Psalm 40:1-3 (Message)
I waited and waited and waited for GOD. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip. He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to GOD.
Three months ago, the path seemed so clear and unobstructed. A plan carefully designed over the course of several months that would be a seamless transition from a defensive posture against the cancer that keeps invading our son’s body to an offensive front that would end this battle for good. The doctors had researched and planned each step meticulously until every single detail had its place. Our son in good condition despite four bouts with cancer and three rounds of chemotherapy and other modalities was ready for the fight. However, an obstacle arose in our path that stopped us dead in our tracks. For months, I have fought to push it over, find a way around it, or any other loophole that we might slip through in desperation for remission. The insurance company denied his treatment four times, an external review board yet again, the benefits division of our employer upheld these motions, and the hospital financial review board although fully supporting the plan could not proceed without some form of payment. As one might well imagine, there has been many tears of disappointment throughout the process. Frustration more than fear the overwhelming factor. To come so far to be held back now is unacceptable…or is it. Throughout the course of the last few months on many occasions as I have sought the Lord’s Direction, His Spirit holds me back and says, “Just wait.” It is not a commanding voice or lording charge but a still small voice that just tells me to hang on. The Hand of God is before me. Just wait. There are some days that the words bring solace and comfort in the knowledge that the God of all creation is working on our behalf. There are some days that is aggravating as the time spent waiting seems too long and cumbersome to go on another day. Just wait. What am I waiting for? “Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13-14)
Matthew 11:28-32 (Message)
After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
We all come to the place where the wait feels too long. The moment in time that we doubt the arrival of the Lord or that He is actually with us. Martha’s faith was strong that it wasn’t over. Jesus would bring her brother back to life one way or the other. But Mary’s expectation had died with her beloved brother. “Master (Jesus), if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus waited for Mary to come to Him. He is waiting for us to come to the end of our trust in what we see to step over into the realm of hope that allows the believer to expect the impossible to become their reality. Martha knew one way or the other that there would be a resurrection and she found joy in continued expectation. Mary did not. What happens when we reach the end of expectation and are plunged into desperation? The Lord is ready and waiting for this day. (Psalm 31:19-22) It is the day that the measure of faith that we are given has the opportunity to grow and develop into confident hope. When confident hope comes we demonstrate the kind of maturity that leads to prosperity. It is alright to call out, cry out and even complain to God in that moment when everything falls apart. (Psalm 4:4-5) It is better to build our case before the Lord than to carry it all around town. He gives us permission to call on His Great Name. Anything that it takes to remove doubt and regain faith works for the Lord who has Big Shoulders and is willing to carry all of our heavy burdens. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Psalm 130:5-6 (Message)
I pray to GOD—my life a prayer—and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning.
Our life should be solely based on expectancy in the Lord as a believer. Those who decide to commit their life to such a task should expect long wait times. Over the last few months, opportunity has come on many levels to escape this long wait and move on. I have been sorely tempted to encourage our son to jump at the chance. But after I devise my natural plan for completion, the Lord quietly speaks to my heart, “I wouldn’t do that…” In my hesitation, His Truth is confirmed in that we are to “just wait” for now. I hate this response loathing it with all that is within me. I am a “do” girl who lives in action to my own detriment many times. I spend so much time trying to budget every second of my life that I fail to live it. For those of you Type A personalities reading this today – you know exactly what I mean. My life is full of figurative boxes and I strive daily to keep my life well organized and under control. So when the enemy (or the Lord) come to shake it all up, I am less than amused and become quite agitated. I must choose whether or not I want God’s Way or my way in every situation without relief. Will I wait on the Lord or forge my way through? We decide the portion of our life surrendered to God as a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1-2) Just as Cain decide to give a lesser offering, we choose to give God the leftovers of life trying to have some natural security along the way. The Lord warned Cain that “sin lies in wait, ready to pounce, and it’s out to get you so you better master it.” (Genesis 4:3-7) We all know the story. Cain made his choice. Rather than sacrificing more, he sacrificed his life to sin when he killed his brother, Abel. Abel gave the first fruits of his harvest because of his faith in God. (Hebrews 11:4) God had not mandated what to give to him but in his heart – Abel knew what God required. He decided to give it even though it cost him his life. Life is full of tests and one often leads to another as the enemy is ready to pounce and attempt to destroy our faith and hope in God in an effort to keep us from waiting on the Lord and trusting His Word until His Promise comes. (Luke 4:12-13) We can never let our guard down knowing that the devil never gives up his assault on the Children of God. The sacrifice of our life is a personal choice made in every single decision we make in the course of every day. If I am dissatisfied with my life, it is up to me to portion my life differently until all that I am is waiting and watching for the Lord and His Goodness. “Lord teach us to live wisely and well” so that your “loveliness” will rest upon us! (Psalm 90:12-17) We must decide that the Lord is worth waiting for. “God, the one and only—I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I’m set for life. (Psalm 62:1-2)
