Friday, January 14, 2011

Finding God in the Wait

As I hear stories of friends I miss in China, I sit here and wait. We have been waiting for 5 months now. Historically, I have not waited well. But this time around, I don't want to wait like a bratty child who sits with their arms folded at the dinner table waiting for their mothers to serve their every request. I want to sit in awe and gratefulness that He has given me another day to serve Him. But gratefulness in the wait is as hard to find as good Chinese food in America.

I sat in the car as I waited for my kids this afternoon and Lord spoke clearly to me about His wisdom in our wait. Here we go.

Proverbs 2:1-5

"My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,

making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;

yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for

if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden

then you will understand the fear of
the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.

This proverb is chalk full of insights into the heart of God. I'm only going to touch on a few. There are several things in these Scriptures that walk us through understanding God in more fullness. Because there is and if/then clause, you have to work back words a little. We know that the result is that we "will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." (Prov. 2:5) So, knowing the result we obviously need to understand the path to get there. Start back up at Proverbs 2:1 and walk through these with me:

In order to know the Lord in my wait, I have to:

1. Receive

receiving the Lord's words means humility for us.

2. Treasure His commandments

treasuring His commandments means we have to protect ourselves in the Word. We only treasure things we value and we want to show off to other people. His commandments are a means of sanctifying us and glorifying Himself. They aren't oppressive and legalistic, rather, they point us to our need for Jesus. And that is something to be treasured.

3. Make my ear Attentive

When I am trying to read something or hear lyrics to a song, I need an attentive ear. For me that means that all talking, tapping pencils, scraping of chairs has to cease. I am diligent about making it quiet because I want to hear whatever it is that is that I am listening to. Do I work that hard to hear God? Do I make space and time for stillness? Bottom line is that when a good tv show wants my ear attentive, I make it happen. I just pray that I am that intentional in my times with the Lord.

4. Incline my Heart

When we incline our hearts towards something, we lean into it. We press in. And honestly, when we lean into the Lord, it means that we are leaning away from other things and other people.

5. Call out for Insight

There are several times that we find ourselves calling out. We raise our voices because we feel like we aren't being heard; we are angry; or we are excited. All three of these can be summarized by saying that we are desperate. And just speaking would be an insufficient expression of our hearts. When we are calling out, we are expressing our deep desperation for God to respond in some way.

6. We seek out the Lord's wisdom like silver and search for it as for hidden treasure.

If I knew that silver was hidden for me to have if I could just find it, I would be consistent and relentless in my pursuit. The time spent searching wouldn't be a burden nor would it cause anxiety because I know that the reward is good. I wait patiently because I know that what I get in the end is valuable.

This is where I find myself now. We don't know if and when we will head back to China. There is no guarantee for us in any of the blood testing that is happening for our daughter. But, if I grow anxious in my waiting for answers, then when I finally have some, my response will be "Well, it's about time God! I've been waiting a LONG time. Finally!" But, if my wait is patient, hopeful and trusting. If I walk through these Scriptures in Proverbs 2 and call out for the Lord then my wait will be blanketed in thankfulness and hope. And whenever God finds it good to share His plans with us, I will be grateful and humbled instead of acting like a spoiled kid at dinnertime.

When I think of the fact that God took a long time to save Paul, it gives me much comfort. You see, God saw Saul persecuting His church. He saw the pain that Saul was causing. The destructive path he was leaving behind him. God saw all this and yet waited for Paul's conversion. God had the bigger picture in sight. God apparently saw that if He waited, that He would get more glory.

The summary of what I have learned as we wait is that God doesn't owe it to me to tell me the when, how, where and why's of our wait. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure the end result is the part that God is ultimately concerned with. He is concerned with how we wait. It's in that tension that we grow. It is at that point of limbo that we call out in desperation and seek a God who is bigger than ourselves. God knows this about us humans. So, He gracefully lets us wait because He knows that we will come out in the end with a deeper love and satisfaction in having Him as our Rescuer.

Wait graciously my friends. God wants your waiting. Let Him rest on your hearts and grant you peace beyond all understanding because He is a good, loving and sovereign God.
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