Waiting in Hope…Even If

Waiting in Hope

Are you in God’s waiting room? Have you been praying for something, on hold for an answer, hoping for your circumstances to change?

I confess, waiting is not my favorite activity. And right now, I’m waiting for something especially critical…test results of a loved one’s cancer scan.

During this time of uncertainty, I started to wonder…is there a proper way for Christians to wait? Should we be doing something while we wait, or is waiting, well, just waiting?

For the Christian, waiting is not a passive experience. Even though this may sound contradictory, waiting is active.

Here are four things the Bible tells us to do while we wait on the Lord:

Do it with courage

Waiting takes courage. As Christians, we don’t cower in fear over what may happen. The future may be uncertain, but we belong to the One who not only knows the future, He holds it in the palm of His hand! David phrased it this way in Psalm 27:14 (ESV):

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

 

Stay in His Word

During times of waiting, we can be bombarded with advice that may sound good. It may even be what we want to hear. But if we’re not careful, we can be influenced by well-meaning advice that is not consistent with God’s Word. Use this time to soak in what God has said, both to be encouraged and to be prepared for whatever answer the Lord brings. As the psalmist reminds us in Psalm 130:5-6 (ESV):

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.”

 

Wait in Silence

This one can be difficult for me. During our times of waiting, it’s easy for us to make our request the topic of conversation in every conversation! We whine about our pain, complain about the injustice, and throw ourselves pity parties. However, King David reminds us in Psalm 62:5 (ESV):

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t share our concern and ask for prayer. But it does mean that once we do, we should spend our time seeking God’s heart, growing in quiet intimacy with Him.

 

Persevere in Your Waiting

This one can also be difficult if we’re in an extended time of waiting.

During this time of waiting, do what the Lord has called you to do. Are you in ministry? Continue to serve. Are you working? Work heartily (Colossians 3:23). The prophet tells us in Hosea 12:6 (ESV):

“So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”

 

The answer will come. Still, it may not be the answer we want. That’s when we need to remember God is sovereign. Although our short-term circumstances might not appear so, He is always at work for our ultimate good and His eternal glory. As God’s children in Christ (John 1:12), we can rest in this assurance from the prophet Isaiah:

“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4 ESV).

 

Or, in the words of the group, Mercy Me:


A New Way to Express Kindness

kindnessKindness is a virtue most of us appreciate and many of us aspire to.

You may have heard about the practice of random acts of kindness. It supposedly began in 1982 when Anne Herbert scrawled the words “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now there’s a new way to express kindness. Zachary Gibson started the Tiny Mailbox Project earlier this year. Gibson set a goal of 100 tiny mailboxes around Los Angeles earlier this year. But his idea has spread far beyond the city limits of LA.

The Tiny Mailbox Project provides the opportunity to be kind, one person at a time, without ever necessarily meeting the recipient of your kindness.

The concept is simple. Each mailbox contains an encouraging note along with several blank cards. The recipient takes the note, and leaves one for someone else.

In a recent interview, Gibson shared his belief that “trying to restore a little faith in humanity is a good thing.”

I confess, I don’t have much faith in humanity any more. The Bible tells us no one is righteous (Romans 3:10). Even if I didn’t believe what the Bible says, all I have to do is observe humanity in action.

Yet, just when it appears kindness has died out, it shows itself once again–this time in the midst of disaster. Hurricane Harvey is the worst weather event to hit Houston in 50 years. Still, it provided the backdrop for a massive, ongoing act of kindness on the part of furniture store owner, Jim McIngvale.

McIngvale has opened up his 2 showrooms for evacuees, without regard for his immediate profits. His daily losses are estimated at a minimum of $30,000 per day.

So what can professing Christians learn from Zachary Gibson and Jim McIngvale?

We know the Bible tells us kindness is a “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22). This means that the more we surrender to the leading of God’s Spirit in our lives, the more kindness will mark our relationships.

