WAIT! Are You Kidding Me?

“Wait” is one of those words that we all hate hearing but don’t mind saying. We see our time as valuable, or the circumstance as way too critical to be waiting around on somebody else to get their act together.

Sometimes waiting seems impossible

     Think about Moses, he had just rescued the children of Israel from famine and torture at the hand of Pharaoh only to bring them up against an obstacle so huge that if God himself didn’t intervene right then, they would definitely die an ugly death.   He tells them, “Don’t be afraid.  Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today” (Ex 14:13).  It would only seem natural to for the Israelites to become full of fear and start to ask questions of Moses and his ability to hear from God.  We so often blast the children of Israel at this point for their unbelief.  We wonder, “why would they think God had just rescued them out of Egypt only to forsake them now?”

Waiting increases our faith 

     Try asking yourself the very same question. Why would God have washed all your sins away, filled you with his spirit, and become your “friend that sticks closer than a brother”, only to forsake you now in your darkest hour?  The place of unbelief starts when you feel like the trial or circumstance in your life is beyond God’s control. James says some really, hard to wrap your mind around stuff when he says in James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

     Some of us are in some really hard to understand situations right now and are wondering if it’s due to God’s will, our bad choices or choices of others, or if it’s just life dealing us a bad hand.  I know it seems like the situation is what’s slowly sucking the life out of you right now, but it’s not.  It’s your perspective, your lack of belief in a God that can carry you through all things, and bring you out in his time.  We’re so busy telling God why we’re miserable, and how He could fix everything if He would just do it this way or that way, and if only He would do it right now.  We forget to ask Him if there may be a greater purpose for our suffering and waiting.

     Paul said this about our current sufferings and what they do for us, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2Cor 4:17-18 NLT).

Waiting is about attitude 

     I know that some things are very hard to go through, and some of the things we deal with may not be God’s will at all, such as abuse and things of that nature.  Just remember this, God has not forgotten about you nor will He ever forget about you.  You may or may not be able to fix the situation you are going through right now but have you given the Lord a chance?  Don’t answer too quickly with a “yes” just because it’s been going on for years now.  It’s not about the amount of time, it’s always about our attitudes.  The jerk husband or disrespectful wife, the unsaved kids, the lousy job, the mean kids at school, the unrelenting bills that are piling up, the neighbor that just won’t leave you alone, all of these things are hard to deal with.  But God has a plan!  He first plans on changing your understanding and then your attitude.  If He can get you to understand that there is a plan, your attitude will soon begin to reflect faith.  Faith in a God that will never let you drown in your current situation.

     Remember this as well.  Others go through trials just like you.  They hurt, get confused, and start to doubt God.  God has called us to help mend the broken hearts of this world.  But how can we do that if we don’t believe for ourselves in the God that heals all things?  Did you ever think that the situation you are going through can teach you how to help somebody that doesn’t know God and His tender mercies?  Paul addresses this in 1Cor 10:12-15.  “Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence. No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can. I assume I’m addressing believers now who are mature” (The Message).

     “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Is 40:31 KJV).

Waiting = Faith, Faith = Patience, Patience = Perfection.

The Midnight Cry

My heart is breaking over what I see happening in the lives of us Christians today. We have become so passive in our daily walk with God. We fail to fast for the move of the spirit, for our lives or for the lives of others. We fail to make prayer a daily part of our lives. Bible reading has to contend with our time spent watching TV or being on the internet. Our flesh and its lusts have taken over and we have become blinded to the destruction all around us. The world is crying out in desperation while bound in the chains of their sins. They are hurting and dying inside without answers.

God spoke to the Prophet Ezekiel of the impending doom of Jerusalem. He said that it might be averted if just a few would be found faithful and stand with Him, but here is His resolve: “I looked for a man among them who would buildup the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.” (Ezekiel 22:30-31 NIV).

God’s Broken Heart

The voice of God is crying out to us, but we can’t hear it anymore. Our ears are shut up and our voice is silent. We are too busy. We have to find a place of repentance if we are truly going to be in the will of God. God gives us an understanding of the kind of desire he finds in the heart of man when Jesus said in Matthew 22:14, “Many are called but few are chosen.”  We must live like we are chosen, not just talk like it. All of our words, all of our church attendance, even all the money we put in the offering plate means nothing if we don’t love others, put them first, and live like we have a desire to please God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing” (1Cor 13:1-3 NLT).

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ (Matt 7:21-23 NLT).

This is the time, today is the day. If we don’t stop making excuses for ourselves now we never will. This world can’t afford us to put it off any longer.

Happiness vs. Joy

The other night I was praying with someone at the altar and an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness came over me. As I looked at her I considered her life and all that she wants to do for God, and I asked myself why. Why does she feel hopeless or like God had abandoned her? I know she loves Him and desires to please Him with all of her heart. Sure, she may not be perfect but she’s trying, so why does she feel so hopeless? Then it came to me, God does these things by design. He takes us out into the wilderness to build us up. The problem is, we don’t understand this process nor do we care for it. When we begin to feel what seems like separation from God, the first thing we ask ourselves is, “What did I do wrong?” We wonder if we let God down somehow, or we begin to look at our lack of time spent praying and reading our Bible. We think surely it has to be something we did wrong or we wouldn’t be feeling this way right now.

So much of the time we are looking for happiness while God is trying to give us joy. You see, often times happiness comes from the things in this world, such as a new house or car, new clothes or a better job, even a new-born baby. Sure, it can even come from sin, see Heb. 11:25. But the real truth of it is, we want happiness because it’s the easiest to obtain. We can plan for it, save for it, ask for it, and even share it with others.

Joy however, only comes from God. The Bible states in Nehemiah 8:10,”Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

You see, God doesn’t take us out into the lonely places of life because He is angry with us. He does so to give us Joy! “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalms 30:5).  We can say that it’s not fair and that He should choose a better way to give us what we need. We have to remember this, anything worth having, is worth fighting for. He takes us out to break us of the selfish desires of our flesh. In the desert there is no happiness, no laughter, only you and God. It’s the moment of truth. God said these words to the prophet Jeremiah, “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way; for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satisfy the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord” (Jer 31:9;12).  The psalmist David also had this to say about weeping being turned into Joy, “He that goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126:6).

If you are in this place right now don’t lose hope, God has not forgotten about you! The children of Israel were out in the desert for 40 year with nothing but God to sustain them. He provided them food from heaven, water from a rock, shade from a cloud, and a pillar of fire to keep them warm at night. He gave them everything they needed, but kept them out there until they had finally learned to stop complaining and start believing in Him and his power of deliverance. God has a special plan for you and your life, just let Him take you through the times of loneliness so He can prepare you for what’s next. He loves you, and promises you that he will never leave you or forsake you. In fact, he says it four times just so you won’t forget. Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 13:5, Proverbs 3:3, Joshua 1:5.

Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10).