Summary: This sermon is a part of "A Faith That Works" sermon series and looks at what it takes to keep faith when we're asked to wait.
A Faith That Works
Keeping Faith in God’s Waiting Room
There’s a singular truth in advertising, and doctors make it. They call the room where people sit prior to their appointments, “Waiting rooms.” Is that truth in advertising or what?
Have you ever been in a hurry only to find that everyone else isn’t? Have you ever found yourself needing to get in and out of a store only to find yourself stuck in a line? Or how about this, have you ever been in a hurry and god wasn’t?
One of the most difficult things to do is to sit in God’s waiting room. This is when we want something to change, like our job, a relationship, a family emergency or illness, and it’s totally out of our control. And so what we need is to learn to keep faith while we’re waiting upon the Lord.
After Solomon makes this incredible statement, “To everything there is a season,” he gives various examples, like a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to gain and a time to lose, and then he goes on to say,
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV)
Solomon is saying that God does everything right on time, right when it’s supposed to happen. Our problem is that we don’t understand what He’s doing or why. And God never pulls punches saying that His thoughts and ways are not our own, they’re much higher and beyond our ability to comprehend, that is, without special revelatory knowledge. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
So what happens is we spend time in God’s waiting room.
In our series, “A Faith That Works,” we’re going to be looking at our need to keep believing, our need to keep the faith while waiting on God. To accomplish this we’re going to be looking at the life of Abraham. Abraham was given a promise of becoming a great nation, but he had to wait 25 years for his first kid.
What did Abraham do while he waited? What do we need to do while we wait?
I’d like to look at and discuss with you six phases which faith moves, and these are not rigid and inflexible, but rather they are fluid and we flow in and out of each phase as God works His faith within our lives.
1. God’s Dream
“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.’ (Genesis 12:2 NKJV)
Abraham was around 75 years old when God gave to him this promise, this dream, that he would become a great nation. Why was it a dream, because at this point Abraham had no children.
A dream is something God gives us. A dream can also be called a promise. It’s God’s way of blessing us so that we can be a blessing to others. And so my question to you is what is God’s dream for your life?
After the dream comes
2. The Decision
“So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him.” (Genesis 12:4a NKJV)
Abraham was told to leave ell he knew, that is, his home, family, and friends, and he had to go to a place he knew nothing about. He had never been there. He didn’t take a holiday or vacation to Canaan to get the lay of the land, nor could he Google it to find out the best stops to stay at, or the best route to get there. God said go and Abraham went.
When God gives us a dream He usually couples it with an action, a starting point, and we have to decide whether or not we’re going to act upon it or not. Having a dream without making a decision to follow isn’t worth the time spent to dream it. Also, every dream of God has an element of risk attached requiring a step of faith.
3. The Delay
After the decision comes a delay.
“Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.” (Genesis 16:1 NKJV)
Ten years have passed and still they had no children to fulfill God’s promise. Abraham is just hanging out in God’s waiting room.
During these times of waiting we’re tempted to doubt and take a detour or two. This is exactly what happened. Sarai used the cultural norms to that society and offered to Abraham her maidservant, Hagar, knowing that the child born would be theirs.
They were taking a detour around God’s delay and God wasn’t going to bless it.