Waiting is the Test of Patience
Introduction: For the most part, we would have to agree that we live in a hurry, hurry, rush, problematic, stress and anxiety-filled world. You think you live in a busy area around here? You haven't seen anything until you live in or near Baltimore, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. In those places, the mentality is that of the military – “HURRY-UP AND WAIT.”
Three words describe our times as we ricochet from place to place – HURRY, WORRY, and BURY! So in this race called life, with pressing demands of time upon us, it’s necessary to actually STOP to discover God.
In order to help us, God uses an infinite number of vehicles during the process of discovering Him. One of these is in the area we call PATIENCE. Wouldn’t you agree, our problem is we have become accustomed to the American prayer?
Lord, give me patience… And I want it right now!
It's awfully hard for a country that exists on instant everything, every time, to learn how to wait. We want it when we want it, and we want it right now. It's amazing:
When we are in a hurry, we catch every RED LIGHT.
When we need to make that phone call, the other line is BUSY.
When we are in a hurry to get through the check-out line, we get stuck behind someone who is taking their GOOD OLD TIME as if they have all the time in the world.
Wouldn't you rather do anything than wait? However, I have found in life that waiting is the rule rather than the exception.
Especially in the Christian life, I have found myself waiting on God more often than not.
Oh, there have been those occasional open doors to walk through. But the rest of the time has been filled with a few yellow lights and mostly red lights that flash, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT! Repeatedly, I have gotten that feeling that I’m in a hurry, and God isn't.
Yet that's the key, WAITING is the TEST of PATIENCE!
In the Bible, PATIENCE is not a passive acceptance of circumstances. Patience is courageous perseverance in the face of suffering.
Impatience and unbelief usually go together, just as faith and patience go together. When you LEARN to WAIT upon the LORD, then GOD CAN DO GREAT THINGS THROUGH you.
The only way God can develop patience, or another way of saying it “Christian character,” in our lives is through trials. Endurance cannot be obtained by reading a book, by listening to a sermon, or by praying a prayer.
In Romans 5:3-4 we read, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh PATIENCE; and PATIENCE, experience; and experience hope:”
In Psalm 130:5-6 we read, “I WAIT for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul WAITETH for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.”
“God builds CHARACTER IN US before He can WORK THROUGH US!” Because this statement is so important to remember, let me say it again, “God builds character in us before He can work through us.”
God weans us away from spiritual babyhood to bring us to completion. Each trial causes us to develop a little more maturity to smooth out the rough edges of our Christian faith. Let me put it this way,
“God wants us to become spiritual adults and the school he often takes us through is the school of "HARD KNOCKS."
So what is the test for patience? To calmly WAIT or “Waiting on the Lord!” Now turning to Psalm 62:1-12 we read,
“Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. (2) He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. (3) How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence. (4) They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah. (5) My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. (6) He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. (7) In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. (8) Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. (9) Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity. (10) Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. (11) God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. (12) Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.”
From this chapter, we discover a rather simple three point outline to guide us to victorious waiting on the Lord.
FIRST: We are to Wait for God to direct our steps. In verse 1 David says, "Truly, my soul waiteth upon God." In the Hebrew, the word "waiteth" implies "silence."
Literally verse 1 reads, "My soul is silent before God." That speaks of waiting on God. "Don't be anxious, WAIT!"
Notice verse 5, "My soul, wait thou only upon God…" Ever had to do that? Sure you have. It's all a part of the growing pains of the Christian life.
The Psalmist is saying to us, “Soul, STOP and listen!” Wait for God to direct your step.
I don't know about you, but for me that really is tough, since I’m a guy who has a hard time waiting. That is, waiting for God to do something. I have spent many an anxious night and paced many a floor, in essence saying, "God, please hurry up, the wait is killing me." It literally was. My sleep was ruined by worry, and my days were filled with thoughts of "God, why haven't you acted?" as I found myself doing nothing but fretting. What a waste of time!
And there God sits in the heavens with the answer, shaking His head and thinking, “Why hasn't he learned his lesson to just sit back and trust me to work out all the details?”
