Why is it that when traffic is diverted around “Men At Work” signs on the road, we often don’t see anyone doing any actual work?
Sometimes the construction zone is deserted, and work on the project seems to be at a standstill. And yet vehicles are still forced to circumvent the area.
At other times there might be a few workers milling about and talking, or peering down an open maintenance hole. But again, lanes are blocked off and traffic is being slowed down for seemingly very little reason.
We naturally find this very annoying. The disruptions and delays would be easier to handle if we could actually see some work getting done, some real progress being made.
Sometimes we show the same impatience with God, don’t we?
We have prayers that we want Him to answer, and circumstances in our lives that we want Him to change. But we get frustrated when nothing seems to be happening.
All our hardships and pain would be easier to bear if we had some visible indication that God was actually at work in our situations, that He was making progress in answering our petitions and arranging circumstances for our benefit.
But so often, it seems to us that God is “off the clock.” When we expect to see evidence of Him working on our behalf, it seems He’s taking a break instead and is nowhere to be found in our situation. He doesn’t seem to be on the job when we need Him.
Work on our project seems to be at a standstill.
But this isn’t really true.
God is always at work. He is not passive or indifferent about the trials in our lives. God is at work even when we don’t see anything happening.
Perhaps especially when we don’t see anything happening.
It’s at these times that God is doing some high-level refining of our character. During our trials and periods of waiting on God, He is maturing us, growing our faith, and shaping us to conform to the image of Christ.
We can’t see these changes happening ourselves; they’re often too subtle, and take time to manifest. Sometimes it takes others to notice that we’re different now. They may remark that we’re more patient nowadays, less likely to become angry, or more merciful and generous.
God was at work in us the whole time, but we didn’t realize anything was happening.
Philippians 2:13 tells us: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
The Greek word translated “work” here is “energeo,” which means to work, to be active, to accomplish and be effective. We see the similarity to our English words “energy” and “energetic,” which derive from that same Greek root.
You could say that God is energetically at work within us, actively intervening in our lives, effectively using trials to refine us and accomplish His good purposes.
Even when we don’t see anything outwardly happening.
So don’t fret that God seems to be putting His feet up when He should be working on your behalf. God is always at work: He is on the job 24/7. And He certainly doesn’t take naps:
“Behold, the Protector of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:4)
Trust that God is doing a work for you and within you, even when you don’t see your circumstances changing. It may take some time before you see the results, but be assured that God will finish what He started!
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.