He’s working on things behind the scenes, just as He had in Bethlehem. His power is so far reaching, it includes even the decisions, mindset, and movement of others.
In addition to the logistics of Jesus’ birth location, many details were necessary to accomplish God’s will in the Christmas story. He needed particular people to believe, trust, and be obedient to His direction. God sent angels to make visits, clearly revealing to Mary and certain shepherds the unseen Spiritual world that surrounds us.
Have you entertained angels unaware? Have you sensed the wisdom within someone’s suggestion? Are you open to see the Spiritual realm around us?
Don’t Be Limited By the Picture in Your Mind
Mary had been told she would deliver the King. A promise on her life had been given. What picture in her mind was being challenged as she settled onto a bed of straw? What difficulty are you enduring right now that seems so distant from the image of God’s will in your mind? Take heart. What God brings about is often not what we envision in our limited thinking.
Dreams were used to direct Joseph and the wise men, but to keep God’s plan on track and protect Jesus, these people needed to trust His prodding and act on it. Jesus’ appointed time to save His people hadn’t yet come, and God gave instruction that would keep Him safe for the time being.
However, their obedience led to horrific events for many families all across the land. It was God who’d spoken to them, but did they question that at any time?
Things Often Seem Worse Before They Get Better
Often, in our lives, when we release control to God, things seem to get far worse before they get better. Hold onto Him. Trust Him as He works to manipulate the things out of our lives that aren’t necessary and draws that in which He desires. God’s reigning presence brings a shift that may initially appear wrong.
God influenced the authorities of the land so that Mary and Joseph would travel. He influenced the multitudes to fill Bethlehem, arriving before them and filling the rooms, causing Jesus to be born in a manger. Those called to worship the newborn King were inspired by God as well. Not one detail was delayed or missed.
In fact, the heaven’s themselves were manipulated to participate. A star, whose light took years to travel to earth, gave direction, clearly showing that God had been at work in far reaching ways long before the trek to Bethlehem.
Rest assured, long before God spoke to you, He’d set His will in motion. Though it may be behind the scenes, the work He’s doing is powerful and will culminate at the appropriate time.
Wait in Confidence, God Is Working Behind the Scenes!
The Christmas story illustrates wonderfully so many elements God had in the works behind the scenes in order to fulfill prophecy. When we hear a word from Him, a prophecy on our own lives, a simple thought back to the birth of our King can encourage us to trust, embrace His peace in the process, and wait in confidence.
It was the middle of the night. Life had changed for me. I felt like I’d returned home, a child of God who’d been lost in a chaos that’d held me captive for too long. Evil works like that, using circumstances to draw our attention away from the living God. Something had wakened me. My eyes opened and I looked up. Floating above my bed was a large leather-bound book. It hovered there, suspended in a dimension seemingly unreal yet clearly evident to my eye. The front cover opened, revealing stark white pages, void of any writing. One by one the pages quickly turned until the center of the book was reached, at which point it stopped. On the left hand page were the typed words, large, bold, and very clear, FIRST AND FOREMOST.
I didn’t have to wonder the meaning, it was clear to me then and still is now. God is to remain, first and foremost, at my center. Disruptions and distractions of life are not to take my focus from my Father again. All of life’s needs and comforts are found there, in connection with Him. It’s this type of relationship that I want to encourage for you.
What Are Your Basic Beliefs About God?
In order to better understand this powerful bond and how it relates to us, it might be helpful to consider how we, in our deepest beliefs, fit into this union. What you believe is key and may need to be shaken.
Do you believe God is the Creator of the world, universe, stars, and moon? Is He still a Creator today, bringing forth human life, flowers, and sunsets? Is He real, living and present? Does He influence events in your life? Can you have conversations or receive guidance and wisdom from Him? Can you personally benefit from His might and power?
Is He the living God?
Humanity did believe in the living God in Moses’ day, however, as referenced in Deuteronomy 5:24, it was feared that you’d die if He spoke to you. Yet, God, in all His glory, intentionally revealed Himself and spoke to Moses. As stated in Joshua 3:7 the Lord spoke with Joshua too, letting him know He was with Him. Joshua, in turn, declared that all would know that the living God was among them, because God would be the One to drive out their enemies.
