miercuri, aprilie 30, 2008

Failing to Wait

"And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her." Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old?

And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!" But God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him." (Genesis 17.16-19).

If you are sensitive to the word 'failure,' more than likely you have faced a lot of criticism in your life. Failure is one word these people stay far away from. They often are perfectionists. They don't dare to fail. Some of it is that they don't want to face criticism but more of it might come from the sense of need to prove how good they are. "I'll show them how good I can be." But not everyone can always succeed. Sometimes even the perfectionists fail. If their pride is burst, then they can feel totally worthless.

We often think God treats us in ways that we have been treated by our parents. How fortunate we have in Abraham's life how God deals with failure in our lives. Abraham failed to wait upon God, a mess developed, and yet God helped him back up again to keep waiting until the promise was fulfilled.


Abraham stopped waiting. He had a son by another woman. The reasons for this were many.

Abraham had waited a long time for the fulfillment of God's promise to him. Years and years went by as people laughed behind his back about God's promised son to him. And even when he did take that bold step of going into his wife's handmaid, his wife encouraged him to do it. (1)

So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. (Genesis 16.2)

Abraham and Sarah were past time to bear children and had given up waiting upon God. But once they took the matter into their own hands, they actually failed God. This not only brought a lot of extra turmoil into his marriage but brought long lasting consequences. Ishmael was born and from him arose Israel's permanent enemy right up to this day. (2)


God didn't leave Abraham in his failure. After he failed God, the Lord in His goodness clarified matters. Even after a good while, Abraham still saw the fulfillment of the promise in Ishmael. But God rejected Abraham's assertion and instead reinstituted and clarified the promise.

"Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!" But God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him..." (Genesis 17:19).

They again were positioned to wait for God's timing of fulfillment.

We can see through this that God was training Abraham and Sarah in faith. They of course thought God's promise would have been fulfilled long ago. But God knew even when He gave the original promise that it would be many years later before it was fulfilled. However, He put no time clause in it.

He never told Abraham. God was more interested in developing Abraham's faith rather than protecting him from scoffing. When the real test came to offer up Isaac, Abraham passed with flying colors. God brought a host of blessings into this world through that faith of Abraham.

Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, "By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore;

and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. "And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." (Genesis 22:15-18).

God was looking for that faith and found it. We can further learn from this that even if we have failed to wait as God wanted, we should get up, pick up the pieces, and by God's grace He will give us another try at it. He is our Father and is training us. But oh, may we live and not fail. We have enough bad consequences surrounding our lives that we need not any more!

Waiting On God Not Man

Waiting on God is the special process through which the Lord causes our eyes to turn to Him for help in time of need. By extending the duration or distress of our trial even a little bit, our weaknesses become apparent.

It is at this point our hearts become desperate, our faith is proved, and our hope is purified. The process is so common that the phrase "Wait upon the Lord" or "Waiting on God" is regularly used. We need to wait on God for a spouse, for a job, for healing, for wisdom, for ministry, etc. We might say that it is Satan tempting us, and in some cases he is, but at the same time it is God who is testing (proving) us. He is bringing us a step closer to Himself.

Waiting on God is a crucial step in which our dependence upon God grows. Without this deeper awareness of God in our lives, God restrains Himself from giving us more grace. Blessing without humbling brings increased susceptibility to temptation. This is the reason growth comes with tests. Humility keeps us from pride which makes us selfishly ambitious where we would otherwise forget the Lord.

Waiting for the Lord is not
easy. Our heart is often crying out in agony. We feel oppressed and constrained. We yearn for freedom and provision. Waiting upon the Lord for needed supplies is one common area in which He trains us. We have to be needy so that we are forced to look to the Lord for help. Our other resources are stripped away. Someone yesterday said to me, "But I don't like what the Lord is bringing me through." How true this is. We squirm, squiggle and squeak.

