Thursday, March 31, 2011

The "NOW" Factor

There are many factors that affect our faith. But, none as powerful as the “NOW” factor. Whether you realize it or not, the “NOW” factor is affecting your faith in seen and unseen ways. The “NOW” factor is nothing more than claiming faith in Jeremiah 29:11 NLT ("I know the plans I have for you, they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”), yet demanding one stipulation . . . we want the “good” part “NOW”—not in the future. 

The “NOW” factor disrupts, and can ultimately destroy, our faith because our preoccupation with what lies ahead deludes our desire to control what cannot be controlled. We want the security of knowing the future, rather than risking everything to trust God. We want to trust God, but at the same time, we want a light cast down that will show us our future, so that we might ultimately spare ourselves the trials that come with trusting God. To our demise, we betray ourselves by claiming our trust in Jeremiah 29:11, but demand to know so much about the future that we don’t need to trust God anymore. 

We must grasp the reality that the future is not ours to know. If we knew it, we certainly wouldn’t need to trust God. If God revealed our future which might contain painful suffering, we would retreat and cave into fear and despair. If, on the other hand, we learned that our future was filled with nothing but great bliss, we would become complacent and lack the capacity to enjoy each present moment. So, in order to avoid the detrimental effects of the “NOW” factor, we have to realize that trusting God for the unknown is part of growing our faith. It’s vital that God takes us step by step, so that we do not become too overwhelmed about the journey. He wants you to find contentment in His presence and strength through His Promises. When the future seems to be unraveling, you can be certain that God is stretching your faith . . . asking you to take a step of faith into the great unknown, so that you can experience an intimate relationship with Him that you never thought possible. 

In order for us to eliminate the “NOW” factor, we must understand that God is doing “something.” He never slumbers. (Psalm 121:4) As the saying goes, “When you’re down to nothing, God is up to something.” Trust that He is. He is with you always . . . even when you can’t tell that He is. When you’re waiting on God to reveal the next step in your journey of faith, trusting Him with your future, you must do three things:

1)      1) Wait “Well.” We spend a lot of time waiting in life because life requires change and change is a process. One thing is for sure: we are going to have to wait until our change comes. (Job 14:14 NASB “All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes.”) It’s HOW we wait that makes all the difference. “Waiting” is the opportunity, given to us by God, to grow our patience. He knows we need patience for the rest of our journey, so that we “lack nothing.” (James 1:4) It’s through the development of our patience that we feel content and satisfied. If we never had to wait, if God answered our prayers immediately, we’d never grow in our faith. He’s teaching us to trust Him.

2)      2) Accept God’s Timing. God has a watch and it’s nothing like ours. (2 Peter 3:8 NLT With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”) Although it’s extremely frustrating not knowing God’s timing for His plans in our lives, we’re to completely trust that He knows what’s best. When we accept God’s timing, we free ourselves to live in hope and enjoy our lives while God is working out the details. When we entrust ourselves to Him, we can experience total peace and happiness. We’ll never add a single hour to our life by worrying! (Matthew 6:27) By learning to trust God’s timing, we’re learning to do what He wants us to do WHEN He wants us to do it . . . without questioning or trying to figure it all out.
3)       
3)   3)Rely on God. The journey of faith takes us down many paths that just don’t make sense, and we’re just going to have to realize that we’re not always going to understand everything. If we try and reason everything out, we’ll end up even more frustrated.  The fact that we cannot control everything is a tool God uses to humble us into reliance upon Him. He was clear in John 15:5 (AMP) “apart from Me you can do nothing.” We need to realize we can’t do it alone and God never intended for us to. When we come to a place of relying on God, He says that in “due time” He will exalt us. (1 Peter 5:6) “Due Time” is “God’s time” . . . and sometimes we’re not ready for the future, even though we think we are. Know this: God knows what He’s doing . . . the sooner you trust Him completely in every area of your life, the quicker He can get to work on your circumstances.

Through the growing pains of our faith walk, we’ll find a God who has everything under control with great purposes in mind. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.” Whatever it is you want to know about your future, trust that God has a certain time in which He’ll reveal it . . . the perfect time. He will not be a single minute late. Our job is not to demand the future or try to figure it all out, but to let God be God in our lives. We worship a “third day” God. Yet, we get too caught up in “Saturday” . . . the day where uncertainty and pain reign. If we’re trusting in God, then we’re rising up in faith, assured that one way or another, “Sunday” is going to dawn.

“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!
(Habakkuk 2:3 TLB)

10 comments:

Debbie said...

As much as I think I'd like to know all that my future holds, I know it's best to leave that to the Lord. If I knew all that I would have to go through, I might just want to run away; lol. Yes, He is God and I am not. I have to say that I am learning that He is faithful and trustworthy. I see Him at work in my circumstances but they seem to have taken much longer than my flesh would prefer.

Perfect timing for me to read as a good reminder.

Blessings and much love to you,
Debbie

Cherie Hill said...

Sweet sister, God knew I needed this reminder more than anyone . . . though the Spirit is willing ... the flesh is weak. Praying that God will be your strength and fill you with all joy as you wait for Him.
Big hugs, and much love,
Cherie

Karen said...

Oh, my...waiting "well"...that is such a struggle for me sometimes...but when I rely on His strength to make it through...the outcome always amazes me...

Great post, Cherie!

Linda said...

Your post is full of wisdom and encouragement! Thank you! I need to read it again and again. And I love the Habakkuk verse at the end. That's one of my favorite books in the Bible.

Be of good cheer today,
Linda

Cherie Hill said...

Karen, just dropped by for a "Glass of Sweet Tea!" ;)

Linda, your life inspires and amazes me! Coming by to visit you as well!

Debbie, sweet sister . . . praying diligently for your peace and joy to be made complete!
Big hugs and LOTS of love,
Cherie

Connie Arnold said...

Thanks for the great reminder and encouragement, Cherie. Waiting and patiently trusting the Lord is so hard at times, but as you said, God is always doing something, and His time is not our time.

Wanda said...

Oh Cherie, what a timely and beautifully written commentary. It stirs my faith afresh.

Just Be Real said...

Powerful truths you share here Cherie. God's words certainly says it all. Also, thank you so much for your prayer to me. Means a lot. Blessings.

Deborah Ann said...

Hi Cherie,

Question for you. One of your followers, Haelie, joined my blog. Her avatar doesn't show her blog name, so I can't return the favor. I see she's a follower here too. Do you by any chance know the name of her blog?

Thank you!

WendyB said...

These observations are so timely for me right now - and for my daughter, who is at this moment watching God unfold her future - I'm SO thankful He's in charge - SO thankful He's so much smarter than I am!

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I am so blessed that you would take the time to share your thoughts with me! You encourage my faith and I pray that God will fill you to the full with His love, mercy,and grace! With joy, Cherie

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