God’s “Waiting” Game

16 02 2010

One of the hardest things to do as a young person  is…wait. I remember being forced into patience as a  child and the agony that accompanied my efforts.  When you are a toddler, you are forced to wait on  being a “big kid.” As a “big kid”, you’re forced to wait  on high school. As a high schooler, you guessed it,  you are forced to wait on graduation, then you wait  on college, and then having your career, getting  married, having kids, making something of yourself. As a young person, it seems like most of life is waiting for the next thing to come around.

Right now, I find myself in the middle of God’s waiting game, and we have been playing for a while now. Four years ago, the Lord put a passion in my heart…a dream for His Kingdom and church. That vision was church planting. And so, I dove into planting head first; taking in as much of it as I could, as fast as I could, because I thought that graduation was the only thing to wait for. Then May 10, 2008 came and passed.

May 10th was the day after graduation and there was no finish line in my waiting game. Instead, there was confusion and disappointment at the fact that I was no closer to my vision, dream, passion, than I was two years earlier. So with confusion and disappointment came forcefulness and a desire to accomplish my vision on my own. I reasoned with myself that the finish line to my waiting was not there because I had not laid it out for myself. As a result, the date for our start to planting was set as November 2009.

Well today is here, February 2010, and I am still a couple of years out from being done with this game. Now though, the game is no longer wearisome, but an opportunity to learn a couple of lessons because of God’s waiting game.

First, for God, it is not a “waiting” game, rather a “working” game. The Lord did not place a passion in my heart and promise to return when it was time to plant. Over the past few years, He has shaped and developed my heart, experience, and knowledge to prepare me for the work ahead.

I think about David’s story in 1 Samuel. God chose David specifically, out of all the men in Israel, out of all in Bethlehem, and among all his brothers, to be king of Israel. So Samuel goes to Jesse’s home, anoints David to be king, but that was not the moment David started his reign. There were years of preparation and waiting where David patiently followed the Lord’s will for his life (ironically those years of preparation were spent with Saul, the king David would eventually replace).

In the midst of waiting, we should pray that the Lord would open our eyes to what He is doing in our lives to prepare us. God is not deistic. He does not leave us to our own. He is moving, speaking, working, leading, and most importantly loving us through every moment of our lives.

Second, I realized that if you spend all your time looking ahead for things to come, you would miss what is going on around you. We are all responsible for the things God has placed in our lives and that does not just include the things in the future.

One of the most embarrassing moments in life is when you think someone is waving to you, but really, the person is looking past you to someone else. Similarly, the relationships currently in our lives will suffer if we are constantly looking past today, for tomorrow.

There was one day when I was praying for God to prepare the hearts of the people we would plant with saying, “Lord, when you send us would send your Spirit ahead of us so there will be a revival when we arrive there.” In that moment the Lord convicted me by showing me that I was surrounded by people everyday who needed the Gospel, but I was too focused on the people to come.

In John 4 there is an amazing story about Jesus and a woman from Samaria. The text describes that Jesus was leaving Judea and headed towards Galilee and it includes that he had to go through Samaria. Now because of Jewish purification rites, Jesus could have moved around Samaria, but in verse 5 John records that they came to a city in Samaria called Sychar. There in Sychar, Jesus meets a woman by a well and enters into one of the most powerful conversations recorded in the Gospels.

So what’s the big deal with this text? Jesus was in Judea and his destination was Galilee. He could have traveled a different route, he could have pushed through Sychar to keep moving, or he could haveeasily ignored this Samarian woman; because his destination was Galilee. But Jesus did not let his final goal affect the way he was currently ministering.

It is a great shame that we can let our goals hinder us from current effectiveness. That our lives can render little in this moment because of our expectations for the next moment.

So here I am, today, not tomorrow. I am exactly where the Lord wants me, there is no trickery or game being played, but only a loving Father guiding his child through the path of life. I am excited to see what the Lord brings me in planting, but as for now…I am loving what he is doing.

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One response

16 02 2010
Nathan Jewett

Chris, this is an excellent post and truly timely. As you can probably imagine, we have had our fair share of learning this difficult lesson as well. While a lot of believers probably know these things to be true, not all of them could write with the same conviction and honesty that you have shown. Thank you.

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