Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The danger of waiting on God

Danger and Delight in Waiting

Yesterday evening around 7:00 I made my way to the chapel, striding purposefully across the lawn, unaware that I was being watched. The sun felt warm on my back, the wind invigorating…my thoughts in the clouds.

Suddenly a voice called, “Hey!” “Hey, you got a minute?” I turned to see a man walking across the lawn. I met him halfway and shook his hand. “You got a minute?” he said. “Sure,” I replied. He made some small talk about the day, the sun and beauty of birds, and then said, “I know this sounds weird, but I wanted to talk to someone about faith.” “I’m thinking of leaving Christianity, but I promised that I’d talk to someone today -- before turning away.” “Will you talk to me?” he asked.

I nodded, trying to be sensitive.

“But you kind of looked like you were going somewhere,” he said. “You sure you have time to talk?” “I was on my way to the chapel,” I said. “Why don’t you come in with me and sit awhile?” “God and I aren’t so much on speaking terms,” he replied. “But I’ll come in and talk to you.” And so he did.

We sat in the quiet lamplight of the chapel and he told me his story.

It was a story of pain and heartache…a human story.

And finally, he talked about the straw that broke the camel’s back. He really wanted God to intervene on a specific issue, and he promised the Lord he would pray for 30 days straight. So he prayed…and prayed. 30 days came and went, and he received no answer. And now he sat, holding the shards of a broken faith…a broken man.

“I’ve concluded that God just doesn’t care all that much about personal issues,” he said. “How could God care about me at all, and allow me to go through such things…and then not answer me when I prayed honestly?”

“Is there some reason why I should believe?” he asked. “Or am I just one of the damned?”

His questions came like a flood, and I tried to answer as best I could.

We talked late into the night, and then prayed together.

I took his email, and then he was gone. But he smiled before he left…one of God’s hurting children, struggling to find his way in a world gone wrong.

And today I’ve considered his story. It is fascinating, because though the details are unique, the basic storyline is so human: life, dreams, silence, and waiting on God.

It is dangerous to wait on God! Waiting on God carries all kinds of traps for humans. In waiting, we are tempted…so prone to other voices, so willing to settle for God’s ‘second best’ [or third, fourth, or fifth…etc.] just so long as we can touch, taste and feel an answer! In waiting we are vulnerable to the serpent voice that says, “Did God really say?” “Really now, aren’t the apples good?

And so it goes -- an age-old story: the danger of waiting on God.

But there is another side to this waiting: the divine side, its delight and blessing.

There are very few things that God is said to delight in, but one thing in which God delights is when His children wait on Him, in faith.

The psalmist says something to the effect that God does not delight in the strength of His creation, but He does delight in ‘those who await His gracious favor.’ Likewise, the prophet Isaiah says that those who wait upon the Lord will ‘renew their strength, and soar on eagle’s wings!’

As I consider this concept of divine waiting, I see three things:

  • The temporal aspect: regretfully, waiting takes time! But is over time that the miracle intended by waiting works its transformation in us.
  • The expectant aspect: biblical waiting connotes waiting with faith, in hope. In other words, the waiting of a child with complete trust in her father, that good will come!
  • The binding aspect: one form of the biblical 'wait' actually means to ‘collect,’ or ‘bind together’ by twisting. It is in waiting that God binds us to Himself, a strong cord of love that cannot be broken!

And here is the great key: God delights in those who wait in hope for Him, for in this waiting, He is binding that soul to Himself. In waiting, the delights of God become our delights, and so He grants the desires of our hearts.

Such soaring! Such eagle strength! Such incredible life!

In waiting, we soar into the divine life, the very life of God. In waiting, we lose the childish, spoiled things of self, and find the highest value of God.

In waiting we find our true self.

Time, hope and binding: these are the waiting delights of God, delights which bring us to ourselves, in Him.

Alleluia!

Amen.


21 comments:

winston7000 said...

Many times, many, many, I have been in situations that seemed hard to endure. But by chance, years ago, I happened across a little meditation of St. Teresa of Avila, great Spanish mystic and a lady who could even chide God about His lack of friends.

Her words are always with me:

"Let nothing distub you.
Nothing frighten you.
All things are passing.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He, who possesses God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices."

And God bless you, Loy, for so many fine thoughts and great insights.

John

Loy Mershimer said...

