Is God Not Working?

How do you know when or if God is moving on your behalf?

I have a friend who has been praying for a loved one to come around, walk away from his sin, and return to God. Some days my friend gets a text message from this person that sounds like he’s finally getting back to his senses. This would encourage my friend a lot. “This is it, he’s almost home!” She would say to me and we will rejoice together.

The loved one, however, relapses the day after, talking like a mad man again. It’s a cycle. This drives my friend crazy and confused, thinking one day she was already seeing progress and then the next day, it’s like they were back to square one. “I don’t know what’s happening. I thought God was already bringing him home,” she cries out in frustration.

I understand where she’s coming from. Many times when we pray for something, we subconsciously make a map of milestones to track how we anticipate God to unfold it. We think it’s a straight line from Point Now to Point Miracle, but it’s not always the case. Circumstances take a circus of detours, timetables are blown out the window, and we’re left wondering if God’s ever going to make this miracle happen, or if God’s even moving at all.

We’ll save ourselves a lot of head-scratching when we grasp this truth:

““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah‬ ‭55:8–9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When He says that “my ways and timing are different from yours”, this is not to discourage us from trying to understand Him and to learn from Him. It just simply means that as we walk with Him, we have to be aware that He doesn’t operate on our logic. To see is not always to believe. Silence does not mean absence. Detours do not not mean you’re not on track.

Being blown and tossed by the waves does not mean He’s left you alone on the boat.

Consider the story in Mark 4:35–41. After healing many sick persons and teaching many parables to the crowd about the Kingdom of God, Jesus told the disciples to sail on to the other side of the lake.

“Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?””

Mark‬ ‭4:36–38‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Picture that scene for a moment. When violent waves break all around you (in the middle of a freaking lake!), and you’re already in panic because water is flooding the boat — the last thing you expect to see is Jesus sleeping carefree with his head on a cushion.

Because why on earth would Jesus be snoozing like a baby in the middle of a disaster like this? He should be up helping to keep the boat together, or waving His hands to quiet the waves. Right?

I don’t think so. The last thing you want to see is NOT a sleeping Jesus. It’s NO JESUS on the boat!

“No Jesus” means He who gave the command to sail on just bailed out on them when the disciples needed Him most. “No Jesus” means this journey is pointless. “No Jesus” means they’re doomed.

But He was there with them, just as He is present in our circumstance, in our time of waiting, in our moment of trial — right with us on the boat. The God who made the waves and winds and quiets them both is with us. He has gone ahead of us; Not even this squall surprised Him. He is sovereign.

His presence seals our victory. We will not be overcome. Things may seem out of control right now, but that does not mean He dropped the ball on us. Actually, He is in perfect control. He has the upperhand, commissioning His angel armies to fight for us. (2 Kings 6:16–17)

He is with us, and that makes all the difference.

But if we only use our eyes to try and make sense of this divine work, all we’re going to see is just that: Jesus sleeping and walls of waves slowly swallowing our boat.

“Silence! Be still!”

Jesus calls out to the waves and they stopped. The disciples’ jaws dropped as they witnessed the turbulent waters calm down at His word. Who is this man that even the wind and waves obey Him?

And to their surprise, Jesus turned to them and asked:

“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Mark 4:40 NIV

Suddenly what the disciples thought was a case of bad weather turned out to mean so much more. It was a call for faith. The real turbulence to be dealt with was the fear inside their hearts.

Is there a squall building up around your heart, threatening to sink your hope? Know the God who you are sailing with and be at rest. Put on the eyes of faith and behold Him who “began the good work within you and will continue His work until it is finally finished.” (Philippians 1:6) Whether you are watching or not, God is hard at work, eager to fulfill every promise He gave. He moves in ways we cannot see, and He owes us no progress report.

Faith. Hold on to it. That’s your only ticket out of this trial.



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Happy wife to Emman| Aslan’s Mom | Works in product development | I blog about my walk with Jesus