Saturday, May 5, 2012

Life's Waiting Rooms

The Lord woke me in the wee hours this morning to write this devotion for our Legacy Ladies Day Out at The Barn today. Thought I'd share after my friends helped fill in a few blanks with an interactive exercise.


I tend to write and speak from my own life lessons, praying they speak into someone else’s life as well. So here is where I am today…

We live in a “want it now” society. We are an impatient generation. We search the internet for instant answers instead of searching for them the old fashioned way. We have information, email, Facebook, music, Bibles, dictionaries and a host of other apps at our fingertips with smart phones. We can purchase things from the internet without leaving home and have it shipped overnight. We can use credit cards as payment so we don’t have to wait until we’ve saved enough money. We can check in before we get to the airport so we don’t have to wait in line. We microwave our food and drive through fast food establishments. We make restaurant reservations so our table is waiting when we get there. We live in a want it now society.

But God…

God does not operate on our 21st century, fast-paced time table. We have forgotten what it’s like to wait or save up for things, and the sweet satisfaction of finally receiving what our heart desired. Though we may be able to rush through life, one thing has not changed from the early centuries until now…we cannot rush God. He works on His timetable, not ours. So we find ourselves in the waiting rooms of life on a regular basis. Life is a series of peaks and valleys. So if we are not in a waiting room right now, we’ll likely be in one soon.

Pause for a moment and consider whether you are in a waiting room right now. Think of at least one thing you are waiting on God for.

These are a few of the things my friends and I shared: 

Waiting for increase.
Waiting for financial peace.
Waiting for a job.
Waiting for the right guy.
Waiting for school to be over and summer to come.
Waiting for God to provide college funds.
Waiting for an opportunity to move.
Waiting for a friend to move back. 
Waiting for a daughter to surrender to the Lord.
Waiting for someone to accept Christ.

As a woman, how do you respond to waiting, especially when the pending news could be bad, or it’s something hard or seems impossible? Consider a few options and determine what your usual mode of operation might be...

Negative responses:
·        fear (if/how God will answer)
·        worry (even though God’s Word says 9 times in 8 verses in Matt. 6 not to worry)
·        anxiety
·        depression
·        impatience

Positive responses:

·        hope
·        anticipation
·        expectancy
·        faith
·        believing God

I want to share a verse that has really affirms what God has doing in my heart in recent months of waiting. He has been teaching me how to wait with hope and peace and expectancy.

God’s Word says in Isaiah 40:31, “Those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Note that God does not say, “Those who try to work it out themselves…” or “Those who run ahead and do it in their own strength…” or “ Those craft their own plan and ask Me to bless it…”  will renew their strength. No, He says, “Those who wait on [Him]…”

We tend to think of waiting as a passive term. One that means we are to be inactive in the process. As I learned from writer Holly Gerth, “The ‘wait’ here is full of activity – soaring, running, walking.”

Sometimes, God requires us to be still in the waiting. But many times He leaves us in a position to continue on with the work He has given us to do, fulfilling His plan for our lives. He often wants and expects us to press on. By doing so, I have found that my mind is not so consumed with life’s challenges and it actually renews my strength as I work, wait, hope and trust in the Lord.

As Holly elaborated, it’s like being in a fancy restaurant and being doted over by an attentive waiter. His job is to fill his customer’s every desire. He hovers close by and watches and waits for moments he can be of service.

Being renewed is a lot like that. It comes when we wait expectantly while serving the Lord and continue to meet the needs of those around us, regardless of our own circumstances. This brings joy to the "One Who Loves Us". In other words, our attitude in the waiting makes all the difference!

This new perspective has been teaching me to balance praying with expectancy, with not setting my own agenda for how God should answer. God’s Word says in Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  Matthew Henry’s commentary describes what we do this way: we “design an end, and project ways and means leading to that end, which we [just cannot] do…We are depending creature[s]…subject to the direction and dominion of [our] Maker.” However, “If men devise their way, so as to make God’s glory their end and His will their rule, they may expect that He will direct their steps by His Spirit and grace, so that they shall not miss their way…But let men devise their worldly affairs ever so politely, and with ever so great a probability of success, yet God has the ordering of the event, and sometimes directs their steps to that which they least intended.”  The intent of this verse is to teach us to wait with our eyes on God, not only in the waiting rooms and twists and turns of life, but in every step we take.

My life verse, Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” I think He gave me that verse early on knowing I would be in lots of waiting rooms in my lifetime. So I am learning to pray expectantly, but to temper my words by adding, Lord, direct my steps. Not my will but Yours be done.

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