Here is an email I wrote many years ago to some friends of mine as a devotion. It’s amazing to look back on it now and realize that God works in His own ways at his own times (some of those times may not be here, yet, either). You may also notice that the beginning of the email is the title of this blog (I’ll save that story for another time).
Dear Christian Friends,
There are many things that I want in this world. A loving, caring, beautiful family that I can take care of. A fulfilling, uplifting job as a pastor in the Lord’s church. World peace. Things like that. And I want them NOW. As you can tell, I, like many of us, have a problem with being impatient. I swear that God seriously doesn’t have a watch that works. And it’s not that I don’t get what I need when I need it. Matthew 6:25ff is very true. God does provide. It’s just that God has a way of giving me what I need when I have my eyes set on something else I want.
Well, I’ve come to a realization. I’m not ready for what I need when I want it, usually. Oh sure, when I need a home, a friend, or a turkey sandwich on wheat, God’s always got one ready. But the things I think I WANT, that “I can’t live without,” or the things that I need to have soon, I am not ready for.
I want to be a husband and a loving father. Yet, time and again, I fail to realize that I need to spend the time I have preparing to fulfill a job that the Lord wants me to do down the road (1 Peter 1:13). My time is best spent, right now, working on preparing myself to serve Him in love and faithfulness, waiting patiently for the good things that He has in store for me. Romans 8:25, “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
Let me give you an example from my own life. I want, and I mean really want, a female companion to share my life with. But, I realize, that God knows that I am not ready to share my life with someone; I am not ready to commit to a lasting relationship, because He has things that I must do and skills I must learn. I am not ready to tackle the problems and stress of marriage. I mean, I’m not ready to tackle the problems and stress of a Monday morning yet. How can I possibly be ready for marriage? But, I know that God and I will work together to see fit that I have the tool and knowledge to deal with sharing EVERYTHING with another human being. My purpose right now is to live a God-centered life, to make Him and His plan my number one concern, to take care of my problems, struggles, and stumbling blocks, before I can move into new responsibilities. The good things will come, that I am sure of. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
Even later in life, I have a job to do. God wants me to spread His love to the nations (Matthew 28:19-20). He wants me to love Him and my family and friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. I need to make sure that my mind is not cluttered with overzealous plans and desires when my one focus should be on Him. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t think about what you would like in this world, but what I am saying is make sure that what you want doesn’t get in the way of the Lord and your devotion to Him.
Remember, make God and His plan for you your focus right now. Let Him be your guide, and He will help you, love you, and give you all that you need. He has given gifts to you to use in this life, and you need to remember to learn them so that you can use them when He fulfills your wants and needs.
Jeremiah 29:11-13, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.'”
See also Proverbs 19:21, Psalm 37, Romans 8 (one of the greatest chapters in the Bible), Philippians 2:12-18, 2 Timothy 2:14-26