Google Analytics

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Faith of Patience {chapter 3} by Julia Rogers

            There I sat staring at the same old tree while rocking in the same old rocking chair on the same old porch.  We were visiting my parents during the holidays when deja vu hit.  How many times had I found myself sitting on the porch from my childhood contemplating life, God, and my future?  There were too many to count.  I remember sitting there as a child, my innocent self so naïve to this world hoping, dreaming, and waiting for what was to come: the first boyfriend, first car, first job, high school graduation, college, marriage, babies, and everything in between.  I have done a lot of waiting from that porch.  I’ve also held a lot of pity parties with my impatience hosting the shindig.  I knew what I wanted and I wanted it then.  And more often than not, when my impatience got the better of me, I took things into my own hands and tried to manipulate the situation, doing anything to make my desires come to life sooner.  This often led to pain and more heartache. 
            So there I found myself again, a little bit older, contemplating what was next.  The things that I had once hoped for from that same seat I now found myself observing in real-time: my husband, my three children, a nice home, stability.  And those things fill me with so much joy.  But as I sat there, I couldn’t ignore this deep ache for something else….something unknown.  This time my impatience wasn’t manifested in trying to make things happen, but in waiting for God to reveal to me what it was that He wanted me to do. 
            That was about 2 weeks ago and I still do not know what God is preparing me for.  I am finding that waiting for the unknown is in some ways harder than waiting for the known.  This desire within me is like an ember waiting to be fanned to flame. In the mean time, I am determined to “wait better” this time around.  I will serve God, my family, and my church to the best of my ability while I am waiting.  Joy can be found while waiting.  I want to be proof of that. 
            I have no idea why God hasn’t revealed, “what’s next”, but I’m putting my faith in Him knowing that He is sovereign over all things including perfect timing.  Too many times I have lived life less than full because I didn’t know how to wait patiently.   And too many times, I have acted sinfully in my impatience and I’ve suffered the consequences.  Essentially, I can trace most of my impatience back to one thing: a lack of faith in God’s sovereignty over my life.  I know that I am not alone in this.
            In Genesis 12:1-2, the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” 
            Later on in Chapter 15 of Genesis, Abram asks, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless?” It was then that God made this covenant with Abram: “Look toward heaven and number the stars, if you are able to number them.”  Then He said, “So shall your offspring be.”
            In Chapter 16 we see that Sarai, Abram’s wife, was barren. In her frustration and impatience, she offered up her servant Hagar to Abram so as to obtain children through her.  Hagar did indeed become pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael.
            In Chapter 17, Abraham and Sarah, become pregnant and give birth to Isaac. Thus God’s promise that “kings of peoples shall come from her” is set in motion. After Isaac’s birth, Sarah sent Hagar and Ishmael away, but God promised to make a great nation of Ishmael as well as Isaac, because he too was an offspring of Abraham. 
            So where am I going with all of this?  Well, to this very day, the consequence of Abraham and Sarah’s impatience can be felt as the Islamic nation that was born from Ishmael wars against Israel for territory that the Jewish people regard as their historical homeland. 
            The story of Abraham and Sarah is a great reminder to me, and hopefully to you as well that our sinful impatience will always take us further than we are willing to go and the consequences can be far greater than we ever imagined.  Through this story, we also see that the root of patience is faith in God.  Had Abraham and Sarah’s faith in God’s promises been stronger, they would have had patience to wait on Him to fulfill His promises, no matter how long it took. 

What can You do While You are Waiting
            Most of the time, when people are wondering about the will of God for their life, they are really wondering about the will of God as it relates to their future unfolding.  However, the truth is while we may not know the will of God in terms of what He will have us doing in the future, the Bible does tell us the revealed will of God for our lives. 
1.     God’s will for our lives is that we obey His commands. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  That implies that you are first learning the commandments of God through the study of His Word. And secondly, you are striving to live out these commands in the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Apostle Paul reiterated this command in Romans 12:2 as he wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
2.     It is God’s will that we always be striving to grow in commitment and holiness to God just as the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:1, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. In 1 Thessalonians 4, the Apostle Paul wrote very plainly these words, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification….”
3.     The revealed will of God is to always live out Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. “

            What is it that you are waiting on right now?  Will you commit with me to wait patiently on God for the unknown and to be faithful to the known? The prayer below is one that I have been praying for myself the last few weeks:
            Lord, I pray that you would teach me to wait well.  I pray that I will serve you while I’m waiting. I pray that you would increase my faith because I know that faith is the root of patience. Lord, I know that you are preparing me for something.  May I submit to your work within me so that I am fully ready to do your will when you reveal it to me.  Amen.

Discussion Guide:
1.     As a group, share with each other, as you feel comfortable, something that you are waiting for.
2.     What are you doing while you wait? 
3.     Some wise things that you can do while waiting patiently on the Lord are as follows:        
a.Be faithful to the things that God has entrusted you with/the things that you should for sure be going.   
(What are some things that you KNOW without a doubt that you should be                                          
b.Search your heart.  Is their sin in your life that is clouding your vision and preventing you from discerning the will of  God? (If someone is comfortable, please share with the group                                 
how a particular sin in your past kept you from hearing from God.)                                                                                                          
c.Serve God by serving others in the name of Jesus.   (Why do you think that serving others helps you during a season of  waiting? Hint: Proverbs 11:25)            
d.Maintain your spiritual strength through prayer and reading God’s Word. Peace will fill your circumstances when you push through your feelings to stay close to God and allow His Word to                                
navigate you through your season of waiting.  (What are some key verses that have helped you while you were waiting on God?”)

No comments:

Post a Comment