We all have things we’re believing God for and one of the things that most easily breaks our faith, is when the promise delays. Few things are harder than knowing what God has said or promised to do for you, and not knowing what to do in the time between “the word” and “the manifestation”; our hearts grow weary, and our faith grows sick. Proverbs 13:12 (ESV) puts it like this “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
I myself have had many prophecies, and recently, I received a new one that said “every word God has spoken about your life will be fulfilled in His time.” I received it gladly, and the minister also gave me the verse Jeremiah 29:11. As I got home that night, I decided to study it, and some things jumped out at me in the chapter that I’d love to share with you guys.
1 These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said:4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.
10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
When the promise delays, you need to know that…
- God knows exactly where you are. Verse 4 clearly lists who the letter was for, and where they were located. We must remember that God has not forgotten about us, or where we are in the waiting game. His knowledge is not limited to our physical location; he knows where we are in our minds, and the battles we face there. It’s easy to feel like God has forgotten about us when we are waiting, but he hasn’t!
- Be busy where you are. This is hard. In verse 5, we can see a clear instruction to keep busy where they were; to not neglect to tend to where they were. So many times when we’re waiting for God’s promise, we’re so focused on day dreaming and planning for it, that we neglect to be fruitful where God has places us right now. This point reminded me of two other verses in the bible:
- The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction. Gen 41:52 – In this story, Joseph had met challenges every step of the way to becoming chief advisor to the king, but he never failed to be fruitful in the land of his affliction.
- Luke 9:11-27 – This passage tells a parable of a master that went away and left his servants with talents and a promise that he would return; he instructed them to ‘occupy or do business until i come back’. We can not afford to sit day dreaming about our promise because how fruitful we are where we currently are will prepare us for the promise, and most times expedite the process. I also believe a lot of us are like the servant in verse 21, afraid. Don’t let fear paralyse you. Whether fear of the promise, the process, or the present. Be fruitful where you are now.
- Do not decrease. Verse 6 smacked me in the face. Do not decrease. In our waiting, we must always be growing. Yes, waiting can make our faith weak, but we must encourage ourselves in the Lord and keep growing in the knowledge of him. We must focus on him and not the promise, and he will continue to make us fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:22). Don’t let your waiting make you slip back into all habits, fears, and mindsets that God has delivered you from. Do not decrease!
- Pray diligently. Verse 7 is beautiful because it reminds us that wherever we are is where the Lord has called us to be at the moment. If it is well in out cities, it is well with us. Rather than focusing on how God will bring about his promise, our focus should be on how the Lord would have us serve where he has put us right now. It’s very hard to be frustrated about something your truly praying for the welfare of.
- Know that God has an appointed time. We all speak God’s sovereignty, but we need to believe it. So many places in scripture, the bible says “and at the appointed time…” or a similar phrase. Verse 10 reminds us that God is working to his own clock, and we may not be made privy to that. If we truly trust his word, then we must truly trust his time. In his time he will make it beautiful!
- Remind yourself that God is good and he has only good plans for you. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says “…For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” The only way to come against strongholds, or thoughts in our minds is to remind yourself of what God has said in his word. He has GOOD plans for you. He is a GOOD God. It’s difficult to believe this when things aren’t going the way you planned, but you’ve got to fight your fear your faith in the Word.
Personally, I’m at a place where I’m like Lord, you’ve spoken so many words over my life that I just want to see them all come to pass for your glory alone. I write this knowing that it’s difficult, but also going through this process myself. God knows where I am, he wants me to keep busy where I am, he wants me to keep growing, keep praying, to trust his timing, and to always remember he has only good plans for me. I will say these 6 things every time my heart grows weak.
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