How long to wait on prophecy?

The Question

How long does one have to wait to know if events will come to pass? In the Bible, Abraham, Joseph and King David had to wait different amounts of years before the prophecies God gave them were fulfilled.

I have had some prophetic dreams. Some have come to pass but others have not and it has been fifteen years. The family members I told were happy and believing at first but now they don’t even reply anymore. I seldom say anything to anyone anymore. I have faith and believe truly that they all will be fulfilled in God’s perfect timing. Can we sense his true timing? I have been wrong so often. Thanks.

SM from Nashville, Tennessee


The Answer
Part 1: We prophesy in part

We prophecy in part (Part 1)

How well I understand your dilemma. Actually I understand it much better than I'd like. I too have been wrong a number of times and I too am still waiting on some long-term prophecies to be fulfilled. We think, was it not really God to begin with? Was it only my own human desires that made it all up? Is this a matter of timing not yet being right? Is God testing my faith? Is the devil hindering fulfillment? These questions plague us as we wait.

There is a helpful scripture to meditate on as we venture into the Holy Spirit given gift of prophecy. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part.” (1 Corinthians 13:9) Paul certainly had the gift of prophecy and he even recommended that we pursue it earnestly (see 1 Corinthians 14:1) yet he realized that the gift is in “part.” Only Jesus had it wholly. He got it right every time and while there are some with quite a strong and accurate gift, most of us are a mixed bag.

All the questions we ask ourselves as time slips by indefinitely are valid and we should give ourselves a reality check every now and again. Was the word we hold so dear really from God? If it was, it WILL come to pass. Did our own flesh make up what we want to hear? Again, that is possible. I heard someone say recently that when we want something very badly our voice and God’s voice start to sound very much alike.

You asked how long we have to wait to find out for sure and there is no answer to that. Of course sometimes the way events play out cause us to know that we were wrong. Otherwise, we have no choice but to continue to wait.

One other word of wisdom as far as telling people. You mentioned Abraham and I note that he didn’t share around what God promised him. Joseph did tell his brothers about his dream but that outcome should convince us what a bad course of action it can be. Humanly speaking we may want to tell someone but it might we wiser to write it down, date it, and leave it sit on a shelf. Unless God directs us to share it, why do we need to?

Finally, as you keep believing God for the things he has told you don’t forget to leave room for his ways being higher than our ways.

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