“So who is needing a breakthrough?” This appeal is guaranteed a near 100% positive response – especially in a community of people who pray and believe for the miraculous intervention of God. We all need a breakthrough somewhere – in finance, in business, in healing, in our marriage, with our children… We face challenges which exceed our wisdom and capacity to overcome, and we have a God who has said he will be our rock and our deliverer.
The nature of a breakthrough is that it is unexpected. We never know when the breakthrough is about to happen: the cheque in the post, the phone call, the healing prayer which finally works, the mysterious shift in our own heart… In the meantime we wait, not knowing whether our deliverance will come in a day or a decade.
In this waiting time, this “until” period – what do we do with ourselves? How do we wait well for our breakthrough? There are a whole lot of postures that are NOT helpful. For example we cannot live in suspended animation. We cannot put everything else on hold until… “When I get out of debt, then…” “When I get healed, then…” The fact that we do not yet have our breakthrough seems like a disqualification, but victory in Christ is often “in spite of”.
Neither is passivity a helpful response. The parting of the Red Sea was a breakthrough of epic proportions, which required the active participation of Moses and three million Israelites. The fact that the problem is bigger than our natural capacity doesn’t mean that we have no role to play.
On the other hand allowing our frustration to vent in “righteous indignation” is also unhelpful, as Moses discovered when he struck the rock. Faith and frustration are two very different things. Both can sound bold, but only faith moves the hand of God. Frustration centres on the problem, while faith centres on the goodness of God.
Nor is making a plan a good idea – as Abraham discovered when the promise of a son and heir was failing to materialize.
Some people sign a peace treaty with their problem. “It’s not going away soon, so best learn to live amicably with it.” Let’s befriend my sickness, my debt, my dysfunctional family situation. It is undeniable that we can learn important lessons in the season of delay, and sometimes the delay in our breakthrough has nothing to do with us. Did God want to keep Joseph in jail? Well actually yes! Sometimes a smaller breakthrough is delayed for the sake of a greater one. But all this can so easily end up by slandering the character of God – somehow making him less able or less good in his care for us. Being reconciled to our problem is a very small step from ceasing to believe that we live in God’s amazing favour.
So here is a good thing for me to do while we wait: let me set about creating an environment in which others can experience their breakthrough. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to create faith-filled space around me by bringing good news to the poor, binding up the broken-hearted, proclaiming liberty to the captives. We do not lead on the basis of personal victories, but the anointing. While I wait for my breakthrough, how can I facilitate breakthrough for my family, my friends, my neighbours, my colleagues? Let me minister healing to others, even while I wait for my own. Let me pray for others to prosper, even while I wait for my own financial breakthrough. That is what reigning in life looks like.