Sunday, November 26, 2023

Seasons of WAITING


It's been a minute since the Lord has asked me to write anything.

I guess being in a season of waiting WAIT.

I read a devotion this morning that just hit me.  When I woke up this morning, after an incredible night of sleep (finally) filled with God's presence and PEACE, I said, "Well, I am not writing this morning.  I can just read, shower, and be on time for church."

I guess you should never "assume" you know what the day is going to hold for you because God led me to read something that I felt was profound and wanted to share.

Being in a season of waiting - also means being in a season of TRUST.  I've never been good at waiting.  Everyone knows I am a "triple-A+" personality.  I am a fixer, a multi-tasker, and a leader (to a small extent).  I'm not good at waiting.  I'm more of the mindset, "What is taking so long?  Just make a decision and let's go!"

Well, you know how that usually works out.

If God wants you to WAIT, well then - you wait. This morning's reading was based on the story of Sarah and Abraham.  Yes.  We have all heard and read their story a million times, but when you put it in the context of a study on waiting, well then - it sort of tweaks the story and gives you new perspective.

Instead of me reinventing the wheel, let me share some of today's reading with you:

And I wondered if that’s how Abraham’s wife, Sarah felt when she heard she would have a baby at ninety years old. The three prophetic visitors in Genesis said Abraham’s wife would have a baby in a year. Sarah, listening from inside the tent, laughed to herself. “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” (Genesis 18:12)

I can relate to facing what seemed like an impossible situation. But I came to the end of all my efforts and natural solutions and striving, and it felt good to put it in God’s hands completely. Elisabeth Elliot writes, “God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.”

We often think of surrender like waving a white flag in battle. But my day of surrendering to God felt more like standing in the kitchen with a burnt cake in my hands, laughing because I messed the whole thing up. Then suddenly, I remember that God is an expert in turning messes into miracles, and I let out a little laugh.

Sarah laughed because she knew she couldn’t make it happen herself. The promise from God was too big, too far-fetched for a woman who was 90 years old.

And yet, despite the obstacles, God fulfilled His promise, and Sarah gave birth to Isaac.

It would be great if Sarah paved a road for us all to follow, a road of faith and optimism and kindness and trust. Wouldn’t it be great if she gave us the formula to follow for our waiting season? I can see it in the headlines: “Faith-Filled Woman Gives Birth in Her Nineties.” We’d all lean in for that kind of faith. Give us the formula—only there isn’t one.

The truth is, Sarah wasn’t all that full of faith. She didn’t play all her cards right. It seems to me, the action she took only made things messier than they needed to be (I’m guilty of the same thing). Yet, God still fulfilled what He promised.

If everyone got exactly what they wanted through trust and surrender, we’d rejoice because we finally nailed the formula. Surrender isn’t because God needs something from us but because He wants something for us—the peace that comes from trusting in Him alone. Surrender and trust enable us to accept the outcome, even if it looks different than we thought it would. A posture of surrender—even laughable surrender—recognizes that we’ve come to the end of our striving and natural solutions and we put our trust in Him no matter what. We don’t need to know what God is up to or how He’s going to work it out, we only need to know that He is a good God with our best interest in mind. And, as it turns out, impossible situations are His specialty.

I love that.  Obviously Sarah didn't have the formula for waiting and trust nailed down either.  She didn't play all her cards right - she took action on her own (outside of what God said) and made things messier - and yes, like our writer above, we have all done the same thing.

Waiting = SURRENDER.  I like the word SURRENDER so much better!  I can definitely SURRENDER to God.  Waiting is HARD.  Too hard for this triple-A+ girl.

SURRENDER means God has something for me, and when I SURRENDER to Him, I can find the PEACE I experienced last night while sleeping (yes, it's a physical feeling you feel that surpasses anything you have ever encountered - and that's why they call it "the peace of God that surpasses all understanding"). 

We put our trust in God no matter what.  No matter what untruths are being told about us.  No matter what fight or (as in my situation) flights are taking place within our situation.  No matter what.  "We don't need to know what God is up to or how He is going to work it out."

We only have to know that He is GOD, and He always has our best interests in mind.  God is in the business of CHANGE - changing people, changing situations, and changing hearts.

I love this quote above from Elisabeth Elliot, "God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to."

Wow.  Succinct and to the point.  God is God.  Rest nowhere but in His will.

If you are in a period of waiting today, like me - there are several things you can do to help yourself make it through this time of SURRENDER:

  • Pray - Talk openly and honestly to God every time you have a chance.  Cry if you need to; yell if you need to; sleep if you need to - but keep talking it through with God.  It may feel as if your prayers are only hitting the ceiling, but you can REST in the FACT that they are being presented at the throne of God in Heaven.  It is Biblical!
  • Journal - Keep a small notebook and pen by your bedside.  God will speak.  Let the words pour out of you.  Put all your deepest thoughts in there that may come when you wake up in the morning or when you are about to lie down to sleep at night.  Get the gunk OUT.
  • Talk - Surround yourself with GODLY people.  Your friends, family, or even your Parents might all love and support you - but if they are not strong Christians daily walking with the Lord, you may get ONLY support - not God's wisdom pouring out from them to you.  It is easy to nest and snuggle up to the people we are closest to in times of waiting, but if you are receiving opinions and support from those within your circle who are either not Christians at all or are Christians "in name only," you are not getting God's wisdom.  This is a hard one I know, but look closely at your inner circle.  Who is opening their Bible and reading daily?  Who are the ones on their knees praying daily?  Who is listening to Christian music?  These are all outward "helps" to see who is really walking closely with the Lord.  (Disclaimer:  Not all strong Christians have labels on them saying, "I walk close to the Lord," so be wise in making decisions.  But you should be able to easily discern who will give you good, Godly advice rather than just advice based on their love for you.)
  • Seek Godly Counsel - Goes a little bit hand-in-hand with Talk above, but you may need to seek Christian counseling or find an older (and wiser) Christian mentor.  Someone who is not a family member, friend, or Parent that can give objective viewpoints and Scripture to help you through your time of waiting.
Let's wrap up this morning's post with this lovely prayer I read.  It just hits home for me, and it is my prayer daily.  I hope it will be comforting to you as well.

I pray all of you have a wonderful Sunday in your house of worship and continue to grow closer to Jesus each day:

"Father, forgive me for lacking trust in you. Forgive me for trusting too much in myself, my capabilities, my circumstances, or others. Help my full trust to reside in you. I surrender my doubt, my fear, and my confusion. I don’t know where this path leads, but I want to trust you every step of the way. Thank you for a new level of trust in you. Amen."

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