When You’re Ready—But Nothing Happens

Peter's experience at Caesarea may explain why.

You’re ready for a change. You’ve asked God to open a new door in your life, and He has taken years to prepare you for it. Finally, you’re ready. There’s just one problem. Nothing happens. You just hover. 

Caesarea, where Peter met Cornelius

(Photo: Caesarea, where Peter met Cornelius. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The plan of God includes preparation and waiting. But why do you have to keep waiting once God has prepared you? What else must you do for God to open the door?

The Apostle Peter experienced something at Caesarea by the Sea that may explain why your progress is delayed.

Getting Ready for a Change

A man named Cornelius in the city of Caesarea had a vision one day while he prayed. God revealed that he should send to Joppa for the Apostle Peter who would come and bring a message from the Lord (Acts 10:22).

Cornelius wasted no time and sent to Joppa for Peter.

While staying in the house of Simon the Tanner, Peter had a vision as he prayed on the roof. God showed the apostle a number of unclean animals, which God commanded Peter to eat. Being a kosher Jew, Peter refused. (This wasn’t the first time Peter told the Lord, “No!”)

Peter came to understand God had opened the door to the Gentiles for salvation (Acts 11:17-18).

Both Sides Now

Cornelius was ready to hear the message. But Peter wasn’t ready to give the message. God still had work to do in Peter’s heart to prepare him before he and Cornelius could meet.

In hindsight, it becomes clear that God had been preparing for this meeting for centuries:

  • The Hebrew Scriptures revealed Gentiles have always been on God’s heart and He planned to include them (Gen. 18:18 2 Sam. 22:50; Ps. 18:49; 117:1; Isa. 11:10).
  • From Joppa (same location as Peter), God commissioned Jonah to preach to Gentile Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-2).
  • Ironically, one of the first Gentiles Jesus encountered was from Peter’s hometown—a Roman centurion (like Cornelius) who believed. In fact, Jesus used the occasion of this man’s faith to announce many would come from among the Gentiles to join Jews in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 8:5-13).

Cornelius stood ready to receive the salvation, but Peter wasn’t quite ready to bring it.

And so it may be with us.

Caesarea Roman aqueduct

(Photo: Caesarea Roman aqueduct. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

When You’re Ready—But Nothing Happens

God has taken years to prepare you for where you are today. In fact, you may be ready to move ahead in God’s plan. So, what’s the hold up?

There may be at least two reasons nothing happens:

1. It may be that someone else—integral to your future—is not ready yet.

Cornelius was ready, but he had to wait days for Peter’s arrival—as well as for Peter’s personal transformation. God prepares all sides. We need to trust God to move things ahead in His timing.

The Lord prepares all sides—not just ours.

2. It may be that God still has more to teach you.

Remember, Peter had spent years with Jesus. Peter was a leader of the apostles, a man devout in his prayer life, one whom the Lord had used to convert and heal many.

But God still had things to teach Peter. Even after Peter learned this lesson with Cornelius, he still hadn’t learned it well. Co-mingling with Gentiles would be an issue Peter struggled with again (Galatians 2:11-21).

While you’re waiting on God to move you further along His will for you—but nothing happens—consider what else He may be teaching you in the waiting.

Tell me what you think: What has God taught you in those seasons when nothing happens? To leave a comment, just click here.

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