Do you ever feel like God’s moving at a snail’s pace and it’s too irrelevant in this “blink and you’ll miss it” modern lifestyle we’re living in?
Yea. Me too.
The crazy thing is, though, this thought of ours? This genius idea that we can somehow facilitate God’s plans at a more efficient and productive rate than He? That’s not new in the least.
Nothing new under the sun, am I right? (Ecclestiastes 1:9)
No, this “here God, let me show you when this particular event should happen” mentality dates back to Genesis…the very first book in the bible. Recall the story of Abraham and Sarah, who were promised a son. When they grew older than their human minds could fathom a person should be able to bear a child, they grew impatient with the beauty of God’s majesty. Sarah had her husband sleep with her maid in order to fulfill God’s call on their lives.
This should turn out well…
Except… maybe not.
What Sarah and Abraham really did was demonstrate their lack of faith in that moment, made a way for the birth of a nation that is still at odds with God’s people today, and soiled the blessing of their marital covenant.
Turns out faster isn’t always better.
Unfortunately King Saul had to learn this the hard way, as well. In 1 Samuel 13, we watch as Saul’s anxiety over the mounting tension prior to battle inspires him to act outside of God’s intentions, directly disobeying orders, and doing something himself that was meant for someone else to carry out. Because of his disobedience, his kingdom was promised to another outside of his bloodline. He lost the blessing God had for him because he lost his faith in God’s timing.
Fast forward (or creep forward, whichever God would have you do) to my life in 2016. When we miscarried for the first time in January of that year, it left me feeling frantic. Suddenly, all of my plans were thwarted.
Did you read that? All of my plans were thwarted.
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog- it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.”
We had planned to have our kiddos about 4 years apart. That meant, I needed to be pregnant when Raegan turned four to ensure that. And I was. For like, four days. But because of those plans, because I had decided this is what it should look like for our family, it left me devastated but determined. The answer was to just get pregnant as fast as I could again.
Except, that pregnancy- a chemical pregnancy- only lasted about four days.
Instead of taking the time to really absorb what was happening inside my body, my heart, and my spirit… we forged ahead with our own understanding, which was derived from fear.
Fear that we wouldn’t be able to have another baby.
Fear that Raegan would be too old for what we’d envisioned her relationship with her sibling to look like.
Fear we were missing out.
Fear that we weren’t actually in control.
So without seeking God’s direction, without allowing our hearts to be transformed, without leaning into the pain of disappointment and grief, we got pregnant again. And on top of that, we manipulated the pregnancy with additional hormones. But because it was our timing yet again, we lost that baby, too.
Please hear me when I say, I don’t think God punished us by calling our baby away from us because we weren’t in line with His plans. And I don’t think “manipulating” a pregnancy is an act of disobedience, in general. What I’m saying is, God was trying to slow us down so that we could be changed through this incredible challenge in our lives and we weren’t willing to stop making our own plans.
Much like Abraham, much like Saul, we did what made sense to us without consulting the one who knows everything.
While it’s true that God can and will use the consequences of our disobedience, it’s also true that we don’t know what blessings we missed out on while we were busy chasing our own agenda. This isn’t the Price is Right. I can’t go back and ask to see what was behind door number one when I chose to jump through door number three. I can’t say for certain what we missed.
It’s not as if we can miss our fate by one inch, or one action outside of the will of God. Don’t let that idea produce anxiety in you. In fact, I wrote Steps In Faith about that, about the importance of being faithful over being right. But we can miss that moment’s blessing.
While we were busy trying to get pregnant, we were also busy trying not to choose divorce. Maybe that should have been a good indication that getting pregnant ought not to have been the main goal.
What if God wanted us to spend more time with each other, focusing on one another and our unity, instead of adding more pain and insecurity to our already “overflowing with hurt” plates? What if complete and total marriage restoration was ours for the taking if we had taken the time to take it? Maybe I missed a season in which I could have freed myself from a lifelong curse of suspicion, something I continue to work through to this day. Maybe there was a writing opportunity that would have catapulted my career to a place of my dreams, which may not come around again for years. Maybe I could have spent more time enjoying my four year old daughter, an age she will never be again.
I don’t know what blessings we missed out on. What I do know is that when we put ourselves in the situations we want to be in, instead of where God would have us be, we miss whatever blessings were waiting in that place of our Lord’s plans.
Listen to what Saul says when he realizes the error of his ways and looks for an excuse as to why he acted on impulse instead of in obedience, in 1 Samuel 15:24,
“Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.“
I was afraid, and so.
Sometimes, when God moves, we fear it’s too slowly. We are afraid that we’ll run out of time, that we’re not going to receive, that He needs us to do something about it. But when we act out of fear, we are not acting in faith.
This is not a call to regret your past. This is not to encourage you to dwell in the “what might have beens.” This is simply a reminder that God is good, and He is perfect, and His promises will come to pass in His most excellent timing because He is the only one who knows what He has in store for you. This is a plea to pray, to allow the Holy Spirit to move in you, to pay attention to the quiet whispers of your heart, to sit at the feet of Jesus and work through what you’ve been through before you charge off into battle again.
“We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.”
Don’t give in to the pressure of the hustle and bustle of this world. It is spinning fast, love, and it always has. But God is not of this world, and His plans are beyond this world, and our faith will carry us if only we’ll take the time to let it.
Can you think of a time when you acted out of fear and possibly missed out on the blessing God had for you?