Where did this fear of death attached to personal connection with God stem from? Let’s go back to Eden, to the beginning of separation. When Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened to the knowledge of good and evil, they’d been told they’d surely die. They were banished from safety and security, where all their needs had been met. They lost a holy and pure connection to their Father. Life was empty and dark without God. Spiritual death seemed to have occurred.
Power of God Revealed
Hearts changed once the power of God was revealed to them, once they witnessed God at work. It’s apparent, Biblically speaking, that many people throughout history acknowledged that there was a living God who was powerful enough to alter the course of their lives, offer guidance, perform miracles, and create outcomes that could not have been foreseen.
King Hezekiah, as referenced in 2 King 19:16 and Isaiah 37:17, asked God to bow down His ear and open His eyes, to hear the words of His enemy as they spoke against Him, the living God. God responded, sent His angel out, and destroyed the enemy. The power of the living God became evident. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 42:2 of the living God whom his soul thirsted for. Jeremiah referred to the Lord as the true God, the living God, an everlasting King, and the Lord of hosts (Jeremiah 10:10). King Darius, in Daniel 6:26, made a decree that all within his kingdom should tremble before the living God. God, Himself, stated in Hosea 1:10 that His children will be referred to as the sons of the living God.
And Then Came Jesus
Jesus lived as God has asked us to live today. He kept His Father, first and foremost, at His center. We can look at His life as an amazing example of what trusting God, even in the midst of chaos, can do. In this living relationship, God’s will led Jesus’ very footsteps. We can see in Christ’s life and death the value of obedience, a true image of living as One with the Father.
Jesus’ death, as the final sacrificial Lamb, tore the veil that kept us from relationship with God! Distance from Him, born in Eden, lost its power to keep us separated. We can be intimately connected to Him now. We can seek and sense His presence, His guidance, His peace, and His power. Adam and Eve were cast away from the wonderful company of our God by their disobedience. We’re able to return to Eden, a garden of rest, due to Christ’s obedience, His sacrifice on our behalf.
You are now a temple for the living God. God said (2 Corinthians 6:16) He’d dwell in His people and walk in them, that He will be their God and they will be His people. That’s you and me! Though trusting in the living God (1 Timothy 4:10) as the Savior of all men will draw criticism, we can rejoice none-the-less, because we can have what unbelievers can’t, the peace of God, even in the midst of life’s challenges. Observe those that hunger for earthly riches or recognition instead of God’s glory. Note their hearts and what they ultimately exude. See beyond the image they portray to the reality of darkness that surrounds them. Don’t trust in such uncertain riches (1 Timothy 6:17). Trust rather in the living God Who gives richly all things to enjoy, including life eternal.
“All things to enjoy”… How can we experience joy when life is challenging?
In days of Biblical history (Hebrews 3:7-11), our forefathers complained, seeking proof of a living God, even though they’d witnessed His miracles first-hand. They did not know Him personally, therefore they weren’t able to enter into His rest. We’re able to know Him! We’re able to enter into His rest, a place of peace and joy, a life of power and comfort, regardless of human circumstances!
Today, right now, (Hebrews 12:18-24) we are living in a time that we don’t have to be afraid of hearing the voice of God. Rather, we can rejoice at the sound. Today, we’re living in a time that any one of us can seek Him and come to know Him. We can come unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, Mount Zion, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of this new covenant. This can be experienced now!
We, His children, are vessels that hold the living God. When we rest in His presence and allow Him to move through us, others who don’t believe can witness His miracles, traits, and love. They may then feel led to seek what we have. Getting to know Him is the key for any of us. It’s God that draws us to His Son, Christ, Who saved us (John 6:44). It’s the Son that connects us to the Father (John 14:6). He gives us the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17) so that we can live born again. And through this Spirit, we’re intimately filled with God. The circle is complete. We are One with our Father.
So, let me return to the original question, what are your basic beliefs about God? Let me encourage you to ask Him what’s real. Seek Him. Get to know Him. I pray He reveals Himself to you and that you choose to place Him, first and foremost, at your center.
Click here for more on relationship with our Lord and a great message about being Sons and Daughters of the King!