If we are to wait upon God, WE MUST HAVE FAITH IN THE PROMISES OF THE WORD OF GOD AND BE REMINDED OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS TO THOSE PROMISES.
SECOND: We are to Wait upon God to provide our needs. In verse 1 we read, “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.” Okay, so we are to wait on Him, trusting Him to provide our needs. How are you doing with "Waiting for God to supply your needs?"
I can teach you the principles of patience, but I can't make you learn! God must do that. And His requirement for learning PATIENCE is WAITING.
In summary, let me take you back to a passage found in Genesis 22:1-14.
God had promised Abraham a son, Isaac. This son would become the father of many nations, and through him the whole world would be blessed.
God promised that his offspring would be as the sands of the sea in multitude and the stars of the heaven in number. In due time, God kept His promise and Isaac was born.
Also in Genesis 22, God demands an incredible act of Abraham. Abraham was to face a great test, by offering his son Isaac as a literal burnt sacrifice upon an altar on Mt. Moriah. I believe the key to this extended passage is "Perfect faith in the heart is exhibited by perfect obedience in the life."
Faithful obedience always results in faithful action. We can never TEST the great resources of God until our faith sees the impossible or the incredible, and yet believes the possible.
Faith does not question God; faith believes and obeys. Faith is resting on the promises of God. Where God puts a period, I don’t have the right to put a question mark.
As the result of Abraham’s faith and obedience, God supplies a ram to sacrifice in place of his son. There upon, Abraham calls the place Jehovah-Jirah. This great name of God means to “SEE before hand, and make the means to PROVIDE for the inevitable need.” No doubt, Abraham did not understand it all, yet He had FAITH IN THE GOD OF PROVISION.
God does not play with us, nor does He play games. GOD KNOWS and UNDERSTANDS OUR SITUATION before we do, and in turn PROVIDES FOR US IN THAT SITUATION.
Let me ask. Have you ever had a problem or specific need where there was nothing you could do but pray, pray, pray and then you had to sit back and wait for God to answer? You could do absolutely nothing to solve the problem or provide for the need. There was no one to turn to, but the Lord.
Have you ever come to the point in which you literally had to exchange your weakness for God's strength, even though you didn't deserve the exchange? Perhaps you said, "It’s impossible, Lord, you do it."
If we are going to learn the great lesson on patience, we need to learn to wait upon the God of provision.
Perhaps you are asking, if God is the God of provision, why doesn't he immediately give us what we ask for? God's delays are not the delays of inactivity, but of preparation. God is always answering prayers, for Romans 8:28 tells us, God works in all things at all times, causing all things to work together to accomplish His purposes.
SO WHY WOULD GOD WANT US AT TIMES TO WAIT AND HAVE US CONTINUE TO AGONIZE, AND PERSEVERE IN PRAYER?
Because God knows WHAT is best. Sometimes we ask God for something that He knows is second best. He may have something better in mind. Sometimes the Lord delays to see if we will wait for His best.
Because God knows WHEN it is best. God’s timing is important. Look, the WHEN is just as important as the WHAT. He wants us to have it, but He wants us to have it at the right time.
THIRD: We are to WAIT upon God, silently and in stillness. Again this was David's cry in verse 1, "My soul, wait (literally wait in silence) upon God…" The hymn writer wrote,
Speak, Lord, in the stillness, While I wait on thee;
Hushed my heart to listen, in expectancy."
Do you realize that some of the best times in prayer are wordless times? This is where you stop speaking, close your eyes, and meditate upon what you have been reading or upon what you have been saying, and just wait. You feel the presence of God's Holy Spirit as He takes your prayer of circumstances before God.
Listen to this quote written in a missionary’s update e-mail,
“It is the incredible wisdom of our God to ordain prayer to be the most powerful weapon of the church. If He had chosen anything else – like preaching, singing, money or education, many of us could never participate in fighting the battles of life. But prayer does not require any talent and can be done anywhere, anytime by anyone…If the Lord has thus spoken to you, please respond by doing just one thing, PRAY!”
