Are You Waiting on God? (Or is He Waiting on You?)
Today, one in four teens expect to be famous or well-known by age 25.
Back in the 1900s when I was a kid, not everyone held such grandiose aspirations.
I guess that means I was ahead of my time. For when I was barely in elementary school, I informed my parents that I would be the first rock star who didn’t do drugs. (Yes. I was a self-absorbed only child, but at least I knew drugs were bad.)
By high school I was beginning to entertain the possibility of an acting career instead. Having secured the coveted title of Senior Actor of the Year at Parkway West High School in 1989, I left for my college experience at Baylor University.
My first failed play audition put my drama dream to death, so I switched back to rock star. I loved to lead worship and often imagined myself on stage sharing one of the many hit songs I had written, with thousands singing along in worship of me – I mean me God. In worship of my God, that is.
Unfortunately I lacked the goat beard of David Crowder (who showed up at Baylor a couple of years after I graduated). And 94% of the talent. And the relaxed disposition necessary to enjoy life on the road.
So I settled for a career in the music industry. And in that career, I meet many young musicians, who think much the way I once did, certain God wants to reach millions with their talent.
Are You Waiting on God?
Perhaps you’ve never wanted to be famous, but certainly you can recall a time when it seemed like God didn’t give a rat’s whisker what you wanted.
Maybe you feel that way in the area of relationships right now.
“When is my dating life going to begin, God? What are you waiting for?”
“Where is ‘the one’ you’ve prepared for me? How will I recognize them?! Have I already missed them?!?”
“If I can’t get married, why do I even have a sex drive? A sex drive that YOU gave me, by the way!”
Regardless of what you’ve been waiting on God to do, I share this passage from 1 Peter 5:6-7:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Admittedly, the second verse of that passage is far more popular than the first: “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Who doesn’t like the sound of that?
But I can’t tell you how many times, in my pursuit of fame, or perhaps just attention or acceptance or influence or love, when I would feel like God cared very little about my cares. So many times He just seemed not to show.
Now I see my negative perception of God’s love for me was really a reflection of my love for Him.
Every time He withheld success (or blessing or whatever it was I wanted at the time), it felt like He wasn’t loving me well.
However, I was the one with the love problem.
How about you?
Is God Waiting on You?
We can’t really embrace part of a Biblical passage – the part we like – and disregard the part we don’t like so much.
Well we can do that, but we’re not going to be walking in truth when we do. And, generally speaking, walking in lies doesn’t work so well in the realm of reality.
So here’s that first part of that verse again:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”
It’s not very complicated. There’s a specific way God goes about caring for our needs, and seeing as how He’s God and we aren’t, I suppose we ought to pay attention to the procedure.
God asks us first to humble ourselves. And not because He wants to boss us around.
If God wanted to play boss, He’d be happy to do the humbling Himself, but instead…
God asks us to choose to humble ourselves.
That’s a pretty generous offer, considering it comes from a God who is so awe-inspiring, His mere hand can be described as “mighty.”
Then, after we recognize our rightful place in the universe, as a creature deserving of humble submission to our Creator, He says that at the proper time He may exalt us.
Notice it doesn’t say, “WILL exalt you.” It says, “MAY exalt you.” God’s not our publicist, anymore than He’s our servant. But all of that to say, if you feel like you’ve been waiting on God to exalt you, perhaps He’s been waiting on you to humble yourself.
Our Responsibility and His Privilege
Will you get famous, or married or whatever? That’s up for God to decide. And when you think about it, one can’t really humble themselves in the hopes of being exalted. The very longing for exaltation isn’t humble. It reeks of incredible pride. (“Why wouldn’t He want to exalt me, have you seen my resume?”)
It’s like trying to be content with singleness, in the hopes that God will give you a spouse. We should be learning contentment, but not so we can get anything else other than contentment.
God’s seldom tricked by reverse psychology. (And by “seldom” I really mean “never.”)
Truth is, God can’t have the privilege of exalting me if I’m too busy trying to exalt myself.
But that is precisely what I’m doing when I burst into His throne room with my dissatisfaction over His sovereign job performance, and my list of “suggestions” for His improvement.
Instead of humbling myself, I’m exalting myself to the place of the master needing my servant (god) to step it up a bit. Or a lot.
Are you like me, thinking God hasn’t been loving you well, because you aren’t famous, or dating, or married, or married and enjoying an epic sex life that millions envy? All before the age of 25?
Let’s humble ourselves, under the mighty hand of God, trusting that at the proper time He may exalt us. And in the meantime, we can cast all our anxieties on Him, trusting He cares for us.
- Have you found your perception of God’s love for you is really a reflection of your love for Him?
- Do you have a difficult time accepting the place God has you right now, whether in anonymity or singleness, or otherwise?
- Why is it so difficult for us to humble ourselves? Does it reflect more of a lack of love or a lack of trust?
Ready for the next Intimacy Impostor? Click here!
[This is post is part of a series called Relation^ology (it begins with this post) where we identify the greatest relational need of our heart and then ID the counterfeits we seek out or settle for instead. Relation^ology started out as a discussion series and can be booked for your college, youth or young adults group (or singles group, life group, cell group, community group or whatever they’re calling Bible study these days).]
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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!