Thursday, March 10, 2016

Faith and Hope: We Do Not Wait Alone

Our pastor has been teaching a series, called "Whisper", about hearing the voice of God. Last night, he said, "Some of you have been waiting to hear the voice of God about specific concerns for a long time. I'm asking you to stand where you are and share a little about your concern. Afterward, we're going to gather around you, pray for you, and agree with you about your concern as you wait for God to move."

One person had a prodigal son. One was concerned about a new job. Another had an unsaved family member. Huge needs. 

As one after another stood and shared their concerns, my own litany of concerns played in my head and tears began to leak out. I swiped tears and saw my pastor look my way. I wondered what he thought about my tears, wondered if he had any idea of the battle raging in my head.

The battle was not whether or not God would answer my prayers. I've followed Him long enough to know He always answers prayer, including mine. 

The battle was whether or not I could stand faithfully through the waiting. 

Waiting for loved ones to come back to Jesus. Waiting for healing as I help my beloved neighbor Sam through a difficult and lonely time after the death of his wife. Waiting for complete healing of my back injury. Waiting as I finish edits on my first novel. Waiting to see what God will do with this writing He's assigned me. 

If God had clearly said, "Stand," I'd have stood. But He didn't.

Instead, He reminded me that I was a prodigal once, the most heinous of sinners, yet He drew me back to Him, forgave me, cleansed me, and made me new. 

If He can save me, He can save anyone.

He reminded me that the days I have with Sam are limited. They're hard now, but there will come a time when all the hard days are swept away by eternity.

No matter how many days we have together, I only have to walk through one at a time.

He reminded me that He is my healer, and as I wait, He's my Comforter in my discomfort. He's been as close as my next breath, and He's brought me through the worst part already. 

The minor discomfort I have now drives me to Him, and it's the sweetest place of all.

He reminded me that He honors faithfulness. He will never leave me nor forsake me. His promises are not dependent upon the quality or rapidity of my writing. 

His promises are dependent only upon the faithfulness of God Almighty, and He's the One who loves me most.

I didn't stand. I didn't share my concerns. No one gathered around me to pray or agree with me as I waited.

The One who reassured me as I waited was God Himself as, with His Still, Small, Voice, He gently reminded me that He is faithful. 

This morning, I received two emails that seemed to confirm His words to me. One of the members of my writing group sent a verse from Habakkuk. I don't know what translation this is, but I loved the way it expressed truth.

"If it seems slow, do not despair, 
for these things will surely come to pass.
Just be patient!
They will not be overdue a single day!"
                   Habakkuk 2:3 

Another friend had written a devotional about waiting for God as we pray. "Faith is the evidence of things not seen; if we saw all, no faith would be needed... If God is silent, then we must cling to one truth: Ultimately we will see God's faithfulness." (Aletha Hinthorn 3/10/16)

"Faith that is seen is no faith at all." Romans 8:24

If we're honest, we're all waiting for something. We all have concerns that have not yet been resolved. It's easy to grow weary in the waiting, but there's one truth that will help us through.

We do not wait alone.

Our Lord sees. He knows. He hears. At just the right time, He will answer. Until then, as we wait, He waits with us. 

We are not alone. 

"...We exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit 
who was given to us..."
Romans 5:2-5 nasb
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