By Scott Smith
“’For I know the plans that I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” –Jeremiah 29:11–
In the spring of 2007, we sold our little ranch-style house for the asking price. The housing market was at its peak, but the bubble was about to burst. We moved our five-member family into a two-bedroom apartment. We thought we would be there two to three months, tops.
Two months in that two-bedroom apartment turned into two years. Over the course of two years, we experienced a roller coaster of emotions. It seemed like we had looked at every house in our region that was on the market. Yet, we never had a sense of peace and release to buy. Why did we not have a peace about the houses we looked at? Was God holding out on us for some reason? We felt like idiots. After all, anyone can buy a house. It’s not that hard.
During this time, this simple phrase resonated in our hearts and minds: “Don’t settle for less than God’s best.” In the long run, listening to God’s voice paid off. In the spring of 2009 (two years later), we purchased a home we never would have been able to afford two years earlier. The housing market had self-corrected, and we were the beneficiaries of the correction.
God’s wisdom knows what’s best for you and me. God’s love wants what’s best for you and me. God’s power can accomplish what’s best for you and me. The key is waiting for God’s best.
Generally speaking though, most of us hate waiting. We want what we want, when we want it, no questions asked. However, that mentality is seldom the recipe for God’s best in our lives. Instead, that mentality tends to get us into trouble. Think about it. Some of the dumbest, most regrettable decisions you and I have ever made were the result of us settling for less than God’s best. We wanted a relationship, we wanted intimacy, we wanted a car, we wanted a job, we wanted ____________ (you fill in the blank).
In Jeremiah 29:11 God gave a promise to the nation of Israel. The problem with this promise was that it would take 70 years for it to be completely fulfilled. Think about that. What if God gave you a promise, but it was going to take at least 70 years for its fulfillment. Could you wait for His best? Or, would you be tempted to settle for less than God’s best?
We have found that, at times, God’s answer is not: “No.” His answer is: “Yes, but not yet.” When the answer is: “Yes, but not yet,” don’t settle for less than God’s best. Wait.
Where in life are you tempted to settle for less than God’s best? In your relationships? In your finances? In your vocation? Whatever the area, don’t settle. Wait patiently.
Just because all of your friends are getting married, doesn’t mean you have to rush to marriage. Wait patiently for God’s best mate. Dawn and I know a number of married individuals who settled for less than God’s best in their choice of a mate and now live with regret.
Just because your friends appear to be rapidly advancing in their standard of living doesn’t mean you have to keep up with them. Wait patiently for God’s best. Don’t go into exorbitant debt to “keep up with the Jones'”.
It’s crucial to remember that God is not holding out on you. Most likely He is using this time of waiting to perfect an area of your character. Maybe you lack patience. Maybe your faith needs to be enlarged. Maybe your view of God’s best is too small. Maybe God wants to see if you will trust Him.
- While you wait for God’s best, what can you do to redeem the time?
- If you are tempted to settle for less than God’s best, why might that be?
- For you personally, what do you believe is the core belief behind the temptation to settle for less than God’s best?