House Church Talk - Time to Wait

jim sutton goodword at
Fri Jun 4 20:43:48 EDT 2004

"...the fruit of the Spirit is ... joy ... peace... patience..."

By nature, I tend to be like every guy out there.  I'm not much like the Lord 
who teaches us to be patient.  My simple, one-track mind sees only the goal, 
and anything that gets in the way is an obstacle, a problem, an interference. 
 I'm quickly irritated by all set backs and delays.

Yesterday, I saw a bald eagle flying over the city.  Now it's true that I do 
live in a region of the U.S. where eagles nest and hunt.  But I live in the 
city.  Bald eagles prefer to nest in high places, like rocky cliffs.  In the 
almost 5 years I've lived in this city, I have never seen an eagle anywhere 
near town.

But I know why I saw that eagle over the city.  

I was busy complaining to the Lord that things are not moving fast enough to 
suite me.  My hopes and dreams are not moving toward fulfillment.  At least 
not in any way that I can see.  So I was telling the Lord how I felt.  I 
wanted to see some immediate progress.  I wanted something significant to 
happen.  Right away.

At about that point I reached my destination and got out of my car.  I looked 
up and there, right over the city, was a bald eagle flying high in the sky.  I 
kept staring at it, not believing what I saw.  Yes, there was no mistaking. 
 It was a bald eagle.  And of course, the verse from Isaiah came immediately 
to mind: 

... those who wait on the LORD 
Shall renew their strength; 
They shall mount up with wings like eagles, 
They shall run and not be weary, 
They shall walk and not faint.

I knew that the Lord had sent the eagle.  God was telling me once again to 
wait for Him, to be patient, to trust His good timing.  That's not the answer 
I wanted, but I knew it was a clear message from the Lord.  I knew because 
lately He's been telling me to wait.

Like the verses in David's Psalm that says:

I believe that I shall see 
the goodness of the LORD 
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; 
be strong, 
and let your heart take courage; 
wait for the LORD!

Patient trusting in God is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in redeemed human lives. 
 To the extent that our lives are filled with (yielded to) God's Spirit, to 
that extent we will see the evidences, the fruit.  On any given day, at any 
given time, we're either filled with ourselves or filled with God's own sweet 
and powerful Holy Spirit.

We can sometimes judge just how "filled with the Spirit" we are by how we 
react to passages that tell us to wait.   Of course, if we're not pushing for 
anything to happen in our lives, we'll be just fine.  But if we have 
ambitions, goals, and personal dreams sitting on the front burners of our 
hearts, then we can get a true test of our spirituality.

I don't often feel very spiritual when the Lord (or anyone else) tells me to 
wait.  I can feel the blood rising when I'm not getting my own way.  But the 
Lord has been very faithful and consistent over the years in teaching me a few 
things.  I know that I'm wrong when I react in a negative way to whatever God 
is saying.

Wisdom teaches us to "fear" God, or to hold the Lord in great reverence.  We 
may not understand (and often we simply don't), we may not agree with or like 
what we hear.  But God is always right.  

The Lord is always working for the ultimate good in each of our lives.  He 
gives us the dreams we hold dear in our hearts.  He gives us the hope that 
makes us dare great things.  And when He says to wait, it is best for us to 
patiently wait.  We can always trust God's timing, God's intentions, God's 
inexpressible goodness to us.

He who gave up His own Son for us, will He not also, with Him, freely give us 
all things?  Whatever we need, we will certainly get.  Whatever we've trusted 
God for with patience, we will see.  The Lord is faithful.  The Lord is true. 
 The Lord is good.  He is truly good.  His wisdom, His timing, His working in 
each human life is flawless.  Nothing in our lives escapes His notice or 

Sometimes, like Moses at the Red Sea, we're busy standing still when it's time 
to go forward.  And other times, we're so eager to jump forward when we just 
need to wait for God to do what only God can do.  The Holy Spirit is faithful 
to teach us and show us what we need to do.  If we are paying attention, we'll 
get the lesson and the signal from the Lord.

Why does God work so slowly sometimes?  Can't He keep up?  

Actually, the delay is never about a weakness in God, but always because 
something is lacking in us.  We are still growing.  We're not yet perfect in 
all things.  If we were ready, then God would send us forward.  But He's good 
to hold us back until we've been prepared inside to move into something new. 
 Our hearts, our faith, our resolve must grow strong enough to face whatever 
testing and difficulties that await us on the "next level" we're so eager to 

Any loving parent refuses to let a young child run into the street alone.  So 
also the Lord holds us back from "exciting adventures" we're not yet ready to 
have.  We may be eager to advance, eager to explore new things, but that 
doesn't mean we know what to do.  

When the time comes, the Lord will take us into the terrain He's promised us, 
that special "place" we're hoping to reach in life, the work we're so eager to 
do.  The Lord is good to watch over us and to keep us back at times.  And when 
He leads us forward, we may not "feel" ready to go.

And so I'm learning how to be patient -- even when everything in me says, "Go, 
go, go!"  I know that God loves me enough to pay a terrible price for my 
redemption.  I know that God loves me enough to forgive all my sins, and to 
hold my hand whenever I'm afraid.  

I need to understand that God loves me enough to sometimes say, "Not yet.  But 
soon, when you're truly ready."  

I have a Father in heaven who loves me with a very great love.  I have a 
Father in heaven who loves me enough to say, "No."  And I trust my good Father 
to make me ready for all the things He has promised me.
Isaiah gently scolds us us:

Have you not known? Have you not heard? 
The LORD is the everlasting God, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He does not faint or grow weary; 
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint, 
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and become weary, 
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the LORD 
shall renew their strength, 
they shall mount up with wings like eagles, 
they shall run and not be weary, 
they shall walk and not faint.

In any war, the secret to courage and victory is to always go fully prepared 
for the battle.  As believers in Jesus Christ our strength comes from the 
Presence of the Lord.  As we walk with Him, and as we follow His clear 
direction, we will be prepared for whatever comes our way.  Even if the way is 
very, very long and very difficult, we will rise up and shout with joy because 
He makes us strong.  He gives us the victory.  To wait for His command is to 
grow stronger in Him.  To wait in quiet confidence is to win the war.

(Passages cited:  Galatians 5:22; Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 27:14,15; Isaiah 
40:28-31.  Passage referred to: Romans 8:32)

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