Running your life according to the Word of God.
Starting your New Year the right way.
Right now many people are waking up with one of the worst hangovers they will have all year. It was party party time last night. Not so fun on January 1. And not the best way to start off a new year.
Some people look at those who don’t want to drink as party poopers. However, I look at it as freedom. Freedom from a hangover. Freedom from sin. And free to live how my Lord and Savior made and created me to be.
One thing I love about my Lord and my relationship with Him is found in 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) – But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out…
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“Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
(Psalms 4:4–8 ESV)
The way the Lord will set apart the godly for himself is when He hears our prayers.
There are times when the righteous are being persecuted, and been in distress, we cry out to God for help and comfort. Here, David got these reminders on how to handle distress:
- Be angry and do not sin. (verse 4)
“Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah”
Illustration: We can see here that anger is a natural response and is OK, But in our anger we are not to fall into sin. This is also a reminder that Paul gave to the Ephesians
Eph. 4:26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
Application: We are not to linger on our anger. We are NOT to say curse words or hurt the person we are angry with. We are not to freak out on things but we should deal with the issues with gentleness and self-control. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us on this.
- Ponder in your own hearts on your beds and be silent. (verse4)
Ill: We are told to ponder or think through the matter on our beds lay everything down to God. Then be silent. This way, we can avoid quarrels and unnecessary commotion while emotions are still up in anger.
App: This gives us time to analyze the situation–to ponder with the Word of God guiding us through.
3.Put your trust in the Lord.(verse 5)
“Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.”
Ill: We are to put our trust in the Lord that He is in control even if things are not favorable and chaotic. Trusting God keeps your heart calm.
App: Entrust everything to God. When you think things are not going well, let God be God and do what He does best.
THE BENEFIT: Peaceful Sleep (verse8)
|“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”(Psalms 4:8 ESV)|
Putting everything in God’s hands allows you to take a peaceful sleep and a peaceful heart. God grants sleep to those who love Him and He will not let you down. Whatever the situation is, always remember that His mercy is new every morning.
It is God’s promise to Abraham to bless him and his descendants. God entered a covenant with Abram.
“On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.””
(Genesis 15:18–21 ESV)
Because of that covenant, God reiterated this to Isaac in Gen. 26:24
“And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.””
(Genesis 26:24 ESV)
And to Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15
There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
And GOD remembered that covenant in Exodus 2:24-25, during the long period of slavery of the Israelites:
“And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”
(Exodus 2:24–25 ESV)
The Word “saw” in this context comes from the Hebrew word “Ra’ah” which means
to see, look, view; to realize, know, consider; to be selected; to become visible, appear, show oneself; to be seen; to cause to see, show; to be shown; to look at each other, meet with; a general word for visual perception; note the many contextual translations in the NIV. → appear; consider; look; perceive; see
This same Hebrew Word Ra’ah is used for Shepherd/Overseers which is also synonymous to the word CARE.
Jer. 23:4 I will set shepherds over them who will care (ra’ah) for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD.
Therefore we can see here that it is God’s will to bless his people—to bring his people to a land overflowing with milk and honey. And in order for this promise to be fulfilled, God appointed leaders to shepherd or care for His people.
Trans: Now, we will look at how can a leader lead God’s people to a life that God will bless. Since the leadership is being a shepherd/Ra’ah, it is understood that we are to care for the people.
Hence, we will look at the attitude of a leader from the acronym CARE and see how did our patriarchs in the Bible led their people to the promise — a life that God blesses.
I. The need to CARE
C – Concerned Heart and Mind | Compassion
2Sam. 18:3 But the men said, “You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that you send us help from the city.”
The word “care” in 2 Samuel 18:3 is used to describe in Hebrew as a heart, the seat of thought or emotion. Caring is being concerned about something or someone, giving careful forethought to avoid harm or risk.
- Moses in Exodus had many times pleaded God on people’s behalf to lift God judgment on several mishaps.
- Also, Nehemiah’s concern for the people in Nehemiah 5.
- 32:11-14 But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
- 21:7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
Application: As a leader, we must have that genuine concern for other people that God had entrusted under our care. This is something that can be seen as sacrificial as we get to look after other people’s welfare above our own. We have to be concerned enough leading people to where God wants them to be.
