EXPECT A MOVE OF GOD SUDDENLY! By Joyce Meyer There is a word I want to deposit in you that you can hang on to for the rest of your life, and I hope you never forget it. It is the word suddenly! When God speaks to us or shows us something He desires to do in us, it's as though we become "pregnant" with His plans for our lives. He plants a seed in us that begins to grow. We then enter a time of waiting and preparation. During that waiting period, God prepares us to handle the thing He is planning to do in our lives. How does He prepare us? He begins to change things inside us. Think about an expectant mother. Many changes are taking place inside her. At first they are largely unnoticeable. At times the changes can be awkward and uncomfortable. Yet she is filled with joy and anticipation at the thought of the new life growing inside her that she will one day give birth to. As believers, when God deposits the seed of His promise in us, we also experience many changes. We are being stretched and reshaped as God prepares us for what He wants to do in our lives. Although it is sometimes uncomfortable, we can learn how to maintain an attitude of joyful anticipation until He comes suddenly to do the thing we are waiting for. The Problem Is… We want to know exactly when the things God has spoken to us are going to happen, and we want to know now! When things are slow in developing, we often become impatient. Even Jesus' disciples struggled with this problem. In Acts 1 Jesus instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father—the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Immediately they began asking if this was the time He was going to restore the kingdom of Israel. Jesus responded to them in Acts 1:7 saying, It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority (NIV). Not knowing when God's promises will be fulfilled is something you and I will always have to deal with. Many years ago I tried to use my faith to get what I wanted. When it did not arrive in my timing, I thought I didn't have enough faith or the devil was blocking my blessing. Thankfully, I learned that we do need to exercise our faith and believe God for what we want, but God has a specific appointed time for the manifestation of His promises. In due time (see 1 Peter 5:6), at the appointed time (see Genesis 18:14), at the proper time (see Galatians 4:4), and in [His] time (see Ecclesiastes 3:11) are all terms the Bible uses to refer to God's timing. Scripture never describes God's timing as when we want it. The Challenge Is… For you and me to remain expectant and filled with joy every day while we're waiting for God to fulfill His promise. An attitude of expectancy is one of the things that will help keep us flowing in the joy of the Lord during times of waiting. The fact is, most of us are expecting something from God, and we don't usually know when it will come. We may be waiting for the fulfillment of a promise concerning our future or for God to bring about a change we need in our character. Whatever it is, we can learn to enjoy our time of waiting with anticipation because we know that God loves us and wants to bless us. Isaiah 30:18 says it this way: And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you…. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]! Wow! Just imagine… God is waiting and longing for the right time to fulfill His Word to us. He loves to surprise His children and come suddenly with His blessings for our lives. I can remember a time years ago when God moved suddenly to set my daughter Sandra free from some long-standing problems she had been struggling with. We were holding a conference, and during the worship time I knew I was supposed to pray for her. I called her up front and told her, "This is the end of it. You're getting a release in some areas of your life you've been believing God to change for a long time." After we prayed, she knew God had touched her. About a month later, she began to notice changes in areas where she had struggled for years. She became more peaceful, confident and comfortable with herself than ever before. It really made her happy to see the changes God had brought in her life. In the same way, when we wait for God's timing in our lives, it will bring us joy too. Though the changes in Sandra happened suddenly that night, God had been preparing the appointed time for her deliverance all along. The waiting is difficult, but the joy of receiving what we've been waiting for is worth it. The Exciting Thing Is… Even though waiting is hard on our flesh, we can still be expectant and full of hope. The disciples had been waiting for ten days expecting God to move. Then suddenly there came a sound from heaven like a rushing wind, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:1-4). Just think of it: one minute they were waiting, and the next minute they had the manifestation of God's promise. That makes life exciting! When we are anticipating good things in our lives, it fills us with joy and gives us strength to wait. Again, think about a pregnant woman. As her time draws near for giving birth, she goes to bed every night thinking, This could be the night. She awakens every morning thinking, This could be the day. You and I should have this same attitude of excited anticipation. We can enjoy times of waiting, but only if we have the right attitude— expecting to see the goodness of the Lord. Like David in Psalm 27:13,14 we can say, [What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord….Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. Though we may not always see God coming, we will certainly know when He arrives. Our situation may seem the same day after day, but God is drawing closer all the time. And then suddenly He's there, and things are changed in an instant. My ministry team and I see this happen all the time in our conferences and through the many facets of our outreaches. People share their testimonies with us regularly about problems they had for years. While they were attending a conference, watching the broadcast or listening to a teaching, they were suddenly set free and have never been the same since. The Wonderful Thing Is… Even when we are waiting for God to come suddenly, we can have the assurance of what we are hoping for in our spirits. I can remember clearly the day when God came suddenly and baptized me in the Holy Spirit. At that time my life was one big, long-standing mess—even though I was a Christian and loved God. One morning when I was in my car I told God, "I give up. I can't go on like this anymore. You have to do something!" It was then that God spoke to me very clearly. I knew it was Him and I knew He was going to do something in my life. After He spoke to me I felt a great peace settle over me. It didn't make any difference to me if He did something that day, the next day, the next week or the next year because I knew I already had what He spoke to me in my spirit. Later that same day, God met me as I was driving home and baptized me with the Holy Spirit. From that day on, I've never been the same, and I have since seen many others set free as a result of my waiting for and receiving the things God had for me that day. I believe that you and I should live with peace and expectation of God's blessing in our lives, even when our circumstances may not be good at the moment. Again, think of an expectant mother. She doesn't wait until she has her baby before she starts believing she's going to have one. From the moment the doctor tells her the good news, she begins to share it with friends and prepare for the baby's arrival. She waits expectantly and with joy for the time she will hold the baby in her arms. In the same way, you and I should be joyfully anticipating the promises of God being fulfilled in our lives. At the right time—His time—He will move suddenly and things will change. We'll see and experience the things He has spoken to us in our spirit become a reality. The Encouraging Thing Is… When it seems like we've been waiting forever and we're growing weary, God will give us what we need to be at peace and even joyful until He comes suddenly to change our situation. I literally watched God do this type of thing for me for years. I had such a big vision. I was pregnant with a dream and sometimes wondered if it would ever really come to pass. Just when I would be ready to give up, God would do something to renew my hope and keep me expectant. And He will do the same thing for you. I encourage you not to give up! Put your hope in God and you will never be disappointed (see Romans 5:5). God loves you, and He definitely has a good plan for your life—you can believe it, expect it and rejoice in it! Your suddenly may be as close as tomorrow…or even today!