Yet kindness has not marked our conversations and behavior very much in the area of politics or morality. Christians are known more for what we are against than what we are for. Many of us have lost the ability to stand firm for biblical values without trying to destroy those who disagree with us at the same time.

And along comes tiny mailboxes and a furniture store owner to remind us what kindness could look like if we stopped being belligerently self-righteous.

What would happen if Christians spoke the truth…in love (Ephesians 4:15)?

Or if we were so surrendered to the Holy Spirit that our “fruit” attracted those who are hungry for food that feeds the soul?

What would happen if being kind wasn’t just something we practiced with other Christians, but something we practiced regardless of the recipient?

Perhaps it’s time to find out. What do you think?


Hurricanes, Trust, and the Sovereignty of God

hurricanesHurricane Irma is coming. The most powerful storm ever in the Atlantic basin is aiming for Florida and tracking to travel up the east coast.

Where. I. Live.

Granted, by the time it reaches our area, it’s predicted to downgrade from a Category 5 to a Category 4. Not much comfort when you consider the winds of a Cat 4 hurricane move at 130 – 150 miles per hour.

So we prepare. And we pray. And we trust God.

Can He send Irma away, back out to the ocean where it won’t harm anyone? Of course.

Will He? I don’t know. But at the moment, it doesn’t appear that He will.

hurricanesHe didn’t with Hurricane Harvey. Or Hurricane Sandy. Or Katrina or Andrew, or the many other storms that have taken lives and left turmoil in their wakes.

But don’t blame God for our broken world. For a world spiraling out of control physically, emotionally, and spiritually. For hurricanes and terrorists. For corruption and despair.

They’re all the natural consequences of thousands of years of humanity—us—wanting to do life apart from our Creator.

Still, God didn’t abandon us to our choices. He sent His Son, Jesus, to restore that broken relationship. And while each of us can decide to trust Him individually for that restoration, we still live in a damaged world that awaits full redemption. A world “groaning” as it waits for the culmination of God’s restoration (Romans 8:21-22).

So what do we do now?

We watch. We pray. We pray for mercy before the storm hits. For mercy in the midst of the storm. And, if necessary, mercy in the aftermath.

And as we pray and receive His mercy, let’s remember one thing when this is over:

Don’t put God back in the closet until the next hurricane.


Did the Solar Eclipse Change You?

Solar EclipseThe 2017 solar eclipse is now history. The special glasses we sought in a frenzy have been cast aside. Life is back to normal once again.

So, has anything really changed?

For some, the waltz between the moon and the sun merely provided a diversion from the routine—a reason to stay home from school or work. Others welcomed nature’s show as epic entertainment. Still others failed to take the warnings seriously and are already experiencing eye damage.

For me, the eclipse was more than entertainment. It proved, yet again, that the universe is governed, not by chaos, but by order on the grandest scale. Validation that the cosmos is not the result of a big bang, but rather the product of thoughtful design. The eclipse reaffirmed that the One who hung the stars in the sky is still choreographing their dance.

The Bible tells us the heavens declare the glory of their Creator (Psalm 19:1). This time they didn’t just declare it, they proclaimed it in a way that made humanity stop, sit up, and take notice.

Still, the eclipse will now be a footnote in history books yet to be written. The question for us is, what will we do with the experience?

I want to hold on to the sense of awe it inspired. To remember God is big and I am small, and that’s a good thing. I want to remember that God controls suns and moons and planets, and the control I think I have over my life is an illusion at best.

Most of all, I want to remember that the Creator of the universe is the same One who invites me to call Him Father. The same One who sent His Son, Jesus, to restore my broken relationship with Him. And He is the same One who placed His Spirit in me to direct my steps. El Elyon, the Most High God, is also El Roi, the God Who Sees Me. Nothing is too big for Him to handle, and nothing is so small that it escapes His notice.

Will you join me in moving from admiring creation to worshiping the Creator? As we do, the eclipse will have achieved its primary purpose: to declare God’s glory and to encourage us to do the same.

How did the solar eclipse change you?


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