For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay.
This morning, I began to read in my Bible, especially in Psalms, all the verses that I had highlighted since the Lord restored my marriage in 1991. Next to these Scripture verses, I wrote a “PF” meaning Promise Fulfilled! Though I spent over an hour reading these and marking these verses, I did not come across even one that the Lord had not fulfilled!!
Reading and marking them PF gave me time to reflect and to go back to all those days when it seemed that God would never show up! Years of crying out to Him, years when I thought today (when I would recognize that each and every one of those promises He has fulfilled) would never arrive. Precious one, if I am not mistaken, that is where most of you who are reading this book are right now. You have believed for better days, better times, and have truly put your trust in the Lord, but you are still waiting, waiting, waiting . . .
Will you ever reach the place of peace, prosperity, and (could you ever even imagine?) joy in your life? YES! I was where you are right now for years, and years, and years! If I really take time to look back over my life, I probably have been in this place for close to…well, my math is not that good this early in the morning! My entire life has been hard. My best friend, whom I have known since the eighth grade, says that she knows no one who has lived anything close to what I have lived through. But because I have traveled, and I personally know so many of you who are in my fellowship, I also know there are many of you who have gone through much worse. But I guess I have been through enough to tell you that, YES, indeed it is worth the wait—and your wait has a wonderfully planned purpose!
As I look back, it was the waiting that made me into whom I am today. The wait enabled me to know the Lord the way that I do now. I would never have known Him as intimately, and I would never have been able to appreciate Him, or my life, like I do now, surely not in the way that I needed to know Him. I would not have been able to minister to ladies, not as I am able to do now. I thought that through my prior marriage restoration is how I would be able to minister most effectively. So that when I lost my restored marriage, I thought my ministering to women was over. Yet like all brokenness, it’s been through my recent divorce that I have been able to minister to countless more women! And some of the “why” I’ve had for so long has finally been answered. Back then I believed that my ministry was based on my restored marriage, and as a result, that is what the women I ministered to also wanted, what I had—a restored marriage. Yet now, today, women see my joy and my abundant life, and now they want what I now have—my Beloved in full measure! Oh, can we ever doubt His ways or feel faint (or heaven forbid) give up without waiting for all of His precious promises to be fulfilled?!
The good news for all of you ladies and every woman in this world is that you do not have to wait for the joy, peace or prosperity (or even love) that you yearn for from a man or from things or positions. Though it took me years to get to this place in my life, those years were only so that God could use me to help build you a super-highway or bullet-train to your desired haven through my years of pioneering the rough road so many women travel and fall prey to. This freeway’s name is Jesus, our Beloved Husband, and He will carry you to your promises in His arms of love! You may have to wait for all your promises to be fulfilled, but the waiting room that He has designed for you is suited for a woman just like you. Interested? Then follow me as we learn why God purposely designed waiting to bring us the promises that He has every intention of giving us once He knows that we are truly ready to handle them.
Why We Wait
Waiting for something is one of the hardest aspects of the Christian walk; we simply do not know how to do it properly. Rather than benefiting from it, and enjoying it, we suffer through it; often failing to make it to the end and thus we forfeit the promise we are trusting God for.
Yet the Bible is clear that when God shows us something, when we cry out to Him, it is yet for an appointed time, it is (usually) not for now. Habakkuk 2:2-3, “Then the LORD answered me and said, ‘Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, WAIT for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.’” And this is why He also tells us to write it down, so we can read it often, knowing He is faithful.
Understanding why we wait may be even more important than believing for the promise itself. Simply put, when God shows us something for the future, it is because we are not ready to deal with it, or to enjoy it fully, without this intended period of waiting.
Consider the life of Joseph. He was just a boy when he saw the vision that he would rule and that his own family would one day bow down to him. However, he needed many years to mature, during which time he would have to suffer and grow spiritually before he would be ready for the responsibility or the position that he was destined for. There was nothing that he could do to hurry it up, or make God think he was ready, for his promise to be made manifested and seen.
Then there is Moses. He was a young man when he ran away to the desert, and many years of seclusion from public life passed before he was ready to lead the millions to the Promised Land.
Consider, Esther, she was nowhere near ready to be queen until she first grew in understanding her people, the Jews, under the tutelage of her cousin, Mordecai. She also needed a full year of beauty preparation for her to summon her husband, the king, who would normally have executed her for such an act. God knew that she was not ready to face the enormous task of saving her Jewish people, let alone reveal her true identity as a Jew herself.
