Why Waiting on God is Better than Doing it Ourselves

Summer in Colorado
The summer after college I spent 3 weeks doing ministry in Colorado–an event that would reroute the direction of my life! (I’m the one wearing the hat)

Our lives are full of decisions. As a follower of Christ, I’ve learned to make decisions based on where God calls me rather than what satisfies me for the moment. Over the years I’ve learned a lot about God’s plan for my life and it hasn’t turned out much like I thought it would. I have made many wrong turns along the way and yet continued to be amazed at how God uses those mistakes to put me back on the path of pursuing Him daily.

Who hasn’t asked at one time or another, “What is God’s plan for my life? When will God show up?”

When Our Plan Seems Better than God’s Plan

God said to Noah and his descendants, “stay here.” Nimrod, Noah’s great grandson, and his people disobeyed and left. They got tired of waiting on God for his promises and tried to build their own kingdom in the heavens. Basically they were saying, “forget God, let’s make our own name great!”. They thought their unity would bring about God’s will better than He could but all their unity did was divide them. God saw them making a mess of things by doing it themselves, so split them up. It was for their own good.

When I was going into college I thought I really wanted to major in English. I loved reading and writing. Being a B average student who could barely manage a C in math & science courses, but always seemed to get A’s in English courses, the path I should take in my collegiate studies should have been so obvious. I let others convince me that I should pursue Physical Education instead. As I struggled to pass the exercise science classes required in my major and yet easily rose to the top of my English classes, it finally occurred to me that maybe I was on the wrong path. By the time I pursued switching majors, I would have had to add an entire year onto my college career. I was already feeling burnt out by school, so I decided against it.

For a long time I wondered if I had really messed things up. By the time I graduated in 2005, I didn’t even want to be a teacher anymore. Things in the public education system were already looking grim…but don’t get me started on that subject! So, what was I supposed to do with my life?

God is Faithful to His Promises, Even When We Mess Up!

While Nimrod and company thought making a name for themselves was the way into heaven, God had different plans. He came to Abram, another descendant of Noah (hundreds of years after the flood), and made him a huge promise–to make Abram’s name great, to be the father of faith and man of many descendants who would also be great. He would be blessed by God, for from Abram Jesus the Christ descended. Wow! That’s huge! So, it seemed, all Abram had to do was bring his wife, Sarai, to the land God showed him. It seemed simple but it wasn’t.

Sure, Abram and Sarai had to travel a great distance but they also had to exercise extreme faith. Where would descendants come from with a barren wife? Why would God miraculously give them a son only to ask Abram, now called Abraham, to kill him? Oh, and by the way, all these events happened over the course of 100 years (13 chapters of the book of Genesis).

As long as one has faith like Abraham, then God’s perfect plan will transpire.

The thing is, it is through Abraham that God made His own name great. He showed that, as long as one has faith like Abraham, then God’s perfect plan will transpire. Abraham made plenty of mistakes. He took things into his own hands time and time again. I don’t think he did this because he didn’t believe God wouldn’t follow through on His plan, though. I believe Abraham made all the choices he made in order to help God’s plan along when he got restless from waiting on God to fulfill it. So, when he told the Pharaoh of Egypt that Sarai was his sister in order to protect his life, I believe it was so that he could continue on pursuing God’s calling for his life. Likewise, when he followed Sarai’s suggestion to father a child through the servant, Hagar, again, it was because he thought this was how God’s plan would come about.

The cool thing about Abraham’s mistakes is that God always put him back on the right path. Please note, Abraham and Sarai faced many consequences for their mistakes but God redeemed them and allowed them to return to Him and His will for their lives.

When Abraham stopped trying to manipulate events to please God, God came through and showed Abraham that he is a faithful God.

Looking back on my own life, I see that girl with low self-worth and weak faith who wasn’t brave enough to follow her dream of becoming a writer and, instead of kicking myself, I see God’s greatness. Fast forward 13 years later, I’m not a Physical Education teacher. I coordinate communications for a great non-profit that helps people out of poverty and gives them Hope for the future. As part of my job, I write stories about the successes of this great work. I see how God redeemed my choices to try it my own way and put me right where I need to be. It didn’t happen all at once but one event led to another which led me one step closer than I was.

There are so many things, other than my career, in which I see how God led me right where I needed to be. If I took a step in the wrong direction, God knew about it and put things into place so that eventually I would begin walking in the right direction. When I am not confident of my right next step, it is when I wait on God to show me that things turn out the best in my life.

What Do I Do While I’m Waiting for God’s Plan for My Life?

Currently, my husband and I are in that place of waiting on God to see where He wants to lead us next. We have a lot of life decisions to make about careers, family, etc. I find myself getting frustrated with God while we seek answers to these questions and He can seem so silent…or vague about the answer.

Be faithful to honor Him in the small things every day…

I have to remind myself that God is not a magic eight ball. Sometimes the best way to follow Him is to simply be faithful to honor Him in the small things every day. Well, actually my husband is usually the one to remind me of this. It takes a community centered around Christ to help us be obedient in our faithfulness. Where Nimrod and his crew were centered around the selfish goal of having a great name, it was Abraham who focused on a God whose name was already great. Abraham didn’t always know how God’s plan was going to work out but he was faithful to follow it through daily.

All we can do while we are waiting for God’s guidance is be faithful today for what we need to do today. His Son, who solidified God’s great name by His gift of salvation, says as much,

“Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” -Matthew 6

God uses our everyday faithfulness in the small things to lead us to the big things in His perfect time. That story is told time and time again in His Word and I’ve seen it time and time again in my own life.

What is hard about waiting on God for you?

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