The expression “the elephant in the room” describes a topic, question, or controversial issue people choose to ignore. No one wants to mention or discuss what is obvious, something that needs to be asked and answered. Engaging the subject can be challenging and uncomfortable, even inflammatory.
In the area of prophecy, a proverbial elephant in the room that we need to engage in is unbelief. This unbelief can arise while waiting for the fulfillment of a promise. In the waiting, we come face-to-face with a greater measure of faith we will need to stand and continue believing a word of the Lord.
2020 has been a year of training where we have had to acknowledge and address the uncertainties, questions, and perceived delays of prophecy. This training has included how we process personal words, prophecy revealed in Scripture, and corporate prophetic words delivered to the Church.
We need to address all forms of unbelief regularly, but many times we pass these opportunities by without engagement. When prophecy remains unfulfilled, our disillusionment, discouragement, and even our unbelief become apparent. Our limitations and weaknesses are exposed. In that mindset, we do not see the significance of what is taking place behind the scenes, and as a result, fail to discern the times and seasons accurately.
One morning last week, just before I got out of bed, I heard the words “prophetic outcomes.” As I lay in bed lingering over the meaning of those two words, I asked the Lord to help me understand what He meant. An hour later, while sitting in my writing chair, the Lord began to speak. It was one of those “take dictation” moments. I know the word was for me, but it was also for all who would prophesy in the Lord’s name.
The Lord said, “I have not called you to create the outcome of what I asked you to prophesy. Speak the words I gave you and nothing more. It may appear what you prophesied is heading in the opposite direction from the original promise. Do not call a word finished until I declare it so. I am the One who is in charge of prophetic finish-lines, and I will place them where I will. Their timing and placement are not affected by the human objections or disappointments you carry because you misunderstood My timing or prematurely abandoned a promise.”
We have entered a new era. We’ve never been this way before, and humility will be the key to receiving the upgrade for courageous belief. We don’t want to ignore any “elephant in the room.”
I want to mention a couple of points about prophetic ministry that came to mind when the Lord spoke to me. A prophet may not always see the final disposition of a prophetic word. Some of the Old Testament prophets never lived to see the fulfillment of what they prophesied. And everyone, no matter how anointed or accurate they might appear, only see and prophesy in part, not always realizing the full expression or final destination of their prophetic utterance. This seeing in part becomes especially challenging when the mass of available “evidence” says just the opposite of what has been prophesied.
God will fulfill His ultimate plan, even when we respond in unbelief. When the children of Israel received a word about a Promised Land, it was their disbelief that moved the finish line of fulfillment 40 years into the future. Unbelief caused the people to take a longer path toward the fulfillment of God’s promise. A generation of unbelief needed to die off so that a new generation of faith could rise.
Be encouraged when you recognize your unbelief. Sight is the beginning of healing. If you discovered you have been riding the back of the elephant of disbelief, dismount and call it what it is. You will influence others who are watching your renewed stance of faith. They, in turn, will have the courage to join their faith with yours, and together you will see the glory of God.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins