When I was a teen, I remember Josh Harris sharing something at a conference that has resonated with me years after (You probably know Josh now as the guy who wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye - although he's written so many more since than. You may have attended one of his New Attitude conferences now known as NEXT. Or he may even be your pastor - he's now the Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg.).
"Joshua," his mom Sono told him, "You need to hustle while you wait."
I'm reminded of that message even more as I get older. I feel like I'm still waiting on God for things and I'm getting tired of waiting. How about you?
Maybe you've been waiting on God for your spouse's salvation.
Maybe you've been waiting for God to intervene in your child's drug abuse.
Maybe you're single and tired of waiting for God to bring you your mate.
Maybe you're waiting for God to answer your prayer for a pregnancy.
Maybe you're waiting on God to give you an answer for something deeper.
At the root of the waiting on God is the feeling of His absence. He's not responding to our request and it makes us wonder if He's even listening and hearing what we put before Him. And so, in frustration, we stop hustling. We stop praying, we stop asking, we stop talking to Him. We think He's abandoned us. We couldn't be farther from the truth.
I thought I'd share this with you. This is a passage from Chuck Swindoll's book Great Lives From God's Word: Esther.
Don't think for a moment that God is whiling away His time, busy with other things. Remember, He may be invisible, but He is at work. That's the beauty of His invisibility. He can be moving in a thousand places at the same time, working in circumstances that are beyond our control. During a waiting period, God is not only working in our hearts, He's working in others' hearts. And all the while He is giving added strength. Remember Isaiah's words about waiting?
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
The will mount up with wings like eagles,
The will run and not get tired,
The will walk and not become weary.
-- Isaiah 40:31
Even though the prophet's pen put these words on the sacred page centuries ago, that verse of Scripture is as pertinent and relevant as what you read in the paper this morning - and far more trustworthy.
From this verse we learn that four things happen when we wait:
First: we gain new strength. We may feel weak, even intimidated, when we turn to our Lord. While waiting, amazingly, we exchange our weakness for His strength.
Second, we get a better perspective. It says we "will mount up with wings like eagles." Eagles can spot fish in a lake several miles away on a clear day. By soaring like eagles while waiting, we gain perspective on what we are dealing with.
Third, we store up extra energy. "We will run and not get tired." Notice it's future tense. When we do encounter the thing we have been dreading, we will encounter it with new strength - extra energy will be ours to use.
Fourth, we will deepen our determination to persevere. We "will walk and not become weary." The Lord whispers reassurance to us. He puts steel in our bones, so to speak. We begin to feel increasingly more invincible.
We'll gain new strength. We'll get better perspective. We'll store up extra energy. We'll deepen our determination to persevere. All that happens when we wait. And at the same time, during that period of waiting, nothing is happening - at least nothing visible. You could easily tell yourself at the time, I'm waiting in vain. Nothing's going to change That's what the adversary wants you to think: "Waiting's a waste."
Don't you believe it! When the enemy's message roams into your mind you need to kick it out. Reject it. Look at another verse in Isaiah, just a few verses after the "eagle verse."
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
"For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'"
--Isaiah 41:10, 13
When you wait, you listen. You pore over a favorite passage in His Word. You quietly give attention to His presence and to His direction.
Great Lives From God's Word: Esther
If you're in the waiting game, I recommend reading the book of Esther, and maybe even take a trek to the library or your local Christian bookstore to get Charles Swindoll's book. Interestingly, God isn't mentioned in the book of Esther. But He's there. He's all around. He's in the tiniest of details. Be encouraged. The same God who made an orphan girl queen so He could use her to save His people is the same God who is working out the details in your life. Keep hustling, keep praying, keep waiting.
Praying for you,