Summary: It’s never easy to WAIT...but why should we have to wait on God and what possible good could come from it?
Faith is explained in the first part of Hebrews 11 as “Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible…” and in verse 6 we read…”And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” There is a great message in this passage. And that message is that “faith” and “life” goes hand-in-hand.
Dr. Robert Schuller tells of a potato farmer in Idaho. Before they are shipped potatoes are harvested and divided according to size -- big, medium, and small. This makes the most money
“This is the method that all Idaho potato farmers use -- all but one. One farmer never bothered to sort the potatoes at all. Yet he seemed to be making the most money. A puzzled neighbor finally asked him, "What is your secret?" He said, "It’s simple. I just load up the wagon with potatoes and take the roughest road to town. During the eight-mile trip, the little potatoes always fall to the bottom. The medium potatoes land in the middle, while the big potatoes rise to the top."
-- Robert Schuller, Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do
WAITING ON GOD SEPARATES US
That’s not only true of potatoes. It is a law of life. Big potatoes rise to the top on rough roads the same way that faithful people rise to the top in rough times. I mention this because during Eastertide (the time between Easter and Pentecost) we discover what it means to “wait” on the Lord. We wait for the reality of the resurrection to take hold of us. We wait as the disciples did, for the Holy Spirit and power to come on us. We wait for the transformation that happens in us and with us.
To wait for God takes faith. Now that may sound like a no-brainer but there’s more to this than we may think. Ernie Lewis, a Presbyterian pastor, spoke at a camp in Kansas and one thing he said stuck in my mind. He said, "To say Jesus Christ died on a cross is history; to say he died for sins is theology; to say he died for my sins is faith." Faith does not happen just because we believe that there is a God or even that Jesus is the Son of God. Faith does not happen just because we are raised in a Christian home. Faith bursts forth into life when our lives are open to Jesus and where Christ has become very personal friend and companion.
The disciples new this. Their firsthand experience with Christ shaped them in ways they could have never imagined. They were transformed after their time of waiting. Listen to how John begins his letters to the churches
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” (1 John 1:1)
Abraham also discovered that waiting on God goes easier when one has faith in the one who they are waiting on. Like those disciples, Abraham trusts (has faith in) a God whom he knows first-hand. He’d been through enough to know when God called. He’d experienced God in the past and seen how God had dealt with him throughout the years. And the highlight of God’s provision was the birth of Isaac to Elizabeth and him. Abraham knows God’s provision is certain. So that he calls God Jehovah Jireh, which translates “God will provide”. Not only does he tell Isaac this as they travel to the mountain but he names the place of sacrifice Jehovah Jireh.
Abraham believed that God would provide if we he waited on Him. One commentary explained this test by saying, “The real test here is not whether Abraham had the faith to believe God would spare the child. That was never at issue in the story. The test was whether Abraham could trust God enough to give up the promise and start again from the same place he had started 35 or more years earlier (v. 12). The test was whether Abraham had really made this journey of faith to a point where he could trust God and not just what he could see and hold in his hands.”
Did you hear that? The test was “whether he could trust God and not just what he could see and hold in his hand”
FAITH AS A CATALYST
What allowed Abraham to pass this test was that he understood his trust in God’s provision, his faith, was a catalyst for growth. A catalyst causes a reaction among elements which otherwise won’t react at all. For example water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. Combine these two elements together and you don’t get water. They don’t interact at all. As I understand it if you add a small amount of platinum to these two things happen very rapidly. The hydrogen and oxygen unite and a chemical change occurs which produces H2O.