Summary: This is a sermon that focuses on waiting on God.
OT - Isaiah 64:4, “Since ancient days no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”
NT - Hebrews 11:39-40 “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
NT - Philippians 4:11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want, I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
“What time is it?” It’s a question we ask several times each day. How much longer till lunch time? How much longer before we can go home? Time is essential to our lives. We balance our entire lives around the clock. We have schedules and plans and timeframes and timetables, all set to keep our lives moving and going and keeping things “On time!”
But with all this planning, all this adjusting, all of this “time management” we are left on many occasions… waiting. And nothing is more irritating to us than waiting on somebody else.
I had an experience just the other day getting my haircut. It was a little after noon this last Friday. The place was packed and there were only two hairstylists in the place to cut hair. People were getting anxious and angry and impatient. We were all made to wait. There was one woman who was getting her haircut who was … to put it mildly… being difficult. She was holding up the lines and the people waiting were getting even more angry at the hairdresser for taking so long. I finally got my turn, and sat next to the “difficult” woman. I got my entire haircut in the time it took for this woman to argue about how her “usual hairdresser did this and didn’t do that.” She finished just before me and left in a huff without even so much as giving her hairdresser a pennies tip. That is one way we can react to being forced to wait. I, however, decided to react another way. I patiently waited for my turn, patiently waited for my hair to be cut, and was thankful for the haircut I received. Then, while I was being run up, I made my check out for $10 more, I gave my hairdresser her usual $5 tip, and then called over “Sarah” who was the hairdresser for the woman I talked about before. I said to Sarah, you did an AWESOME job on that ladies hair, here’s a five for you too! Well this brought a smile and a laugh to everyone in the place, and I left with a smile myself.
But what I took away from that experience was a greater understanding of what it means to wait patiently. The woman, by nagging and pushing and hurrying, didn’t get the haircut she desired, and left angry and resentfull because of it.
I sometimes shake my head at peoples lack of patience. I blame part of it on today’s instant gratification society. Everything has become more convenient. Instant Online Payments, Fast Cash Withdrawl Checking, Fast Food, Cell Phones, the list goes on and on and on. The question has turned from, how long do I have to wait, and turned itself into Why do I have to wait at all?
This waiting business becomes increasingly more difficult as the subject matter becomes more serious as well. When we have to wait on life, it becomes unbearable. When we have to wait on God, it becomes intolerable. We could be waiting for endless possibilities. We may be waiting for an answer to our prayer. We may be waiting for a physical healing. We may be waiting for a wayward child to return home. We may be waiting for that job promotion. We may be anxiously waiting the arrival of a new minister. Whatever it is we are waiting upon, we view this delay as an unwelcome interruption in our life. We can’t wait to get past this roadblock, so that we can get on with living.
Why would God want to make me unhappy? What possible reason would he have for making me wait? I am in a hurry, so why isn’t God?
The answer to this lies in God’s perfect timing. God’s timing isn’t something that’s unfamiliar to us if we have a relationship with Christ that’s real and personal. Corrie Tenboom talked of her experiences during WW2 and of how in all her years of trusting God she had never known God to arrive early but she had also never known God to be late because God is always right on time.