A – Accountable – awareness of the accountability
Psa. 8:4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Care is used here as Paqad – to pay attention, care for; to count, number; to punish; to be counted, listed; to muster; to be recorded; to appoint, give a charge; to be appointed; be mustered, counted; to be counted. → appoint; attend to; care; count; muster; number; punish; visit.
Note the words: to count, to be recorded, to visit
This actually refers to the reporting and visitations.
Reporting denotes the accountability and visitations allows a leader to personally attend to the needs of the people.
Illustration: Moses accountability for the people and delegated it.
Ex. 18:25-26 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves.
- Moses took the time to account for the people and he was burdened when he cannot do it by himself, thus, he made sure everyone is cared for by “delegating” it.
- The apostles reports to Jesus.
Mark 6:30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.
- Even Jesus took the time to record our names in the book of life.
Rev. 3:5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels
Application: As a leader, part of caring for the people of God is the fact that we are accountable for them. To show our accountability is to report the status of the flock entrusted to us and to visit them to know what they need so we could pray for them and take care of them. Everything must be reported to God and to those in authority over us. Jesus took the time to watch over us and he cares for every person he died for, so we must do the same.
R – Right Lifestyle
Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
1 Timothy 4:16 “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
- It is important that as leaders, we acknowledge that the Holy Spirit was the one who has made us overseers and to care for the church of God. This keeps the leaders in right perspective, not having an entitlement mentality but pure service knowing that it was Jesus who died for everyone.
By this, leaders must spend more time in the Presence of God.
Num. 1:50 But appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings, and over all that belongs to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it and shall camp around the tabernacle.
Note the phrase: camp around the tabernacle.
No matter how busy Moses is, he finds the time to talk to God face to face.
Exodus 33:11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
- Sheep follows by example. And as Shepherds/leaders of God’s flock, we are to live a lifestyle as an example for those whom we lead.
We don’t only watch for how they live but also we have to be watchful on how we live as well. We have to walk the talk lest the people we are leading will no longer listen or believe what we tell them. Hence, we may misrepresent the One who assigned or made us overseers.
Illustration: David lead them with integrity and skillful hands
Psa. 78:72 With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.
- David was also the one who leads people to worship and pointed them to God.
- Moses is the most humble leader (Num 13)
Application: As Leaders, we must be seekers of God’s Presence and we partner with the Holy Spirit as we care for God’s people. We read the Bible always. And Paul wrote that this is the lifestyle that each of us must lead and must evaluate ourselves as indicated in 1 Timothy 3:1-14.
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 3:1–13 ESV)
E – Eyes To See
Ex. 2:25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
Matt. 8:18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side.
John 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.
- “God saw” – and God knew and sent someone
- “Jesus saw” – and he gave orders, he was greatly moved, and
Prov. 20:12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.
- Therefore, as leaders, let us ask God to give us the “eyes to see.”
Illustration: The Feeding of the Four Thousand
Matt. 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, a“I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
When Jesus saw, he was moved with concern and compassion. Thus, this brings us back to the first point–Letter C of this material.
Concern is triggered by observation and seeing the “need”
It is human nature to look only after himself. But it takes a good heart to realize and acknowledge the need of others above himself.
This is something that we should all constantly pray for.
Application: Try to look around and see the need of other people around you. Then ask God how you could be of help and be a blessing to these people.
Trans: We have seen how we should CARE for the people entrusted to us and God expects us to be faithful in what he has entrusted us with.
1Cor. 4:2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
However, let us also look at the consequence should we fail to fulfill the task.
II. God’s Wrath to those who does not CARE?
Zech. 10:3 “My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the LORD of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like his majestic steed in battle.
Zech. 11:16 For behold, I am raising up in the land a who does not care for those being destroyed, or seek the young or heal the maimed or nourish the healthy, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs.
Zech. 11:17 “Woe to my worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! Let his arm be wholly withered,
- God’s anger is upon them
- God will punish the leaders who deserts the flock entrusted to them
- God looks at these shepherds as selfish and worthless
- God sees their destruction
III. How do we CARE? Manner that we should CARE
- Show the same earnest care
2Cor. 8:16 – But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you.
