Monthly Archives: August 2013

When God Says Wait – Part 4

To recap:

Part 1 – Waiting is a tool in the hands of God to build into us the Christlike character that our Christian lives are all about. Waiting is one of the most potent lessons to teach us submission, humility, selflessness, dependence, and faith – without which, it is impossible to please or glorify God. Thus, waiting is significantly tied to our purpose of glorifying God in all we do.

Part 2 – Our culture is impatient, and is only growing more so. This fact links to the gospel in a couple of important ways. They are demonstrating an increasing lack of submission to the authority of their Maker. And secondly, we–in this darkening context–have an increasingly potent opportunity to demonstrate gospel transformation in our patience. This makes learning how to wait on God a vital skill for the Christian.

Part 3 – In a repost of an article, Paul Trip discussed waiting as follows:

Waiting is active. In it, we are called to remember who we are and who God is, we are called to worship, serve, pray, and grow. Celebrate that you’re losing control in your waiting. See waiting as an opportunity to review all that you have to be thankful for. And let your time of waiting remind you of the coming day when there will be nothing left to wait for–all will be perfectly as it should be for eternity.

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Conclusion: What’s At Stake?

Whenever I have the chance to preach I always try to ask myself this question in my study time, and the congregation in the presentation. Since the text I’m unpacking always contains some level of instruction for us, it’s a great idea to ask, “what’s at stake if we choose not to obey this?”

So, if the church does not learn to wait on the Lord, what will it cost us?  Don’t let the “churchy” wording here give you any room to disassociate from the challenge, because the church and it’s health are the sum total of it’s individual members and their spiritual health. If you don’t get this, that means the church doesn’t get it in part.

We already know the two-fold answer. But yet, we need to hear it again. I’ve needed to hear it over and over again. And I still do, even though several of the things I’m waiting for are soon to be realized.

Cost #1 – Gospel Grace in Us:

If we don’t learn to wait well when God asks us to, we are turning almost all of the gospel truth in our lives upside down in a sense. We exist to worship God. The gospel made this possible again. So if I say in my heart, “God, I don’t want to wait for your provision or leading,” I am effectively saying, “God, I hereby dethrone you, despite all of your grace to me, because I no longer trust your ability to discern what is best for me. I am taking control temporarily until I gain the thing I’ve decided will satisfy me.” Consciously or not, this is exactly what’s happening in our hearts when we refuse to wait. And this is nothing short of proclaiming ourselves to be a better god than God is. If you are walking through life like this, consider that you’re not only failing to live out your purpose of worship, but you are displeasing the all-powerful, all-wise God who made and saved you. God will be glorified, make no mistake. We have to choose if it will be through our growth in His grace or through our correction under His justice (I’ve experienced both, and growth through grace is the better choice).

 

Cost #2 – Gospel Grace Through Us:

Almost without fail, struggles with waiting on the Lord grow out of unmet expectations, which usually carry the wafting stench of western civilization’s American dream. We expect to have the house, the car, the happy marriage, the financial stability, the fulfilling job, easy-to-parent children, a church that lines up with all of our beliefs and opinions, our fun hobbies, a secure retirement plan, etc. I certainly deal with struggles with waiting for some of these things (waiting, meaning letting go of my expectations). But there’s another level of difficulty some of us are called to face. Despite knowing that we live in a sin-filled, fallen world that is under a curse, we expect good health, safety from violence or war, and freedom from suffering. Have we forgotten that Jesus told us NOT to expect these things? Have we forgotten that he specifically linked that statement to our identity in Him? If you want to be a Christian you are instructed not to expect these things as a right, but to cherish them in gratitude as a privilege. This is radical in our cozy culture. And it’s a potent tool for evangelism. If we don’t let go of these expectations and wait on God through the darkest of valleys then what message are we sending to the lost about our satisfaction in Christ alone? God might want to use your lack of something that most people around us expect, in order to showcase how his grace has satisfied you fully already. If we won’t wait on the Lord, we’re not satisfied in Him alone. And if we’re not satisfied in Him alone, we’re sending a mixed message to the lost.

 

God asked me to let go of my loving wife of 5 and half years. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face in this life. I certainly didn’t get it all right, but God has been gracious to me. What do you have that you won’t let go of if God asks you to? Or, what have you lost that you won’t forgive God for taking away?

