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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Waiting on God

Impressed by a sermon I heard in church last Sunday, I began to think about the seasons I have experienced in my lifetime. My pastor talked about various seasons, such as a season of completion, a season of anticipation, a season of waiting, and more. I immediately recognized that I am currently in a SEASON OF WAITING which sounds awfully funny to me since this year has been such a whirlwind of events that to even think I have time to wait on anything is incredible.
"Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him."
Psalm 37:7 ESV

Back when I was 22 years old, the Lord blessed me with a "life lesson" in waiting." It was then I was given a blueprint for how to wait, read, pray, discern, and then act! This one lesson has guided me my entire adult life. Praise God.
I was teaching 2nd grade in a Fort Worth suburb. Early in the school year, I was debating whether I should leave Fort Worth and move back to my hometown of Houston when the school year was over. Because I didn’t know any better, I decided to make a deal with God. I told God that I would read the Bible until He showed me an answer. And, with God being God, guess what happened? Yup, I had to read the entire Bible.

I started reading the Bible fervently in September or October anticipating an answer each day. I attended church and Bible study consistently; I began tithing; I went to every Christian seminar I could find; I even started going to seminary classes in the evenings. By the time March rolled around, I had read the entire Bible along with looking for an answer in all the other activities I was involved in. It baffled me that I had read the entire Bible and God had still not revealed His will on the matter to me. But, I wasn’t going to give up on God yet. Even then I had a sense that God knew what He was doing.

Then, mid-morning on April 1st (April Fool's Day - God has a sense of humor,) there was a knock on my classroom door. It was my principal handing me next year’s teaching contract. As he was casually walking away, he turned his head and said, “Patti, I need the contract back by THE END OF THE DAY!!!

Oh boy, I thought, “I'm in a pickle now.” I still had no answer as to whether to move to Houston or not, so I gave my students some busy work and took out my Bible. I started reading and inwardly groaning, “Lord, I have read the entire Bible and I need a VERY quick answer.” As I was reading, I came across a particular verse! And WOW, the Holy Spirit zapped me with an answer faster than a wasp can sting. Now, to most people, the answer I received would not make sense, but the Spirit of the Most High God answered me through His Word as He often does. God said, “Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.” [NASB] This verse might just as well have said, “Patti, move to Houston.”  I don’t know how to explain it other than it was God and I knew He was speaking to ME!

I turned in my teaching contract that afternoon — unsigned of course — and began my preparations to travel a new life path.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you."
Psalm 32:8 ESV
 Brookwood CafĂ© in Brookshire, Texas
God could have answered me the first day of my prayer, but He didn’t. I had to wait. In Waiting on God by Pastor Charles Stanley, he discusses why we may need to wait on the Lord.
  • To accept God’s direction;
  • To value God’s timing;
  • To prepare for His blessing;
  • To strengthen our faith; and
  • To sift our motives and desires.¹

I recently read a quote that has been floating around Facebook. It said . . .

Joseph waited 13 years.
Abraham waited 25 years.
Moses waited 40 years.
Jesus waited 30 years.
If God is making you wait,
You’re in good company.

Now, that quote is enough to depress anyone. Waiting for anything can be extremely difficult and waiting on God can be one of the hardest things we have to do. The reason it is hard is that in many cases there are no timetables about when His answers may come—a wife is praying for her husband’s salvation; a single woman is waiting to meet the man of her dreams; and the list goes on.

While waiting, we can choose to wait with despondency and depression or we can choose to wait with a thankful heart – thanking God for what has yet to be seen. When we wait with joy in our hearts, we experience a little kick of spiritual energy mixed with hope. It is during that time when we have the blessed opportunity to grow more and more into God’s image until we reach the place where we see His purposes and directions for our lives.

Allow me to share some HELPFUL HINTS that have helped me personally and I hope will help you as you wait for whatever you are waiting for in your life.

1.  Cleanse yourself from any sins you might have. Ask God to show you if there is any uncleanliness in your heart.
2.  Read the Bible daily.
3.  Sincerely seek God’s will, mind, and Spirit in the matter.
4.  Do not make a major decision until God speaks.

[Sometimes a decision does have to be made within a certain time frame. If you have not received a revelation from God, make the best decision you can make and trust that God will be there through it.]
5.  Trust in His timing.
6.  Be selective when sharing your “waiting period” prayers or concerns. You need time to process what God is saying to YOU without interference or persuasion from other people.
7.  Understand that God can use any method He chooses to answer you.
8.  Take advantage of every and all opportunities to learn more about God, i.e. church, Bible studies, private studies, seminars. Continue to be His servant while waiting.
9.  Don’t give up.
A few years ago when I was praying about whether to leave my high school job, I already knew God would not give me an answer until I read the Bible through. My answer came WHEN I WAS FINISHED reading. That time I didn’t get a POWERFUL Bible verse to hold on to. But, I had the sweet reassurance that I had the mind of Christ and his permission and guidance to leave my job. Little did I know at the time what an exciting few years He had in store for me. By moving to Nigeria, I learned more truths about Him there than I could have ever learned staying in my present situation. Our God knows exactly what He is doing. Honestly, He does.
Last night, I decided to look on Amazon to see how many books have been written about “Waiting on God.” Believe me! There are tons! Titles vary from God’s Waiting Room; Benefits of Waiting on God; Waiting on God’s Timing; While you Wait; Waiting; and of course, Waiting on God. But, as I was browsing the titles, a random product popped up amongst all the book titles. It was a 5 oz. jar of a seasoning called Flavor God. In my weird sense of humor, I thought about that. What came to me is that in the midst of all our waiting, we can choose to be a bland solemn person without much pizazz or we can spice up our spiritual lives by allowing God to be our focus as we wait. When He is our focus, our desires subtly change into His desires. Now, that is exciting! And, if we handle our seasons correctly, our relationship to our Heavenly Father can grow deeper and deeper, until we can see through the eyes of Jesus. Our seasons are for a purpose – God’s unique purpose for us. Catch the excitement and spice up your life by trusting fully that He knows what’s best for you.
I would love to get into how to discern the will of God. But, this is only a blog NOT a book, but maybe soon I’ll write a blog on that! Stay tuned.
Blessings always!
Patti Greene
Bible Verses:
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
But 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.
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Lord, please help me not to be discouraged as I wait upon you. Let me surrender all to you as I wait for your direction. Release me from trying to figure out everything myself, because I truly know that you see the big picture of my life and you have my best interests in mind. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

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¹ Stanley, Charles. Waiting on God. New York: Howard Books, 2015. p.13-19.