Earnest Care = Hebrew “Spoude” – with haste, hastily, quickly, Mk. 6:25; Lk. 1:39; earnestness, earnest application, diligence, enthusiasm, Rom. 12:8, 11; 2 Cor. 7:11, 12; 8:16; 8:7f. → concern; eagerness; earnestness.
Application: No matter how negatively ether people may treat us, let us always remember to pray and ask God to fill our hearts with love so that we may always be able to give earnest care for people God entrusted to us. Acknowledge that this is something that we cannot do on our own might but this all can be accomplished by the grace of God.
- Be Gentle
1Th. 2:7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.
Gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, it is a gift. And the giver is more than able to give it to someone who would ask for it.
We should know that most of the people entrusted under our care are simple, like infants, they are unlearned. It is therefore our responsibility to teach them and guide them. Like a mother, we don’t just leave them alone, we take care of them and check on them—how they eat, how they walk, and how they talk (in respect to the Word of God).
Like mothers, we are also to clean-up their messes. If they mess-up, we help them get their feet back up.
- Study and teach the Word of God carefully and Fear God
Eccl. 12:9-13 Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
CONCLUSION: This is not an easy task but this is something that could be made easier if we CARE enough. A heart that cares can always look at each person as someone that Jesus Christ died for. It is coming from a heart that understands the origin of CARE—God. His character as a GOD who is filled with Love for mankind, motivates Him to CARE and watch over us and guide us to the future He has prepared. It is therefore a privilege to partake of the task of caring for His people because aside from getting a glimpse of the Heart of God for His people, we are being trained to treat others the way Jesus Christ did.
Heb. 2:6 – It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him?
We have seen how God has cared for us, let us therefore let other people experience the same life that God blesses. J
Prov. 27:15-16 A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand.
This passage in the Proverbs teaches us a lot about why single people have to be careful in choosing their spouse and this shall be a reminder for those who are married not to fall into this description.
The verse described what a quarrelsome wife is like:
- Continual dripping on a rainy day – verse 15
- Restraining her is useless – verse 16
In the province after the typhoon Milenyo, roofs of the house were torn by the wind. Water was continuously dripping from the roof down and even near my bed. I remember how irritating and agonizing it is, I want to rest and find some other place but to no avail. I just have to endure it but that experience was really unpleasant.
That scene was likened to a quarrelsome wife. It is irritating and agonizing. You feel the need to always find a way to look for some shield. It is very uncomfortable.
I remember our neighbor in the province early in the morning; wife is shouting waking up everyone living nearby. Yet I found her husband just sitting outside the house not minding what his wife was talking about.
This just made me realize that the husband must have been able to find his way for a cover for that dripping water. He does not restrain her. He just let her do her thing.
As a woman, this is my prayer:
Deut. 32:2-3 May my teaching drop as the rain,
my speech distill as the dew,
like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.
For I will proclaim the name of the LORD;
ascribe greatness to our God!
Rather than speak quarrelsome words, let it be that my speech be gentle and let praises to God gush out from it always J
Dan. 9:22-23 NIV
He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:
Here’s Daniel burdened by what is happening around him. He fasted and prayed for the country. (Just wondering how many of us today will do the same just to understand the chaos around).
When he began to pray, an answer was given.
Wow! That’s how God answers our prayers. As soon as we even begin to pray, God sends His answer already. This scripture reminds us how important it is to live a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. That it is necessary for us to live a blessed life.
If there is something bothering you today—some questions that remains unanswered and you want to seek understanding and insight, just pray and ask God about it. He will always send someone to give insight and understanding the same way God did for Daniel.
A lifestyle of prayer with expectancy for an answer builds our faith. This allows us to see how greatly involved God is in our lives, that He is not a distant God. He is near. And that He superintends even the smallest details of our lives.
He is a God who is Omniscient. He knows everything. Therefore, if we ask Him anything in Jesus’ Name, He is more than able to answer us in whatever way or method He wants to use just to ensure that we understood His message.
John 14:14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
Let us live a life of prayer knowing that God listens to every word we say and is willing to answer all our prayers.
