Here are three instances where God would tell you not to force it as you trust his timing.
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1. If You Are Waiting for Something Only God Can Produce, God Will Always Lead You to Be Patient and Wait on His Timing
It can make our human minds uncomfortable when we start to think about the sovereignty of God. If God is sovereign, if God has a preordained plan, and if God always has the final say about what does or does not happen, does this mean we are simply mindless robots just going through the motions?
No, according to Scripture our choices as humans have both good and bad consequences (Galatians 6:7-9). God will both reward us for the good we do and judge us for the bad we do (2 Corinthians 5:10). God will grant his grace to those who believe in Jesus and God will not give his grace to those who reject Jesus (Matthew 10:32-33). We are not mindless robots.
However, it’s impossible to read the Bible and to not also admit that God is sovereign (Psalm 115:3), God does have a plan (Jeremiah 29:11), and God does have the final say about everything that does or does not happen (Proverbs 16:9). As Isaiah 46:9-10 (NIV) explains:
I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’”
No human mind can fully comprehend how God sovereignly works through the free choices of people. But this is what the Bible teaches. One helpful way, however, to begin to understand these truths is by thinking of things in categories. While God always has the final say, there are some categories where we have some say and there are other categories where we have no say.
For example, when it comes to someone else’s salvation besides your own, you have no say. Therefore, this is why we pray for the salvation of others because we know only God can open the eyes of the blind. But when it comes to witnessing to an unbeliever, we do have a say. We can choose to share the gospel but God will decide what effect our efforts have.
I bring this up because if you are waiting on something that you have some control over, then you need to do everything in your power to accomplish what you feel God is calling you to do. But if you are waiting on something that is completely outside of your control, this is when you have to fully surrender to this reality and not try to force what is only in God’s power to accomplish. As Proverbs 19:21 states, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
2. If You are Pursuing a Good Thing in a Bad Way, Oftentimes This Means You Are Forcing It and Not Trusting God’s Timing
There is nothing in this world that man has created from nothing. Only God has the power to create something out of nothing. As Hebrews 11:3 teaches us, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” All we can do as humans is take what God has made and use it for good or bad purposes.
Sin is when we take a good thing and use it in a bad way. Likewise, we can often pursue good things but we can pursue these good things in bad ways. Marriage, for example, is good. But how we pursue marriage will determine if we are following God’s will or forcing our own will. Sexual pleasure is a good thing. But how we pursue sexual pleasure will determine if we are honoring or dishonoring the Lord with our sexuality. Money is a morally neutral tool. How we pursue money will determine if we are being honest or dishonest.
Proverbs 20:17 says, “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” Bread is good. Pursuing bread in deceitful ways is bad. Many times it’s not that we are pursuing bad things, it’s just that we are pursuing good things in bad ways.
If you are doing this, God is telling you to not force your will and submit to his will. He will bless you with good things in his timing if you live according to his will for your life. As Psalm 84:11-12 proclaims, “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
3. If Doing Something Would Actually Take You Further from What You Desire, This Is a Sign God Is Telling You to Not Force It as You Wait on His Timing
Before we act, we should always use discernment to do what we can to project what our actions might accomplish. Of course only God knows the future perfectly, but when we apply biblical knowledge to our lives, we can often accurately predict the outcome of an action.
For example, Proverbs 12:19 states, “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” When we apply this knowledge, if you are thinking about lying to someone, you can predict that this might help your relationship with them at first because you are telling them what they want to hear; but then you can also predict that this lie will eventually come out and then this action will hurt your relationship with this person much more than it originally helped.
If you want to have more money to better provide for you and your family, you will want to avoid going into debt because that defeats your goal. If you want to get promoted, you want to avoid being disrespectful to your boss because that moment of pleasure will work against your long-term goal. If you want to date someone but you know they are still healing from a past relationship, rushing the relationship will probably hurt your chances with them.
The point is, sometimes you will need to take action to accomplish your goals. But sometimes taking an action can actually work against you. Sometimes it’s best to just wait, not force it, and trust God’s timing.
As Ecclesiastes 3:1 teaches us, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . .” Ask God for wisdom, and he will make his will clear to you in his timing (James 1:5).
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