There was a man whose town was about to be flooded. He decided not to evacuate before the water came, hoping that it wouldn’t rise near his home. But in fact it began to rise quickly. This man believed in God and had such great faith that when he prayed that God would save him he knew for sure that God would.
He went up on his roof and waited. A man in a canoe came by and asked if he wanted a ride. The man said, “No thanks. I’m waiting on God rescue me.” The water rose. A man came by in a motor boat and offered assistance. The man answered, “I appreciate it, but I’ve prayed to God, and He is going to come and get me.” The water rose. The man was forced to the very top of his house. The coast guard flew over his house in a helicopter. They dropped a ladder and said this was the last time they were coming. The man waved them off and said, “Go and rescue others. I’m counting on God to rescue me.”
The water rose and the man was swept away and drowned. When he got to heaven and met with God he asked, “I prayed to you, believed in you, showed great faith, and yet you did not rescue me. Why?” God answered, “You came to me which was great. I sent you warnings to evacuate, I then sent one of my people on a canoe followed by another in a motor boat. Finally I even sent a helicopter. And yet you refused all my help.”
You may have read a parable like this before. I think it’s so often exactly how we live our lives. We take our prayer list before God (which is good) but then we kind of pray and forget about it. We don’t actually pay attention for how God would answer that prayer. I sometimes think God must just shake his head and think, “Justin, for the love – I’m trying to help you out here kid – pay attention.” Haha.
Now obviously we have to use discernment. Just because we pray and something happens doesn’t make it from God. “God, I need a new car,” followed by a Porsche sighting is most likely not God telling you that’s what you need – although that would be sweet. But we go the other way. We pray and then go about our day.
We either think we know exactly how God will answer it (our way – arrogance) or we pray unexpectantly (not believing anything will happen – resignation). Both can be killers as a single person looking to get married.
I’ve heard way to many people say stuff like, “God just hasn’t brought me anyone yet”, “I’ll just do what I do and if God wants to send me someone He will”, “When God is ready for me to be married He will send me someone.” Really?!
Now if you’ve sought God and you feel like He’s told you that then great. I don’t mean to discount those as answers that God wouldn’t give you. But just assuming them is kind of a bad idea. It’s a way to hide from two things. First it’s a way to hide from disappointment with God. He hasn’t delivered me a spouse but it’s all good, He must have a different “plan”. Second it keeps us from dealing with our own stuff. Waiting on God often seems to mean, “I’m not doing anything wrong – it’s just that God hasn’t sent someone yet.” Yeah it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with me. Yikes!
Whatever the case this mostly leads to inaction on our part. In other words, I don’t have to actually do anything – and I certainly don’t have to risk. God will bring me the person in “HIs Time”.
Now I want to be very clear here. I think God absolutely sends us people. But I wonder if often we miss the message because we are either waiting for the perfect scenario that doesn’t exist, or we aren’t doing the obvious things we know to do.
We get caught swinging the pendulum back and forth reacting to our own sin on both ends. We either try to control everything and don’t involve God or we react the other way and “leave it up to Him” without taking any action at all. I don’t think either is very effective. Neither involves acting while interacting with God. Which is what I think He really wants us to do – to actually walk with Him, not just wait on Him or do it without Him. He wants us to engage.
Have you ever used “waiting on God” as a way to hide from hard stuff? How about as a way to avoid actually dealing with Him? Are you paying attention to who God might send to help?