[Chapter 20 of “How God Guides.” God has his own sense of timing. So, if you’re in a hurry and try to rush things, you might not get the result you were hoping for.]
I had been praying for two years or so about moving to San Francisco to find simple ways of serving God and people. My friend Dennis knew what I was praying about, and he asked me if I had a “green light” to make the move yet. He knew I had been at our friends’ cabin in the Sierras for a month and a half seeking the Lord for direction about what to do next, and he wondered if I felt the “OK” to go. This cabin in the little town of Twain Harte (named after Mark Twain and Brett Harte) is one of my favorite places in all the world to go and hang out with the Lord. I already had a strong sense that he was asking me to embark on an adventure in “The City,” but I wasn’t absolutely sure, especially since he hadn’t yet opened a door for housing. I had already waited quite a while, but now I was trying to spend a concerted and extended amount of time seeking him in hopes that he would “say” something to me about it.
I paused a second and then replied to Dennis, “I’m pretty sure I do have a ‘green light,’ but it’s like there’s a hand over the bottom light. I can’t actually see that the green light is illuminated, but I can see that the red and yellow lights are not shining. So, unless it’s broken, I assume that God is saying, “Yes – go! But don’t go right now! You’ll have to wait a little longer.”
It was almost exactly a year after that conversation that I finally made the move. So, from the time that I first sensed a subtle nudge to go live in San Francisco, to the actual move, was well over 2 years! When I was still in waiting mode I wrote in my journal:
“I’m willing to wait longer, Lord, but I’d really rather not if you don’t mind. But please know that I don’t want to rush anything and miss something I need to know or to do… You know best…
Yeah, I came back from TH on June 1st with a sense of your hand on the green light, but since the yellow or red weren’t illuminated, I guessed that you were saying yes… That was 8 months ago… I know that time is not a big deal to you, but you seem to work within it and sometimes require a certain expenditure of it for some things to happen. You don’t seem nearly as nervous as I am about things going a certain way or on a certain schedule.”
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him… I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 37:7
When I say you’ll have to “wait” I’m not suggesting that you do nothing while you wait. You may be waiting for direction on a particular thing because you don’t know yet what God wants, but you do know what he wants you to do in the more general sense (remember what we called, the “Big Verses”). You know that he wants you to love him, love others, serve the poor, worship, stay away from unhealthy stuff, etc. So keep doing all the stuff you know to do while you’re waiting!
We didn’t know where we were going,
but we knew who would go with us!
I heard someone say “To hurry God is to find fault with Him!” He doesn’t get his time off our watch, so if he isn’t leading you as quickly as you like – learn to wait! His will isn’t like a package we open all at once, but more like a scroll that we unroll a little at a time.
God doesn’t usually lead us very far ahead of time. If he did, we might get the mistaken idea that now that we know where we are going we don’t need him any longer. Also, if we knew all that was ahead of us, including the difficulties, we might opt out in fear. He unfolds it like a flower to keep us humble and focused on him.
I go on not knowing
I would not, if I might;
I’d rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
I’d rather walk by faith in Him
Than go alone with sight.