God altered my life as an author. For years, my husband and I traveled New England selling my books, meeting people, and encouraging them in relationship with God. We often discussed expanding these trips countrywide once our youngest was to graduate. I was sure it was a route to success as a writer and excitedly looked forward to it.
That’s all changed.
My husband’s sudden and fast-growing collection of vinyl records frustrated me. I felt I was supposed to be supportive, but it was nothing I cared about. In fact, it made me angry. At God’s continued nudging, I finally offered help. We spent many nights checking, cleaning, and organizing all he was amassing. For what purpose, I wondered in irritation?
Selling them seemed logical. Chris joined me as a vendor at a number of fairs until it became too burdensome. I knew my life was at a crossroad. After seeking God’s direction and arguing with Him about it, I stepped out on faith and suggested we open a store in our house. I offered to stop traveling and stay home to run it. He agreed. Years of marketing had come to an end, and I was struggling.
Chris’s Nostalgia Shop opened for business on January 29, 2018
During this transition, inwardly I was hurt and angry at God, at my husband, and at his hobby. My publisher had already closed unexpectedly in the midst of projects. Now, with the loss of hands-on marketing, my dream to be a successful writer felt crushed. Though I definitely wavered in support of my husband’s new joy, I did trust God.
Chris’s Nostalgia Shop Has Grown!
We’ve expanded the shop since it opened and our inventory has taken over much of our home, prompting big changes to take place. The work involved to run it consumes much of my days, often much of my nights, but I really enjoy this job! It seems perfect for my personality. Keeping and updating lists and organizing product, oddly enough, brings me joy.
It feels wonderful supporting my husband’s dreams. He’s been my biggest supporter over the years and it’s such a blessing to give back and see him enjoy this endeavor. I also have the freedom to write encouraging content for others while I’m working. And most importantly, with all the time I now spend focused on my Lord while I ponder and write, pray and praise, I sense His powerful presence all the time. He’s at my center again, where He belongs. Ultimately, my intimate and personal relationship with Christ is the most important thing in my life and I now get to nurture it freely.
This life change was perfect for me!
You see, God altered my life because He knows what’s best. And while change is difficult, I’ve found peace in choosing to trust Him. Let me encourage you. No matter what changes occur, perceived good or bad, trust Him. God has the best plans!
This reminds me of a little tree, Little Birch, who learned a similar lesson. Check out my children’s book Little Birch Finds Peace!
We are that river
There’s a river that God’s in the midst of. It’s so influential that even the streams coming from it refresh the distant lands they touch. It’s a holy place, that river. It houses the most High. We, the children of God, are that river. He is in the midst of us, living through us, and imparting His strength so that we can rest in Him and not live broken.
When we flow freely, unencumbered by life’s debris, when God pulses through our very being, His light shines from us like streams branching off from a river. Even the seemingly small things we do prompted by God encourage others to believe. They’re touched by Him through us, often without us even being aware.
Let God guide your journey
Entrusting our lives to God and His will allows Him to guide us through riverbanks He’s already carved. Some appear good, some appear bad. Following through on His nudges often leads to witnessing things that could only have come from One who knows all. For these experiences we praise and worship Him. However, sometimes that revelation comes later. Hold tight.
Difficulties place us where God needs us
When we endure difficulties of which others judge and condemn us, rather than lash out, stand confident. God is in control still. He positions us where He needs us to be. There’s no need to defend. Don’t allow these seemingly bad situations to hinder His work. Fight the urge to complain or attack in response. Wait in quiet trust. Keep your eyes on Him, and watch God reveal His purposes. In this way we’re able to offer an example of the pure power of God.
Resist angrily giving back what is being done to you. Restrain from seeking vengeance. God does so in His time and to a degree that serves His purposes, furthering His will. Let Him repay evil for what evil has done. It’s not your job. Let that freedom penetrate and enjoy the weight lifted.
Relax in the flow of God’s will.
Rest, relax in the flow of His will. Sink in, and don’t worry about what you may or may not accomplish. He provides abundantly what’s needed. Resting in Him renews our Spirit as we continue to grow closer and more in love with Him. Allow fully His Spirit to fill and flow through you. Relationship with Him is the most important thing of life.
There’s a river that God’s in the midst of. Be that river, trusting and filled so much that streams of His presence branch off from you, offering refreshment to others.