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Spiritual Growth Requires Time

God will honor the time we commit to learning more about Him, the time we find, redeem, save, allow, and schedule for our spiritual growth. An image from Scripture encourages me here. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Those who wait on the LORD shall…mount up with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).

The time we spend in solitude with our Bible and our prayer list, our secret life spent with our heavenly Father, is time spent waiting upon the Lord. Then, in the fullness of time, in God’s perfect timing, there is the mounting up, the taking flight like that eagle. We are able to soar because we’ve been with the Lord — as the lives of many heroes of the Bible illustrate.

Moses was the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter and, as such, experienced every known privilege for 40 years. But then God took him into the desert to be a shepherd, a nobody, for the next 40 years of his life (Exodus 3:1). After those 40 years of God preparing him, Moses burst on the scene with signs, wonders, miracles, and faithful service to God (Exodus 3–14).

Joseph served ten years as master of Potiphar’s household (Genesis 39). But one day Joseph found himself in prison, a nobody, forgotten as the days and months rolled by. Then, after some years, which God used to prepare him for leadership, Joseph burst on the scene, helped save his people, and served as second in command over the entire known world (Genesis 41).

And then there is Jesus. As God in flesh, He was never a nobody. But He too put in His time in obscurity, away from the crowds, involved in the mundane. According to God’s plan, Jesus spent time as a child in Galilee with a family, time inside a carpenter’s workshop, and time in the wilderness for 40 days of prayer and fasting (Matthew 4:1-11). And then one day Jesus burst on the scene exhibiting the power and glory of God in action! But after 30 years of preparation, His earthly ministry lasted for only three short years.

God’s perspective on time is different from ours, and we may question His use of time. We may be tempted to think that quiet, hidden time with Him doesn’t count — that it doesn’t show, it doesn’t matter, and no one cares. After all, nobody sees it. There’s no glory, no splash, no attention given to those weeks, months, years of waiting on God. No one sees us read and study God’s empowering Word. No one is present to watch us memorize and meditate on God’s life-changing truths. God alone sees us on bended knee in the heart-wrenching work of prayer, work He uses to prepare us for ministry.

But then, just like the heroes of the Bible and just like our Savior Himself, one day we are prepared. When the timing is right, when the opportunity for ministry presents itself, we too mount up with wings like an eagle — ready to do God’s work! We are then privileged to live out the saying that, “success comes when preparation meets opportunity.” God is responsible for presenting the opportunities — in His time, place, and manner — but we are responsible for humbly cooperating with His efforts to prepare us, including the times of waiting.

Question: How are you encouraged by the truth that God’s timing is different from ours?

Read Spiritual Growth Requires Time on Elizabeth & Jim George.


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