Lord, How Long Must I Wait?

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Around the table several of us were engaged with a ministry task, wrestling ideas to find the right way to go forward.  Initially, I was convinced that we needed to ‘get going,’ getting started sooner rather than later. That is my default mode – act now!  But, collectively we sensed the Spirit’s wisdom asking us to take some time with the process, to listen longer, to wait on Him. It is the right choice.

The Word urges all of us to learn patience, to value the processes that the Lord uses to shape us and to accomplish His will through us.  David’s inspired counsel is this – “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Ps 37:7, NLT)

This morning the Spirit whispered again to me about patience, about waiting for His to lead! I know the emotion of the Psalmist who asks the Lord, “How long … ?”  It is a question asked more than a dozen times in the Psalms. How long before You act to curb the wicked?  How long before You rescue me from this situation? How long before I see Your promise?

Are you in one of those ‘between’ moments, anticipating what could be done but held back, perhaps even for reasons you cannot presently understand?  Know this with certainty! God wants His work done but His agenda may be quite different from ours.

Spiritual maturity arrives, over time, when we experience both success and failure, when we learn from our hasty conclusions and our better planned successes. God wants to ‘perfect’ us but He doesn’t do it with a wave His hand, in a single moment in prayer, or with a burst of revelation!  He leads us through life – trials, tests, struggles – lessons in character.  Understand when He asks you and me to be  ‘perfect’ He is not looking for ‘flawless!’  His desire is maturity, completeness, being whole.

The writer of Hebrews prays this for us: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21, KJV)  That word, perfect, in the first language of the New Testament was about being ‘put together, whole, fitting into the right place.’

Developing the character of Christ Jesus, becoming whole and mature,  is a life-long process which will find completion only at that moment when we make our transition into eternal life. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul explains that “Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear. It’s like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.” (1 Corinthians 13:9-12, NLT)

There is real peace to be found when we patiently wait.  I want to encourage you not to tire of working out the implications of God’s salvation in your life.  Mastering the lessons of the Spirit-filled life is a life-long adventure that involves instruction, experience, and discipline.  If we grow impatient, if we try too hard in our own strength, we could give up which is why James encourages us “let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4, NKJV) The meaning comes through more clearly in The Message where we read, “don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

Here’s a word from the Word for your meditation: “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.” (Psalm 138:8, NIV)  Thank Him often today for that promise – “He will fulfill His purpose for you!”

___________

Build My Life

Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You

 Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You
We live for You

 Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me

 I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken

Brett Younker | Karl Martin | Kirby Elizabeth Kaple | Matt Redman | Pat Barrett © 2016 Martin, Karl Andrew (Admin. by Arkyard Music Services Limited)

Kaple Music (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing)

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Housefires Sounds (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Bethel Music Publishing

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