Being called to a full-time ministry normally gets those who are “called” by surprise. Let us look at the calling of Moses in Exodus 3:7, 10, 4:10-12 and study these two thoughts:
- The Reason for the Call
- The Responses to the Call
Ex. 3:7, 10 – The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.
So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
Ex. 4:10-12 – Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Knowing and understanding the real reason of the call determines the response of the recipient of the call.
Now, Let us begin our study.
- Reasons for the Call
Verse 7 had exposed the great love of God for His people who are the main reason for the call.
- He had seen the misery of His people
- Take note of the word “seen”. This shows that God is always watching over us.
- How many people in the world are miserable? What kind of miseries did God saw His people are undergoing?
- He had heard them crying out because of their slave drivers
- He is a God who listens so He heard them crying out.
- The cries of His people is due to their slave drivers. Today’s slave drivers are sin.
- He is concerned about their suffering
- Being concerned is understanding the information to intimacy in relationship.
Illustration: Take a peek on a parent’s heart towards his/her child. No parent would want to see their child miserable, suffering and driven to slavery. And no parent could resist a child crying out for help. The parent who has took care of the child from the beginning will always try to find a way to take the child away from anything that causes pain. Multiply this to infinity—that’s how God loves His people!
Application: God’s way to reach out can be through person/s He calls for the ministry. This person can be used to bring words of encouragement, healing, freedom, etc. and can be an instrument for a person to start a new relationship with God. Are you willing to be that person?
- Responses to the Call
The scripture in Exodus 4:10-12 shows how a common person would respond to the call.
- Look at self – Moses realized he is not eloquent.
When one looks at self, he views himself as unqualified. He only sees the things he lack. It is because he only has a grasp of the “now”. In other words, his view is limited. He has no idea how he could be used. This could create questions and self-doubt.
- Look to God – This is what God wants. He knows what He is doing. And when He calls someone for His purpose, it is not a mistake. He knows how He can use you and He has the perfect view because He already sees the whole plan and the accomplishment of it all. He also know what you need or lack and He is more than able to provide everything as a Father.
Illustration: Imagine oneself inside a closed room. The ability to do things is limited only to the space and the things that can be found inside the room. The view is blocked by the four walls, therefore, the person cannot see what else is there beyond the walls.
Application: It is realistic to look at self and what you lack but do not dwell on it. Sometimes when we look at self too much we try to reason with God, hence, we forget to take a step of Faith. Trust God to mold and direct you in any way He wanted you to take. He knows how to enable you to fulfill his purpose.
Let us understand that the call is never about the recipient of the call. It is never about that person’s experience, potential or qualifications. It is all about the Great Love of God for His people. This requires willingness to be used for His purpose and therefore giving oneself away. Thus, trusting and obedience are a lot easier when we understand Who He is and What He can do—that’s Faith.
Do you want to be used by Him as a channel of His love for the people? Are you willing to be used by God of all creation? Do you trust Him enough to see you through His plan and shape your life in His hands?
Working at a credit union means I’ve gotten a pretty good view of one of the most personal things about people—their finances. I’m the one that knows if they have trouble paying their bills, if they have skeletons in their credit closet, if their spouse took them for all they were worth before they left… I’m the one they look at with hope when we are putting in the application for a loan and the one they avoid eye contact with when they get denied. I’m the one who listens to their stories about how they got where they are and tries to give solutions to get them out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves.
I’m realizing how much this job gives me an appreciation for people. When Jesus says, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also” I feel that I understand what he was talking…
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What I Learned about Waiting on God
What is God doing? The delay is a mystery to us.
Three lessons I learned about waiting on God:
Lesson #1: God uses circumstances to expose my need for Him.
The circumstances He uses are unique to each of our own stories. Maybe it’s a stressful job, a chronic illness, a financial crisis, or some other issue that brings pressure on our lives.
When that pressure exposes our need, we have a choice. We can say proudly, “I’ll handle this”—and the Lord lets us. Sadly, most of us don’t want to “risk” trusting God until our thing isn’t working. So, much like the lifeguard rule to let a drowning swimmer exhaust themselves so they will not resist their rescuer, God waits for us to humble ourselves or He lets the circumstances do it for us.
