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Fun Fact… Did you know that wait in the Old Testament is defined as: to bind like a rope; be strong with endurance; to expect/to hope in God.
“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27:14 NKJV
This verse is not David pointing his finger at you accusingly and commanding you not to move, despite using the word twice.
He’s encouraging you to spend time with God, let him prepare and strengthen you so that when the time comes, you’ll be ready.
David was anointed king as a kid, but he did not go around telling everyone he was King Saul’s replacement. He did not kill King Saul, despite Saul trying to kill him and having opportunity to do so, to take his place as King.
Instead, he partnered with God and prepared in the secret place, and waited WITH God.
This is the same verse in the Passion Translation:
“Heres what I learned through it all: Don’t give up, don’t be impatient, Be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave, courageous, and never lose hope. Yes keep on waiting For He will never disappoint you!”
Point to ponder while you wander…Waiting is more about having expectation in & partnering with God than timing. Waiting is about hope.
Today’s Deep Thought: Being trapped sucks. But if you pay attention, you might just learn something.
I need to go through a guarded gate to get to work. There are 2 gates to choose from. 95% of the time I go through the one gate. But yesterday I felt like I should go to the other one, but I brushed it off and pulled into the turn around like I do most days. I was the third car in line so I was waiting my turn. From where I was all needed to do was shoot across the 4 lanes and into the gate. It was 6:50 am, so I was exactly on time. Then I notice the traffic beginning to get squirrely and start to back up. Took me about 30 seconds to see the problem, an accident blocking the middle lane about 50 feet beyond the gate.
I was literally across the street from work and I couldn’t get there because the accident was backing up the traffic in front of me. No one was letting people over. People were honking and screaming and flipping each other off. It was then I realized I should have listened and gone to the other gate.
I decided that the easiest way to get out of this situation is to just turn left into the closest lane and then flip back around and drive to the other gate. Simple right? Wrong. The one car in front of me was determined to shoot across 4 lanes of dead stopped traffic to the gate. So I can’t go forward or turn left. I can’t back up because there’s a line up behind me. Trapped!
How many times does this happen in our lives? We get stuck in a situation that we can do nothing about. We get trapped by circumstances that may or may not be our fault. Sometimes we blow up! Sometimes we want to quit! Other times we can see the problem and the solution but can’t fix it, so we have no choice but to wait it out.
No matter what it seems like at the time, God’s not trying to frustrate or torture us when we are forced to wait. He knows that waiting is a process that produces fruit in us. Romans 5:3-5 says, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance,and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
God loves to bless His children. He desires to prosper us. He wants to give us the desire of our hearts. But He’s much more concerned with our heart attitude and our character than giving us things. That’s why the waiting is necessary. It shows us our heart attitude. It reveals areas that we need to work on. It shows our maturity and character. It shows whether or not we REALLY trust God.
In the case of my delay yesterday, I had to wait for about 15 minutes for the person in front of me to cross the road. It was a little like Frogger. I don’t like Frogger because I never actually made it off the first board. But I digress. About the 10 minute mark of my 15 minute wait, I lost it. I was calling everyone around me names. Obscene ones. Then I looked up at the sky and asked God how He was able to make it even a single minute without destroying us, because people are really stupid. Now normally I pray and praise on my commute so that this does not happen. But not today. I have to admit I shut my ipod off about that same time, saying now is not the time for “O How He Loves Us” by Kim Walker-Smith & Jesus Culture. It was actually the perfect time for that song, but again I digress.
Anywho, the person in front of me FINALLY went I was able to turn left and go around to the other gate. I pulled into one of the lanes and waited my turn. When I was the next car I had to wait again for this lady to walk across in front of me. Then I noticed the man walking with her. My favorite guard! He’s friendly and cute and seriously has THE BEST smile. He could brighten anyone’s darkest day with that smile. I pulled up at the exact time he was taking his post in my lane. I may or may not have swooned.
Then I hear God say, “Don’t curse what I have blessed. My delays are for your good. They are for your protection.”
I felt stupid for blowing up over something so stupid as a traffic delay. I threw a fit like a toddler and swore like a sailor for absolutely no reason. Ridiculous.
The point of all this is that when you feel trapped, remember Romans 5:3-5. Remember that you are in process. Know that God sees the whole picture so you can trust His timing. Know that if there’s a delay, it’s for your protection, not your harm. He’s not trying to keep something from you. He’s making sure you are ready to receive the good He has in store for you. God has appointed times and seasons for everything. See Ecclesiastes 3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%203&version=NKJV
PS: I want to clarify something. I’m not saying God caused an accident so that I could see the guard with the great smile. God doesn’t work that way. If you think He works that way, you’re wrong. He doesn’t cause bad things. Bad things happen all on their own. But God will take those bad things and turn them for our good. If I had listened and gone to the other gate in the first place, I’d have been to work on time and there would have been no issue. But I didn’t. I got trapped because I didn’t listen. Then God used that bad situation to teach me something, and blessed me anyway. He turns things meant for harm around for our good (Romans 8:28). He’s still good, even when we’re not.
“If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.” -2 Timothy 2:13
God cannot stop loving you. Want to know why? I John 4:8 tells us God is love. What is love? Well another really famous scripture (I Corinthians 13:4-8) tells us what love is: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Today we’re going to focus on God’s patience. Patient here actually means to persevere patiently. Be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others. Slow to anger. Slow to punish.
We see this in the Book of Jonah, where God sent Jonah to Ninevah. We all know Jonah didn’t want to go there because he knew what kind of people they were, and he didn’t feel they deserved a second chance. But God felt differently. Most people focus on how patient God was with Jonah when he disobeyed. But what about how patient He was with the Ninevites? How long He waited for them to turn around?
Ninevites were Assyrians. Assyria was an extremely and aggressively violent people during that time. They committed horrific atrocities. And yet, He sent Jonah at precisely the moment they’d be open to change.
Why? Why was He willing to persevere for people who were as nasty and violent as the Ninevites? Simple, He loved them and He didn’t want them to perish.
Look at what the difference between Jonah’s opinion and God’s:
These people are horrible, and I know God’s merciful and kind. He’s slow to anger, so I’m going to save God from Himself and ensure these people to receive the punishment they deserve.
“So Jonah prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” Jonah 4:1-3
Oh my children. I love you. I see your brokenness and your ignorance. My heart goes out to you. I am here and I will be patient with you. I will give you a chance to repent and to change.
“But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?” Jonah 4:10-11
If God wasn’t fazed by the Ninevites, then why do you think He’s shocked by the mess you’re in or by what you’ve done? He is patiently persevering alongside you too. Waiting for the day when you will be open to receive the love, mercy and grace He’s offering. It may be when you are at your lowest broken point or after the greatest victory of your life. It may be after a near death experience or a tragedy. It may be when you’ve just committed the worst imaginable offense. It may be on a random Wednesday when you’re sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. He loves you, so He’s patient with you.
He sent Jesus because He loves us, not because we are lovely! “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
It always comes back to love! Why? Simple, God=Love! Love’s not what God does, it’s who He is.