The Bible is full of stories about the will of God playing out in the lives of individuals, and almost every one of them takes years to come to fruition. The will of God is perfect, and He takes bad things and creates good from them, but His time frame can sometimes leave us frustrated, or confused, or convinced that this bad time is not going to be turned to good, but is just us adrift in our hardship.

Look at Joseph, sold into slavery by his own brothers, taken to Egypt far from his father, alone and frightened, he surely must have wondered what the will of God was that would bring him to this place. Certainly the Lord could have saved him, but the Lord did. Throughout his story we can see the Lord directing from the wings, even through what seemed horrible hardship, the Lord had blessed Joseph and continued to guide his life. When famine came, when all would be lost, it was Joseph, in the right place at the right time, to not only save Egypt, but to save his own family when they came looking, starving and broken, for help. Joseph could see the truth of his plight, God had sent him ahead, given him the gifts that uniquely prepared him for what he would do, and had elevated him within the house of Pharaoh. Read Genesis 45 to see how what had been a dark act by his brothers was turned to blessing by God.

Look at Moses, doomed to die in infancy, but spared to live and be used as the instrument that would free the Israelites from slavery. How could the Lord use such a dark decree, killing all of the Israelite baby boys, to save the people? Because His will really is perfect and He can and will carry out His will through and even within the darkest times.

How long did Abraham wait for his first son to be born? How long did he wait for the promise made to be fulfilled? Once fulfilled, his trials weren’t over, Abraham was faced with a number of challenges, and he faced each one in faith, in trusting the will of God, the promise was fulfilled.

The time line of God is not our time line, often when we face hardships we are ready for God to show us the good that will come from it. Often we want the lesson to be learned immediately, the plan to be revealed instantly, the perfect will of God to come to fruition in the blink of an eye. We have faith, but it can falter, we have faith, but we are fragile. We are human and cannot imagine spending time in our hardships, we look to God and pray that He will fix things and forget that He is always fixing things, in His own way in His own time. The Lord never rests, He never takes a day off, and He is always working for the good, which means that when we are waiting for Him to answer our prayers, He already is. Waiting on the will of God can be a daunting experience, the will of God will not always line up with our own, the will of God may require more than our bending but might require our being broken, so that He can build us back up. The will of God can take a lifetime to work out, it can carry on well past the point of giving up, if we are relying on human strength and not on the strength of God.

The will of God is perfect, but we live in a broken world, and too often we become so much a part of this broken world that the only way to bring us back to God is to break us, to break down the barriers that our culture and society have put in the way, so that all we are left with is our prayers, cried out in the night, tears streaming down our cheeks. This leads to people often complaining about God, as if He should never allow us to suffer, if He loves us, if He truly wants us to be reconciled with Him and calls us His children then why would He allow us to suffer…but He gave us free will, it isn’t His will that causes the bad things in this world, it is because we live in a broken world. He is not punishing us, He is not dragging us through difficulty after difficulty to teach us a lesson, or to test us, He is lifting us up and over each difficult situation to bring us closer to Him. Sometimes we struggle, sometimes we resist, and so we end up clamoring half out of His grip, to do things our own way, and that is when we are stuck in the mire of a broken world. The hardships of this world are often made harder by our pride, by our willfulness, by our stubborn determination to not need help, even help from the One who created this world, who placed all life into motion, who knows the way through. Relying on the Lord will always help, but it will not always end the challenges you have to face. Relying on God is a great first step, but it is one step in many, it is the beginning of the walk, not the end.

The will of God is perfect, He wants us to follow His will, to seek His hand, to commit ourselves to being better than we were, and He continues to work constantly, but He has given us the freedom to choose, the freedom to exert our own will, and so we often struggle through. The world we live in is broken, but the love of God, the will of God, the plans of God are not broken, and He will use every bad thing for good.

Dear Lord, 

Please bless me with patience, please let me know the peace that flows from you, so that I don’t lose sight of Your Will for my life. Please keep me mindful that all things are used by You for good, and that even when I am stuck here in hardship, or in struggle, that You are working, on my behalf, that even when I feel I am standing still, You are not. Thank You Lord, for loving me, for strengthening me, for equipping me for the path ahead, for the task at hand, for the calling You place on my life, please let me never lose sight of You.  In the name of Your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ

Amen