How Are You Waiting?

 

Isn’t waiting tough!!! Just the other day I found myself becoming impatient as I stared at the screen on my cell phone waiting for a friend to text me a picture! A few moments seemed like eternity! Even with modern technology and conveniences…waiting can be so difficult!

We all go through times of waiting in our lives. Whether it’s waiting for a job opportunity…waiting for a husband if you are single…or waiting to begin a family.

And for some of us it may be waiting for a breakthrough…a breakthrough in our marriage…a breakthrough in our finances…or a breakthrough in physical or emotional healing.

We find that sometimes…ugh more like many times! …our timing isn’t what God has in mind. And we find ourselves wondering if He will ever answer our prayers or if He knows the urgency of our situation.

We can easily become impatient…anxious…doubtful…fearful… frustrated…angry…discouraged…and even resentful… during these waiting periods.

Waiting wouldn’t be so hard if God would just answer our prayers right away? Right?

We can see that over and over we are told in the Bible to wait on the Lord. One example in the Word of God is in Psalm 27:14 which says…

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. NIV

Now this is pretty interesting…check it out!

There are several words translated as “wait” in the Old Testament. Two Hebrew words qavah and yachal can similarly be translated “wait” and mean “look patiently, hope, expect, and trust”.

Although we can probably all agree that patience and hope are a big part of the waiting process… I would like to draw your attention to a third Hebrew word damam which is sometimes translated “wait” and means “grow silent, be still,” and even “rest”.

This translation caught my attention because really if you think about it… many times the waiting period is far from restful…isn’t it?!

So…therefore I would like to pose the question… “How are you waiting?”

And because we are always waiting for something…the “what” we are waiting for is of course important…but the “how”…the attitude while we wait is of greater importance.

How are you waiting today?

Are you waiting but at the same time trying to help God out by taking matters into your own hands?

Are you waiting with feelings of frustration…anger…discouragement…or hopelessness?

Are you waiting with grumbling and complaining on your lips as did the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land?

Are you waiting with anxiousness…doubt…or a lack of faith in a God with the power to make the impossible possible?

So…How should we be waiting?

And what exactly does “restful” waiting mean?

1. “Restful” waiting means reminding ourselves that God is in control no matter what.

A king’s heart is a water stream that the LORD controls; he directs it wherever he pleases. Proverbs 21:1 ISV

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9 NLT

Think of W.A.I.T. as the acronym…

With

Anticipation

I

Trust.

As we anticipate God’s answers or breakthrough in our situation…we must keep trusting Him and keep our mind and thoughts on him.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 NIV

2. “Restful” waiting also means we don’t take matters in our own hands when God doesn’t move fast enough!

Although there is the aspect of walking in faith and taking action in some circumstances…I am talking about doing things in our own strength and power…and even trying to manipulate our situation to get what we want.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8 NLT

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

God’s delays are not necessarily His denials.

1. “Restful” waiting means praying without ceasing or giving up even when we don’t think He hears us.

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

Be unceasing in prayer [pray perseveringly]… 1 Thessalonians 5:17 AMP

Oh and guess what?! God does hear you! Don’t believe me…believe Him!

I love the Lord, because he has heard [and now hears] my voice and my supplications. Psalm 116:1 AMP

 4. “Restful” waiting means praising and thanking Him through the waiting period. It is amazing how our gratitude will so quickly change our attitude.

Thanking and praising Him allows us to focus on His greatness and power.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 NIV

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most High. Psalm 92:1 NLT

Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. 2Samuel 22:50 NIV

5. “Restful” waiting means studying God’s Word and His promises.

When we find ourselves doubting, we need to turn to His Word and His promises for then we can “rest” by knowing He has an amazing plan and purpose for our life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11NIV

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8 NLT

Waiting…no matter what…is no doubt…hard! I can certainly attest to that!

God knows our every need…He knows what we need before we even know it’s a need! But what He is more concerned about is…How we are waiting…our attitude while we wait. 

Remember…He is omniscient…He is all-knowing! His delays are not necessarily His denials!

Keep trusting Him…trust and believe that He hears you and will answer you according to the proper time…the right time…the best time…His time!

Reflection Points:

  1. What are you waiting for today?
  2. How are you waiting?
  3. Are you waiting but trying to help God out by taking matters into your own hands?
  4. Are you waiting with feelings of frustration…anger…discouragement…or hopelessness?
  5. Are you waiting with grumbling and complaining on your lips as did the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land?
  6. Are you waiting with anxiousness…doubt…or a lack of faith in a God with the power to make the impossible possible?

Action Points:

Review the 5 steps outlined above to help you in your waiting period. They will help you wait restfully and have the right attitude…while you wait for whatever you are waiting for God to do in your life!

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The Faith of Four Men

My mother battled illness for many years…for an approximate 20 year span of her life. She fought through breast cancer…and beat it. She fought through colon cancer…and beat it. And after all this…she was thankfully cancer-free…

But then a time came where she faced another illness…she battled an infection that seemed puzzling to her doctors. She was in the ICU for 3 months…in a coma. The doctors did not have a good prognosis.

I can honestly say that my faith was greatly challenged! I clung to Jesus and His promises. I did believe in the healing power of Jesus…but there were a number of obstacles that tried to get in the way of my faith….a number of obstacles that tried to discourage me.

You may be very familiar with the great faith passage in Mark 2:1-12…the passage where Jesus performs the miracle of healing a paralytic. This passage is full of several life lessons as this miracle is referenced and emphasized by many teachers and preachers of the Word. But I want to focus on the former aspect (verses 1-5) of this passage which highlights a demonstration of great faith.

1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Ok…so let’s examine the faith demonstrated by these 4 men.

