BLOG: God in the waiting

This article is part of our series, ‘What’s stopping you?’, where we explore the barriers to getting involved in overseas mission and how God is at work in the midst of them.

David was a young man when God made him aware of his calling. In a dramatic encounter with the Lord, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and his future mission was prophesied over him. At first, things seemed to move very quickly in the direction of his vocation, but then he was hit with setback after setback. Years went by and he seemed further than ever from being able to do the things he had been called to.

A time of discouragement and frustration?

This is a familiar story to many who are called to cross-cultural mission. It can take years of preparation before reaching the mission field. Changes of circumstance can slow down the process, such as difficulties with health or the need to care for a family member. In parts of the Arab world there can be further obstacles, such as complications with visas, health insurance, civil unrest, and, more recently, COVID-19 restrictions. It can feel like an ‘in-between time,’ where you are prevented from carrying out your calling. It can be easy to become discouraged and frustrated, and to question whether you heard God’s call correctly.

The young man in the story was, of course, King David. Decades passed between Samuel anointing him as king and him ascending to the throne. His thoughts and feelings during this time have been recorded in some of the Psalms; from great joy to deep depression and doubt. This wasn’t just an ‘in-between time,’ God used it to shape David’s character and to prepare him for his future ministry. He learned how to depend completely on God and live a life of prayer and worship. He gained wisdom and leadership skills that became invaluable for his calling.

A time for preparation

If you feel stuck in a period of waiting, you are in very good company. God spent hundreds of years shaping the Israelites into the kind of nation he wanted them to be before they inherited the promised land. Many of the great Biblical figures and missionaries of history went through years of setbacks between their initial calling and seeing the fruit of their ministries.

These are not just ‘in-between times,’ but essential times of preparation in which God develops our character, perseverance, and trust in Him, and in which we gain skills, knowledge, and resources that will be vital for our time on the mission field. Rather than focusing on what you haven’t been able to do yet, focus on what God is doing in your life now, and keep asking the question, “What is God teaching me here?”

Periods of waiting can provide new opportunities, as you seek to use your time to prepare and to serve God where you are. Why not use some of your time to join one of our short-term mission teams and explore what mission can look like in the Arab world? If you’d like to explore how God can use you and your skills for his mission, overseas or right where you are, our mobilisers would love to chat with you – contact Ben.

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