40 days after being evicted from the cabin and living in the woods of rural P.E.I. we were told by the police we had to leave the area. Cold, tired, miserable, homeless, alone with no money, we were expected to find a way for ourselves out of the pit where God had placed us. In the past I would have thought long and hard on how to escape and then proceed, bull-headed, on that path. That night, however, God spoke. He repeated the same phrase hundreds, if not thousands, of times into my weary brain. His words? “Do not plan, Homer, do not plan.”
The wrong path?
Those words struck me hard. Our family was in the worst situation we had ever been in, shaken to our very core, and God did not want me to plan but trust and follow Him. What started out with a beautiful promise from God seemed to have ended in failure and defeat. We could not understand what God was doing.
The promises we hold so dear God gave to us many years before. In 1998, God promised us a house. In 2008 He promised us land. Now, as a wandering homeless family, we were farther from His promises than we had ever been. Where had we gone wrong? How could the path of faith lead in the opposite direction of the destination? With the world so upside down, perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation?
God's package deal
What we do not realize about the promises of God is they are a package deal. God always ties His promise to the two inescapable physical elements of how and when. When God promises something it will come to pass at a time and method of His choosing; not before and not after. The Father’s promises stand apart, but the how and when He brings them about remain a mystery until the promise comes to pass.
Yet not every personal promise the Father gives to us will come into being. The reason for this is many of God’s promises are conditional. When we receive a promise from God, He requires we also accept the time and method of fulfillment are not up to us. These conditions keep us from seeing the wonderful promises of God come to pass in their lives, for they conflict with the ‘self’ nature we all have. The threat of losing control leads us to run ahead of God trying to make the things happen. By following this path, we can prevent the promise from ever appearing.
The timing of God
We are terribly impatient creatures when ruled by ‘self’. Trained from our earliest years to do things our own way, when we want to, our ability to push our own agenda to make God’s promises come to fruition knows no bounds. However, God alone is Lord over time and will often block us until we see and submit to His perfect timing. Only when our world comes screeching to a halt, will we realize our control over time is just an illusion.
Just as God brought us to our knees in the woods of P.E.I. He has brought the world to a standstill according to His purposes and timing.
The training to accept God’s timing involves a significant amount of waiting, which undermines and destroys ‘self’. When the Father gives us promises we must accept that He will often lead us into ‘still waters’ where we will spend many days waiting for His promise to arrive. These days are not without action though, for all the while we will have to fight the headwinds of ‘self’ just to keep standing in faith.
Waiting can be the most exhausting part of the journey of uncompromising faith as we progress toward promised fulfillment.
Just a few days after Passover this year, God will have sequestered us in this tiny motel room for over 1,000 days. At the same time God has confined many others in this season, content to let us wait until fulfillment. How are you handling your confinement? Are you sick with worry, dread and fear, worshiping faithfully at the idol of ‘self’ or are you able to rest in the Father’s arms knowing that He will bring to pass the promise at the right time? How we handle this waiting will reveal our maturity level and whether we will see His promises come to pass or not.
The path of God
Although accepting the timing of God is a monumental challenge, accepting His method of fulfillment is on a whole different level altogether. What we often miss with God’s promises is His desire and intent to build in us the character that will be compatible with His promises. Our Father cares more for our relationship with Him than anything we do for Him. For this reason, God’s path to the fulfillment of His promise often involves a hard journey where He changes us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. Without following His path, the promise cannot be fulfilled, for we could never bear up under it.
If we persevere in following Jesus with uncompromising faith, the path He leads us on will conflict with our ‘self’ nature. Though the headwinds of ‘self’ will buffet if we wish to see the promise come to pass we must accept His path. Submitting to His lead becomes a daily battle inside as we continually have to choose to follow God over ‘self’; accepting the unknown and untried over the familiar. The path He chooses may involve suffering, loss and difficulty but the promise always stands as a greater reward at the end.
To hold on to the promise of a house and land while being led into homelessness is nothing short of insane to the natural mind. We were often told this by others, and sometimes by ourselves. Nothing about our journey makes sense to those who live according to the mandates of ‘self’ yet this is the path of promise Jesus led us on. The path He chose for us made us face fear, lust, greed in our ‘self’ nature and choose the hope of promise His way rather than our own way.
Think back to the time of Joseph. Do you really believe that putting Joseph into slavery and then prison would lead to him becoming second in command over all of Egypt? No person could realistically expect that Joseph’s journey would lead to such a destination, and yet it did. God gave Joseph a promise, and Joseph accepted the timing and path God chose. Was it easy? No. Did Joseph have good and bad days as he waited and suffered? Yes, we know this from God’s word. Yet Joseph saw the fulfillment of the promise despite the path of loss and suffering he had to walk.
The God who gives the promise will always make sure He fulfills it in His time and in His way.
Do Not Plan!
Reeling under the principality of fear that has gripped the globe for a finite period, we have, as people of uncompromising faith, a glorious opportunity to accept a change in the path to God’s promises. Jesus has upended our plans and shown once again He is sovereign over time. God is allowing our god of ‘self’ to be cast down. We can now surrender our plans, our timing, our path and learn to wait on God for His promises or we can be broken by the pall of fear that surrounds us.
For every promise God gives, a specific path and timing is required for fulfillment. You know the promises He has given you. To see those promises come to pass we must surrender our own plans about how and when He will bring to pass what He has promised. Though the path is painful and the waiting hard, will you stand in uncompromising faith to see the promise fulfilled? Will you follow His directive, “do not plan” and follow His path and His timing or will you go your own way?
Homer and Wanda
P.S. At this pivotal Passover season our family extends our blessing and love to you. Great and amazing miracles are about to take place. Though we suffered much through March, we believe an imminent fulfillment is at hand for His Bride.
We thank Katie Barker for following God’s lead and posting the wonderful word that is the inspiration for today’s post.