And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21)
The other morning when I woke up, I began composing an email to someone. Yet as I completed the email, I paused before hitting send, which has become my habit in recent months. And as I paused, I listened. For what did I listen? God’s guidance. God’s still small voice (1 Kings 19:12). For God has taught me His voice is not always in the spoken word but often in the silence. God has taught me there is power in the pause.
Sometimes after the pause, I hit send because I hear peace within. Other times in the pause I hear “not yet.” And as I have learned over the past few months, obeying “not yet” is worth every moment of the waiting, for God is not like man. God knows what was, what is, and what will be. I only see in a mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Now to tell my 4 year old “not yet” when he wants something is synonymous with torture in his mind. As a young child, he cannot fully comprehend the importance or point of waiting. “Not yet” means “never” in his mind. In his mind, why should he wait when he really wants it now?! In fact, my son often says after being told to wait, “Waiting takes too long!”
Of course, I must admit, it was not long ago I looked at waiting in the same way as my child. Why wait if I want it and can have it now?! If I have something to say to someone, then shouldn’t I just say it? If I have spent time thinking about something important to me, then shouldn’t I then share it? If the idea that came to mind seems good, then why not run with it? I mean, after all, if it came to mind, then the timing must be perfect, right?
No. Sometimes the message could be right, but the timing could be wrong, or the timing could be right but the message wrong. Sometimes, even though our flesh may not like it, the perfect time is “not now.” Not a “no,” but a “not yet.”
Now these two words–“not yet”–have actually become precious to me. Every time I hear them in my spirit, I am reminded God’s timing is perfect and obedience is sweet. God has taught me waiting is not bad; it is actually a wonderful thing. For as I wait, I do not have to worry about what I am waiting for; I can worship the One I am waiting on. After all, God’s presence is in the pause. I fully believe waiting is in essence an act of faith, for waiting requires us to take the focus off the what and place it on the Who.
Just today in the homework on faith in the Armor of God study, Priscilla directed us to a few passages in Scripture that reveal the essence of faith. In Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus reminds His disciples to be anxious for nothing because God is more than able to supply their needs. When He says they have “little faith,” He is referring to their focus; they had lost sight of Him. Focusing on the needs led them to take their eyes off the one who supplies all their needs according to His riches and glory (Philippians 4:19). It is why He urges them to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” for it is then “all these things shall be added” (Matthew 6:33). In seeking Him first, waiting and listening for His direction and guidance becomes a joyful form of worship. Even if what we hear is not what we expect, we can trust His ways are far greater than our own (Isaiah 55:9). Waiting is not about us; it is about God.
Therefore, when some desire or passion or thought overwhelms your soul, I exhort you to pause before you act. And when you pause, pray. And as you pray, listen–listen for that still small voice. And what if you hear that still small voice saying “not yet”? Well, I urge you to heed the voice within telling you to wait. Wait on the Lord, and He will renew your strength (Isaiah 40:31). He will direct the steps you should take (Proverbs 3:5-6). He will bring it to pass according to His will and His timing, even if His timing is not the same as yours. Waiting is not giving up on what we want; rather, it is giving in to the sovereignty of God. Waiting is allowing God to do His work in His way for His glory.
So worship in the waiting. Not yet is not necessarily a no; it may just be a not now. Even more, it may also very probably be a not in the way you expect. Not yet is God’s way of saying, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted” (Psalm 46:10). Not yet is not about man not getting what he wants when he wants it. Not yet is about God getting what He deserves in the way He deserves it.
So what happened with the email I wrote? I actually never sent it, but I did send something. While I was waiting for the go ahead, God gave me a different message–one more anointed and more God honoring than the original. Yet it came hours after the first one. If I had sent the original, it would not have been bad, but it would not have been God’s best. And God’s best is well worth the sometimes painful “not yet.”
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)