I wish I had planned it, but I didn’t. It would have been a nice illustration, an object lesson of the sneakiest kind. But I must admit, it wasn’t on purpose. It was a mistake, made because I was trying to hurry through to the end of my message.
In last Sunday’s message, on Abraham’s long test of faith in waiting on God’s promise, my last point was “Wait for Him to come through.” There were a few sub-points listed on the outline sheet, about The Wrong Wayand The Right Wayto wait. And because I was trying to play catch-up time-wise at the end of the message, I hurried past those sub-points. (That’s more than a little ironic, don’t you think? Hurrying past the teaching on waiting?) Anyway, I heard from a few of you that day, asking what those sub-points were. I’m glad to know at least a few of you were interested.
I considered saying that I was trying to teach everyone a little something about patience, that I had planned this as a life lesson on waiting. However, something tells me not many people would be sitting on the edge of their chairs all week waiting anxiously for me to provide sage wisdom so you can finally fill in the blanks of your sermon sheet.
For those of you who arewaiting, pen in hand, here’s what I meant to say. There is a wrong way, and a right way, to wait, and it involves our attitude, our action and our disposition. The wrong way is: anxiously, passively and controlling. That is, we are not to wait on God’s promises to come through with an attitude of fretting and worry, with actions of doing nothing while we wait, or with a disposition of wanting to control things. That’s usually why we struggle most with waiting, because we want control, and the fact that we’re not in control frustrates us to no end. That’s one of the great lessons of waiting: it makes us recognize that we’re not in control, and that God is. It’s all about faith, remember?
The right way to wait is: prayerfully, actively and trusting. That is, instead of worrying and being anxious, we pray for God’s provision and for His peace. Instead of being passive, and doing nothing, we are actively doing all that we can with what we have where we are, but not getting ahead of God, taking shortcuts or trying to do what He’s promised to do. And we trust; that’s the flip-side of wanting to control things. Instead, we “let go and let God” and allow Him to do what He’s promised.
I used a quote a few weeks ago on this subject, from Richard Hendrix: “Second onto to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in godliness, maturity and genuine spirituality most of us ever encounter.” I very much believe that to be true.
My prayer for each of you is that God is growing your faith where you are, and that you are trusting in His promises for your life He is faithful, even if our faith requires us to wait on His trustworthiness to come through.
Have a blessed weekend. I’ll see you Sunday.