Is Your Clock on God’s Time?
- Dr. Charles Stanley In Touch
- 2003 10 Oct
A seventy-year-old man walks down the aisle to receive his college degree. A fifty-five-year-old woman marries for the first time. A forty-year-old former housewife settles into a career. Even though it seems as though our lives follow similar patterns, everyone operates on a different schedule.
Have you ever known someone who reached a milestone in life at a non-traditional age? Did you wonder what took so long or assume something must have been wrong with him or her?
Too often, we get caught up in traditions that tell us when certain things should be accomplished. Society says we should graduate, start a career, get married, buy a house, have a child, and retire-in that order, and each at a certain age. In following guidelines that our culture sets before us, we tend to rush into life-changing decisions without considering what God wants for us.
Have you ever wondered why so many people are unhappy with their careers, why divorce is so rampant, or why people are often completely unprepared to raise a family?
When we shortcut God's timing and attempt to accomplish our goals within our own strength and on our own schedule, we will fail every single time. We will not live a life of contentment or experience the peace that comes from a sincere understanding of God's purpose.
To truly be in God's will, we must synchronize our clock with God's clock. We must be willing to do what He asks of us when He asks us to do it.
The life of Moses is an unmistakable example of the consequences of shortcutting God's will. Instead of waiting on God's timing, Moses acted on his own strength: he killed an Egyptian, was forced to flee from Pharaoh, and remained in relative isolation for forty years. (Exodus 2:11-15)
Moses acted on reason rather than revelation. He asked himself, "What can I do?" rather than, "What does God want me to do?" His irrational mind convinced him that he could free two million Hebrews by killing one Egyptian. He failed to see God's big picture.
Later, when he followed God's schedule, he was able to confront Pharaoh's army and liberate an entire nation of people. Through Moses, God performed the supernatural: He parted the Red Sea, defeated an entire army, and freed the Hebrews.
So how can we apply the knowledge of Moses' life to our own modern existence? First, we must realize what causes us to get ahead of God:
• Impatience - We aren't willing to wait on God's direction.
• Doubt - We question whether we heard God correctly.
• Pride - We think we can do it on our own or better than God can.
• Selfishness - We expect God to conform to our will.
• Rationalization - If our actions fit "what everyone else is doing," we believe they are justified.
• Distorted view of God - We fail to realize that He knows all the answers to our questions, even before we ask them.
Next, we must understand the consequences of following our own desires and shortcutting God's will:
• Disappointment - Moses experienced the frustration that came from acting on His own strength rather than waiting on God.
• Disharmony - Conflict and discord will inevitably come from acting on our strength. For true peace, we must be in communication with Him.
• Denial of God's best - Was God's will accomplished through Moses? Yes. Did Moses experience God's best? No. Moses spent forty years as a fugitive because of his actions. Yet God used Moses regardless, and, ultimately, molded the situation in accordance to His will.
• Spiritual defeat - When we live outside of God's will, we will constantly experience defeat. Without God, we are relying on our own flesh; and, as Christ says, "the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). We cannot win without the Lord.
Finally, we must realize that God will always fulfill His promise to "cause all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, emphasis added). When God gives us a promise, we must have:
• Faith - Faith believes the promise. We sincerely believe God will do what He says.
• Hope - Hope anticipates the promise. We anticipate and look forward to God acting on His vow.
• Patience - Patience quietly waits on the promise. Even as time passes-in Moses' case, it was forty years-we must patiently wait on God and realize He never forgets a promise. He will not overlook you, and He has an appointed time to act on your needs.
You may think God has passed you by, or that your life is a waste. But, if you are a believer and are open to God's call, that could not be further from the truth.
Moses was 80-years-old when God called him into service. Even though he lived for 120 years, he did not experience the true power of living in God's will until the final one-third of his life.
Think about that. One of the most recognizable figures in the Bible-an average man whom God utilized in a manner never seen before or since-did not discover God's will until two-thirds of his life had passed! And look at what God was able to accomplish in that final period of Moses' life!
Does this mean that we should remain idle and apathetic to God until the twilight of our lives? Of course not. But Moses' life is a clear example of how God can use us anytime and anywhere, despite what we may have done in the past and regardless of our circumstances. God can take the most difficult, painful, or sinful situation and mold it, prune it, and completely reverse it for His ultimate purpose.
Perhaps you're mired in an adverse situation or struggling with conforming to society's standardized, inflexible timeline. If so, the only way you will ever experience true peace is through surrendering your will to God's timing.
When we're on God's clock, we'll never be late.