Nov 27, 2010

How's That Waiting Thing Working Out for You?

Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 / Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7 / Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Don't you just enjoy a nice, long WAIT? Oh, if we could have simple faith in our heavenly Father, that He's going to take care of our needs and rescue us when we need it. So often, we either don't believe He's going to come through for us (and why, because deep down we know He ALWAYS does), or we don't think He's going to do it for us like He would someone else.

What God does IN US while we wait, is as important as WHAT WE ARE WAITING FOR. There's important growth that can only happen to us in these times when we suffer through long periods of waiting. God knows waiting is good for us. AS WE WAIT, He's at work in us ... molding us and shaping us ... maturing us.

The people of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years. It helped them to grow up. He took away their pride and proved that He would provide for them. God wanted them to reach the Promised Land, but He was more concerned that they arrive PREPARED than that they arrive SOON.

Remember how the Lord your God has led you in the desert for these forty years, taking away your pride and testing you, because He wanted to show what was in your heart. He took away your pride when He let you get hungry and then He fed you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever seen. This was to teach you that a person does not live by only eating bread, but by everything the Lord says. During these forty years, your clothes did not wear out, and your feet did not swell. Know in your heart that the Lord your God corrects you as a parent corrects a child. Deuteronomy 8:2-4

We need to learn to be PATIENT. Often we want God's resources, but we don't want His timing. We want His hand, but we don't want His calendar. We forget His work in us while we wait, which is as important as what we're waiting for. We must learn to trust that God knows what He's doing.

Maybe you're single and you feel a legitimate longing for intimacy. You're tired of being alone. Waiting is so hard and maybe there's a relationship at your fingertips that promises to take that loneliness away but you know that it's not honoring to God. You know in your heart this isn't the right person for you ... but you are tempted to think, I've been waiting long enough. I'm going to reach out for whatever satisfaction I can get in this life and worry about the consequences later. But when we're faced with times like this we must find the courage to WAIT on God and to be patient and trust His timing to say, Ok God, I will take You at Your Word. I will not get mixed up with a relationship that I know would dishonor You and bring damage to the souls of those involved. Even though I don't know what tomorrow holds and even though I sometimes feel like nobody in this world understands how painful it is to be alone, I will trust You. I will wait. (FYI - I'm not looking for anyone, this is an example.)

Maybe you've been ill for a long time, and you've almost exhausted yourself at the feet of Jesus, waiting for the illness, pain and suffering to lift. Know that God works all things together for good and He's not only going to manifest the healing that He's already provided for you, He's going to bring some other good things from that trial as well ... like the fact that people are encouraged when you go through instead of giving up, and giving you compassion to pray for others in similiar situations. (FYI - I am awaiting healing in several areas of my health.)

We may be tempted to take things into our own hands, but we must learn to trust our God, to say with the Psalmist, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in Your hands (Psalm 31:14,15). We must cling to Jesus' promise in Luke 18:7 where He said, God will always give what is right to His people who cry to Him night and day, and He will not be slow [according to His perfect timing] to answer them. When we experience seemingly endless times of waiting we need the patience of the man who prayed, God, I cannot grasp Your mind, but with my whole heart I trust Your love.

We need to be HUMBLE. To wait for someone is to realize that I'm not in control. I'm not calling the shots; the timing is not up to me. To grow in times of waiting on God we must remember that we are not in charge. We're the creature. He is the Creator. He is the Potter. We are the clay. This is the principle that Proverbs 3:34 refers to when it says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. It's right that we should wait on Him for when we trust God with this kind of quiet humility we are saying that we understand that He is able to take care of us in the waiting times. God's God and we're not. He sees the big picture and we can't.

We need to have an inextinguishable HOPE. Hope believes that things will get better eventually. It gives us the strength to endure until tomorrow again and again. Romans 5:3-5 says, Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. Hope is the fuel that keeps a person going in tough times. While waiting, we need to act on what we know, obeying God as though we can see the outcome. When we do this we become more confident in His instruction, more hope filled people.

Thomas Merton wrote, 'The more we seek God in daily prayer; the more we study His Word; the more we trust Him enough to follow His commands ... the more we see that He is worthy of our trust and then the more hopeful we can be - even in times of waiting.

We don't get to know God and then do His will. We get to know Him more deeply BY DOING His will. We enter into an active relationship with Him. And in this relationship we develop a faith that is ... sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1), a faith that is confident that He who began a good work [in our lives] will carry it on to completion no matter how long it takes (Philippians 1:6).

Wait ... patiently. For it's in the waiting that we gain our strength (Isaiah 40:31).

Prayer: Father, I pray that even though I may be having a tough time waiting on You, You will help me to find peace in Your timing and Your ways. Give me the hope and the strength that I need to continue, and to make right choices. Help me not to grow weary in well doing. In Jesus' name, amen.