(I did not post a blog last week because I was on a cruise to Alaska…more about that in an upcoming blog!)
Acts 16 tells the story of some of God’s travels. He and his friends felt it was time to go. It was the second of his missionary journeys and I am sure he was eager to see what God was going to do.
Matthew 28:19 instructs us to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. I assume Paul and Silas knew of these instructions, so how do you think they felt when they passed through Phrygia and Galatia the Holy Spirit forbid them to proclaim the Word in Asia? (Acts 16:6), Then they tried to go into Bithynia and again they weren’t permitted to go. If it were me, I probably would have either been frustrated or excited! If these were the “no’s”, what are God’s “yeses” going to be? So passing Mysia, they went down to Troas. There a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man from Macedonia stood pleading with him and saying, Come over to Macedonia and help us! And when he had seen the vision, we, including Luke, at once endeavored to go on to Macedonia. So off they went.
Finally a God yes! When we are waiting for our “yes”, especially after many “no’s”, there can be the temptation to believe there are no yes’. We can feel we are going to be stuck where we are and God has forgotten about us. Waiting on Him becomes a time of testing our resolve, our trust and definitely our patience. I remember when we felt God’s call to leave Oregon and move to Washington.
We had to sell our home. We got it ready, put it on the market and then waited. And waited. And waited. We encouraged our self in the Lord–OK Lord; we only need one buyer, just one! We waited some more. No nibbles, not even very many showings, we kept waiting. The summer was drawing to a close and school was due to begin in Washington for our children. What to do? We decided to go ahead and make the move, even without the sale. We rented a truck and began packing it. The house was not in the pristine shape it had been all those months when a realtor stopped by unannounced, asking if he could show it to his clients. Darryl said, ok (I had run an errand, so was gone). Darryl felt the Holy Spirit say, “These people are going to buy your home”. They left without a word. A few hours later, their realtor called and said they wanted to make an offer. It was a low ball offer–because of our situation (packing and moving) they felt they could get a “real” deal. Darryl felt the Holy Spirit said to turn down the deal. So we said, no. No what? While we were eating our last supper sitting on the floor in the kitchen the phone rang and they accepted our counter-offer. The house was sold! We left for Washington with a much freer heart. All those months we waited and waited for a buyer and at our, “last-minute one came.
During waiting times we can get frustrated with others, distracted from our call, or we can develop patient trust and thankfulness for what He has already done. Rehearse His goodness, remind yourself of His faithfulness and, like Peter, remember, “who else has the words of eternal life?”. If we want to walk in His ways then, by necessity, we will eventually have to go back to trusting Him anyways!
It is not easy having faith during waiting times. Listening to the No’s and wondering where the yes’ are, but He has them in His timings and in His ways. Whether you too are in a time of waiting for a house to sell, a marriage partner, a new job or other direction, you can trust His no’s as well as His yes’, for He is a trustworthy God