In today’s society, we hate wait. Gimme a remote or a shorter line at Wal-Mart. But don’t make me wait. I believe our lives as Christ-followers are radically atrophied by this mindset of the moment, this need for now. God’s Word has some challenging things to say to those who would follow Jesus’ way amid the rush of unreality.
The Work Behind the Word: Following, Waiting, and Miracles
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55.8-9
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8.12
“They follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” Revelation 14.4
“When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10.4
“Come, follow me.” Mark 1.17 (Simon and Andrew)
“Follow me.” Mark 2.14 (Levi)
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16.24
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27.14
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Isaiah 30.18
You also see waiting in Psalm 37.7, 40.1, Isaiah 26.8, and Acts 1.4.
- James, John’s brother, is killed.
- Peter is jailed.
- King Herod Agrippa begins persecution campaign (picking up where Saul left off.)
What appears to be defeating from one viewpoint is viewed completely differently from the viewpoint of faith. See Acts 12.24.
When there is a commitment to intimate communion, God will clearly reveal His instructions and activity.
- See Phillip and eunuch
- See Peter and Cornelius (10.2, 9)
- See Ananias and Saul (9.11)
- See Peter and church (12.5)
Learning to listen to God again. This has radical implications for us today. We must listen to our Lord and seek Him earnestly so that we will be in tune for when he speaks. Our prayer and waiting upon Him puts us in a position of spiritual readiness. Our fervency and consistency enable us to turn down the volume of the world and to slow down the pace of our lives so that we can hear and see and discern what God is doing. He is at work! He desires us to wait on Him instead of work for Him (or program for Him).
What if your current schedule conflicts with God’s schedule for you? What if a ministry’s schedule conflicts with what God has scheduled for them? Is it possible to be so focused on “serving God” or “ministry” that we actually miss God?
Could it be that our witness is ineffective today because we’ve quit following the God of the Good News and appropriated the Good News as our message rather than God’s? Have we stolen the Gospel from God to achieve our own ends?
We do not have God’s power to connect to the message we preach. Therefore, we must substitute programs and logic and propositions in the place of the Spirit and His power. Our evangelism is powerless because we no longer know how to follow God. We are at a loss. We don’t want to wait; we don’t want to stop. In golf terms, we need to let God “play through.” We are delaying His progress by our slow and pitiful play.
Waiting does not mean inactivity. Rather, waiting is a state of vigilance.