Friday, September 24, 2010

WAITING ON GOD - Part 2 - Waiting to Make the Next Move

"You acted foolishly," Samuel said. "You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.  But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command." (1Samuel 13:13-14, NIV)

Waiting on the Lord is challenging.  In the last entry, we discussed how waiting for crises to resolve can be agonizing.  The pain of looking for that job to arrive or a cure to appear can be overwhelming.  But the valuable lessons we can learn during that time grow our faith exponentially if we cooperate with God.  These are not the only times we find ourselves in uncomfortable holding periods.

When our eyes see a situation where we think we need to act, waiting on the Lord can be equally stressful.  It is never a good idea to move forward before we get our Creator's input on a given situation.  In fact, that can be one of the surest ways to get ourselves into trouble.  But biding our time, wondering why an answer hasn't come quickly can be downright maddening.  Why wouldn't our Father want us to know how to proceed right away when we earnestly seek Him?

There's more than one answer to that question.  We know that unless we are tested, our ability to wait never grows.  It's like exercising a muscle.  Each test of endurance increases our level of competence.  And we know that strengthening our ability to hang in there for God's direction deepens our character.  (see Romans 5:3-5)  It conforms us into the likeness of Christ and actually makes us the type of person others turn to for wisdom.

Then there is also the matter of trust.  There too, it is easy to say we trust God until that trust is tested.  We wonder in our waiting time, does God really care?  Is He punishing me?  Is the answer "no"?  What do I do next?  Is God really true to His promises? 

If we stand by for answers before acting, we come out the winner in the end AND please our heavenly Father.  We discover that He does keep His promises.  He does have our best in mind.  His timing is perfect in every way.  We realize that if we had done things when and how we wanted, they wouldn't have turned out as well as the way our compassionate Lord intended.

There are plenty of examples from the Bible of those who created major troubles by rushing ahead of God.  In the Scripture above, Saul literally dethroned himself by not waiting for Samuel to conduct the burnt offering.  And culture still groans over the warring factions created by Sarah, trying to force God's hand through having her slave, Hagar, sleep with Abraham in hopes of building a family for herself. 

I myself have found myself in the middle of a tempest because I suddenly realized that I had rushed ahead into doing something neither seeking the Lord's approval nor waiting on Him.  It was a serious mess that created terrific conflict between people and threatened my own health.

As I tell my children, the bottom line is that the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.  "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him..." (Psalm 37:7, NIV)  You will find yourself rewarded in every way for your long-suffering and endurance.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much. We all need to be reminded and this is what I needed to hear right now.
    Thank you