Isaiah 64:4 (NIV) Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
Waiting is not my favorite past time. When people make us wait past a specified time, it is easy to become annoyed. As one plagued with chronic time challenges, I have struggled for years with arriving on time much less waiting for another. If you are the person who others tell to arrive fifteen to thirty minutes beforehand just so they will not have to wait on you again, you may have the same problem. I set the clocks around me ahead so I will get out on time. I am convinced it is an undocumented handicap. My dad feels differently. He challenged me as a young person to overcome my perpetual tardiness by understanding that when I choose not to arrive on time, I am telling the person who is waiting on me that I do not value their time as much as my own. Whoa! It was a stark revelation to me that I still remember and have shared with our children. I still run about five minutes behind consistently and since I am married to a man who wants to be five minute early therefore I am still trying to get my act together. The flip side of the coin is that I do not like to wait. I make others wait but when it comes to me, the sooner the better. Lord, fix me please. My shallow heart that sees time as a capsule that I live in rather than the Eternity that you have created.
I am playing the waiting game again. Vastly annoyed, I have fussed at the Lord, begged Him, pleaded with Him and agonized that He would please move on my behalf. Nothing. Nada. I am still waiting on that thing which He promised. I have even questioned the validity of that promise even though I know that I know the Lord made it to me. My faith is being tested. Hope challenged Will I stay or will I go? There is nothing keeping me from wandering off, running ahead, or stubbornly pushing the issue until I do it my way rather than waiting on His Way. But then in the quiet hours of morning, rather than chastising my impatience or punishing my indiscretion, the Lord leans down and whispers in my ear, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides (me), who acts on behalf of those who wait for (me).”
I Samuel 13:7-14 (NIV) Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
There are things to remember when waiting on the Lord that must not be forgotten. We have been given a purpose and many precious promises that the enemy would like to steal, kill and destroy. It is up to us to remain secure in the Lord’s Presence waiting for His Arrival in all things or forfeit the victory and give up the territory that we have already been given through Christ Jesus.
1) Fear and doubt ALWAYS lead to impatience. When Saul saw the men scattering in fear, he stopped waiting for Samuel’s arrival. Impatience rises up from fear and doubt. These are qualities of disbelief that limit one’s ability to receive God’s Best in their life. If you want more of God, if you are calling out for revival, if you desire Jesus Christ to be an active partner in life, one must be diligent in uprooting disbelief and filling it with more faith. Worry and stress are symptomatic of fear. Fear is fueled by doubt and defined as “false evidence appearing real.” The only way to combat a lie is with the Truth. The enemy is quite stealth at taking God’s Word and twisting it with ignorance. A lack of knowledge causes people to be destroyed. (Hosea 4:6) The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion. But just like at the zoo, if we are obedient in following the directions posted on the wall keeping cages and fences between us and this predator – we will successfully make it out alive and safely to our home.
2) Impatience always leads to indiscretion. The word indiscretion that one is lacking in a few key areas of determination that lead us to greater faith in God. Indiscretion is a lack of good judgment. We do not always think in terms of eternity and are quickly shifted to reality because we can see it, touch it, feel it and taste it. We must familiarize ourselves with the senses that recognize the Kingdom so when we enter the realm of the impossible we have the faith to stick it out. Indiscretion leads to a lack of prudence or common sense. Pressure can push us from what we know and understand about God to that which gives immediate relief or resolution. Finally, indiscretion is a lack of circumspection or observation that causes us to act without caution or with blatant disregard for what we know is true. Impatience leads to all these things that forfeit the purpose and promises of God given to those who are obedient.
3) Indiscretion leads to disobedience. There is an old proverb that says “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” People who are constantly moving with no roots in one place or another, avoid responsibilities and care. They also lack growth and development. They are what they are and will be no more. When we choose impatience rather than waiting on the Lord, there will be indiscretions that lead to disobedience. Saul began to fear and therefore doubt Samuel’s arrival. Saul became impatient as the few soldiers that he had left began to scatter. Rather than continuing to wait, Saul took matters into his own hands and performed priestly duties which clearly and completely violated God’s Law. What happened next?
4) Disobedience disconnects us from God’s Plan. Saul could have ruled and reigned over Israel for all time. But the moment that Saul chose his plan, another ruler was chosen for God’s People. David who qualified as a man after God’s Heart. Obedience is a choice. It is not always an easy choice. In fact, most of the time, it is the most challenging and difficult one to make in the influential and sinful world we live in. It means that there will be many times we wait and watch for the Lord is seeming isolation. The Lord gives us a promise. We hear it. We receive it. We believe it. Life happens. We begin to pick it apart. Doubt creates divots that soon fill with fear. Eroding our character and weakening ones reserve, we begin to wonder if it is true or somehow we have lost sight of reality. Friends, faith doesn’t make sense. It is illogical. It will not meet the requirement of reality. But just wait and see… His Promise is not delayed but being performed to perfection. Thankfully we have something that Saul did not. We have the Grace of God and freedom in Jesus to come running back when we wander off or even wonder off. He celebrates our return. Reestablishing our righteousness and holding us close. He is a good, good Father to those who He has called as His Children.
Habakkuk 2:1-3 (NIV) I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
It is really hard as a parent to say, “No” sometimes. Not when it comes to our child’s safety or wellbeing but those desires in their heart that we long to fulfill. I am not a push-over parent. We have really great kids who have not been hard to manage, overly disobedient or rebellious to date. It makes me want to bless them all the more. Though I love them and always want to bless them, I also know that I must teach them about responsibilities, faithfulness, and obedience, too. When I am not with them, they must make good choices. I know that God is molding and shaping me the very same way. His aspirations and goals for my life are so much greater than I can even think to ask for. In the waiting, when fear and doubt begin to take over, and it seems like I am a fool – it is the promise of His Great Love and even Greater Grace that digs up those words, that promise, and holds them tightly as I ascend the watchtower again.
I must wait on the Lord. I have to see what He will do next because honestly everything that He has done for me has been perfect. I lack no good thing. I know He is coming. He always does. It is not a matter of if, just when. So as I sit here today on this watchtower of waiting, guarding my faith, my strength is renewed by His Grace that somehow always finds me in my weakness. I am watching. I am waiting on the Lord. Will you wait and see with me?
Psalm 27:14 (NIV) Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.