First of all…back up for just a minute. There had to have been some level of faith…maybe even just a little faith…maybe even just a small seed of faith. Regardless of how much or how little…there was faith! Faith implanted in the hearts of each of these men…faith that Jesus had the power to heal!

Because really…if there wasn’t even an itsy bitsy ounce of faith…then why would they even think about venturing out with their paralytic friend? Why would these 4 men subject themselves to the physical strain of carrying another human…Lord knows how many miles…to Jesus?

Is there a situation you are facing which requires you to have faith in the power of Jesus to move in your life or in the life of another person?

Like the paralytic…you too may need the power of Jesus to heal…or maybe the power of Jesus to provide…or maybe the power of Jesus to restore…or maybe the power of Jesus to forgive…or maybe the power of Jesus to strengthen…or maybe the power of Jesus to set you free.

Regardless of the size…faith in the power and ability of our Lord Jesus Christ is just the beginning!

As these 4 men…carrying the paralytic…approached the home where Jesus was preaching…it became quite clear that “a large crowd gathered” (ISV) … it was “so packed with visitors” (NLT) … “they gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door.”(NIV)

Can you imagine what these 4 men must have thought and felt when they saw that there was no room left, not even outside the door?

What would you have thought or felt?

What do you think or feel when you see an obstacle in the way of your faith? Do you become discouraged…lose hope…and give up? Or are you determined to push through in your faith?

Well, these 4 men could have easily been discouraged…lost hope…and given up. They could have said… “There is no way! It’s too crowded! Let’s just go back home.” BUT…

Check out what they did!

These 4 men…carrying their paralytic friend…climbed up to the roof and began to strip it away so they could lower their friend to Jesus! Seriously? That sounds crazy doesn’t it?

Let’s stop here for just a moment…

In Mark’s account (Mark 2:1-12), the suggestion is that the roof was typical of those in Palestine at the time. Palestinian houses had flat roofs. The roofs were used for many purposes…for storing things… drying flax (story of the spies in Joshua)…and as places for quiet and prayer (these little one room houses otherwise had nowhere else that one could be alone). And for that reason there was always an outside stairway up to the roof.

Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.

Now Luke’s account (Luke 5:17-26) seems to describe a Greek or Roman house…with a roof constructed of tiles.

So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. NLT

I mean we can pretty much figure that these 4 men hadn’t planned to carry any tools with them (like carrying another person wasn’t enough) especially to deconstruct a roof by removing tiles and creating an opening large enough to pass their friend through the roof.

Clearly this was no easy task! Right?

These 4 men could have certainly said, “Carrying our friend is too heavy…climbing up these stairs is too much…deconstructing this roof is too hard!”

But I don’t believe they did…and their actions proved much louder than words.

Again, this demonstrates their determination…These 4 men were determined to bring their paralytic friend to Jesus to be healed…no matter what!

Despite how crowded it was…despite how physically tired they probably were…despite how long it took…and despite how much trouble and how inconvenient it was to get their friend in front of Jesus!

They pushed through in their faith!

How determined are you in your faith when faced with obstacles…roadblocks…challenges that may push your physical limits…your mental limits…your emotional limits…your time limits…all your limits pretty much?

No one said faith would be easy. It certainly wasn’t easy for these 4 men!

But…

Faith makes things possible, not easy. ~Author Unknown

And so here is the key…Jesus saw the faith of these 4 men.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5 NIV

Yes…Jesus healed the paralytic physically but even more importantly he healed him spiritually.

The faith of these 4 men moved Jesus and made this miraculous healing possible!

Our faith moves Jesus…it moves Him to heal us…provide for us…restore us…forgive us…strengthen us…and set us free!

And just like these 4 men’s faith…

Our faith moves Jesus to heal…provide…restore…forgive…strengthen…and set others free as well!

As my mother laid motionless in the hospital bed…a number of obstacles certainly tried to get in the way of my faith…but…

I stood firm in my faith! … I stood firm in the healing power of Jesus and witnessed a true miracle when my mother woke up one day from the coma and lived a number of years longer…long enough to see me get married and see her grandson born.

And believe me… having faith was far from easy…but having faith moved Jesus to make my mother’s healing possible…as well as the paralytic man’s healing possible…

And it will move Jesus to make things possible in your life and the life of others as well!

Reflection Points:

  1. Is there a situation you are currently facing which requires you to have faith in the power of Jesus to move in your life or in the life of another person?
  2. What do you think or feel when you see an obstacle in the way of your faith? Do you become discouraged…lose hope…and give up? Or are you determined to push through in your faith?
  3. How determined are you in your faith when faced with obstacles…roadblocks…challenges that may push your physical limits…your mental limits…your emotional limits…your time limits…all your limits pretty much?
  4. How can you push through in faith when facing these limits?

Action Points:

  1. Having faith in the power and ability of Jesus is the beginning. Even if your faith is small…Jesus says that if you have faith even as small as a mustard seed…which by the way is one of the smallest of all seeds…that nothing will be impossible for you!(Matthew 17:20)
  2. The reality is that you will face obstacles that will try to get in the way of your faith. Your faith will be tested. But it is important to keep pushing through in your faith…not becoming discouraged…not losing hope…not giving up! Pushing through like these 4 men of faith…no matter what challenges may push your physical limits…your mental limits…your emotional limits…your time limits…all your limits!
  3. You can push through in your faith by staying close to Jesus…clinging to Jesus just like I did in my mother’s situation. When we draw near to God…He will draw near to us. (James 4:8)
  4. Keep spending time with Him…praying and reading His word. Read about other individuals who pushed through in their faith in the Bible. (The Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11:1)