Two simple words. Very distinct. Relatively easy to understand. From a very early age, we learn what these two words mean. “Yes” gives us permission.
Yes, you can eat that cookie.
Yes, you can go outside and play.
Yes, you can stay up past bedtime.
Opposite of “yes” is that dreaded “no” word. “No” takes our permission away or indicates that something isn’t for us. “No, you can’t touch that stove.” “No, you can’t put that toy in your mouth”… And as teenagers, it becomes “No you can’t have an extra $20 this week” lol.
Many people fear the word “no”. However, I would say that for me, something even scarier than the word “no” is the phrase “NOT YET”.
As we discussed in the blog post “Grateful in the Gray”, I’m a very simple person and I like categories. Either something is or isn’t. Either it’s black, or it’s white. “Yes” and “no” give me such clear boundaries. Yes, I can start this project. Yes, I can have that new job. Yes, I can marry this man.
However, the response “not yet” causes an internal “error” message in my brain. Huh? What? *ALERT *ALERT. It is as if sirens go off in my head when I hear God say “NOT YET”.
How often is God’s response to something we want (or think we need) “not yet”? It can be confusing. It can be frustrating. So many emotions rolled into one. At least if I had a clear “no”, I could move on and do something else. At least if I had a clear “no”, I could put this behind me and focus my energy elsewhere. A “not yet” requires so much patience. A “not yet” requires so much trust. A “not yet” requires so much more of me.
Many times in the Bible God’s response was “NOT YET”, as well. For example, to some women desiring children, God said “NOT YET” (Read the story of Rebekah in Genesis Chapter 25, Rachel in Genesis Chapter 31, or Hannah in 1 Samuel Chapter 1). When it came to healing, sometimes Jesus’s actions meant “not yet” (Read the story of Lazarus in John Chapter 11). It reads in John 11: 5-7, that after Jesus heard His friend Lazarus was sick, He waited TWO DAYS before He traveled to see him. TWO DAYS while Lazarus was on his deathbed. If this wasn’t a “NOT YET”, I don’t know what is.
So what do we do exactly when God says “NOT YET”? (So glad you asked! Lol.) When God says “NOT YET”, we:
- Continue to WAIT
- Continue to TRUST
- Stay on the right path
CONTINUE TO WAIT
The whole idea of waiting can be hard. Remember when we were kids and we learned that Christmas came only once a year? Waiting for actual Christmas Day to open all our presents seemed to be the hardest thing ever all because we knew it was coming. But patience is a virtue and even when it’s hard, we must continue to wait on the Lord. Psalm 27:14 reads “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” As you read this blog post, I encourage you to rest knowing that whatever God has for you (and only you) will definitely be worth the wait.
CONTINUE TO TRUST
Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths”. This isn’t just a suggestion. This is clear instruction that God leaves us with. When God tell us “not yet”, we must understand that this response is not a punishment. Often times, God’s PREVENTION is actually our PROTECTION.
We must remember that God is a good, good Father and that He is always working on our behalf. If He said “not yet”, He is delaying whatever it is (that job, that man, that baby) for a reason.
And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
STAY ON THE RIGHT PATH
Please don’t think that as you’re waiting and trusting that you’re supposed to be idle. You still have a responsibility. Just because God told you “not yet” doesn’t give you permission to veer off path or be lazy. The word “path” occurs several times in the Bible. We are constantly reminded that God will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:6), that He will level them (Isaiah 26:7), that He will light it (Psalm 119: 105). There is a righteous path for those who love the Lord and Psalm 16:11 tells us that this path is full of joy and pleasures. I don’t know about you but that’s the path I want to be on! I want to be as Psalm 17:6 so eloquently puts it—I want my steps to hold fast to His path and not slip. I want to unwavering. Steadfast. For I know that at the end of the righteous path will be waiting the blessings God has especially for me.
There they are… the 3 Things to Do When God Says “Not Yet”. I hope you’ve found encouragement in these words. May your eyes, your head, and your spirit always BE LIFTED.
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