Yet the wait is not only for our good, it is also because often the timing is not right. God orchestrates each person and event to come together at an exact moment in time for His glory. We tend to forget this part, due to our naturally self-centered and self-absorbed self. All we know is that we are tired of waiting, all the while forgetting that the Lord is soon to be glorified and it’s for this reason God is bringing this miracle in our lives anyway.
In my own situation, it took many years for me to be emotionally and spiritually ready, as well as being in the right place for God to bring all of His promises to me and into the light for others to see. Though I once wished that it would have been sooner, I can see now that nothing was ready even a day sooner than it happened. But let’s talk about the time in between the waiting times that are often the times when we are suffering, which leads to our wondering if God really cares.
Is that not what this is all about?
When we suffer and our situation does not change, it’s then that we begin to doubt God’s love for us. We wonder if He cares about us as much as someone else who we look at who did not have to wait as long as we have been waiting. We begin to wonder if what we have asked God for, and believed God for, is even in His will anyway. And with this kind of negative and faith-destroying thought, we very often simply walk away and leave His promise behind, moving on, instead to something that we can attain right now. Then when our original promise shows up, we are often nowhere to be found or we could even care less that God has once again been faithful to us. So sad.
That’s where most Christians live—it’s now or never, and why these same people do their best to get you to live that way too. They only want to believe with you and pray for you for a reasonable amount of time, and then if the promise hasn’t happened, they do their best to encourage you to doubt that God ever gave you the promise in the first place. Continuing to pray for something that does not show up soon enough is not worth their effort—they have better things to do with their time and prayers.
Let’s face it, we live in a “now” lifestyle that goes against God’s ways. And even worse than the now lifestyle, is the premature lifestyle that has sprung up. We see it everywhere. Women who are tired of being pregnant are induced; or even if they do wait to begin labor naturally, they will get their labor sped up with drugs or have their water broken. Yes, it is so easy to give in to these temptations when you are suffering, with that doctor or nurse standing right there to offer you immediate relief.
We do not wait for what we want, even for material things. Today, we do not have to save for anything. We can buy everything we want now, and pay for it later. Yet this isn’t new, it has been going on for ages. Look at Sarah who got her promise for a son through Hagar, but paid for it later. And we are all still paying for Sarah’s impatience as we watch the continual wars, violence, hate, and bloodshed in the Middle East between both of Abraham’s sons, Ishmael (Islam) and Isaac (Israel). If only Sarah had waited for her promise.
We often forget how our getting ahead of God inevitably affects others, and that is because we are selfish by nature. It is not until we care more about God’s will than we do our own will that we really are able to endure to the end. If we could really see what that promise, or those promises together (each and everyone spoken to us)—what it will really be like when the right time comes—we could easily endure to the end, and maybe even learn to enjoy the wait.
And what about these thoughts, the vain imaginations? Are vain imaginations detrimental to our walk of faith or are they a way for us to make it to our desired destination? I personally think that they can be both. If we live in the imaginary world too much, we can lose ourselves in it, and often lose our way. But I also personally believe that some imagining can be good, as we are “imagining or believing” what is unseen and doing our best to see our mountain moved. But to live there is to lose sight of God and what He has for us here, during the wait, in the midst of some of the suffering that helps refine us and prepare us.
Looking back, I can see how God created great endurance in me during my long wait and years of different kinds of suffering—all to get me ready for today just like Joseph and Moses. It’s only now that I am able to be calm while living an extremely fast-paced life, filled with daily trials that I could not possibly have kept up with or understood in my thirties or even forties. I have no idea how He did it, but that is the point—it is something that HE did, nothing that I could have done, and it all happened during the wait. God is molding you and me moment-by-moment, day-by-day, through each event and circumstance in our lives. Nothing is worthless or unnecessary. It all makes up the training ground and refining fires that prepare us for what He is calling us to do. I believe that most women who are called to serve and be used by Him are too busy to see what God is doing and they often miss the call or are not prepared for it once they are called.
