“WISDOM OF LIVING (50): WAITING”             By Pastor YAU

Genesis 15:1-6; Isaiah 40:31                                    February 4, 2007

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   Waiting in the natural world: Any mother can tell you that waiting for the baby to grow and to give birth are an experience that builds patience. But pity the poor mother elephant. It takes about 22 months for a baby elephant to mature to birth. Mother sharks have a pregnancy of 22-24 months. At the high elevation of 4,600 feet, the Alpine salamanders endure a pregnancy of up to 38 months.

2)   Waiting in the spiritual world: Abraham had all the experience and knowledge to identify with these examples from nature. At his old age, about 75, God made a promise to him: “I will make you a great nation.” (Gen. 12:2) But as the years passed, Abraham began to ask how the fulfillment of the promise was possible without the basic element, a son. So God came to reaffirm him, “One who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” (15:4) Yet he waited for 25 years from the time of the initial promise to the birth of Isaac when he was 100 years old. (21:1-6)

 

WAITING IS NEVER POPULAR: Although we all understand that waiting is, in most case, a necessary step in many things, we never like to wait. We don’t like to wait because . . . . .

1)    Waiting is not in our culture: In this fast moving society, waiting is not something we like. That’s why a drug store used “America can’t wait” as the slogan of their commercial. Beginning from our early years, we never learn to wait. When we want something, we want it now. Thirty some years ago when I worked at Texas Commerce Bank in Fort Worth, TX I was greatly confused when a colleague asked me to do something for him and told me that he needed that “yesterday.” I guessed he meant that it is urgent but I couldn’t understand why he asked me to do it that day when he really needs it the day before.

2)    Waiting is non-productive: We don’t see the time of waiting as part of the process of getting things done but as non-productive. We are so “productive” oriented and time is part of the factors affecting productivity. That’s why many people see “being very busy” as being “productive and successful.” We see waiting for a traffic light to change, in line to buy a burger, to see a doctor or to get through a traffic jam as times wasted and non-productive.

3)    Waiting is a sign of losing control: Wanting to control is part of being human. Since the days of Eve who wanted to control her life without God, man always longs for control of his life and things surrounding him. Most of the time when we have to wait, we do so because we are in situations that are beyond our control. We believe that if we have control, things will happen according to our wills and we never have to wait.

4)    Waiting is not pro-active: The term “pro-active” is relatively a new word that means “initiating” or “engaging” in accomplishing results. Most of the time we spent in waiting is spent as “passive” use of time and therefore is a waste of life. That’s why most basketball players love to play offensive than defensive. We love to act, not to wait.

 

THE BENEFITS OF WAITING: No one can list all the benefits of waiting. Here we just list a few for your consideration.

1)   Waiting is growing: We live in this world full of natural laws and one of them is “waiting is growing.” No waiting, no growing. From growing a baby to growing a plant, from growing our physical statue to growing knowledge, the process of growing is the same as waiting. No good things, if any, will grow properly without the process of waiting. God has installed a process of growing we can’t change much less to eliminate. We need to wait if we want to grow.

2)   Waiting is beautiful: In any beautiful musical creation, the art of waiting is an important part if we want to have a beautiful music. No music is good music if all notes are rushing through without the intervals of silence or stops. The same applies to life. What is life if all is about rushing, pushing, acting and getting without pauses and stops? Time spent in waiting, relaxing, just doing nothing is never a waste of life. It is part of the beauty of it. That’s why we take time out of our busy schedule to play balls, to read a book, to be with our family and friends.

3)   Waiting is maturing: It takes time to mature, be it a tree or a person. We need time to learn, to meditate, to understand, to digest and to mature. It takes time to mature character, personality and the art of living. We make more mistakes in life when we have no patient to wait. Rushing to make decisions, to pass judgments or to get things done without the proper time of waiting usually turn out not the best we can do. If you want to do better, you have to wait.

4)   Waiting is good for health: We all know that many heart diseases are related to hyper tension in our heart and blood flow. If we can manage our life to a slower pace, like taking waiting as a time to slow down, it can be good for our health. Too many people over worked their hearts when they were younger and suffer many heart problems from that when they get older. Making good use of stops and waiting may be good for the long run. Toward the later part of your life, say 50 and after, what you have achieved matters very little. What really matters is a good health. Take this advice.

 

WAIT UPON THE LORD: (Genesis 15:1-6; Isaiah 40:31)

1)    Waiting for renewal: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” (Isaiah 40:31KJV) Since the verb here is in passive form, a better translation will be like this: “Those who wait on the Lord will have their strength renewed.” Isaiah tried to tell his people: waiting on the Lord is not a waste of time. Instead it is a process the Lord will renew their strength. Like recharging your cell phone battery takes time, we need to give the Lord time to renew our strength. When your strength runs out, wait on the Lord.

2)    Waiting on His promise: From Abraham to millions of faithful Christians through out history, we wait for God to do His work on His schedule not because we are hopeless but because we are hopeful. People in the world wait because there is no other choice. We wait because this is the best choice: we have the promise of God to give us His best. (Matt. 7:11) Abraham waited on God to fulfill His promise. God can never fail in fulfilling His promises. He always has and he always will.

3)    Waiting grows faith: Faith is never like striking a goldmine that you change your luck overnight. Faith is a growing process and it takes time to grow. One of the most effective ways to grow faith is the process of waiting. Sometimes we may grow impatient, even have some doubts, but as we keep waiting on the faithfulness of God on His promises, we grow our faith in Him, not in things He has promised. Be careful where you based your faith: always on God, not on what He can give or do for you.

4)    Waiting not in vain: When we wait on people, often times, in vain. People either not keeping their promises or they are unable to fulfill them, we end up empty handed. But that won’t happen when we wait on God. He may not fulfill His promises on our schedule but always will on His schedule. When God promised Abraham a son from his own body, He delivered that promise at a time no one believes it can happen: at the age of 100. (Ps. 21:6) God often times does the impossible to fulfill His promises. That’s why King David affirmed his faith in God when he says, “Let no one who wait on the Lord be ashamed.” (Psalm 25:3 KJV)

 

CONCLUSION:

1)   Understand the cycle of life: The cycle of life consist ups and downs, fast moving and waiting periods. God designs it that way so we won’t get too tense and break like a rubber band. Take waiting in a positive way and allow your mind and body the opportunity to readjust or recharged. This includes your school, job, family life and other endeavors.

2)   Wait on God with faith: Learn to know God and His promises in His word, the Bible. Commit your life and all your needs to His care. Then wait on Him to deliver His promises on His timing. He will never fail you. Keep your faith strong.

3)   Wait no more:  As to your salvation, do not wait till tomorrow because you don’t know if you will have tomorrow. Make that commitment today to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.