Trusting While You Wait
My first full time staff position at a church was Minister of Youth and Activities. Midway through the four and one half years I served in the position, I felt a strong leading of the Lord to move toward a preaching ministry. After I received permission from the deacons to speak on Sunday at other churches, I felt my greatest problem would be scheduling the opportunities I would have. After six months of waiting, I had received zero opportunities. In my frustration, I sat at my desk, closed my eyes, opened my bible, placed my finger on the page and prayed, “God show me what you want me to do.” When I opened my eye my finger was on Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord (NASB). While this was not the anwer I wanted, it was the one I needed. After thirty years in ministry, God has shown me repeatedly the wisdom of heeding His advice and the folly of succumbing to my fears and impatience and following my own time table.
In the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Numbers there is the story of the twelve spies who went to scout the Promised Land for the Jewish people following their deliverance from Egypt. Of the twelve, only Joshua and Caleb, gave positive reports. The remainder of the spies reported that there were giants in the land and recommended that they not go into it. The people listened to the ten and the Jews ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty years. The lesson for us today is that we should never let fear stand in the way of any assignment that God gives. Faith tells us that He provides every need to accomplish every task that He gives.
In the thirteenth chapter of First Samuel, there is another story that gives us an equally devastating response to fear. In Chapter 10:8, King Saul had been given directions by the Prophet Samuel to go to Gilgal and to remain there for seven days until he came. He said that when he came he would offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. Then, he would tell Saul what he was to do. The seventh day came and Samuel was no where to be found. As the day passed, the threat of the Philistines created fear in the people and impatience in Saul. Finally, Saul took matters into his own hands and made the offerings and sacrifices himself. Immediately following his actions, Samuel arrived. For his disobedience Saul lost the privilege of his kingdom enduring forever through his heirs. The lesson for today is that we should always wait and do things according to God’s timing and not our own.
Here you have two stories that demonstrate the mistakes that people often make. First, fear causes them to dig in their heels and to refuse to move forward. Second, fear causes people to panic and to rush ahead of God’s timing. Both responses lead to disaster. These two blunders lead us to ask how we can know it is from God and is it the right time to do something.
I believe the most important ingredient in discovering and following God’s time table is to engage in intensive prayer. As we pray, it is important that we realize that God wants us to be successful in discovering and doing His will. He does not want us to fail. Therefore, if we will put self behind us and be open to what He reveals, we can be assured that He will help us to see clearly, not only what He has for us to do but when He wishes for us to do it.
As we pray we must do so with faith. It is faith that can overcome our fears and impatience. It is faith that brings us our greatest blessings. Andrew Murray said it this way, “Be assured that if God waits longer than you could wish, it is only to make the blessing doubly precious. God waited four thousand years, till the fullness of time, ere He sent His Son. Our times are in His hands; He will avenge His elect speedily; He will make haste for our help, and not delay one hour too long.” In other words, God’s time is always the right time.