Summary: Instead of focusing on how to "make" things happen, we should focus on two things.
God’s Waiting Room
Pastor Leslie A. Rutland-Tipton
I had ten minutes to make it to my meeting. Which was perfect, because the meeting began in ten minutes. And even though I left the house late, I was, now, right on time. And then I hit the traffic, oddly enough, right at my exit. I thought, “It’s just a slow light today...no problem.” Ten minutes later, I was still on the exit ramp, just a few places from where I had been...ten minutes ago. As I crept toward the signal, I tried to see what was holding us up. Ah, yes, the traffic coming down my exit street is creeping along, creating the backup on the ramp. I finally made it onto the boulevard, and just two blocks down saw the problem. Construction crews, working at rush hour at 9 am in the morning had the street down to one lane, while they tore up the corner of a sidewalk, digging for some unknown treasure. The questions came flying into my mind. And if I could show them to you, they’d be in all caps. Yes, I was shouting in my mind. “Why are you doing construction during rush hour?” What could be so important that you have to constrict the lanes?” “Why are only two guys working and three watching?” I had to wait, and I wasn’t happy.
In today’s scripture readings, we see another story of a couple of people who weren’t so happy about waiting.
You’ve probably heard the story hundreds of times. But there are a lot of us waiting right now. Waiting for an answer to a doctor’s report, waiting for a job, waiting for a partner, waiting for answers, or understanding, or justice.
We are all waiting.
Ultimately, we are waiting for Messiah to return. All of creation anticipates his return. Sometimes, when we are suffering, we think it’s cruel of him to make us wait so long. Yet, we wait. We are in God’s waiting room. And there are plenty of chairs.
We are all waiting. So while we’re waiting, we might as well gain some understanding, right? So pull up a seat and get comfy.
Abram and Sarai were waiting.
Open up your Bibles to Genesis 12, where we read this morning.
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.[a]
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”[b]
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.
Key point: Abram was seventy five years old
God said to Abram, “I want you to go from your country to a land I will show you, AND, I will make you into a great nation.” In other words, “Abram, you’re gonna have a kid.”
Wow, great news! The expectant father, right. At seventy five, and fatherless, Abram must have been elated. And please with his relationship with God. So Abram obediently leaves his father’s country, and in verse six we see that when Abram arrived at a certain place in Canaan, God said, “ “To your offspring[c] I will give this land.”So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
And now begins the waiting.
Lots of waiting.
Waiting for a child.
Waiting for a very long time.
9 chapters of Old Testament waiting. Anybody here had to wait nine chapters of Old Testament waiting?
We don’t like to wait, do we? In fact, we’ve become a very impatient people. We want it, and we want it right now. Fast food lines have timers in the drive through so that they can achieve a median time of processing the customer through the line. We have smart phones that can get us an answer on google in 4.5 seconds. We don’t even have to wait for bills in the mail anymore. We can jump right on the website of our creditors and pay what we owe right now. Or even better...take the time to set up your bill pay at your online bank, and you can pay all of your bills in about 3 minutes. You could be paying bills right now for all I know.
We don’t like to wait. We are an impatient and selfish generation.
And, as we see from Sarai and Abram, they didn’t like to wait either.
16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”