Thanks, John. I appreciate your heart and responses, always.

That meditation by Teresa of Avila is profound, incredibly profound on several levels. And, in general, I'm very attracted to her life and thought -- so thank you!

I don't know if you've encountered the music of John Michael Talbot or not, but if you haven't, it's a blessing awaiting you! JMT does several songs based on Teresa's work, and one of those songs is "God Alone is Enough" from his Simple Heart CD.

I resonate with JMT's music and spirituality, take great comfort and strength from it [so biblically steeped and free from cultural trinkets]. I'm sure you would, too.

God bless you too!

Have a wonderful day,

In Christ,

Loy

Allen Patterson said...

I was reminded of two scriptures as I read this "everyman" story.

The first, found in Ephesians 1:18, where Paul prays, "that the eys of our hearts would be enlightened." How many times have I turned away in bitter disappointment from a time of waiting, only to have the "eyes of my heart" opened by the Master at a later time.

And then 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 applies particularly to these times: "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Roger Patterson said...

The psalmist David reminds us of one of the most important aspects of waiting on God. In Psalms 62:1 he writes:

"Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; my defense; I shall not be greatly moved."

Then in verse 8 he continues:

"Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

Trust and waiting go hand in hand. The meditation by St. Teresa is also laced with trust throughout each line.

Loy Mershimer said...

Important point, Roger!

Trust is an inseparable part of faithful waiting. The Psalms teach this implicity and explicity [as you note]. In reading your post, my mind went to the passage in Psalm 33, which links trust with waiting:

Behold, the eye of the Lord
is upon those who fear Him,
on those who wait upon his love,
To pluck their lives from death,
and to feed them in time of famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
Indeed, our heart rejoices in Him,
for in His holy name we put our trust.
Let your loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us,
as we have put our trust in You.


Wow. Powerful stuff, huh?

Also, we have trust linked with the concept of the fear of the LORD, which is [short definition] 'living in continual awareness of His presence.' There's a lot of incredible, layered truth wrapped up in biblical waiting...

Thanks for the contribution, Roger!

Loy

chikitaeinstein said...

Hey, I don't know you. But what you said about waiting for God, or on God really spoke to me. I have been struggling for over a week because a friend and I aren't speaking. She says that God is telling her to wait and I am just not sure what is from God and what isn't. A few weeks ago, I had a vision of myself flying on an eagle, over a big city. Not really sure of what it meant. But when I googled for waiting on God, I found your blog.. and when you wrote:

Likewise, the prophet Isaiah says that those who wait upon the Lord will ‘renew their strength, and soar on eagle’s wings!’

It really spoke to me, that hello. God was preparing me to wait and trust and have total faith through that vision.. and it's confirmed through your words.

Loy Mershimer said...

Truly, God is good!

Thank you for your words, chikita einstein. It's amazing the way God works, the beauty and faithfulness of His person. I am continually humbled...and awed by His grace -- His sustenance and signs at points of need.

Glad to be a small part of that divine network for you! :-)

Loy

chikitaeinstein said...

Isn't it amazing?! Thank you so much!! Your words have given me peace and have been my answered prayers!

Steve said...

Thank you for your words, they have been very helpful to me. The giving of Time is largely in our control it seems to me. Hope though is both in our control but also a gift, like Faith. The Binding is up to God when he chooses to come to you. This is special and worth waiting for.

rainingnina said...

Hello. I stumbled upon your blog because I really wanted to search about why we should wait on God.

I am a fresh graduate and until now the companies that I like are not calling me. It's been almost 3 months and I feel really down. I didn't immediately look for a job when I graduated (that was on March) because God seems to tell me that it's not yet time. So I just took a vacation and only this June that i started handing out my resumes and applying for a job. Nothing. Just dead air. Now I feel like, you know, that I should have applied on March once I graduated. But then if I did that, I'm disobeying what God wants me to do. I wanted to settle for second best, companies that are just OK, but then it means that I'm giving up on God. What's the use of all my waiting if I just settle for second best?

Your entry really made sense and gave me hope. I will continue to wait for God in all of this. Waiting is just so hard though. I guess what God is teaching me right now is to really put my trust in Him.

Once again, thank you for this entry. For giving me another reason to be hopeful. That in everything, it is for God's Glory. :)

Loy said...