He doesn’t want us hurt, He just wants us to see the futility of trusting anything but Him.
Lesson #2 When we reach the end of ourselves, we learn how to trust God better.
We talk a lot about what God loves, but here’s something that God hates—pride. He despises that can-do attitude that says, “I got this one, Lord. I’ll call if I need help.” Pride also masks itself when I resist and resent what He is doing, or in frustration, I cave into depression and despair. I’m really aggravated that I’m not getting my way. (Picture a two-year old’s tantrum.) No wonder Scripture says God keeps His distance from the independent child who wants it his own way (Proverbs 3:34).
But here’s what I learned in my time of waiting: God draws near to the humble. God comes close when you humble yourself. He comforts you when you pray yourself quiet. In that stillness you know that whatever happens, you’re safe. Your life is hidden in His and nothing nobody can do will snatch you out of His hand. Life as you know it may end, but there’s something around the bend that He has prepared for you.
In those moments you are willing to say,
“Lord, I am willing to receive what You give;
To lack what You withhold; To relinquish what You take;
To suffer what You allow; To be what You require.”
Hours before the horror of the Cross, Jesus said to His Father, “not My will, but Yours be done.” This is humility. This is also how Jesus described Himself to a bunch of pride-weary disciples, “learn from me,” He said, “for I am gentle and lowly in heart (humble), and you will find rest for your souls.”
And that’s exactly what you need when you’re worn out from waiting—you need rest for your soul. God pours grace over the life of the one who says, “Lord, I am desperately dependent on You…”
Lesson #3: Always ask what else could He be doing?
When you’re pounding on heaven’s door with this one request you’re so desperate to have answered, you forget that God may be doing something else in your situation. Something amazing that you never dreamed of…
When their brother Lazarus was desperately ill, Martha and Mary pounded on heaven’s door with a life and death desperation. And God chose death. Their brother Lazarus died when Jesus intentionally delayed answering His dearest friends’ cry for help. Seems like a really crazy choice.
They didn’t mind telling Him so, too, when Jesus arrived four days later. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11).
They kept hoping the Lord would show up and do something. But Jesus had something else in mind for Lazarus other than answering their specific request. Instead of just healing His friend, Jesus gave him a taste of heaven and then brought him back to life again. Wow…
I read this John 11 passage during my waiting experience and it made me ponder. Perhaps I had been short-sighted in all of this. What else could God be doing? I was asking for relief from a huge financial, mental, and emotional burden, but God wanted to do so much more in me. Should I be satisfied with a teaspoon if I knew the ocean was just out of view? Or be happy with a small dish when a feast has been prepared?
No, in the end I didn’t just want relief, I wanted whatever God wanted for me.
God’s delay deepened my faith. Having seen Him be faithful for a week, I found it easier to trust Him for ten days. Persisting in prayer after a month strengthened me to wait in faith for another month. This wait forced me to trust Him more.
I don’t know the exact reason why God required that I wait. But here’s what I’m sure of: He was faithful to me in the waiting. Because His purpose was to teach me and to not hurt me, He provided just enough manna day by day. Just enough cash delivered in small amounts. Just enough encouragement to help me breathe. Just enough hope to hold me back from the edge by my belt-loop.
The one who follows God by faith will always be asked to wait. From the perspective of a lifetime, we can see that at least as important as what we wait for is the work God wants to do in us while we wait.
If we trust Him while we wait, we become certain of His love—that He wants only what is best for us. We stand by His wisdom—that He knows what is best for us and convinced of His power—that He is able to do what is best for us.
If you are waiting for an answer from God today, quiet yourself and take in these truths from His Word:
He’s not going to leave you (Hebrews 13:5).
He will redeem this situation for good (Romans 8:28).
He’s working a bigger plan (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Don’t take your view of life from what you can see (Hebrews 11:1).
Instead, continue to talk to Him (Psalm 55:22). Continue to wait on Him (Psalm 37:7). And in the meantime, believe that God is not only better than your fears, He’s also better than your hopes (Ephesians 3:20).
Waiting is not the worst thing that can happen and it just might be the best! 😀
Remember, the lessons waiting on the other side were worth the whole experience of waiting.
(Excerpted from the article of Barb Piel)