FROM THE PULPIT: BE PATIENT! – God chooses his time

  • PublishedJuly 27, 2014

I must admit waiting is hard for me since I like to have answers immediately. Postponement perplexes me and deferrals daunt me. I’m baffled by God’s delays, wondering how long, why and till when. “How long, O Lord?” The prophet Habakkuk wanted answers as well, but God chose to take His time.

Habakkuk 2:1-3: “I will stand my watch… to see what God will say to me, “Wait for it because it will surely come.” Faith never gives up. It acknowledges that despite appearances, all is well. Faith can wait without signs or significant indications that God is at work, because it is sure of Him. Quoting Madame Guyon (1648-1717), “Each delay is perfectly fine, for we are within the safe hands of God.” This is a lesson to us that we too must learn to view each delay in our life as if it were perfectly fine.

Postponements are reasons to pray rather than grow anxious, impatient and annoyed. They are opportunities for God to build those imperishable but hard-to-acquire qualities of humility and strength. God never says wait a while unless He is planning to do something in our situation or in us. He waits to be gracious. So take heart if God’s answer is not immediately forthcoming, wait for it because it will surely come. Wait patiently for Him because He stretches our patience to enlarge our soul.

In Isaiah; 64: 1-3: “Rend the heavens!” and “Come down!” the prophet Isaiah pleaded, “Make your name known by making the mountains shake and nations tremble,” he advised the Lord. Isaiah wanted God to behave as He had in the past. Recalling the scripture about God’s visit with Moses on Mt. Sinai, Isaiah longed for a repeat performance. But God had already told Isaiah that He would be doing something new. In Isaiah 42:9 we read: “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare, before they spring forth, I tell you of them.”

The something new was Jesus! God did indeed come down, but not in Isaiah’s lifetime and not in the dramatic fashion he longed for. In Isaiah 42:2 we read: “He will not cry out, nor raise His voice nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.” He came in the unassuming form of an infant.

Many of us can recall a situation in our life when God was amazingly timely in His response to our needs. But perhaps now He has something else in mind. As you celebrate God’s humble descent on earth, be aware that He came to change our hearts, not just our circumstances. God’s answer wasn’t detected when Jesus came to earth, for no one had expected a child of lowly birth. God’s answer to our prayers may exceed our expectations. But we need to be patient because in due time, He will answer our prayers.

Published in May 2013

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