Thursday, August 10, 2017

An Unexpected Discipline - Waiting

Waiting is one of the last things we usually want to do.  Wait for dessert, wait for our favorite TV show to begin or movie to come out, or wait for our greatest dreams to come to true. It's America:  we're pretty instantaneous!  We can have dessert first.  We can catch trailers and early glimpses of what we want to see on the screen. (Although waiting for OSU football season is always forever.)  

Our dreams.  What we want most for ourselves and our loved ones.  Sometimes we don't even know what we are waiting for, but some will wait for a lifetime for life to seem worth living.  That is what will often drive us to God, praying and waiting for Him to accomplish a task in us or others. Waiting. I think, generally, we hate it.

Under what conditions do you find yourself waiting on God?

"What is God waiting on?" I have asked myself.  When the topic is about my path or another person's path, waiting can be a difficult demand.  It proves to be disciplining when we wait for any answer, whether it be "yes," "no," "not now," or "better than this."  

I have decided that lots of time, while I think I am waiting on God, in truth, I think He is waiting on me.  I think I am the one not ready and I need the waiting to prepare for God's answer.  I find that truth in James 1:2-4.  

Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, when various trials come your way because the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

The King James uses the word "prove" in place of "testing" of your faith.  The meaning of that word can be seen in its use in Geometry (for those who dare to remember).  A proof demonstrates and does not cause.  The "proofing" (revealing, demonstration) of your faith will develop that all important character trait of perseverance.  And this proofing isn't because God didn't know, but because you need to know what you are made of.  You need to know what faith is made of.

That line of thinking makes me more appreciative of the discipline needed in waiting, but how do I wait in such a way that my character is built?  How do I wait on God's timing, His purposes, His way?

There are two verses that I think really help us wait properly.  
The first is Psalm 27:14 - Wait upon the Lord; be strong and of good courage. Wait upon the Lord.

So, I am not to be twiddling my thumbs, worrying myself into a puddle or growing impatient with the process.  Waiting involves some definitive action.  I am to strengthen myself.  I am to seek out that which enables me to grow strong in spirit, emotionally and bodily.  Especially in the area of the request and need, I need to bring vitality to whatever effort God will bring about.

I am also to "be of good courage."  Some versions say "take heart" or "take courage."  It means to "ready the will."  As I wait, I need to ready myself to do the will of God:  to be able to see His way and to take on His tasks.

Wow!  I need to get busy as I wait.

Isaiah 40:30, 31 is the second.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and you men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will rise up on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not grow faint.

I am to keep my hope in the Lord and not in the situation and culture around me.  Hope is the assurance of what God can do.  I nourish hope in reading God's word: finding His truths and keeping them in the forefront of my thinking.  I also find hope in seeing God work in other people's lives and hearing their testimony.  It is important I surround myself with people of hope, because I will become the company I keep. That is a basic truth in all kinds of change models:  we need mentors, guides, friends, and a culture which will support the change we need.

The other part of these verses uses a phrase I find interesting: ...they will rise up on wings as eagles...  Some versions use "soar" in place of "rise up."  "Rise up" is the better translation considering the context. In Hebrew, the meaning is "to go up, to meet, to come up (before God)."  In the context of eagles, the metaphor is complete.  An eagle can only fly from a perch - a tree top or a cliffside.  Because of their wing span, they cannot get a flap going from the ground.  If they end up on the ground, they have to hop until they gain some heighth so they can catch the breeze to soar.

We are like eagles, destined to soar, with a "reach" that belies our position when we are down in the dirt, on the ground, not reaching for the heights God intends.  We all want victorious living over failure, loss, and even sin.  When waiting for victory, in what position do we need to be to catch the wind of what God is going to do?  Maybe it has been blowing all this time and you have not been in the place to feel it, to catch it. Maybe you have not even spread your wings.

I think God is waiting on us.  He has been patient through many circumstances, desiring to give us what we needed all along.  The activity of waiting is quite the work, a lot of effort, with powers that may even try to dismantle our strength, our courage, our desire and to keep us out of position for the good of God.  Use waiting as a time to enter the battle for the good of God in our lives.  

Remember, for there to be a victory, there must have been a battle.

No comments: