Waiting on God - Introduction
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say on the Lord!” Psalm (27:13-14 NKJV)
Have you ever been at the ‘end of your rope’ feeling like you are not going to make it through another day? Are you going through a trial right now that seems to have no way out? Does it seem like you are wandering aimlessly in this dark place of difficulty? Do you feel as though you will be stuck in this trial forever? Maybe you are a person who has many trials and tribulations going on around you right now. Does it appear to you that there is no purpose behind any of it? Perhaps you are a person who has longed for something in your life that looks as if will never come to pass. Are you starting to lose hope? Have you ever questioned God about any of these things?
Have you ever asked questions like: “What is God doing?” or “Why is God doing this?” or “Why is God allowing this to happen?” Have you ever wondered what God is doing up in Heaven while these difficulties going on down here on earth? What exactly is he doing today, and does He notice all the little details going on in our lives? Is He too busy with other more important things to pay attention to us and our problems right now? If we pray hard and long enough, will He notice us and fix everything quicker? Is there something that we are doing or not doing that is delaying His response to us? Is God sitting on His throne in Heaven pondering what to do with us next? Did we make such a big mess of our life that He is trying to figure out a plan B, C, D or Z? Is God really in control, and does He love us as His Word proclaims He does? Sometimes we can get to the place in our lives where we feel that God has lost control of things. We somehow begin to trust our negative emotions and feelings that maybe, in this dark place that He has allowed us to be in, He really doesn’t love us and He is displeased with us. We begin to believe that our trial or tribulation is His punishment for something we must have done wrong in the past.
As Christians, we know God’s Word tells us that He is in control despite all of the chaos going on in the world that directly and indirectly affects our life. And despite its chaotic appearance, the Bible tells us that there is actually a purpose behind all this seemingly random disorder in the world. Through it all, God confirms to us that “He can do all things, and no plan of His can be thwarted” (Job 42:2 NKJV). God has a plan, and it will not be thwarted. In spite of what our feelings and emotions might indicate when we are going through a trial, God loves us with an unfailing love. His Word proclaims this in many places such as John 3:16. In Romans 8:38-39, God confirms that nothing can separate us from His love. God loves us beyond our comprehension, and as we read in Jeremiah 29:11, God does have a wonderful plan for us – even though it appears in the natural that this plan has somehow been “thwarted” either by our sins, choices, or life circumstances. So what do we do when His plan for us seems to be “derailed”?
When God’s plan for us seems to be ‘derailed’ by a tragedy or trial, caused either by our own sin or by life’s circumstances, there is only one response that will really help us though. That response is simple, but difficult in the midst of a severe trial. That one response is this: Believe God. Believe God no matter what our circumstances are. Believe God no matter what other people say. Believe God no matter how we feel or what our emotions tell us. You may ask be asking yourself: “Believe God about what?
GOD’S TIMING AND PURPOSE:
One of the things we need to believe and accept about God is that He has an exact timing for everything. God’s timing is always perfect, despite what we might think. We also need to believe that God also has a purpose for everything - even a purpose for the tragedies and trials of our lives. He uses everything, and nothing is wasted. But remember, it is His purpose and His timing, not ours: “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). His timing is usually not our timing, and His purpose is not always our purpose. Timing and purpose are crucial, and God is ultimately in control of the timing and the purpose. Here’s an example of timing: Did you know that a piece of fruit (like a banana for instance) has a perfect time to be harvested? Did you know that if you pick a banana just a few of days before the right time that over 85% of the nutrients will be missing? It is in the last few days before it is fully ripe that a banana will receive most of the nutrients that are beneficial to our bodies when we eat it. It also has a purpose for its existence. This is true for all fruits and vegetables. There is a right time for harvesting, and there is a purpose for the harvest. One of the purposes of the banana, and other fruits and vegetables is that they are given to us for food to provide enjoyment and nutrition to our bodies. God has given us dominion over fruits and vegetables, so we can harvest them when we want, and we can use them for a purpose of our choosing. We, however, are under God’s dominion, and His timing and purpose. We do not choose for God, He chooses for us. Did you know that our lives in Christ our Savior are compared to the example of fruit I used above? Read John 15 about the vine and branches. Here is verse 8: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” Do you think that God wants us to bear fruit for Him before it is time? And if our fruit is harvested too soon, will it be fully effective to the person or people who need it? Of course the answer is “no” to both of these questions, and it is in this waiting time that we often seem to lose hope. The analogy of John 15 is that God is always pruning and ‘cleaning’ us so that the fruit that we bear will be more excellent. This process of pruning and ‘cleaning’ is sometimes very difficult and can leave us bewildered, angry, hurting, and without understanding of why it is happening. God has a timing and a purpose for the pruning and cleaning. There is an exact time to be pruned and cleaned, and a divine purpose for it. At the exact time, our fruit will be given for the benefit of other people. The Divine purpose of our fruit is to bless other people, and glorify God when they are blessed.
The ultimate example of this timing and purpose principle is described in Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law”. God sent forth His Son, Jesus Christ, approximately 4000 years after Adam’s sin to redeem us all. Have you ever wondered why He waited so long? 4000 years is a long time. However, the Bible says Jesus was not early or late in His coming (just as He will not be early or late in His second coming). The purpose for Christ’s coming was to redeem us. Jesus was sent to be a ransom for us all at the exact appointed time (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45, 1Timothy 2:6).
Back to this idea of pruning and cleaning - the work that God does in our lives. In John 15, we learn Jesus is the Vine, we are the branches, and God the Father is the vine dresser. What is the bottom line of this pruning and cleaning? The answer is simple: To make us more like Christ. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Roman’s 8:28-29 NKJV). This is confirmed in 2 Corinthians 3:18. "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord". We are being transformed into the image of God’s Son, Jesus.
There are some keys to persevering through these pruning and cleaning times in our lives, and getting to the victory that God wants so much for us. These keys are found throughout the Bible but are summarized very well in Psalm 27, which ends with an exhortation in the last two verses: “Wait on the Lord.” Just in case you missed it, that statement is repeated 2 times in verse 14. There is a great reward in waiting on God. One of those rewards we have already discussed. It’s the fruit that we will bear for the benefit of others at the proper time. If we can learn to wait properly on God, there are other rewards as well: We will be made more like Jesus, and because of this transformation we will grow closer in our relationship with God. These are the greatest rewards.
But what does waiting on Him mean, and what is the proper way of waiting? When life’s difficulties hit us, we often grumble, complain, and ask “Why?” The next question then becomes “When?” – as in “When will this be over?” When tragedy strikes we can lose our composure, and sometimes even lose hope which can throw us into a state of confusion, panic, or even total despair. We know this is not the proper way of waiting, and persevering. So how can we prepare ourselves and learn to patiently wait in the manner God wants us to?
If we are going to learn how to wait on God, and what that means, it is important to find an example of another person who has learned to wait on God, and emulate that example. And, if we are going to emulate a person, it is important to emulate someone from the Bible - wouldn't you agree? King David is a great example of a person who learned to wait on God. Remember, after the prophet Samuel anointed David king over Israel, David ended up running for his life from King Saul (much of that time spend hiding in caves). It was many years after he was anointed by God through Samuel before David was officially crowned King of Israel. Because David passed the "waiting on God" test, not only was he crowned king, he was also crowned prophet and priest. The only other person in the Bible who is crowned this way is our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Of course He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, High Priest and Prophet over all.
Although Jesus will always be the best example for us to emulate, David is like us. He was not perfect in this world, and we can learn from his example as an imperfect human. David made plenty of mistakes and was a sinner just like us. If you want to learn how to “wait on God in a nutshell” so to speak, Psalm 27 is a great Chapter to study. In this series, we will use Psalm 27 as the foundation of our study on “Waiting On God”.
Now that you have read Psalm 27, you are ready to go on to PART ONE of our study. Waiting on God is not an easy thing, and there is "one thing" that is most important, and it is where we need to begin. It is this "one thing" that is the first key on learning to wait on God properly. It is this "one thing" that is also the key to life. To find out what this "one thing" is, click on this link: WAITING ON GOD, PART ONE