Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Waiting for God

Are you good at waiting? I don't mean serving tables, but rather in waiting for something. You know it's going to happen, but there's a delay. Waiting.

It might be hard enough to wait for a birthday or Christmas, with the expectation of nice things in store. How much harder, then, to wait for God to act. We sometimes wonder why God appears to be slow to fulfill his promise. Why he appears slow to act. It may even appear that we just want to plough on ahead and let God catch us up.

Especially when we're in trouble. You know, we can handle this God, we don't really need you.

I've been reading through Isaiah, and in the days leading up to my ordination as a Presbyter, I've reached one of the verses that helped kick off the whole journey way back when.

28Have 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.
29He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31but they 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.
(Isaiah 40: 28-31)

If we seek to serve the Lord in our own strength, we will quickly fail. Even youths and young men grow weary. We can't do it on our own. I am not able for the task in my own power, because I don't have any power of my own.

It is in waiting for the Lord, for his timing, for his power, for his strength, that we can do all things through him who strengthens us.

I can remember thinking through these verses - which in the context of the chapter are an essential element of the good news which is heralded to Jerusalem for her comfort - when I was still a student at Queens, all those years ago. Ten, to be precise.

There was a song by Petra which had the following line:

Good things come to those who wait,
Not to those who hesitate,
So hurry up and wait upon the Lord.

I was hesitating, and putting off responding to the call of God. Last night I was listening to an mp3 sermon from St Helen's. They're preaching through Judges in the evenings, and I was listening to the sermon on Judges 4 and 5, the episode of Deborah. Except, Deborah wasn't the judge, the mini-messiah, the saviour that God had called in Israel. Barak was the one God had called (no, not Barack Obama), but he had failed to respond to the call. When Deborah goes to challenge him, he'll only go if she goes with him.

Hesitant, fearful, comfortable.

It is in responding to the Lord that we grow in faith, as we know his strength, and see him at work. To respond, we must wait for the Lord, spending time with him.

Our lives are so busy that we can think, oh, I haven't got time for the Quiet Time, or for reading my Bible or praying. Ironically, that is what will be most useful to us when we're busy. Our strength or God's? Our timing or God's? Will we blarge on ahead, or will we wait for the Lord?

The one who does not grow weary strengthens his servants so that they also will not be weary. Hurry up and wait upon the Lord!

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