Ok, so I know I’ve already written a few posts about God’s timing the past couple months, and no, I haven’t been intentionally seeking out scripture along these lines… But this is really cool! Where In The Hands of a Patient God dealt with trusting God and Rest, Love. It’ll give you the strength to fight. talked about God’s faithfulness, this one focuses on how God’s timing also protects us from situations we aren’t ready to handle yet but will grow to be ready for as He leads us.
There’s an audio version (it was recorded as a podcast but isn’t quite there yet… At least the mic’s better though!) or there’s a written summary below:
If you’re like me and remember better from reading than listening, the Scripture passage is below (skip ahead in the audio to 2:00 min.)
John 16 starts with Jesus speaking with the disciples before His crucifixion. In the chapter before, Jesus had just explained they needed to abide in Him in order to bear fruit and that the world was going to hate the disciples because it first hated Him. Jesus then continues:
“1) These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. 2) They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3) These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. 4) But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
5) But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6) But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7) But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you…
…12) I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13) But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” – John 16:1-7; 12-13 (NASB)
That Greek word used for “bear” – bastazo – in verse 12 means “to support as a burden” (The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance, 53). How cool that Jesus knew of things to come, He knew of truths the disciples would need to know, but He also knew they weren’t ready for them yet… So He waited until the time came when they needed to know and would be ready to receive what He needed to share with them.
Notice even in verse 4, Jesus explains He had known about these things that were coming but did not reveal them to the disciples earlier because He was with them and they were not yet ready, acknowledging that even now their hearts were filled with sorrow because of what they had just heard. Jesus knew they weren’t yet strong enough to bear what was ahead, so He chose to wait to reveal those things to them until they were ready. When it was time to tell them, Jesus helped them see that what He was saying was actually going to turn out to be an advantage for them, not the burden they were feeling upon their hearts.
In addition, the Greek word used for “guide” – hodegeo – in verse 13 means “to lead the way” (The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance, 175). I wonder if sometimes we struggle with timing so much because we don’t see it as allowing ourselves to be led – We still see ourselves needing to figure our life out, but at least we’re asking for some help along the way… But that’s actually not how it’s supposed to go.
(Calvary Chapel friends, I promise I started writing this post before yesterday’s sermon! 🙂 )
This isn’t the only time a term like this – guide, lead, etc. – has been used to describe how we ought to view ourselves in relation to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 5, Paul is speaking to the believers about how wives ought to submit to their husbands and husbands ought to love their wives as is pleasing to God, and in doing so, Paul compares the marriage relationship to that of Christ and the church:
“for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church…” – Ephesians 5:29 (NASB)
The word nourishes – ektrepho – means “to rear up to maturity,” or more specifically in this verse, “to nourish up to maturity” (The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance, 83). In addition, the word cherishes – or thalpo – is used metaphorically to mean “to cherish with tender love, to foster with tender care” (The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance, 113). Here, we are brought back to a beautiful picture of Jesus nourishing up to maturity a group of believers who still have a lot to learn, and He loves them tenderly during the process. How comforting is that!
The words submission, follow, and surrender can be scary when used to refer to someone we don’t trust, but again, they can be some of the most comforting decisions in the world when used to refer to someone who loves us tenderly and has proven to be trustworthy.
Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to examine where my restlessness is coming from when I catch myself trying to figure everything out again. Is it just because I’m being impatient? Or is there an area of my life I haven’t fully surrendered/trusted God with yet? What about in your life?
These are some of the questions that came to my mind after reading John 16, but I’d love to hear yours too:
1. Are there any areas you’re feeling beat up in? Anywhere where you’ve been feeling like you need to figure it out by yourself but it’s just not working?
2. Is there anything in your life right now that would have intimidated you a few years ago? What changed?
3. Have there been times in your life when the Holy Spirit led you a different direction than what you had in mind? Was that new way better or worse than what you thought you had planned?
4. Do you trust God to lead your life? Do you trust that He truly loves you and won’t steer you wrong?
5. Who is leading your life, your decisions, and your timing? You? Or God?
Would love to hear your thoughts!
*And if you are waiting on something, Holy Ground by Hillsong UNITED has been another great song. When we keep our focus on God first, He will lead everything else.