Waiting for God

by Myron Heckman on December 10, 2013
Waiting for God
Pastor Myron Heckman
Cape Cod Bible Alliance Church 

Waiting is something most of us try to avoid. We don’t like it in traffic, at the grocery store cashier, at the toll booth, at the airport. It feels like a waste of time – unproductive and without purpose. 
 And the same impatience applies to more significant issues. We wait to get through an illness, to finish school, to find a job, for marriage, or for a relationship to get reconciled. There is no such thing as a life without waiting. 
And one thing we in the Glory of God on Cape Cod wait for is revival. Will it come? If so, when? Do our prayers make any difference? And we may witness what seems like a setback to any awakening happening. What can be good about waiting? Could God have a purpose in it?
Advent as a season leading up to Christmas has as one of its themes “waiting.”
During Advent we identify with the ancient Israelites who waited for their Messiah.
We wait for Christmas, and we try to teach young ones (and some adults) the value of waiting for something valuable, to make it more fulfilling. If we ourselves aren’t careful to wait for Christmas to for our best celebration we may find Christmas Day almost anticlimactic.
    We also remind ourselves in Advent that we wait for the 2nd Advent, Jesus’ Second Coming, when He will return and reign over all creation. How do we live while we wait?
You are likely earnestly hoping for something important to you and you know well how that tries your patience.Waiting is going to be a major issue in all of our lives, for all of our lives. We need a theology of waiting.
One of Israel’s mistakes in not waiting is recorded as a lesson for us. Here’s the background -
Assyria is the super power of the world at that time. They are conquering nation after nation, and their policy toward nations they conquer is to smash and grab, and disperse. And Assyria is headed inexorably toward Israel.
Well, when a powerful enemy like that is approaching you’ve got to do something and you have to do it in a hurry.  And so they come up with an idea – “we will align ourselves with Egypt.”  They are a powerful nation, not as powerful as Assyria, but they want to stop Assyria too, so let’s make a treaty with them and they will defend us. It seems like the better part of wisdom when one is backed into a corner.
But, the Israelites forgot something.
“Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord,
“Who take counsel, but not of Me,
And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit,
That they may add sin to sin;
Who walk to go down to Egypt,
And have not asked My advice…”
They forgot to seek the Lord. They were so caught up in fear and the need to do “something” that they didn’t take time to inquire of the Lord.
  That would backfire on them.
Therefore the strength of Pharaoh
Shall be your shame,
And trust in the shadow of Egypt
Shall be your humiliation. (Isaiah 30:3)
Egypt would not come and rescue them – it was itself a crumbling empire.
Our acting out of fear and impatience is costly to us. It drains us of energy and leads to emotional and spiritual fatigue. God tells Israel the way to peace.
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
Waiting helps us get our spiritual bearings.
A speedboat driver survived a racing accident and described it. He said that he had been at top speed when his boat veered slightly and hit a wave at a dangerous angle. The combined force of his speed and the size and angle of the wave sent the boat spinning into the air. He was thrown from his seat and propelled deeply into the water, somersaulting and so confused that he had no idea which direction was up. It was frightening to know he had a limited amount of air and he needed to get to the surface soon. Rather than flailing about He had to remain calm and wait for the buoyancy of his life vest to begin pulling him up. Once he discovered which way was up, he could rise to the surface.
Sometimes we find ourselves surrounded by confusing options, too deeply immersed in our problems to know "which way is up." When this happens, we too do best to remain calm, waiting for God's quiet lift to pull us in the proper direction. There is a "buoyancy" in Christ who rose from the dead and who ascended. He lifts us upward as we rest in Him. 
  “In returning and rest you shall be saved.
  “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength”
    One thing that can quiet your frantic soul is to have a confidence in the Lord. Have a confidence that God will keep His promises. Persuade your heart of that by remembering that God’s wisdom and love and power are great enough to turn your frustrating, seemingly unproductive and boxed-in place into a fulfillment for you. Take time to rest in the Lord, to be reminded of His ability, to inquire of the Lord.
Isaiah goes on to say:   Blessed are all those who wait for Him. (30:18c)
There is a blessing in waiting. The Lord may give us “the bread of adversity and the water of affliction” (Is 30:20) which means a daily diet of hardship while we wait for fulfillment. But He has His purposes.
Pastor and author Ben Patterson writes: “There are things to be learned while we wait on God that can't be learned at any other time. Things like learning to trust Him despite open ended circumstances, or to be content with what we have or don't have in light of all that He promises. These lessons, when embraced, will work in us a deeper level of trust and a greater capacity for resting in God. So, while you wait for what you hope for, allow God to accomplish the things for which He hopes--that you might become mature in Christ.”
One description of the Christian life could be – "a waiting life punctuated by samples of God letting us taste what will be." So we need to know how to wait.
Christian leader of the past G. Campbell Morgan wrote:
“Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.”
In waiting we learn to put away false idols.
You will also defile the covering of your images of silver,
And the ornament of your molded images of gold.
You will throw them away as an unclean thing;
You will say to them, “Get away!” 
(Is 30:22)
Waiting is a place of surrender to God alone as our God.
Sitting at a red light is one of the challenges to our patience, especially when we are in a hurry. Emergency responders have a device which can turn a red light to green with the push of a button.  It’s meant to speed their deployment to the scene of a crime, a fire, or an accident.
  Wouldn’t you like to have that device?  It would change stop lights in your path from red to green in seconds. Wouldn’t that make the best use of your time? But you can’t have one – they are illegal for civilian use. And with good reason. It’s not ethical for you to have a surreptitious advantage over others.  And if you were pushing a button and someone in cross traffic was pushing the button, the lights would be changing quickly and causing road rage and accidents.
       Waiting on God to answer our prayers, change our circumstances, or open our closed doors is akin to sitting at a verrry long red light. Wouldn't we all love to push a button and magically move God to give us a green light for all our plans and desires? Yet when God gives us a red light it is always and only for our protection, our provision, and for the good of others on the road of life.
  So you need to surrender your desire to be in control and have all your wishes met. God is God and you are not.
 In fact, you can use those frustrating times of waiting in line or at a stop light or a traffic jam to your spiritual advantage. You can tell yourself this is one more sign that you are not in charge, and that you need to surrender to God as Lord.
  It’s a beautiful picture to think of us saying to anything that has taken over our lives or has pushed our love for God to second place – “Get away!”
One of the things we wait for is revival – that is a moving of God to restore life and holiness and obedience to His church on in America and on Cape Cod. It is a move of God to awaken people on our peninsula and in our nation (and beyond) to their sinful condition and the reality of God, and the casting of themselves upon Jesus Christ as their only answer.
In an interview in World magazine, Pastor and theologian John Piper was asked what are we to do while we wait for God to move? Revival seems so one-sided, so much up to God, so should we make any effort? His answer:
“I say you obey what’s in Scripture. If it says worship God, you worship God. If it says love your enemies, you love your enemies. If it says practice hospitality, you practice hospitality. You do the hundreds of things that a Christward heart does in the hope that God will cause those little sparks to become a conflagration in a community or in a nation.”
Godly waiting means being faithful each day, throughout the day. It is not panicking or running ahead of God, but as John Piper puts it: “Wait in His place, or go at His pace.”