My brother-in-law and sister-in-law saw “Castaway” in the theater when it first came out. Close to the end of the movie, actor Tom Hanks stands in the middle of an intersection, deciding which way to go. The couple behind my relatives said aloud, “Ah, the crossroads of life…” As funny as that was, it is true. How many times have all of us stood facing a decision, wondering which way to go?
Being a pastor’s wife, many times have I wondered what God was up to. We have felt that our ministry was finished at one church, waiting for what’s next. Months later as we were still waiting, my patience would and will wear thin. In God’s perfect timing, He answers one way or another. What if we have been waiting for years? I have a friend that has begged God to bring his brother out of an ungodly lifestyle. No answer yet, except the obvious: no. Of course when praying for people’s salvation, end to suffering or any other situation, we know that sometimes God says “Not now.” For nearly twelve years, my dad suffered from a debilitating stroke. He was left in a state of needing full time care. Questions of why, dealing with the constant issue of fairness, and the toll this was taking on my mom, his caregiver, plagued me.
I have often asked God to just write the answer across the sky. That would be so much easier. I repeatedly asked God to end dad’s suffering. He is in heaven now, so God did. I would have had that end much sooner. The waiting is the worst. We like quick answers. We like to know what’s going on all the time. Unfortunately, we in this area, we are spiritual babes. When we don’t get answers, we get discouraged. We complain and whine, wondering where is God. Trusting is not in our DNA.
Following Christ is all about trusting. We trust in Him for our salvation, but we fail to trust Him everyday. When we put our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins to reside in us. God lives within us. We fail to remember that.
God wants us dependent on Him. The saying that ‘God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” is false. Of course we have more than we can handle. God doesn’t want us to handle anything. He wants total dependency on Him. We are to be Spirit led.
Being led by the Holy Spirit of God is a journey. It ends when we take our last breath. We will never be perfect at it. His job is to teach us how to trust Him as we trust Him. We are to read God’s Word and learn more and more about His nature. We are to pray without ceasing. Philippians 4:6 states “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” This means to pray about everything, wait for God’s answer and even present our requests with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving? What could we possibly be thankful for in our current situation with no answer?
We are to be thankful that He will answer. We are to be thankfuL that He is always listening. While in Japan, I visited many tourist attractions including a very famous temple. Our tour guide showed us how to pay our respects to Buddha. First, we had to clap three times and then bow. The clapping was to wake him up. My God, the One true God, never sleeps. When I can’t sleep and offer up a quick prayer at 3:00 am, He listens. He will answer. We are to be thankful, praying with expectancy. Sometimes we ask others for something, knowing that our request is landing on deaf ears. We should never pray in that way. God is Sovereign and faithful.
When we lack patience, pray for patience. We are praying to the One Who can give it. When we lack wisdom, pray for it. When we lack endurance, pray. Be encircled with brothers and sisters who will pray with you and share your burdens. Never wait for the journey to begin when waiting is part of the journey.
Pray and be content. Paul said that he had learned to be content, and we must learn that also. I doubt Paul ever quit dealing with being content, and I doubt we will either. But what a much more peaceful lifestyle if we will learn to trust and listen to the Holy Spirit for our every move? This helps us understand true peace, not having to try to figure out the plan that God has for us, but trusting in His plan, even in the waiting.
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