God has asked me to wait on ministry opportunities, marriage, and many other things. Again, It’s a constant struggle to be content, but His grace will work if I choose to obey. What do you want that you won’t be content without?

What price are you willing to pay to either hold on, or to get?


When God Says Wait – Part 3

Things have been busy lately (and will be for the next little while). Hence the non-postage.

But I wanted to share something a friend sent me recently from Paul Tripp that has bolstered much of the learning I’ve been experiencing on the topic of waiting.

Read.

Be challenged and encouraged.

And then read part two.

(The original post can be found here, along with a link to part two of his article).

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God’s Will for Your Wait (Part 1)

Waiting can be discouraging. Waiting can be hard. So what does it look like to wait in a way that makes you a participant in what God is doing rather than someone who struggles against the wait? Let me suggest four things today, and I’ll add three more on Monday.

Remind yourself that you’re not alone

As you wait, tell yourself again and again that you haven’t been singled out. Remind yourself that you’re part of a vast company of people who are being called to wait.

Reflect on the biblical story. Abraham waited many years for his promised son. Israel waited 420 years for deliverance from Egypt, then another 40 years before they could enter the land God had promised them. God’s people waited generation after generation for the Messiah, and the church now waits for his return. The whole world groans as it waits for the final renewal of all things that God has promised.

It’s vital to understand that waiting isn’t an interruption of God’s plan. It is his plan. And you can know this as well: the Lord who’s called you to wait is with you in your wait. He hasn’t gone off to do something else, like the doctor you’re waiting to see. No, God is near, and he provides for you all that you need to be able to wait.

Realize that waiting is active

Usually our view of waiting is the doctor’s office. We see it as a meaningless waste of time, like a man stuck in the reception area until he has nothing left to do but scan recipes in a two-year-old copy of Ladies’ Home Journal.

Our waiting on God mustn’t be understood this way. The sort of waiting to which we’re called is not inactivity. It’s very positive, purposeful, and spiritual.

  • To be called to wait is to be called to the activity of remembering: remembering who I am and who God is.
  • To be called to wait is to be called to the activity of worship: worshiping God for his presence, wisdom, power, love, and grace.
  • To be called to wait is to be called to the activity of serving: looking for ways to lovingly assist and encourage others who are also being called to wait.
  • To be called to wait is to be called to the activity of praying: confessing the struggles of my heart and seeking the grace of the God who has called me to wait.

We must rethink waiting and remind ourselves that waiting is itself a call to action.

Celebrate how little control you have

Waiting is difficult for us because we want to be little gods that reign with complete power over a small piece of creation. But ultimately that’s a draining and futile pursuit, so waiting should actually be a relief to us. It’s a reminder that I don’t have as much power and control as I thought I had.

Pastors, elders and ministry leaders, let me speak to you right now. When you’re required to wait, you realize again that you don’t have to load your church onto your shoulders. You may have God-given responsibilities in a number of areas, but that’s vastly different from pretending you have sovereignty in any area.

The church is being carried on the capable shoulders of the Savior Shepherd and the King of Kings. All we’re responsible for is the job description of character and behavior that this King has called us to in his Word. With the remainder, we’re free to entrust to him, and for that we ought to be very, very thankful! He really does have the whole world in his hands.

Celebrate God’s commitment to his work of grace

As you’re waiting, reflect on how deeply broken the world that you live in actually is. Reflect on how pervasive your own struggle with sin really is. Then celebrate the fact that God is committed to the countless ways, large and small, in which his grace is at work to accomplish his purposes in you and in those to whom you minister.

When it comes to the ongoing work of grace, he is a dissatisfied Redeemer. He won’t forsake the work of his hands until all has been fully restored. He’ll exercise his power in whatever way is necessary so that we can finally be fully redeemed from this broken world and delivered from the sin that’s held us fast.

Celebrate the fact that God won’t forsake that process of grace in your life and ministry in order to deliver to you the momentary comfort, pleasure, and ease that you would rather have in your time of exhaustion, discouragement, and weakness. He simply loves you too much to exchange temporary gratification for eternal glory!

~ Paul Tripp