Have you ever prayed for something really important to you and wonder if God is even listening? Perhaps you feel led to start a ministry for the Lord, but no doors are opening? Many times I find myself asking these same questions. I want God to do something big, but His timing just seems too slow. I cannot give you an answer to these questions, but we can take a look at the Bible to see what it has to say about God’s timing.
I will give a personal example to show you what God taught me today in the book of Galatians. The Lord called me to start my ministry Prayer in Every City about a year ago. This ministry is growing, which I am thankful for, but at a snail’s pace. I was hoping to have more prayer groups praying for revival and spiritual awakening, but it is just not happening. I have had difficulty in getting churches in my area to come together in prayer. Many times I have asked myself, if I can really hear from the Lord. If the Lord calls us to do something, then He will give the increase and our numbers will grow. Right? Well this is not necessarily the case. Let’s take a look at God’s timing with the apostle Paul in the book of Galatians.
In Galatians 1:15-18, Paul gives us some of his time table for his ministry. You might be surprised at what he tells us. When reading the book of Acts, we get the idea that Paul was blinded on the road to Damascus, was saved and immediately began his ministry, but we find that is not the case in the book of Galatians. Let’s read Galatians 1:15-18:
“But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother” Galatians 1:15-19 (NASB).
So we learn that after Paul’s salvation he spent three years in Arabia before going to Jerusalem. Even at this time, Paul reveals in verse 22, “I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. . .” Galatians 1:22 (NASB). So Paul was still not in full time ministry after three years, but was still “hidden” you might say. In chapter 2 verse 1 we learn that there was an interval of 14 years before Paul went again to Jerusalem and even then in according to verse 2, he went in private to those who were of reputation.
Paul’s ministry began slowly. Do not be in a rush when you are working for the Lord. He will prepare the harvest when He feels it is ripe and you are ripe. Here is one last verse to consider from the book of Galatians:
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” Galatians 6:9 (NASB).
Do not grow weary when waiting for God to bless your ministry or answer your prayer. He has a reason for His timing, because He knows best. He knows what we can handle. In due time, we will reap a harvest for our efforts if we do not give up. Remember one of my favorite verses:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8 (NASB).
If we would stop trying to understand the Lord and just be obedient and patient, life would be much easier for us. Remember that God’s timing is sometimes slooooooow!