PC-USA 1997-01-10 - Waiting

Waiting is one of the hardest things for us sometimes, yet we spend a lot of our time here on Earth, waiting. Anxiously waiting for medical test results. Impatiently waiting in long lines in campus bookstores. Excitedly waiting for a special date.

For most of my life, I have considered that waiting was just something to endure, something that will help to develop our patience. And I try to wait patiently. I sometimes have prayed for patience in waiting. But our interim minister gave me -- through a recent sermon -- a new perspective on waiting. He said that waiting is God's school, wherein we learn some of His most valuable lessons for us … Wow!

Heb 6:15 (NIV) And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Abram and Sarai didn't trust that God was really going to give them the promised son. They thought they had better take things into their own hands. So they jumped ahead of God, by getting Abram together with Hagar, Sarai's servant. They learned that they should have waited. By jumping ahead of God's plan, they brought heartache upon themselves:

Gen 16:4-6 (NIV) He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me." 6 "Your servant is in your hands," Abram said. "Do with her whatever you think best."

Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

Paul originally wanted to be delivered from his suffering in prison. But after the long wait, he learned that God was glorified more, by him remaining imprisoned:

2 Cor 12:8-10 (NIV) Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardship, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Let's see if we can start looking at waiting differently -- not as something to "just get through." Let's wait actively, not passively. Let's ask God to help us learn from the times we are in "holding patterns," and to use us to minister to others even while we are waiting. Sometimes other people can learn from how we handle waiting. Sometimes, we don't find out until later, that we are blessing people. Sometimes, we might not even find out until we are in Heaven! But you can be sure that God can use EVERYthing.


Dear Lord, please help us to remember, during waiting periods -- whether they be short or long ones -- to ask Your help. Help us to learn what You would have us to learn, and please use us to bless others as we are waiting. In Jesus' name, amen.

: ) Jan