I just wanted to take a quick second to hop on the blog tonight and share the transcript of the talk I gave a church today. Hope y’all are having a happy Sabbath!
Heaven Doesn’t Have Two Day Shipping: A Talk On Waiting With Patience
Good Morning Brothers and Sisters!
To be honest with you I find myself somewhat surprised to be back up here at this podium again, let alone so soon after giving my first talk a few weeks ago! I figured that was kind of a one and done deal, and was pretty okay with the fact that I had managed to go four years as a member without having to give a talk since I’m not the biggest fan of public speaking! But…here I am! Sometimes God speaks; sometimes it’s a yell, but most times it’s a whisper. That little nagging voice that says “you need to share this” or “you need to write this”. So that’s what I’m doing up here today, because I heard that whisper and it didn’t go away. However, that is not what I wanted to share with you today. Today I wanted to talk about waiting.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines waiting as “to remain stationary”, “to delay action until a particular time”, and (my personal favorite) “to look forward expectantly”. I think it’s safe to say that all of us are waiting for something, or have experience with waiting for something, whether that something is large or small and whether the wait is shorter or longer. Perhaps you’re waiting for a new job, for retirement, for a vacation, for all the kids to finally be in school so you can have some peace and quiet, for potty training to be over with, to be finished with your degree, and so on and so forth. Perhaps you’re just waiting for this service to be over so you can go home and catch a nap!
The point being that we all wait for something. We all spend quite a bit of our lives waiting for things from the mundane, waiting in line at the grocery store, to the exciting, waiting for a new life stage or event. And this is no anomaly; from time immemorial people have been waiting and we can see quite a few instances of that in the scriptures.
Abraham and Sarah waited close to 25 years for Heavenly Father’s promise of a child, his promise to make Abraham a “father of many nations” (Genesis 13-18). That child was Isaac. Joseph waited 13 years to go from being sold into slavery at the hand of his brothers to becoming a leader of his people (Genesis 37). Jesus waited 30 years to officially start his ministry (Luke 3). Job waited months, possibly even years, for God to end his suffering and afflictions. Hannah, Moses, Simeon, Elizabeth…the list goes on and on of those in the scriptures who were asked, commanded, or made to wait. In Psalm 27 David shares counsel from the lord on waiting when, in verse 14, he admonishes us to “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait I say on the Lord”.
But Heavenly Father doesn’t ask us to “just wait”. He also cares about HOW we wait, and that is probably the hardest part of the whole experience of waiting. See Heavenly Father wants us to wait patiently and to trust in Him, His plan, His timing. He doesn’t want us to spend our time waiting with a heart full of anger, or with sadness, or cursing and moaning the whole time. But that’s hard!
I get it, trust me, I do. I’m in a period of waiting myself where many days I feel like the obnoxious toddler in the backseat of the car of life, repeatedly asking Heavenly Father “are we there yet? Huh God? Are we there yet? Is it time yet? How bout now?”.
In this day and age we’ve grown pretty accustomed to having instant, or near instant, gratification. We are used to being able to look something up on our phones or computers the second we have a question, having stores open most days of the week for extended hours and even on holidays, being able to order a product online if we can’t find it in stores and have it shipped to our homes within days, purchasing items on credit with no money down if we don’t have funds in our account that day, and being served quickly at restaurants or in checkout lines. We’ve become so habituated to not having to wait that when we do have to wait, and don’t have much choice or say in the matter, we often don’t react well.
But here’s the thing; heaven doesn’t have two day shipping.
God’s timetable is vastly different than ours here on earth. God typically doesn’t just grant your heart’s desire within seconds of uttering a prayer because you want something really bad and don’t feel like waiting. That’s not how it works. He may not grant what you want for days, weeks, months, years, or even decades. That’s just kind of how he rolls, and I think that sometimes his reasoning behind that is because oftentimes the waiting period, and the growth that can occurring during it, is of more importance than whatever we are waiting for even if it doesn’t feel that way to us.
So what can we do while we are waiting to use that waiting period for our benefit and cultivate an attitude of patience while we wait?
In Elizabeth Laing Thompson’s aptly titled book When God Says Wait she offers the following wisdom on developing “survival skills for spiritual waiting” and it’s essentially this; just show up! Show up for prayer. Show up for worship. Show up for time in God’s word. Show up for fun. Show up to laugh. Show up for self-reflection. Show up to serve. And lastly, don’t show up to social media as often.
“When you are waiting you will have despairing days. Days when you want to hole up at home and huddle in the dark with sad or angry thoughts. Just showing up, especially in a congregational setting will feel like the worst idea in the world.
Don’t give in.
Just showing up will minister to you in ways you don’t even know that you need. It will fills holes in your soul you didn’t even realize you have, gaps that you can’t fill in yourself.”
Likewise, the scriptures offer the following wisdom on waiting:
In Micah 7 we are counseled that God hears our prayers and know the desires of our hearts. In Proverbs 3 Verse 5 we are advised to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” and Romans Chapter 12 Verse 12 instructs us to “Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times” (GNTD). Lastly, Colossians Chapter 4 Verse 2 prompts us to “continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving”.
So brothers and sisters, whatever it is you’re waiting for and wherever in your wait you’re at I hope you take comfort in knowing that you’re in good company, and I encourage you to use this time to hone your “spiritual survival skills” and learn to wait upon the Lord with patience.
In Jesus name Amen.