What the Heck is Taking So Long, God?!!
(Why God - Things/His promises - take so long coming to pass in our lives)
We humans are a complex mixture of the spiritual and physical realm. We are born into the physical realm initially, and slowly, over time, if we are lucky enough to encounter God, and His realm, are slowly introduced to His ways of doing and being. It is here that the conflicts really begin.
While we are in and of the world, and know only the fleshly realm, we are limited to those resources. So we make the best decisions we can within the resources available to us at any given moment. Or we just retreat into a medicated unreality to cope with the lack of resources. Ironically, this option usually produces a great reduction, and utter waste, of the resources that to which we do have access!
When we come into the spiritual realm though, immediately we are confronted with a need to change how we think, view “life” and make decisions. Suddenly more resources are available to us. But the means, or prerequisites of getting hold of those resources are rarely made clear to us! Teaching is either too limited by the fleshy realm, or too over-spiritualized, and therefore inaccessible to us. There must be a revelation by The Spirit of God, of the promises in His Word, to us. He leads us into all Truth (John 16:13).
Truth, that is the opinion - requirements – boundaries - of our Father God is what changes our character from flesh-oriented to spirit-enlivened. The more we renew our minds with His Truth, the more insight we gain into how the spiritual realm works, and how His blessings connect with and affect us, and our earthly experience.
The two patterns of thinking that I've mostly observed, which complicate our spiritual experience, being largely erroneous, is that once we accept Salvation all sin is instantly erased and all God's blessings are automatically dispensed to us – removing all the negative effects of sin immediately – therefore producing an unrealistic expectation of ease & abundance. We envision something like Netflix's version of “heaven”, called, “The Good Life” - where we sit about sipping wine and continuing in the fleshly ideas of bliss. Um. No. The other is that we must grind through in our own strength and do every thing the hard way! But if we could do that, the Messiah came for nothing! So both takes are wrong because they are inherently flawed by the insertion of human reasoning. Trying to bring His mysteries down to where we can control the situation, or at least understand it.
Yeshua – a.k.a – Jesus, clues us into the battle ahead when He said, very plainly, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” That was the last sentence in what we now know as “John chapter 16”, after a heavy download of what they, His disciples could expect in the coming days, as He would face arrest, false accusation and crucifixion for the sin of the world! He was trying to prepare them for the fact that those who believe in HIM in this world, that is ruled by His opposition, were going to be like fish swimming up stream! It was NOT going to be easy. He did not come to make it easy. He came to make it possible!
That is why He could make such a seemingly contradictory statement with such assurance! “In this world you WILL have tribulation....” - doesn't sound like a party to me! Yet, “Take heart....” - some translations say “Be of GOOD CHEER”! Why?! How?! “Because I have overcome the world”! We can only imagine the shocking disappointment of the following days His disciples lived through, as He was arrested, willingly, if not happily, and continued to freely, decidedly, give His life to save the world that was determined to get rid of Him!
The Jews – those of His nation of origin - rejected Him, by and large, because they had taken literally the Scriptural description of The Messiah as the butt-kicking, world-redeeming, attitude adjusting KING (which we are taught to believe He will be when He returns)! This guy who taught that you should love your enemies and pray for those who use us wrongly – well, He was just a hippie-dippie, peace loving non-realist to them. And, I think, we also have a difficult time choking it all down. Like, how is this going to come out right? How will this ever bring the peace we all crave? What's the point, and what in the heck is taking so long!!!?
But what is missed in that human reasoning is, for that sort of peace to reign, there must be a significant change of heart, in a significant portion of humanity. I personally think, logically, from what I know, that this is because of the “Free Will” issue. God is looking for devotees not robots. He wants a true sense of family. Not a social club.
He wants people who have clued into what He is doing, and are all in, no matter what it may cost them “here” in this earthly realm. This is possible because they are holding out for an eternity with Him – which can only be obtained by enduring the madness that is this earthy realm! Not just gritting our teeth kind of enduring – but an enduring in FAITH, that HE IS Who He says He Is, and WILL DO what He has said He will do! And we hold that Faith, through all the contradictions and impossible, tedious, trying, patience stretching crap that life on this planet throws at us!
That, in my experience, observation and understanding – after years of studying Scripture, being enlightened by His Spirit, and learning from Him what endurance looks like – is the only way to live a life in the realm of the spiritual We must have a real, living, enduring FAITH IN HIM. And to come up with that kind of trust we must get to KNOW HIM, on an authentic level! Because, get real, only a fool would trust someone that they don't know, or one whom they believe to be a liar!
The Scripture I've posted below sort of lays out the expectation and spiritual tool kit to be able to navigate the stuff that is thrown at us to make us give up. But this is one of those situations in which what the enemy means for evil God can use for our good, and His glory, IF we can just get hold of His Spirit and His Word and show up for battle! Or at least for Worship! So that HE can go to battle on our behalf!
Selah – Think about it!
1. James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
2. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3. knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6.But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8. being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9. But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; 10. and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. 11. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
12. Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
19. This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20. for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24. for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
26. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.