It Takes as Long as it Takes

Back in the early 1990s, a friend of mine was in a gift shop buying a gift for someone and having it wrapped. My friend asked the store clerk how long it would take to wrap the gift because she had someplace else to be. The clerk replied, “It takes as long as it takes.”

My friend was initially a little upset by the clerk’s answer but now we get a good laugh out of it.

Sometimes I find myself asking God the same question. How long will it take for so and so to change? How long will it take for me to change? How long will it take for my circumstances to change?

When will my body be healed? When will Your promises come to pass? When will You come back to get Your people? How long will it take Lord?

Recently I was praying and I found myself asking God that “how long will it take” question. That’s when I remembered the answer the clerk gave my friend, “It takes as long as it takes.”

It’s as if God is saying to each of us, “I’m working in your situation in ways you can’t see. But trust me, I am working and these things take time.”

Sometimes the wait is longer than we expected but the best outcomes in the worst situations take time.

John 13:7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

As a young boy, Joseph had a dream that his dad and brothers would bow in reverence to him. This made his brothers hate him even more. They wanted to kill him but ended up selling him as a slave instead. They told their dad Joseph was dead.

Meanwhile, Joseph ended up in Egypt as a slave in the house of an official. The official’s wife wanted to have an affair with Joseph but Joseph refused. To make a long story short, she accused Joseph of rape and he ended up in prison for a long time.

While in prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of a couple other prisoners. His interpretation of their dreams came to pass and one of the prisoners that were being release promised to put in a good word for Joseph but instead, he was forgotten.

Ok, at this point I’m sure Joseph had thought to himself many times, “How long Lord? How long will I have to be a slave? How long will I be in prison? How long before I get to see my dad again? When will my dream come to pass? How long does it take Lord?”

About 13 years after Joseph had been sold as a slave, he was finally remembered as the one who interprets dreams and was released from prison to interpret the Pharoah’s dream. After doing so, Joseph was made right-hand man to Pharoah and saved many lives from starvation.

Eventually, he was reunited with his father and brothers as they went to Egypt looking for food. Joseph’s dream had come to pass, his father and brothers bowed in reverence to him [Genesis 37-50].

There was a lot that God had to do to work things out in Joseph’s life for the best outcome; His purpose and His plan. There was a lot going on behind the scenes that Joseph and his family couldn’t see or understand.

Joseph had to go to Egypt to save many lives from starvation. Joseph’s family had to survive the famine to become the 12 tribes of Israel; the nation of Israel. Jesus had to be born from the tribe of Juda, one of Joseph’s brothers. Most importantly, Jesus had to be born to die for our sins.

Joseph finally understood what God was up to. He told his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people’s lives [Genesis 50:20].

God is always working. He’s working things out for our good, the good of those around us, and for His glory.

God cares about every detail of our lives and He’s working each one of them out. Nothing happens by chance. It’s all part of His plan.

Romans 8:28 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.

Joseph may not have understood God’s plan while God was working out all of the details but Joseph trusted God and never gave up hope and that’s what we have to do.

It takes as long as it takes!

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Waiting, Expecting and Longing

While I’m eating breakfast in the mornings, I like to sit in the kitchen where I have a view of the backyard. Recently, as I was enjoying my breakfast and the warm sunshine, I was entertained by my dog Autumn and her interaction with the love of her life; my husband.

They had just returned from a morning walk. Autumn had chased my husband back to the fenced-in area behind our house. I could tell she was invigorated by their time together.

After corralling Autumn into the fenced area, my husband proceeded to gather his tools to go back into the woods to do some work on our property. As he drove away, Autumn never took her eyes off of him. Even when he had disappeared into the tree line she still watched for him.

She stood watching for a while then eventually laid down in the warm sunny grass making sure she was positioned so that when my husband reappeared she would be the first to see him and excitedly greet him. And that’s exactly what she did when she saw him returning.

I thought to myself, as I watched her, am I waiting for the return of Christ as eagerly as Autumn is in waiting for my husband’s return? Am I expecting Christ’s return? Am I longing to see Him face to face? Are you?

Acts 1:11 “Men of Galilee,” they (the angels) said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.”

Even Jesus Himself said He will return from heaven to gather His people.

Matthew 24:30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.

If Jesus said He is coming back then He’s coming back. It’s just that simple!

But He doesn’t say when He will return. And I think that is when we start to become weary in our waiting and expecting.

2 Peter 3:3-4, 8-9 Above all, you must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

We don’t know when the Lord will return but we do know that He will. Only God the Father knows and He’s not telling. Therefore, we should always be expecting that today could be the day.

Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour (of Christ’s return) no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

If we are not longing for the return of Christ then there is a relationship problem. If we don’t know Jesus, we won’t be excited about His return. If we don’t spend time with Him we don’t know Him. If we’ve never met Him, we definitely don’t know Him.

Autumn was waiting for and expecting my husband’s return because she has experienced him and she knows she can trust him; he had proven himself to be reliable and trustworthy. She knew He was coming back the same way he left.

Autumn was longing for my husband’s return because she loves him and she knows that he loves her; they spend time together, they are in a relationship with one another.

Isaiah 26:8-9a Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your laws, we wait for you; Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for You.

If Autumn did not know my husband she would not be happy to see him coming toward her from the woods. He would be a stranger to her. She would be afraid of him.

The same is true of those who do not know Christ. When they see Him they will be afraid because they don’t know Him. He is a stranger to them. They will be afraid because they had an opportunity to know Him but rejected Him.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Like Autumn is with my husband, are you invigorated by time spent with the Lord? Are you keeping your spiritual eyes on Him as you continue to wait for His return? Are you at rest and peace knowing He will return as He said He would? Are you ready to greet Him enthusiastically when He does return?

Every week I add a prayer to the end of my blog. It is a prayer that will make us ready for the return of Christ. It is where our relationship with Him begins. Will you consider praying that prayer this week?

Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.