God’s timeline in our pain

I found myself on the page of Romans 8 this morning. Sipping my coffee, reading through my Bible study devotional, and pouring over the inspired words of Scripture, thinking to myself, “There is no place I would rather be.” Well, truth be told, I suppose I’d rather be in Hawaii doing this very same thing, but I guess the desk in my office will have to do for today.

Romans 8 is a chapter in Scripture with which I am fairly well-versed. I’ve studied it for years. I’ve marked it up in my Bible to the point where it is hardly readable anymore. I’ve rehearsed its truth in my mind on countless occasions. And here it is again, perhaps THE theme of the season that God has me in right now:

His Word just never gets old. In fact, it more often than not seems new to me when I devote myself to it. It is the source of my refreshment, and it is the truth that sets me free.

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in seasons of waiting on the Lord. You too? The waiting for Him to move. The waiting for Him to provide. The waiting for Him to heal. The waiting for Him to prove Himself faithful. The waiting.

Waiting on the Lord for just about anything can be difficult at best, because we are an impatient people, but it can be incredibly painful at its worst. When we can’t see God because all we can see is our pain, that is an incredibly challenging place to be. Just recently, I was asked to believe God for a miracle, something that seems all but impossible to me. For me, this is where the rubber meets the road. I can talk about the goodness and faithfulness of God until I’m blue in the face, but if I don’t live out what I say I believe, my faith, as James would put it, without works is dead.

Still, God rarely works according to our timeline and demands. We present Him with our requests, we hand over the blueprints for our lives that we have drawn up, expecting Him to sign off on them, and when He doesn’t, our faith quickly becomes doubt.

This got me thinking about God’s timeline in our pain. What if our God was after far more than just answering our requests? What if He wanted far more for us than just our healing? What if He desired much greater things for us than the things for which we ask?

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

What if God’ s purposes were truly beyond what we could imagine, and what if His perceived silence or absence wasn’t really silence or absence at all, but rather our refusal to lean in and listen to what He was really trying to say to us? What if His Word is true?

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Could it be that God really does know how this is all going to work out? Could it be that my present struggles in this life are not only momentary but also light compared to the blessings that God has in store for me?
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

And friends, isn’t it possible that above all else in our pain, God might be prioritizing these two things: showing us His power in our need and teaching us in it that He is all that we need.

Why does God not work according to our timeline in our pain? Well, aside from the obvious that He is God and we are not, I would venture to say that because He is loving and good, His greater desire than our healing is that you and I would actually come to know the Healer for ourselves.

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