“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay…” (Habakkuk 2:3)
The smell… the kind that makes you stop in your tracks, grasps your attention, whets your appetite, and brings much anticipation that something delicious is about to arrive. We all have that scent that draws us. It could be freshly-made bread, cinnamon rolls, or my son’s absolute favorite—cookies. As you are aware, smell has a way of evoking memories or creating excitement, and I was reminded of this recently and a powerful spiritual epiphany when my toddler begged me to make his favorite treat.
Once I began to pull out the dough, I focused on the preparation process by following the directions step-by-step. In the midst of it all, I looked up and saw little eyes watching my every move intently. No sooner had I put the cookies in the oven, then my son called out, “Mommy, are they ready yet?” It was in this moment, this everyday moment, that God spoke to my heart and told me to “Pay attention.” Frequently this happens with my toddler—God has a lesson for me to learn, whether it be through child-like faith, wonder, or in this case, child-like impatience. Ouch!
Some of you reading this can identify. You visualize yourself, just like I did, as a little child, waiting impatiently as the parent is working on something that is making you excited and antsy all at the same time. Since God is a Heavenly Father, He considers us His children when we believe and follow Him. So, this visualization became very clear to me, as I was watching my son from the doorway. The Father began giving me practical lessons I can remember when I’m “in the oven” or “on the shelf” that can also provide your heart with encouragement while you’re in the process too:
What plan is God cooking in your life where you need to be patient?
What’s the hint of something on the horizon that is whetting your appetite…that dream that God has placed in your heart that He is preparing for you but is not quite ready yet?
1. Be patient and trust God’s plans for you while you’re “in the oven”
Plans/dreams need preparation time, and ultimately, God needs to shape our character and ensure we are ready for them. How does the “shaping” occur? Many times this happens through heat or trials that are in our lives that God allows to purify us and rid us of our flesh, in order to make us more Christ-like. In Scripture, David went through the heat after we was chosen by God and anointed king by Samuel. He did not become ruler overnight. It took about 15 years from the time David was anointed king to actually assume the throne of Judah and then another 7-7 1/2 years before he was king over all of Israel. And, before this occurred, he had to flee for his life and hide in caves (not what you probably pictured once he had the honor of being anointed by God).
Sometimes, one of the challenges of waiting is knowing the LORD has called you and having a glimpse of the vision, but being willing to exercise patience while God’s hands are on the clock. In His Sovereignty, allow the Father to orchestrate the details in His precise timing. Psalm 37:23: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”
2. Be humble and surrendered during the “cooling off process”
The infamous “buzzer” will eventually go off. I can’t fully put into words the excitement on my son’s face when the clock sounds, and He knows the cookies are coming out of the oven. His impatience grows, which is not hard to understand. Likewise, when we have been in the heat and have endured with Christ’s strength, we may feel that we must be ready for what God has in store, right?! Maybe not.
Another valuable lesson we can learn is to have humility and surrender in the “cooling off” process. Once the dreams are in sight, it seems like it HAS to be the right time. However, God’s ways are not always our ways, and we have to continue to trust Him when he “puts us on the shelf”. In my toddler’s case, he has to realize that the cookies need time to cool off to be fully ready. But, this is so typical of human nature. You want to be in that position now! You have to get that promotion today! You see the door is ajar and want to bolt straight into it.
Inevitably, the dreams are many times at the tip of our fingers, and God has us wait just a little bit longer to ensure we are surrendered and dependent on Him completely. In that moment when we’re “out of the oven”, we have a choice to make: run ahead of the plans (grab the “cookie” and let it burn our tongues), or stay-in-step and receive what God has for us in the fullness of time. David had to make this decision too. When he was hiding in the cave fleeing for his life, he had the opportunity to kill King Saul prematurely (1 Samuel 24).
This was a powerful test, for the throne was in his grasp… Had he not endured the heat and known how to discern God’s leading, he could have easily acted in the flesh and killed the king to obtain the throne. That would have been the flesh’s way of accomplishing God’s purposes. But, David, was a God-seeker, and he knew not to kill Saul himself and to let the Lord’s plans unfold. In the fullness of time, God would raise up David, and in the same way, God knows how to orchestrate events to accomplish His dreams and purposes for our lives. Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Wherever you may be in the process, friends, whether “in the oven” or “on the shelf”, I pray that this encourages you to believe and to persevere in the dreams God has planned for your life. As we recognize the aroma of what God is preparing for us, let us humbly submit to the Father. Every person’s plan is unique and tailor-made just for them, so make sure to avoid comparison with other people by looking at where they’re at or the timing it took them to get to their God-given dreams.
Instead, focus on Scripture and remind yourself of what God has spoken and is speaking to your personally. Spend time in His Word and in prayer and trust His process. Not one Word from God or promise from Him will ever fail. We can rest in that fact and believe that the end result will be beautiful and more than we can ask think, or imagine.
Wait with anticipation and obedience
Here are some additional Scriptures to encourage your heart as you wait with anticipation and obedience:
- ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.”(Jeremiah 29:11)
- “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36)
- “But, as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” (2 Chronicles 15:7)
- “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:25-26)
- “Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’” (John 13:7)
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)