Stop here for a moment, mark your place in Psalm 62 as we shall return, and go with me to Isaiah 40:25-31,
“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. (27) Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? (28) Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (29) He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. (30) Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: (31) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Now the human heart is capable of being DISCOURAGED, DISTRESSED, and FRUSTRATED; resulting often in depression and fear. Such will bring us to use the language of our text, and to COMPLAIN and ARGUE with God, because we IMAGINE our CASE IS BEYOND HIM. This was the attitude of God's people in Isaiah's time at this particular point in their experience.
They were about to enter a time of captivity.
They were about to face the chastening hand of God for their sin and disobedience.
They were about to reap the harvest which they had sown.
Instead of searching their hearts about it, they began to say in verse 26. "Our way is hid from God."
They were saying, God your guidance is impossible.
They were saying, God our deliverance is beyond Your power.
Today, I would venture to say that I am speaking to someone who is experiencing FRUSTRATION, AFFLICTION, FEAR, and DISCOURAGEMENT, and you are probably asking:
"Where is God in all this?"
"Does anybody feel as I feel?"
"Does anybody understand my situation?"
You have perhaps come to a place where you cry out, "God, MY SITUATION IS BEYOND YOU!" At this moment, God may stop to remind you to wait a minute, and to ask:
Why are you complaining?
Why are you grumbling?
You have the nerve to say "I, GOD, cannot guide you?"
You have the nerve to say, "I, GOD, have abandoned you?
Again from verses 25-30 there is some light here for my soul on the matter of complaining. Notice the contrast.
The everlasting God FAINTS NOT, He is NOT WEARY. But I faint, and I become weary, not merely physically or mentally, but also spiritually.
You and I know absolute exhaustion which brings upon our lips an unworthy argument with God. "OH, God do you even care if I am delivered?" Why do I faint and tire so easily?
Because of Sin that I do not deal with.
Because of Doubt in the promises of God.
Because I try to fight it out in my way and in my strength.
The Almighty One is not weary or faint. Can it be that He wants to make us like Him? Now we come to that fabulous verse 31.
"But they that WAIT upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” How do I find renewal, "They that wait upon the Lord shall EXCHANGE THEIR WEAKNESS FOR HIS STRENGTH."
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WAIT UPON GOD?
It means no more complaining.
It means no more arguing with Him.
It means much communicating with God in prayer.
It means waiting on His strength. We get tired, He does not.
Now back to Psalm 62, God tells us why we are to wait. It's so simple. Here are the benefits of waiting:
In verse 1, God is our DELIVERER, our Salvation.
In verse 2, God is our only SECURITY, our Stronghold.
In verse 5, God is our only HOPE.
In verse 7, God is our only GLORY, and also
In verse 7, God is our only REFUGE.
Here are the reasons for waiting:
Because without Him, WE DON'T HAVE DELIVERANCE.
Because without Him, WE DON'T HAVE SECURITY.
Because without Him, WE DON'T HAVE HOPE.
Because without Him, WE DON'T HAVE ANY GLORY.
Because without Him, WE DON'T HAVE ANY REFUGE.
Because without Him, WE ARE HELPLESS.
Frustrations, problems, and conflicts are with us most days. If not today, tomorrow is coming during which you might have one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.
They are going to come along with all their frustrating circumstances.
They are going to come along, and if it is not the circumstances, it will be the people who will be sweet one day and cruel and heartless another.
Through it all, thank God He is our refuge and our strength. Let me close by saying:
There is no burden so great or so small that God doesn't want to help us bear it.
There is no problem so great or so small that God doesn’t want to help us find a solution to it.
There is no question so hard or so simple that God can’t offer an answer to it.
Prayer is God's way for Christians to get things. "O, thou God who hearest prayer, put into our hearts to BELIEVE Thee, and to pray."
Remember that American prayer I quoted at the beginning, Lord, give me patience … And I want it right now!
Let's replace it with a Christian prayer, Lord, give me PATIENCE … And I am willing to wait on You.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon, “Waiting is the Test of Patience” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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