Taking control when God goes inactive

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“What role do you play on a team?”

You may have been asked that question in an interview before.  My answer is always the same:

It depends.

If there is a great, strong leader with a clear vision– I happily assume the #2 role.  I can put their plan into action, delegate details to others, and generally speaking am glad to fall in line and do my part.  But if a situation lacks leadership, I will take control.  I can’t stand inefficiency or lack of action, so I assume the #1 position and take charge.

This is fine when working with a team of people, but it’s not okay when we’re talking about my walk with God.

When it comes to God and me, God has the #1 role.

He leads, I follow.  He directs, I move.  He casts the vision, I walk in it.  Or that’s how it’s supposed to work.

The problem is I hate inaction.  I can’t stand it in the workplace when a vision has been cast or a plan created and there is no movement.  I am a doer, a mover.  And the older I get, the more I see that God loves to do just that.

God loves to plant a desire in my heart or even give me a vision of His plan for me and then… pause.

He does this over and over in the Bible too– He appears to people in dreams, gives them visions, and makes promises to humans that sometimes take decades to come to fruition.


In Genesis 12, God does just that.  He promises a man named Abram that He will make him the father of God’s nation.  God promises him more descendants than the stars in the sky, but at the time Abram didn’t have any children and his wife seemed to be barren.

Yet Abram believed God and took Him at His word.  He told his with Sarai who also believed God’s promise was true.  But after more and more years of infertility, Sarai thought perhaps God didn’t mean to use her as the one to bring Abram’s children into the world and told her husband to sleep with her maidservant instead.

Now wait a minute. Before we start thinking about what a horrible wife Sarai is to suggest that her husband sleep with another woman, let’s think about this.

Sarai believed God’s promise to make her husband the father of God’s nation.

She fully believed God would do what He said, and give her husband more descendants than the stars in the sky.

When nothing happened, it wasn’t a lack of faith that was caused for Sarai, but a desire to take control.

Sarai believed in the vision, but couldn’t stand the inaction.  Instead of letting God fulfill the #1 role and do it His way, she decided she needed to step in with a plan of her own.

So she took matters into her own hands.


I don’t know about you, but I am tempted to do that a lot. Like a lot.

As a single girl in my dating life, as a career girl in my professional life, there have been many times when I believed God would carry out a dream or desire He had given me, but after waiting for so long with no action, I decided to take control and make it happen myself.

This always resulted in one of two ways. One: Absolutely nothing. Though I may have tried and tried to create action, every door was slammed in my face, every attempt was thwarted. Or two: disappointment. I did take control and create action, but in the end, it didn’t work out and I was heartbroken or discouraged, and right back where I started.

My dad always says, “There’s nothing you can do to thwart God’s plan for you life.”

We see this vividly in the story of Abram and Sarai.  Even though Sarai took control– in order to help God’s plan come to fruition– God didn’t allow her to screw it up.  Abram did sleep with her maidservant, and he even got her pregnant.

God could have sat back and said, “Well, Sarai, you screwed that one up!  I was going to do a miracle, open your womb, and let you be the mother of my nation, but I guess not!”

But He didn’t. Instead, in His grace and mercy, He promised to take care of the maidservant, the illegitimate child, and still perform a miracle after years of infertility and enable Sarai to conceive.

Despite Sarai’s attempt at controlling the situation, God still remained in the driver’s seat.


Of course, this doesn’t mean we have free reign to just do whatever we want, trusting God will always clean up the mess, but it does give me great comfort that when I do screw up, God doesn’t just throw in the towel.

More than anything, Sarai’s story should be a reminder that when we try to take control and do God’s job, we hurt other people and ourselves.  Sarai’s actions hurt her husband, her maidservant, the illegitimate child, and herself.  Had she just waited on God to do it His way, she would have avoided all of that.

I don’t know what you’re waiting for God to do, but I’m here to beg you to be okay with His inaction.

Don’t take control.

He will do it His way and in His timing– which I’ve often seen takes way, way longer than I think it should.  While it seems like He has gone inactive or on pause, remind yourself that He is always at work behind the scenes, whether you can see it or not.

If you trust God when He gives you the plan, desire, or dream– you can trust Him amidst the inaction.  Be still.  Wait on the Lord.

His plan, His way, His provision, is much, much better than yours.

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