October 3, 2016
It’s Taking Too Long
“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land.” >Exodus 13:17a (NLT)
Maggie and her husband, James, prayed their son would become a godly man, work hard for honest wages and someday lead a family of his own.
But Caleb had a different idea about how his life would be, and he wanted to live by his terms.
Though his parents offered grace and godly guidance, Caleb refused to obey their guidelines. As the head of their home, James told his son he could no longer live there. With a broken heart, Maggie supported her husband’s leadership and watched her son pack his bags.
For the next five years, she prayed. For five years, she waited. For five years, she carried his Bible in her purse.
We often interpret our seasons of wait as inconvenient, an interruption on the way to the ultimate outcome. Might I suggest we view our wait as an intermission, rather than an interruption? Maggie’s intermission started the day the locks were changed.
Thankfully, Maggie used her intermission as a time of refreshment and connection with the Lord. She spent time with Him in Bible study and prayer. She invested in her relationship with her husband. Maggie’s commitment to the Lord deepened, and she began to trust Him more than she did before her son left. She determined not to view her wait as an interruption but to serve the Lord by teaching young married women how to love and respect their husbands. As she grew in her relationship with God, her commitment to pray for Caleb never waned.
In our key verse, the Israelites are headed for a pause. "When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land” (Exodus 13:17a).
God knew there was a shorter route. He also knew the Israelites’ propensity to run back to the familiar places of sin and to their lives without devotion to Him. This longer route, this intermission, gave the Israelites the opportunity to learn to trust and obey God. Through the pause, they would learn that a daily dependency on God is the only way to truly live.
Are you stuck in a holding pattern? Ask God to reveal any area of rebellion. The Lord is close by to forgive our sins and provide all we need to enjoy the freedom of His presence and the fullness of His plans.
Lord, I know there are times when I grumble and complain about the path my life is taking. I know You are with me, even in the intermissions of life. Search and examine my heart today. I want to experience You each day as I learn to trust You and find joy in obeying Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
P.S. During her intermission, Maggie fully lived her renewed relationship with God and faithfully prayed for her prodigal son. One day, out of the blue, she received the text that said, “I’ve packed my bags. I’m ready to come home and follow the Lord.” Life after her pause hasn’t been perfect, but watching her son grow in his faith, fall more in love with his heavenly Father (while working in harmony, side-by-side with his earthly father) has made her every minute of her wait worthwhile.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
>Luke 11:28, “He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’” (NIV)
Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (NIV)
When waiting on God takes longer than expected, we might begin to doubt His promises. If you’re looking to gain confidence in God’s plans, even during uncertain times, join us for our next Online Bible Study of Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans — a brand new book by Wendy Pope. Register now!
Stop by Wendy’s blog for a chance to win a copy of her latest release and upcoming OBS study, Wait and See.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are you in an intermission? Pray today’s prayer and patiently wait as God reveals His answer.
Seek out an accountability partner who will speak truth in love to you. Sometimes we have blind spots to sin in our own lives and need others to help refine us.
© 2016 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 03 October 2016.