They are also so caught up with the magnitude of the call that they are too afraid to step forward. I venture to say, dear one, that you are one of those ladies. God has given you a vision for your future that is so tremendously incredible that you literally shudder, thinking that it may be true. So you stop thinking about it being enormous, and in turn, instead, you are not embracing what will prepare you, you instead are praying and pleading today’s difficulties will change. Is that where you are? I detect that a few tears will fall on these pages as He shines the light into the hidden places of your heart. I know because I was where most of you are right now. And honestly, in some ways, I am again where you are, since God has shown me even greater things that He has planned for me to do that are the new promises that are yet to be—huge, incredible, but yes, scary visions.
Nevertheless, this time I have committed to simply going through everything and this time enjoying the wait. This way I can allow the stretching of my faith, and to make the best use of my time right now during the wait. Each day I stop to look around at each and everything that God has blessed me with and thank Him for each (as I said earlier in this chapter). And today, this very moment, I am going to take time to look around at the beauty of this world that He has created for His betrothed, you and me. I am going to take the time to love and to cherish those whom God has placed around me, just like He loves and cherishes you and me.
Throughout every day, I am going to take lots of time to tell my precious Beloved how much He is all I want and all that I need. Then when I see the vision for the future or read a promise in my Bible, I will anticipate its coming, and not waste my time wondering if I heard God correctly—no matter how big the promise or vision seems to me now. I will simply believe it because I know God and I know how He works. I know from looking at the millions of things He’s already done in my life to know He is faithful. And if you do not think that you have enough faithfulness in your own life, just look at mine (or some of the other women in our fellowship). (And if you are not in our fellowship, you should be, because the women in our fellowship are the ones who keep me going strong!)
Before closing this chapter, let me speak to some of you who are really in the midst of true suffering because I have been there too. First, this suffering really does have a purpose; I do know this from living through it. A broken and contrite heart is not easily obtained by anyone, and it is most certainly painful, but we only need to look at the life of Jesus to understand that He understands and that He is truly “acquainted with our grief.” It is sometimes hard for us to understand how God, His Father, could have allowed the kind of suffering of a cross for His only Son. Watching His pleading in the Garden of Gethsemane, but still not stopping it when He heard His Son cry out and writhe and wrestle with what He knew was about to happen, can help us understand because we now can see the outcome of letting His Son accomplish its purpose.
How can a Father watch from heaven while His precious Jesus struggled to carry the cross through the streets that, He knew, would hold His dead body only hours later? (But God did send someone to carry His cross and He has also sent Someone to carry yours too, just ask.) Do you ever wonder how God the Father could watch His only Son on that cross for all those hours during which He suffered and died, and yet why He did not stop the agony and suffering? Did God not see the faces of those who were beaming, those who had been waiting for that day when Jesus of Nazareth would finally die? Did He not hear the insults and mocking being hurled at His Son from the crowd and those who seemed uninterested in this Man’s pain, the perfect and sinless man, whom they had just cast lots for His clothing? How could God let this happen? Why did He not stop it, not allowing one more minute to pass? Would the enemy really win, really be able to destroy the good that Jesus did while on the earth?
We all know that the truth is there was a purpose, the Purpose that was designed to save you and me. God the Father saw past all the pain, insults, suffering and mocking to peer into our faces, the face of you and me (and your friend, neighbor, brother, sister, mother, father, son and daughter) who needed that precious blood that was falling first from his sweat, then from his crown, later from His scourging, and finally from the nails in His hands and feet—even from His spear-split side. Each and every drop was needed to save you and me. Not one drop was wasted, nor any suffering lost that Jesus and God who was watching, endured for you and me.
Each time you suffer dear one, just as I have, take a moment to remember Jesus and what He did for you and me. How He is helping us now, so that each bit of suffering will also be for a special purpose. Remembering is what has given me the compassion to comfort you right now. You trust me because I have been where you are now, and I really do understand. God does love you and He does care for you. If He was able to let each painful part in history play out for His Son, does He not also have a wonderful plan for you and for others who will benefit due to your willingness to suffer? As I have reached out and comforted you, so you will have women in your world whom I will never meet who also need comfort. No one but you will understand or be able to give them the comfort and hope that they need.
Dear reader, God has a purpose for your wait. Each and every tear you shed is being collected in His bottle. So, now, close this book and go to your prayer closet right away, and let Him comfort you and allow Him to engulf you with His love. He can and will bring peace to your storm, joy to your broken heart, and strength to your weary body and soul. Our Husband, precious one, is just waiting in that quiet place where He wants to wipe away all your tears and all your shame. Go there now and come out ready to comfort others with the comfort that we ourselves have been comforted with by a Living God—our Heavenly Husband.