Summary: Learn to wait...
This evening, I want to share with you a journey that I’ve been on over the last year. There have been a lot of unknowns in me life after that and it’s been a real struggle at times for me, but God has been teaching me to wait on Him. It hasn’t been easy, and I know He will continue to work on me, but He is good, amen? So, I take you on this journey with me. Well, I guess it’s more of a tour of my journey. So, this evening, let me be your tour guide as we look at what it means to wait on the Lord together.
As many of you know, I work as a customer service center in Fredericton. And, all in all, it’s not a bad place to work, all things considered. What I’ve found though, is that call centres are NOT for everybody. And here’s why: I take, on an average day 80-90 calls. 75% of those calls are routine, simple calls that take very little effort. But, a good 10-15 calls are the kind that make your teeth clench and your body stiffen. You’ve probably heard of these types of calls. There are people who call in and aren’t actually looking for help, they’re just looking to complain. Their bills are too high. Their house is too cold. “It took me 25 minutes to get to talk to somebody real!” I had one person who refused to let me go who talked for, get this, fifty-seven minutes about how he believed we cheated him out of thirty-four cents (which we didn’t, by the way and I ever gave a credit of thirty-four cents just to try to pacify him).
One thing that you absolutely must have as part of my job is patience. Without patience, you ARE NOT going to last. Without patience, every upset customer turns you into a ticking time-bomb, waiting to explode. I’ve seen so many representatives quit because they did not have the patience to handle difficult customers.
It really got me thinking, though. Patience is an issue that most of us deal with. Goodness, I don’t at all claim to have the concept of waiting nailed down. Many of us our like children who peak at their presents because they can’t wait for Christmas. It is hard for us to grasp the idea of waiting for what we want. We hate to play the waiting game. We hate doing nothing. We hate to wait.
If you have your Bibles here, would you turn with me to the book of John, chapter eleven starting at the beginning of the chapter. I’ll be reading from the NIV, and we’ll read at the first fifteen verses together:
READ TEXT: John 11:1-15
Many of you know the familiar story of the death Lazarus. Now, after his conversation with his disciples, Jesus makes the trip to Bethany and is immediately met by Lazarus’ sister Martha who said “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask”. Jesus assures Martha that Lazarus will rise again, utilizing the eloquent words “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live”!
Lazarus’ sister Mary leads Jesus to his grave, where he commands that the stone that sealed the tomb be moved, and after praying to the Father, commands “Lazarus, come out!” And to the amazement to all those around him, Lazarus walks out with graveclothes hanging off him. At the close of the story, verse 45 relates that “Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen”. This event changed their lives forever.
Lazarus’ sisters had been in a bind. Their dear brother was bed-ridden and dying; no medicine could cure him, and prayers had yet to heal him. So, they turned to the one person they thought could save their brother from certain death: they called on Jesus, begging him to come and heal their brother. But Jesus did something that nobody, not even his disciples expected: he did nothing. In fact, he wasn’t even planning on going to Bethany right away. He decided to stay where He was in Bethabara.
So Mary and Martha were confronted with a situation that forced them to learn a hard lesson. They learned how to wait on the Lord. As their brother lay dying, as their family mourned the death of their brother, they waited. With no reason given to them, Jesus made them wait. They waited for days and days, watching their brother die. And still they waiting on the Lord.
And this evening, we live in a face-paced, go-go-go- society, and it seems that we have lost the art of waiting. And this evening, we are people who need to learn how to wait. Pastor and author Warren Wiersbe once observed that “the ability to calm your soul and wait before God is one of the most difficult things in the Christian life. Our old nature is restless...the world around us is frantically in a hurry. But a restless heart usually leads to a reckless life.”