Have you ever looked back over your life and thought, “If only I had known…” ? If only I had known that my assignment had been submitted to my tutor without any issue, then I wouldn’t have had any reason to worry. If only I had known that the money would be paid into my account so soon, then I wouldn’t have taken out that loan. If only…
During devotion, I sat down to another chapter of “Acts of the Apostles” by Ellen G. White (now on the fourth chapter), and among the descriptions that stood out to me, was that of the disciples once Christ had ascended to heaven after encouraging them for their ministry. She wrote the following words:
“Oh, if they could but have the past three years to live over, they thought, how differently they would act! If they could only see the Master again, how earnestly they would strive to show Him how deeply they loved Him, and how sincerely they sorrowed for having ever grieved Him by a word or an act of unbelief!”
This stood out to me, and interestingly enough, I was able to relate this to relationships. You see, we are so quick to commit ourselves into relationships that are direct diversions to the plan of our Heavenly Father. We choose a partner based on what we see and understand, rather than what He sees and understands. When we allow God to move in our lives and convict us of His plans, then we find ourselves thinking “if only…”
If only I had known that God had such a person in mind for me, then I would have never wasted my time in such destructive relationships. If only I knew the plan that God had for my relationship to encourage and witness to others, then I would have never turned from Him for so long when He continually asked me to come away from the relationship I was occupied with, and seek Him instead. If only…
If we could see the things that God had always had in mind for us, then many of us wouldn’t mind waiting. Imagine that a person has great news for you, but instead of telling you what the news is, they ask you to wait before they tell you. They don’t tell you how long you will have to wait, or what the news is about, all you know is that it is something really good. Now imagine the same situation, only the person tells you exactly when they will tell you. Although there might still be some impatience on your part, you would be far more patient than if you had no idea when they were planning on telling you. You see, we can’t rush God or His plans for us, but we know that His plans are never anything other than for our good. If you are struggling with remaining patient with God’s timing for the right relationship in your life, start saying to yourself, “until then…”
Until then I will serve you, and prepare myself for the person that you intend me to spend the rest of my life with. Until then I will allow you to use me to further your ministry. Until then my heart will go on singing.
I sometimes imagine how my life would have turned out if I had been more patient in my past. I know that the journey would have required far less emotional energy! But I also find comfort in knowing that God has allowed me to learn from such experiences, and walk the road that He always had in mind for me. The amazing thing about the mercy of our Father is that no matter what we do, he still wants us to experience a relationship for what it should be. As soon as we made the decision to do things our own way, He could have cut us off and focused on those who were actually listening! Such mercy, grace and unconditional love is hard to fathom- who better to trust with matters relating to the heart!
When God believes that you are ready, and the person that He is preparing for you is ready, then He will bless you with the right relationship. Patience is hard, but regret is harder. Bring your concerns before your Heavenly Father, and trust that He will always keep your best intentions as His priority.