Waiting upon the Lord are times in which we do not have resources, answers, or direction. Instead we are often confused, poor, broken and limited. Our hope is focused on what happens after that season of humility, where we will experience a period of God's blessing. If we live by confidence in our own resources and abilities, will we not become self-confident? What glory does that bring to God?! But through this process, God enables us to depend upon Him so that we know it is only He who does wonderful things in our lives.

Ultimately then, waiting upon God protects us, deepens our trust in Him, forces us to seek His ways and brings Him the most glory. They are times the Lord is testing whether we are really seeking Him and His ways.

I can remember experience after experience where I have cried out to God for help and deliverance. When going through those times, I think that if I could just get out of this one pit all would be well. However, not long after the Lord delivers me from one set of problems, I find myself in another whole set of problems. And again I am seeking His help with the same kind of desperate prayer.

It began to dawn on me that God has carefully planned out these 'pauses' in life in order to renew, strengthen, humble and focus us on God. This is much like the recommendation that one go around a fruit tree and cut off its roots - shocking it so that it will grow stronger and healthier roots. In this respect 'Waiting upon the Lord' is similar to pruning.


Waiting upon God is exercising confidence
in God's timing and help during difficult times.

Confidence in God not in my own resources

Steps to Waiting on God

Isaiah 38

  • Trust
    If we do not trust God, then we will get bitter. We will believe His love or doubt it. This is the ultimate test. The testing forces us to make an important decision on how we will relate to the Lord. If we believe the Lord doesn't care for us, then we will turn to despair (I am doomed), self-help books (own resources) or bitterness.

  • Previous trust is important to establish a trust decision during a crisis. Hezekiah made this trust decision. He turned to God rather than away from Him. If we can't clearly think at such a time, just remember to turn toward the Lord.

  • Reject
    We must consciously turn away from using other resources that we could turn to. We need to reject paths without God. The text is silent about this. But from this silence, we see that Hezekiah did not pull our his kingly reserves and see what could be done. This is because he believed God's message. Hezekiah would die. This was the end of his life.

    He realized that he had nothing else to trust in. He could have tested God's Word by seeking medical help or the sage of philosophers, but he didn't. If we are a bit confused as to what the next step is, remember that we are not to first look at our resources. We need to reject them, even consciously if needed. We need to trust in the Lord for His methods.

    • Pray
      My advice to people seeking God's will is to pray and stop thinking; pray and stop planning; pray and stop talking. Did you ever talk with someone who was willing to talk to everyone but God about his problems?!

      Prayer is prayer. We are called to talk to God about our problems so we can sense what we should do. To be true, prayer does take on many forms and means, but essentially it is talking to God about your circumstances. We need to seek the Lord in prayer. Hezekiah had two parts to his prayer.

      • He asked God to remember him.
        Hezekiah needed God to remember his own plight. No one else could change things. Does anyone believe that God did not remember his situation? I doubt it. God knows everything. We can't say He forgot someone like we sometimes do. More than this, King Hezekiah stated asked God to remember him now. He really believed the prophet's word about his impending death. His window of life was short. He needed instant action.

      • He told God about his life.
        This might sound a bit strange, but Hezekiah wanted God to remember what kind of life he had lived up to this point. If for any reason it was blocked from God's mind, Hezekiah believed his life was important enough to tell God about it. This was essentially telling God about his life and goals. He was no doubt hoping that God would reevaluate his circumstances. However, Hezekiah came short of asking God for healing. This didn't seem to make a bit of difference.

    Bitter TearHezekiah's prayer ended with bitter tears as his amen. The words he sent before God were soaked in tears from his heart. Various people will pray differently but all must pray if they are to wait upon God.

    The Lord heard his desperate prayer. He did not need to wait long on God for an answer, but He did wait. He received an additional 15 years of life.

    The principles above highlight that this waiting upon God is a process. This would not be the first or last time for him or us to wait upon God. God develops these life encounters so that we will be protected, strengthened, redirected and recommitted

    Articol preluat de aici (just clik)