“God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can ever fully understand all he has done.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (CEV)
Have you ever been in a hurry when God wasn’t? It’s never easy to sit in God’s waiting room, where you’re waiting for something from God. Nothing we do will help the answer to our prayer come one second before God chooses to deliver it.
Abraham understood this. God gave him an impossible dream—that he would father a nation. At 75 years old and childless, this seemed crazy.
But God’s timing proved to be perfect, just like Solomon would write centuries later: “God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can ever fully understand all he has done” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 CEV).
We can’t understand everything God is doing, but we can be confident that his timing is perfect. In fact, God always takes you through predictable stages of faith. Abraham went through these same six stages.
Understanding them can help you trust God when you’re unsure how he is at work in your life.
The Six Stages of Faith
Dream: God gives you a dream for your family, your church, or your community. God gave Abraham a dream to be a great nation, but that was just the start (Genesis 12:2-3).
Decide: You have to step out in faith and make the decision to act on the dream God has given you. Abraham risked everything to leave his homeland and go to a place he had never seen or heard of before.
Delay: God never fulfills a dream instantly. During this delay period, it feels like nothing is happening. Eleven years after God gave Abraham his dream, the Bible says God still hadn’t given Abraham and his wife, Sarah, a child (Genesis 16:1). What happened in those 11 years? Nothing. Abraham simply waited—and Abraham and Sarah would continue to wait.
Difficulty: You will face problems as you pursue God’s dream. Your prospects may appear to go from bad to worse to impossible. Abraham, at the age of 99, seemed to be beyond the age where fathering a child was possible.
But, even as the dream seemed impossible, God finally gave Abraham and Sarah a child.
Dead End: God allows your dream to seemingly die. Abraham was asked to give up his miracle child. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his dream.
Deliverance: The more hopeless the dead end, the greater the deliverance will be. You’ll be left with the realization that only God could have done what he did.
Where are you in these six stages? God will take you through them over and over again in this life as he grows your faith.
This devotional is written by Pastor Rick Warren. Rick Warren is an innovative pastor, renowned author, and global influencer. The various ministries Pastor Rick has created are a multi-faceted expression of his heart to bring the whole Gospel to the whole world. Read more about Rick Warren Devotional.