Sometimes I wish biblical characters kept a diary. You know- wrote the date at the top of each entry so we could understand how much time passed between each unexplainable event. I never realized the events in the first twelve chapters of Acts occurred over a ten year period. I just assumed all of these unexplainable things were happening one day after another.
But timing truly is everything. For instance, it took Peter nearly a decade before he witnessed to a Gentile! Not only that, but God had to give him a clear vision- literally- that he was supposed to go to them, even after Jesus had repeatedly told him so while He was on Earth. Peter was sold out for Jesus. He left all to follow Him. He performed mighty miracles in His Name. Yet he still misunderstood some things. And patiently, over time, the Holy Spirit revealed to Peter all that Jesus meant.
Consider Paul. It was also close to ten years after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus before he started his assignment as apostle to the Gentiles. What in the world did the greatest theologian of all time have to learn before ministering? Not knowledge, but love. He has to grasp the unexplainable grace of God more fully. It took years before he could explain it. And slowly, patiently, Jesus revealed His love to him, softening the rough edges of zeal and legalism.
I love the unexplainable patience of Jesus! He doesn’t throw His hands up in the air when we don’t fully understand what He is trying to tell us. He doesn’t walk away shouting, “I’m done! I have no more tolerance left for you!” He calmly prays and allows the Holy Spirit to twist and churn within our hearts, slowly opening them to understand all of His unexplainable ways.
And He never stops working. You may not be content with what you’ve achieved in life. You may not be happy with where your relationships are. But Jesus is not finished. He sees the process and He is never in a hurry. He knows your heart and knows what experiences are necessary to mold you into the unexplainable person He has planned for you to become. And it is a process.
When I was in my twenties, ten years sounded like an eternity. And people in their thirties seemed, well, old. At this stage of life, I know how quickly ten years can fly by. It will probably take a lifetime for God to mold a knucklehead like me into all that He desires, but I’m learning that the process can be just as unexplainable as the outcome. I may still misunderstand some things, have some rough edges to smooth out, and obstacles to overcome, but I can trust God is working.
He knows what He is doing- and when an assignment comes from Him, I want to pass with flying colors. I want to hear Him say, “Well done, girl!”
Jesus is patient with you, friend. Be patient with yourself.
What is one thing about yourself you wish you could change, like, yesterday?
What is one circumstance in your life you wish you could change?
Can you trust that God could be using those things to work the unexplainable out in your life?
For more information on Erica’s latest study An Unexplainable Life: Recovering the Wonder and Devotion of the Early Church click here.