Summary: We can patiently wait for God’s timing without knowing when he will answer (Part 2 "Passing Life’s Tests")
Passing Life’s Tests
“Traveling Without A Watch “ The ‘When’ Test
A woman was shopping with her three year old daughter. As they passed the lolly section the child asked if she could have some. "No" came mum’s reply, upon which the little girl began to cry and complain.
"Don’t be upset Janey. I know you don’t like shopping, but we only have a few aisles to go. Then we can head home."
In the next aisle the little girl asked for a toy. When mum refused the child started throwing a tantrum. "Come on Janey, please try to be calm. There’s only one aisle to go and we’ll be at the check out."
When they finally got to the check out the little girl was mesmerised by the goodies carefully placed to appeal to our compulsion buying. Again mum said "no" to a huffy little girl. "Janey, we’ll be finished here in less than five minutes. Just hang on and you can go home and have a lovely nap."
As they packed the groceries in the car a man approached them. "Excuse me madam" he said, "I seemed to find myself in the same aisle as you most of the time during the shopping and I was right behind you at the checkout. I just wanted to let you know I really admire how patient you were with little Janey"
The mother replied, "Oh no, you’ve got it all wrong. The little girl’s name is Alison. I’m Janey."
This lady had a unique way of exercising restraint.
What should we do when we have to wait? How can we cope when we’re anxious or eager for something? When our patience is all dried up and we’re at the end of our tether, how do we survive? When we long for someone to give us a break, how do we manage?
We’ve all had our patience stretched. Waiting is one of God’s tests in life that is intended to build our faith. It’s the “When” test.
In the example of Abraham we find some real help on this issue. Let’s read it together – Hebrews 11:8-16.
We can patiently wait for God’s timing without knowing when he will answer because he has ….
DEVELOPED OUR HEARTS FOR ENDURANCE
Japanese soldiers found hiding out in the jungles of S/E Asia 30-40 years after the end of WW2 not knowing that the war had ended but still fighting it.
Now that’s endurance!
To help us pass the “When” test – to help us wait for God’s timing without knowing when he will answer - the Lord has developed our hearts for endurance.
HEB 11:9 By faith he[Abe] made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country;
When Abraham underwent the ‘where’ test (cf v8), he did what God told him and moved to the promised land … and he stayed there. He was where God wanted him to be even though he felt like a stranger, a foreigner. He knew God was going to give him this land to possess, but even though he didn’t know when this was going to happen he remained faithful to God’s instruction. He endured because God had given him a heart of endurance.
This is a key in passing the “When” test - Just keep doing what God had instructed you to do until further notice - faithfully and obediently.
That’s what we see Abe doing. He went on doing as God had commanded and left the timing up to him. He didn’t try to hurry God up and he didn’t turn back.
When we feel we’re just marking time it’s because God loves us – not because he’s holding us back. He will not move us forward until he and we are ready. He is patient with us. Perhaps we should be patient with him.
God has this to say…
If we endure, we will also reign with him (2 Tim 2:12).
This promise is for all of us – it’s an astonishing statement. To reign with Christ implies a life of power. Power to overcome impatience, anxiety, worry and concern. And today Jesus is offering to give us this heart of endurance so that we can reign with him – so that this power can be ours. So that we can rule over our anxieties instead of them ruling us.
As a church we have recently endured a period of waiting and uncertainty – perhaps even marking time. In the past 18 months or so what has the Lord taught us as we waited for his direction and answers?
Maybe he’s underlined his faithfulness; reminded us of his power; and given us fresh insights into his purposes for his work in Australind. Only you can answer that – I haven’t been here.