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Reflections on Stillness: Understanding God’s Timing in Your Unfulfilled 2023

This first post explores the theme of waiting on God's timing. It addresses the feeling of unfulfillment that can arise when our plans for the year do not align with the unfolding of God's plan. Biblical characters like Joseph and David are examined for how they coped with periods of waiting and apparent stagnation. Readers are encouraged to reflect on the stillness, learn to seek God's presence, and find peace in the knowledge that God’s timing is perfect, even when it feels like we are standing still.

Reflections on Stillness: Understanding God’s Timing in Your Unfulfilled 2023 As we stand at the threshold of a new year, many of us might be sorting through the remnants of 2023 with a sense of…

Reflections on Stillness: Understanding God’s Timing in Your Unfulfilled 2023

As we stand at the threshold of a new year, many of us might be sorting through the remnants of 2023 with a sense of unfulfillment. Our dreams and resolutions from January, now December’s distant echoes, may not have crystallized into the reality we had hoped for. It’s in these hushed moments of introspection that we often struggle with the concept of divine timing—why does God’s clock seem to move so differently from ours?

In these seasons, the Bible becomes a source of solace and understanding. Let’s delve deeper into the stories of biblical figures who also faced the mystery of God’s timing.

Joseph: Endurance in the Pit and the Prison

Consider Joseph—the dreamer, the favorite son donned in a coat of many colors (Genesis 37). He dreamt of greatness, but what followed was a sequence of misfortunes—a betrayal by his brothers, being sold into slavery, and wrongful imprisonment. Yet, Joseph’s private pains and years of waiting were not without divine intent.

During his long servitude to Potiphar in Egypt, Joseph excelled and was entrusted with much. But even success turned to ash when he was unjustly accused and imprisoned (Genesis 39). Within the cold walls of a cell, Joseph could easily have questioned his earlier dreams and their seemingly hollow promise.

Yet, the Bible tells us that “the LORD was with Joseph” (Genesis 39:21). His unshakable integrity and God-given ability to interpret dreams eventually led from the dungeon to the palace. Joseph’s story culminated in the salvation of a nation from famine and the restoration of his fractured family. The dreams, long buried under years of sorrow and waiting, were not dead but dormant—awaiting the kairos, God’s perfect and opportune time, to burst forth into life.


David: Anointing Delayed

Likewise, the shepherd boy David was anointed king long before he actually ascended to the throne. After the prophet Samuel anointed him, there was no immediate crowning; there was no immediate fulfillment (1 Samuel 16). Instead, David returned to tending sheep, even facing the giant Goliath, before then enduring years of life as a fugitive under Saul’s jealous pursuit.

David’s resilience and reliance on God are perhaps most poignantly expressed in the Psalms, many of which were penned during these tumultuous years. “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1), David writes, encapsulating the agony of a promise unfulfilled and the faith required to keep believing. Despite his hardships, David’s reverence for Saul as God’s anointed and his refusal to usurp the throne prematurely demonstrate a deep trust in God’s timing—an example of profound spiritual maturity and patience.

The Waiting Disciples

Fast forward several centuries to the Jesus’ disciples. After witnessing the risen Christ and being told to wait in Jerusalem for the gift of the Holy Spirit, they found themselves in a period of waiting without a specific end date (Acts 1:4-5). This was a different type of waiting—no longer for the Messiah, for he had come, but for the power from on high that would embolden them to fulfill their calling.

As they gathered together, praying and waiting in the Upper Room, they could not have foreseen the dramatic arrival of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost (Acts 2). That period of waiting, though, was far from idle tension; it was a moment of preparation and unity that was crucial for the birth of the early church.


Modern Reflections

Let’s take a moment to draw these ancient narratives into the light of our modern experiences. How do we, like Joseph, maintain confidence in God’s promises when faced with contradiction and delay? Can we, like David, dance before the Lord in worship when the crown is nowhere in sight? Are we willing, as the disciples did, to fervently pray in expectation without knowing the hour or the day of His answer?

These are the questions that emerge in the silent moments of apparent unfulfilled purpose.

Journaling Through the Waiting

Journaling your walk through 2023 could uncover the lessons enfolded within the quiets of the past year. Perhaps, like Joseph, you’ve gained skills and insights that will bear fruit in the future. Maybe your experiences of evasion and escape will prepare you, as they did David, for the leadership and challenges ahead. It might be that, in the shared solitude of waiting, partnerships and ideas have been forged that will be ignited by God’s Spirit in the right time.

Trust in the Process

Waiting is not synonymous with wasted time; it is an active process of trust. As you record your thoughts and prayers, let the words of the psalmist be your guide: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7). In Hebrew, “be still” means to let go, to release. It is a call to relinquish our timelines and trust in the sovereignty of God’s narrative for our lives.

As the calendar pages turn, bring 2023’s unfulfilled dreams to God. Ask Him to redeem the time. Share your thoughts with fellow believers and let their stories of waiting and eventual harvest nourish your spirit. And remember, the feel of unfulfillment is often the precursor to growth—roots stretching deeper, seeking the living water from which true fulfilment flows.

As you step into 2024, carry with you the assurance that God is not finished. The Author of time, who weaves our individual stories into His majestic tapestry, has a plan—meticulously designed. The words of Jeremiah 29:11 echo with fresh relevance: “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you hope and a future.”

In 2023, whether you found yourself in the pit, the palace, or in a period of waiting, know that 2024 can be a year of fulfillment as you align your heart with the heart of the Father. Remember Joseph in his prison, David in the wilderness, and the disciples in the Upper Room. Their journeys teach us that no waiting, no stillness is in vain when entrusting the script of our lives to the Director of history.

Let us, together, embrace the never-ceasing work of the Unseen Orchestrator and step forward with the expectancy of hope, the patience of saints, and hearts open to the unfolding of His plan in the fullness of time.

Key Verses: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Psalm 27:14