In our Friday meeting a couple of years ago, a brother shared a quote which has stuck with me, and I've been blessed by it since: "Give God room to work".
Notice in John 6 what happened immediately after Jesus fed the multitude:
John 6:12-15 When they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost." So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.
The people wanted to make Jesus king. Is that a good thing? I hope Jesus will be King in my life! It sounds like a great thing. But it was BY FORCE - they were trying to force God to make Jesus their king in THEIR own way.
Is it God's will for Jesus to be King of my life? Definitely. But these people were filled with all their own ideas about HOW THEY were going to accomplish God's will, in their own power, and what type of king Jesus would be.
They weren't submitting to God's timing for it, or His method for it.
And I've seen - when I'm lacking in faith, or holding onto something tightly, then I can be temped to try to force God's hand when it's not there. Pushing things before the time, or not giving Him room to work in His way.
But Jesus would never push, He submitted not only to God's will but God's timing and method too.
I was blessed by what a brother shared in our Friday meeting some time back about how someone at his work was blaming him for some big issue that was going wrong. His coworker emailed him accusing him of causing a big problem, and with their coworkers and bosses CC'd on the email so everyone would see it. So he emailed his coworker back privately and said, "No it's not like that, that's not the issue..." and continued to explain the details of the issue and what the real problem was. But again the coworker kept coming back to him sending emails and blaming him for this thing going wrong, accusing him that the problem was on his side. Instead of continuing to reply to this difficult coworker, this brother felt the Lord speak a word to him: 'GIVE ME ROOM TO WORK'.
So he stopped emailing and responding to his coworker, he just stayed quiet - not defending himself or anything. He would let God work. After some time this coworker discovered that it was indeed his own fault, and he came back and apologized saying, "Hey - I'm sorry, I was wrong. I discovered that you were right. The problem was from my side." The problem was solved without this brother having to fight with this coworker. He simply stayed quiet, and gave God time and room to work.
And I was challenged by that thought 'Give God room to work'. Am I giving the Lord room to work, or am I praying (with a pretense of faith) while at the same time still forcing His hand in something?
It's easy to prevent the Lord from working in our life by keeping a very tight grip on things, having ideas about what God's will is and how we'll accomplish it - trying to "Help" God's hand. But very often, the Lord wants our side of the job to be simply to "cease striving, and trust" (Psalm 46:10). Give Him room and time to work.
For a lot of situations in my life, I've prayed and at the same time tried to think of methods to solve my problems, and while not saying it I've tried to push His hand in my own way. But then after all my methods failed, I've found myself in a spot, where I said, "I've failed. Ok Lord, you have to do something. I recognize now that all my efforts are futile, I'm powerless and you want me to lean on you. I resign myself - you have to do the work."
Imagine some difficult problem you have and you've been fighting and not seeing the fruit yet. One encouragement you can take is: being desperately at the end of yourself is a good place to be! It's because now God has room to work. That's when we can learn to pray. Not just to pray, but to REALLY pray! Where we're not praying with a "plan B" (a backup plan we have in mind if God fails us) anymore.
It's such a restful place to be!
Give God room to work and give Him time to work.
Isaiah 40:31 (AMP) "Those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength..."