Romans 8:15-17 (Message)
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
As Children of the Living God, we have an unbelievable inheritance. So much so that often times we settle for a lot less because we do not have clear cut revelation of just how much He loves us. God’s Word holds the key to unlock this truth and make it a reality in our life as we attach our faith to each and every promise with total expectancy that what we hope for is totally possible as ordained by the Will of God for our life. I must only choose to be a living sacrifice living God’s Way. What is it exactly that we are giving up? Sin, rebellion and darkness including desperation and depravity that is the reward of such behaviors. We really don’t have to do anything but like the prodigal son return home. His father did not require him to regain his trust or earn his love again but accepted him home arms wide open overflowing in love. This is how we are to approach God. We just move deeper in His Presence by loving and trusting Him. Using all the faith that we can muster to cultivate confident hope so we will stay put until He is done working out every detail to perfection. (Isaiah 30:18) God takes His Time to do everything right so if you rush it there is a risk of spiritual abortion.
Romans 8:22-25 (Message)
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Having five children, I am fully aware of the aches and pains of pregnancy just as much as I am aware of how it feels to fall in love five times after long months of waiting, watching and wondering. When a woman is pregnant, going into labor early is a scary thing. With my first child, I went into pre-term labor at just seven months. For three days, the doctor worked to stop the onset of labor until it was the appropriate time. Waiting is not a bad thing – it is a God thing. It is a completion thing. It should not lessen our anticipation but heighten our expectation. Each time we are subject to delay it only means that His Promise for our life is not complete. My body was built by God to hide a tiny embryo giving it time to mature and develop into a fetus that would become an infant ready to be born. My body just knows how to do it. All I must do is accept the pregnancy and allow it to progress within me. Faith is the same kind of seed. Once planted in the heart of a man, it will grow and develop into maturity producing confident hope that will become the Promises of God pouring into our life. “Christ arrives at the right time” every time. (Romans 5:6-8) I know that the last trimester of each pregnancy seems to last forever as I waited and wondered about the precious baby that I was about to have. I wanted to hold them and love them with great expectation and joyous anticipation of the life that we would live. If only we could approach our wait time with God like women do pregnancy living with adventurous expectancy and joyous anticipation of the goodness that was coming compliments of our Father in Heaven and His Unfailing Love, I believe a whole lot more people would be experiencing the Blessings of God in their life. (Romans 8:18-21)
Romans 5:3-5 (Message)
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
The Holy Spirit is working in us and the Lord works through us molding and shaping the vessel of our life to be receivers. He wants to pour into our lives all of His Goodness. Satisfaction comes from a right relationship with God which requires faith so we are tested not for failure but expansion. He is pressing us to seek Him more so the Lord can fill your life with His Blessings and Promises. Will you praise the Lord when trouble comes? Will you have passionate patience that reinforce one’s ability to remain faithful even when it seems to be taking too long? Will you remain alert in adventurous expectation and joyous anticipation of what He is doing even when He asks you to be still and just wait? To have God’s Very Best – you will have to just wait because it is bigger and better than anything we could dream up or think to ask for. When I was about to give birth to our first child, I was ready. I was excited. The midwife said to rest and eat good to prepare for the hard work of labor. So what did I do? I gorged like it was my last supper and walked for three days straight to expedite labor. When it came time to bring him into the world, I was exhausted. I remember thinking that I had never been so tired and worn out in my whole life. If I had waited like I was instructed, the experience would have been far less taxing on my body. I would have clarity of the moment when I first met my son. We must learn to just wait and let the Lord complete all the details of what He is doing in our life. There is more to this life than the light and momentary traumas we must endure. Worry and stress cause us to become fatigued and ready to quit. (Romans 13:11-14) But those who wait upon the Lord have renewed strength. (Isaiah 40:31) Time stretches past the here and now into Eternity and His Plan is far greater than our own so today the Lord is saying, “Just wait…”
I Corinthians 1:7-9 (Message)
Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.