Monday, July 8, 2013

Waiting, for the LAST Moment

Playing the waiting game is not the kind of game I enjoy. Have you ever heard or even said, "The anticipation of a vacation is as much fun as the trip"? If the trip is going to be so fun shouldn't it just stand on its own once you are on it?

Let's go back to Christmas as a kid. Was Christmas day as amazing and the entire month's expectancy in my head? Not so much. I have wasted so many Decembers in anticipation of the 25th it's embarrassing. 

So, waiting; what's so good about it? Is it different for a Christian than it is for someone who is not? I’m going to add in this passage because it seems fitting for those who are waiting and working and waiting some more.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
 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 to him who has no might he increases strength.
 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
 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.

As I contemplate the stories in the OT there are many that had to do with people waiting on God to deliver them, bring them something or make something out of nothing. I can’t think of one incident when God “showed up” early and delivered with a month to spare.

1 Kings 17 is the story of Elijah, the widow and the drought. Elijah had told Ahab that there would be no rain in Israel unless Elijah asked God to make it rain; there were others in the Israel beside Ahab; Elijah was there and so was this widow and her son.

Elijah’s brook dried up and so God told him to go find this widow who would feed him. Do you suppose Elijah was thinking she had extra food and water? Picture in your mind what this widow looked like. What was this widow thinking before Elijah showed up? We actually get to know what she was thinking because she tells Elijah, but first…

Elijah gets to her place and asks her for some water; really? There’s a drought; where is she supposed to get water for him? Even as she was going to get the water Elijah asks her to bring him some bread. Did she know who this was? The passage doesn’t say that she had a bad attitude about getting the water or the bread, it just tells us her reply.  “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” Now picture again what this widow looked like; probably something like the starving people we see but “don’t see”.

Now if I am Elijah I am feeling pretty humbled right about now. I just asked this widow for water and bread and that’s her response. I might even be questioning God’s judgment right now with something like, “You told me to come here because this widow is to feed me and she doesn’t even have enough food for herself”.

Except that Elijah knows the God of this story has a plan for this woman. This woman woke up that morning thinking she was going to prepare her last meal and die and Elijah and God show up and change the story around.

She didn’t have 5 jars of flour left and 6 jugs of oil. She was on her last of both and she was still prepared to share it with Elijah.

Do you suppose she was praying all along that God would bring her rain, flour and oil? Do you suppose she had given up hope that God would actually deliver her? It seems like it.

In our own lives there are times that it seems we are down to the last possible moment, cent or breath and there is no other way out and God “shows up” and restores. He doesn’t do this when we have “5 bags of flour left” any more than He did that for the widow, but He does deliver; in His time, in His way, for His people.

"The believer who waits for the Lord endures the delay in a spirit of confidence... waiting with expectancy and yet with the humility that defers to His timing and methods. True faith is not leverage to force God’s hand. True faith waits for God in a posture of confident submission." Ortlund

He’s coming. Don’t worry. But don’t be thinking He’s coming “early” because He’s coming at exactly the right time. His time.

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