How Long?

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319-how-longThere are a couple of verses in Isaiah that continually challenge me to consider where I am in my walk with Jesus. They are very familiar to any of us that have spent time studying the Word or hearing it proclaimed from the pulpit. When you put them together it’s hard not to ask yourself the same question that Isaiah asked God.

Isa 6:8-9 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 

Have you arrived in that place in your walk with Him that you are listening and hearing His voice?Has He spoken those words in your ear?  If so, how did you respond? I reached that moment a long time ago and I, like Isaiah, said “send me.” And as clear as I have ever heard His voice He told me to “go!” The problem was that I didn’t know where to go… He didn’t tell me.

It took me a long time to understand that while God told me to go right away, it would take time (His time) for me to know when and where. And the reason is that just because I said I was ready, He knew I was not… I needed to be prepared to go. And in the process of preparation I have often become impatient with the fact that it’s more about the process than it is about the “going.” It’s at those times I become impatient.

Isa 6:11(a) Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until… 

Over the years He has continually revealed a little bit more about where He is telling me to go and to whom He is sending me and what the message is, but more importantly He keeps reminding me that it’s a journey and it will not end “until” He says it will end. And all of my “how longs” are only slowing me down and slowing down my completing the calling for which He is sending me.

But in the process I have learned a most valuable lesson. God will use me along the way but that is not the chief purpose of my journey. It’s not about what I write, what I teach or what I preach or always trying to be faithful  to Him. It’s all about my submitting and being obedient to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, for it is only by allowing Him to change me that I will ever be ready, prepared and able to be “sent.” That is why the Lord has kept Romans 8:29 in the forefront of my mind and my spirit for so long.

Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

It is only by understanding the truth of that verse that we can walk in the peace, strength and joy of our time here on earth. It is only by understanding that overriding goal, that primary vision, that we are able to “go” through the tests and trials that are part of our being “sent.” That is what predestination means; to be ordained. It is God’s plan that He has appointed, anointed, consecrated and decreed for us. The number one goal for Jesus’ bride is that each one of us allow the Holy Spirit to change us by slowly bringing the righteousness of Jesus that we hold in our heart to become evident on the outside; in our daily life. That’s what it means for us to “decrease” that He may “increase.” That is how Jesus receives glory through us!

If we can just get hold of that one truth and stay focused on it each and every day we won’t be so concerned with “how long.” We won’t be so concerned with “send me!” We’ll be concerned with drawing closer to Jesus and letting Him take care of what, when, why, where and how.

God calls us and we agree to submit and follow, but we have to wait until He releases us to go. That’s the challenge! Let me suggest you try something I have painfully learned along the way that has changed my life… it’s all about persistence and patience lived out in faith. We have to wait on Him because to do otherwise is to delay our journey by taking some side road or falling into a ditch. Yes, persistence… firm, obstinate continuing our course in spite of the challenges, any opposition or our own questioning.

Let me leave you with something that I hang onto from Robert Browning… My times are in Thy hand, Perfect the cup as planned.

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