Hi Rainingnina,

Thank you for your words -- it is good to know that the shared words of faith are helping the family of God!

Keep trusting and believing and "walking in the light as He is in the light."

Sometimes God asks us to wait and trust His character; other times He asks us to trust His character through working while waiting -- whatever your condition, realize that the whole is by grace and that the love of Christ is in it to prosper you and not to harm you. He has your best interests in mind...

Meet Him half-way when you can; in all the other needs, trust and obey...which is to say, faithful waiting!

God bless you!

In Christ,

Loy

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Just like the fresh graduate, I did not get a job immediately and then later I got a job that I sometimes think is "profitless hard work". Nevertheless I did it until God gave me my new job which is more fulfilling.

I had to wait, then I got 3 offers at the same time! I chose my current job and I do not regret. During the waiting, I remember God sent me word through a lady, Martha. She said, "Have you ever prayed for something and you knew it was yours and then you did not get it? And then later you realise that God had something better in mind?" I said yes, despite the pain I felt. Amen.
A few weeks later they called me for this job! Praise the Lord!

Recently I suffered a heartbreak but as the pain now recedes, I'm prepared to wait on God- for He has my eternal good at heart!!!

Trust in Him at ALL times! Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.
I'm so glad, God is not like man, He'll keep His promises, even if days gone by!

Keep believing, keep praying, Behold He comes and His reward is with Him.

Don't lose your faith! Loose it upon every situation and God is gonna come through for you!

Albert, Uganda

Loy Mershimer said...

Great thoughts, Albert!

Thank you so much for commmenting, and for your encouraging words! Very apt, and true...

Many blessings to you: continue on the path, in grace!

in Christ,

Loy

Michael J Fox said...

Hi.

Thanks for your encouraging words. I'm going through a tough time at the moment, and typed "Waiting on God" into google, and your page came up.

Thanks again!

Michael

loy said...

God bless you, Michael! May your journey be touched by His grace, in quiet yet meaningful ways...

"As your day, so shall your strength be..." says the Scripture. And may that be said of you on the path of waiting...!

Loy

Anonymous said...

hi,
i really appreciate what you are doing, i for one will say that my waiting upon the lord as been really difficult, almost to the point of giving up. But thanks to your comment on waiting it as highly encouraged me by giving me an understanding on what it is to wait upon the lord. Faith, hope and Patience is what we need, thanks Loy
Bayo, nigeria.

loy said...

Thanks, Bayo!

Truly, it takes all we have -- and more -- to wait on God. But it is in waiting that our heart becomes one with His heart... and that is worth it all!

God bless you and give you a new sense of hope... more strength and courage to face the day!

in Christ,

Loy

linda baker said...

THANKS FOR ALLOWING "GOD" TO USE YOU TO INSPIRE AND UPLIFT THOSE OF US WHO ARE IN "GOD'S" WAITING ROOM AWAITING OUR BREAK THROUGH.

Loy Mershimer said...

Hi Linda,

Thank you for your words -- I appreciate your response! It's very neat to hear how God uses these words in the lives of His dear children, sons and daughters in the midst of long periods of silence and waiting...

God bless you, and may you find more divine reality, bound ever closer to God's good heart in the process of waiting!

in Christ,

Loy

fashionface said...

hello and thanx for you knowlegdge. i struggle deeply with waiting on God because i'm always in doubt of doing it correctly. i been with a burden for about 3 years now and i'm not sure if God is putting me to the test or if i'm doing it to myself. i have many reasons to be faithful with my mom being a pastoral assistant and my dad being a Deacon. i am well aware of the Greatness of the Lord for He has performed many memorable miracles in my life. but yet, i feel so empty and depressed. i struggle with myself more than i'd like to admit and i blame myself. i know no one is responsible for your happiness, that only you can make yourself happy but what if thats not my case. i struggle to love a man that is every women's perfect mate but the attraction just isn't there. i struggle with the thought of taking our relationship to marriage although we have a child together and he is trully a great man. what's my problem??? am i being a fool or is this really real??? im so unclear about my current state, wondering if i'm in waiting or if i'm misinterpreting the Lord's message (if there is one at all). i've become the things i can't stand: lazy, depressed, sleepless, lacking enthusiasm, leaving goals just in thoughts and not carrying them through. please give some insight because i can't stand myself right now.

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