“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
By:Jonathan Ramsay – Assistant Pastor of Church Planting at First Presbyterian Church of Houston
April 28, 2018
I hate to wait. For the red light to turn. For my coffee in the morning. For buffering.
In ministry, we struggle with waiting. We read about the great revivals in this country and overseas or of churches, not ours, who are growing exponentially, and it can discourage us to compare our ministry. We long to experience those moments of revival around us. We want to see the power of God in our midst and through us. But if you’re like me, right now, you’re waiting for it, and it is hard.
Yet we read in Scripture that for nearly every person through whom God does a great work, there is a protracted period, often excruciating, of waiting.
Pick your story. Abraham?
He is told to leave his comfortable home to go to a land the Lord would show him, and then he wanders for years childless and homeless waiting for the Lord to fulfill the promise to give him a son.
Before God sends him to save Israel from Egypt, he is a shepherd for forty years in his father-in-law’s house.
When Jesus appears to him on the road to Damascus and after he is healed and called to be an apostle, he spent three years in Arabia (Gal. 3).
My favorite story of waiting in Scripture is the story of Joseph. After Joseph is betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery and after he is falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned, he has to sit in a jail cell in Egypt as a foreigner for nearly thirteen years. Thirteen years! However, though his circumstances were bleak, the Bible says, “while Joseph was there in prison, the Lord was with him...(and) because the Lord was with Joseph (He) gave him success in whatever he did.” (Gen. 39:20-23)
Example after example could be given, from both the old and new covenant, in which the normal pattern for work in God’s economy is “if you are to be great, you must wait!” (I feel more comfortable with “used greatly by God” but it didn’t rhyme.)
We rarely know what God is preparing to do with us, and these gaps where nothing much seems to be happening drive us crazy. Yet since waiting comes up so much in Scripture as a precursor to God working powerfully through one of His servants, it says to me that in order for God to move powerfully through someone, he must move powerfully in them first. And in order for him to move powerfully in them, a process of refinement is necessary that has no shortcut and no set term of completion.
So if you are waiting for a position or a breakthrough or even a small taste of fruit for the work you are doing, hear this. You are in the right place. Exactly where God intended, and He is with you as He was with Joseph and Moses and Abraham and Paul and even Jesus, his own beloved Son. (Thirty years as a carpenter, right?)
My brothers and sisters, “Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” (Ps. 31:24)
Our Father, renew us today who have heard your call and long to please you. We ask you, Father, to strengthen us as we wait for your appointed time to use us as you decide. Your church has now waited nearly two thousand years for the Lord to return to renew all things and inaugurate that glorious day when the dwelling place of God will be with mankind. So we wait Lord for you, and we admit how difficult it is, but we trust you.. Come, Lord Jesus. In your name we pray. Amen.