Crossways Concepts

Because it is all about the cross...

Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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I Hate to Have to Wait!

When I was a child, I once saw a message decoder advertised on the back of a cereal box.  I was sure that my life would be so much better if I had one of these wonderful devices; just think of everything I could do with it!  So I saved up my money and sent it off.  My decoder was going to arrive in just 4-6 weeks.  This was so exciting.

But, then came the wait.  It seemed that the wait would never end.  Every day I was checking the mailbox, always sure that today would be “the” day.

My decoder did finally arrive.  As you might have guessed, the decoder wasn't quite as life-changing as I had hoped.  Now, many decades later, I barely remember the purchase, but what I do remember was the long wait.

In many places the Bible talks about us waiting on the Lord.  However, we, as a people don't like to wait.  Like a spoiled child, we want what we want and we want it NOW.  The Lord is different.  He operates on His own, perfect timetable.

I know a man that has suffered with terrible, debilitating headaches for several years now.  Although there have been many prayers lifted up for his healing, God has not chosen to heal him yet.  But, from his vantage point of living with this illness for years, he has now realized that his suffering has reaped benefits.  There have been blessings and growth that would have never happened if he had been healed when He first asked the Lord.  The best timing is the Lord's timing.

Sometimes we act like the Lord ought to answer our prayers right now.  While we should always pray in faith (Matthew 11:23), we must remember that we are here to serve God, He isn't here to serve us.  Although we believe we know what is best, I have learned (the hard way), that I don't really have a clue about what is best.  We need to let God take the lead and we should follow.

There are even many things that I pray for that I know are His will, but He still answers in His timing.  This can drive us crazy.  This can even damage a fragile faith, but we have to trust that He knows what we need and when we need it.

There are 2 specific places where scripture makes particularly interesting points about waiting on the Lord.  The first of these is Isaiah 40:30-31.

Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

The Hebrew word, translated here as “wait', is sometimes translated as “hope” (NIV) or “trust” (HCSB).  The word conveys a sense of confident expectancy.  It is like the way that I would watch the mail every day, sure that my purchase was coming.  If we are depending on the Lord, then we live with this assurance that He is going to take care of us.  We need to go to our spiritual mail box every day and all through the day, positive that God has something wonderful for us.

When we have this dependency and reliance on the Lord then incredible things can happen.  When we are in this position, then He can use us and work through us.

The Isaiah scripture talks about how we will “mount up on wings like eagles” when we are properly waiting on Him.  Who has never watched birds soaring through the sky and thought how wonderful that must be.  Through having a dependency on Him, we can know a power, strength and freedom that is not unlike the flying eagle.

The book of Romans also makes an interesting point about waiting on the Lord.

We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first-fruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly awaiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.  Now in this hope we are saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience. (Rom 8:23-25)

This section has a message that has some parallels to the kid being picked on in the playground, where the antagonizers don't know is that the child's big brother is on his way.  The child would be pretty worried about the situation, except that he knows that in a little while his savior will arrive on the scene and the dynamics are going to change dramatically.

Just like the playground, sometimes this world can be a lousy place to be.  Yet we have the hope in the Lord and we are waiting for our redemption.  We know that soon the rules will be changing.  Right now it may seem that wickedness, evil and cruelty are the way to get ahead, but our “big brother” is already watching, listening and taking notes.  Before too long, He will bring real justice.

Waiting is always tough.  This isn't just something we experience.  Even the heroes of the Bible had trouble waiting.  While Abraham had been promised by God that he was going to be a father of a great nation, he found himself and his wife getting very old and they were still childless.  He waited for years, then he finally decided that God needed a little help.  Instead of waiting in faith, he got impatient and took matters in his own hands.  The consequences of this impatience are still being felt today.  The child he had with the slave, Hagar, became the father of the Arab people.  The child Abraham had with his wife, in God's timing, was Isaac, from whom the Israelites were descended.  The Arabs and Israelites have been fighting ever since.

If we fail to wait on the Lord as we should, it is a form of disobedience.  As impatient as we are, waiting seems like a bad thing, but waiting on the Lord is our source of strength and hope.  It isn't always easy, but it is always the right thing to do.

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