Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Way-Yay-ting is the Hardest Part

Waiting is a theme near and dear to my heart. Hence the name of this here blog. It seems I spend a good portion of my walk with the Lord waiting on Him, waiting for Him to move. Waiting for something to happen, waiting on an answer to prayer, or for a circumstance to change. However, I don't hear very many preachers talk about waiting much these days. I don't think it's a very popular subject. Funny, when you consider the fact that King David included the phrase "Wait for the Lord" in SEVERAL of the psalms that he wrote. Frankly, we don't like waiting. Waiting is hard. It's not fun. To us, it implies inactivity. Stagnation. I think we live in a society where we've come to expect instant results. And if we don't see immediate results, explosive growth, and huge impact we automatically (and incorrectly, might I add) assume that something is wrong. We want everything instant, fast, and easy. Instant oatmeal. Instant grits. Minute Rice. Quick Trip. Fast food. Easy Mac. I was just complaining to the Lord yesterday that no matter what we go through, the results that He seems to bring us come slowly, painfully, and sometimes in minute increments. Hard, slow, small. My question to Him then became, "Can we ever have something BIG, FAST, and EASY???" My mother and I once remarked how the "waiting for your ship to come in" dream that we often have in life is frequently fulfilled, not by a cruise liner filled with glorious riches, but rather a tugboat packed, seemingly haphazardly, enough with a just day's rations. And yet, that faithful little tugboat always comes.

Some might say my faith is too small. It may be. I won't try to argue that, because I can't tell you if it is or isn't. It's my faith, so it's really all I know. But what I think, is that it's not necessarily the size of my faith that matters (see Matthew 17:20), but rather where my faith lies. Namely, is it in God or in my circumstances? Is it in God or in myself? What He can do through me or what I erroneously think I can do for Him? Is it in the tugboat...or the Captain Who remembers me and graciously sends it in my direction?

This is what the Lord keeps bringing me back to: Keeping my eyes steadily fixed upon Himself. Upon His goodness. Upon His faithfulness. Upon His Joy. His peace. Not what He can do for me, but rather Who He is. This is why Paul could say "For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:11-13, NIV). That's how Paul could survive being shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, etc., with his faith still intact. And it certainly makes waiting all the more bearable.

I hear too much about "doing." Too much. What I don't hear enough about is waiting. I felt the Father speak to me this morning as I read these words from my Streams in the Desert devotional that,

"...the Spirit requires not only a service of work but also a service of waiting. I came to see that in the kingdom of Christ, there are not only times for action but times to refrain from action. And I also came to learn that a place of isolation is often the most useful place of all in this diverse world. It's harvest is more rich than the seasons when the corn and wine were the most abundant...Dear Holy Spirit, my desire is still to be led by You. Nevertheless, my opportunities for usefulness seem to be disappointed, for today the door appears open into a life of service for You but tomorrow it closes before me just as I am about to enter. Teach me to see another door even in the midst of the inaction of this time. Help me to find, even in the area of service where You have closed a door, a new entrance into Your service. Inspire me with the knowledge that a person may sometimes be called to serve by doing nothing, by staying still, or by waiting. And when I remember the power of Your 'gentle whisper' (1 Kings 19:12), I will not complain that sometimes the Spirit allows me not to go.--George Matheson

There is no place, I would rather be, Lord, than waiting for You. What else is there, really? Anything else is just an illusion.