Dear Anxious Christian,
I knew I might find you here. When I become anxious, I try and look for answers, too. In a world where almost everything becomes instantaneously available, God seems a little "behind-the-times" in His deliverance.
Somehow, we've found a way to deliver packages within hours via drone from coast to coast, but we might wait a lifetime for a simple "yes" or "no" from God. The speed of our technology constantly changes; however, God's willingness to budge on His timing has not. In fact, it never has.
Never once in the history of humanity has God heard our reasoning and found Himself in the wrong. Even the areas we cannot find a clear explanation behind, God does. In fact, He always has. Ever since the beginning of time, He's worked during seasons of waiting through numerous men and women, young and old.
If you're waiting on the Lord, you're in good company. Moses waited 40 years in the desert for his destiny to be fulfilled. Jesus waited 30 years on earth before He began His ministry. Abraham waited 25 years for a son after God promised him one. David waited 15 years to become king after he was anointed at a young age. Jacob waited 14 years to marry the woman of his dreams. Joseph waited 13 years to be set free from slavery and placed in authority over Egypt.
As a Christian, I struggle with waiting on the Lord. It's easy to think we know what's best, and to try and justify our reasoning, even before God. But we're shown in the book of Psalms how God strengthens the hearts of those who wait on Him.
Psalm 27:14, "Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!"
King David, who became an expert on waiting, encouraged people to wait on the Lord's timing. Explicitly, he implored Christians to take courage and to find their strength in God, while we wait on Him.
What are you currently struggling with that God couldn't use for your good? Loneliness? God can satisfy your soul better than any friend or spouse can. Cancer? God can multiply your testimony faster than cancer can multiply malignant cells. Death? God can resurrect hearts eternally, in such ways death cannot lay a finger on.
There's nothing the Lord cannot use for your good. Even in the moments we fail to desire God, when we fail to trust in His timing or His plan, He's going to battle on our behalf.
Moses and the Israelites learned of God's power during their years spent waiting. After being delivered from Egypt, they questioned God for bringing them out of slavery and complained of having no meat to eat. Seriously. So, God asked Moses to gather seventy elders before He would provide meat for everyone. Here's Moses' response:
Numbers 11:21-23, "But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?” And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”
I love God's response to Moses' anxiety. Even when God gives us a clear promise, we remain prone to doubt His faithfulness. To this God responded, "(paraphrased) Is there anything I can't do?" And God, being faithful to His Word, provided exactly as He said He would:
Numbers 11:31-33, "Then a wind from the Lord sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground. And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp."
If you don't know what a "cubit" or a "homer" is (don't worry, I didn't either), God basically hailed down about 5,000 pounds of quail stacked three feet above the ground perfectly placed around the Israelites' campsite.
When I think of Moses and the Israelites decision to question God's willingness to free them from slavery and to complain about God's timing, I think of us. It reminds me of the anxious Christians, who forget their sealed identity in Christ and choose to doubt His plan and His timing instead. It's as if we think we can play "bigger and better" with God, when He has already set us free from the enslaving nature of sin and the unsatisfying hunger of perfection.
Remember how we talked about God's timing at the beginning of this letter? God doesn't budge on His timing simply because it's perfect. There's nobody more cognizant of perfect timing than the Creator of time itself.
Let me be frank with you for a second, dear anxious Christian. I've written this letter to a specific friend. Sometimes, they've struggled to trust in God's timing. They've doubted His perfect Will. They've even fought to believe God cares about the outcomes of certain events in their life. But God, oh, but God...His Spirit righted their heart. When they've wandered, He's walked with them. When they've doubted, He's loved them endlessly. When they've fought to believe, He's reassured them of His presence and goodness.
And here's what the Lord reassured them of: as much as God is in the business of grace and forgiveness, He's surely in the business of timely mercies. When our anxiety grows wild, we can turn to Jesus, our Advocate. The atoning work of Christ means Jesus remains ready to free and forgive you of your anxiety right now. And because His finished work on the cross lasts for eternity, Jesus isn't your one-time Advocate. He's your all-time Advocate.
We can't do much with stress, but God can. We can't do much with anxiety, but God can. There's nothing the outstretched arm of the Lord can't reach and make beautiful things out of. Place your stress and anxiety at the feet of Jesus, and choose to trust in His daily mercies as much as to trust in His Father's perfect timing and provision.
Dear Anxious Christian, this letter wasn't just written for you. The friend I wrote it for, well, that friend was me.