Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Update: While We're Waiting

"I want my daddy to come back!"

In my line of work, I hear something similar to this phrase about 100 times a week.  My knee jerk response is, "Believe me, kid, I want your daddy to come back, too!" 

But when the kid is old enough to be reasoned with, I eventually try to explain the situation to the child.  "Your daddy always comes back.  Your daddy loves you.  Why don't you find something to do while you're waiting for your daddy to come back, and that will make the time go by faster.  Plus, you might have some fun."

The kid doesn't always get it.  That's because kids want what they want when they want it.  And adults are pretty much exactly the same way.

I've shared on here before that when I was a teenager, I spent a lot of sleepless nights staring up at the ceiling, pleading with God to show me His will for my life.  I wanted a "holy lightning bolt" showing me some career path to take.  I was willing to do anything, but I just wanted to know what it was.  But I really wasn't willing to do anything.  I wasn't willing to wait.  And God knew that.  And God knows that I still struggle with wanting to know every detail of everything I do before I do it.  That's why He still makes me wait.  That's why He only lets me know what He wants me to do one step at a time.  He wants me to trust Him.

And I wish I had figured this out in my teenage years, but God's already shown us what He expects from us.  We don't need a "holy lightning bolt.  God's already told us what He expects from us.  My favorite example of ths is: "He has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you? But to act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." --Micah 6:8. 

There's a great song I'm hearing on the radio these days.  "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller.  The song is honest, talking about the pain of waiting for God to move.  But it's also hopeful.  While we're waiting, we can worship.  We can serve where we are in what we're doing.

Sometimes we're in such a hurry to get on to the next thing.  We're always preparing for something, and sometimes we miss the moment we're living in.  It's even more of a temptation to do that when what we're going through is painful.  I don't think most people like to try to figure out why God's allowing us to go through a painful situation or what He wants to teach us through it.  We're always too busy trying to get away from the pain.

I went through over five years of a season of Spiritual winter.  There was little growth; I mainly just stayed in a period of frozen cold, waiting for spring to thaw me out again.  I spent a lot of time whining for my Father to come and get me out of it.  I even spent some part of that wondering if God was ever going to get me out of it.  But even in the midst of it all, I knew God had a reason for it.  I knew there was a purpose for the waiting.  I don't know how well I worshipped in the waiting or served in the waiting, but I knew God was holding on to me.  I rarely doubted that.

And there's another great song I'm hearing a lot.  It's by a band called "For King and Country" and it's called "Busted Heart."  The song speaks of a winter season, of our helplessness and brokenness, of knowing God is holding on to us, that in His time He's going to meet us right where we are.  And I can sing that from the other side of the winter season, knowing that God did hold on to me, knowing that He did love me, that He did come back to get me, knowing there was a reason for the winter.

The pride.  The anger.  The believing that I could somehow save myself.  These things started to fade away in the midst of my helplessness.  I still have a lot of pride.  I still have a lot of anger.  I still have to be reminded a lot that I am needy.  But when spring came again, I started growing again.  And I realized a lot of what I went through was preparing me for this time in my life.  I needed to realize the depths of my depravity before I could move on in the full grace of God. 

I still have a little bit of waiting to do, but everything seems to be screaming at me NOW!  Now is the time to step out in faith and see what happens.  Now is the time to realize that when we're faithful to do the little things we know we're supposed to do (act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with our God, etc.), God will reveal more to us.  And I've got a lot of work to do. 

I still fail sometimes.  I did this week.  Remember David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba?  Remember when she became pregnant?  Remember when he tried to deceive her husband by trying to get him to come home and sleep with her so that he'd think the child was his?  Remember when the anointed King, the man after God's own heart resorted to murder to cover his own tracks?  What was his first sin?  He was supposed to be at war, and instead, he stayed home in Jerusalem.  He wasn't doing what he was supposed to be doing, and part of the consequences for that inaction was a deeper path of sin.  While I've not committed adultery or killed anyone, I'm still just as guilty.  I can understand how one sin of inaction can lead to a path of sin.  And I've had to seek forgiveness this week for being prideful, for seeking my own ways instead of serving and worshipping and working while I'm waiting for God to move.

But when we confess our sin, God really is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  It's hard to understand that in the midst of a winter season, when sometimes we're caught in cycles of sin and confession, of addiction and confusion, of wondering if God is ever going to come save us from ourselves.  But because of what I went through in the dark times, it was relatively easy to humble myself, to come to God and seek the forgiveness He is faithful to give.  It's because I know He loves me.  I know He's coming to get me.  Even when I'm a brat. 

He's holding on to us because His grasp is greater than our attempts to free ourselves from His grasp.  I don't know exactly what's going to happen in the next few weeks, but I'm excited.  I'm hopeful.  I'm expectant.  I don't need to know everything that's going to happen.  I just trust.  I just obey. 

It's because I know my Daddy loves me, and He's going to come through. 

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