What’s God Doing While I Wait?

What’s God Doing While I Wait?

If there’s one thing that can drive us nuts, it’s waiting. Waiting for news about a job, a promotion, a report card, the medical test, or for your loved one to be healed or come home? How about your kids to figure out life? Ever feel like you’re waiting on God?

In a society where we want everything right now, waiting can be one of the most difficult things we do. In this message we’ll learn why waiting matters, and what God is up to in the waiting.

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I can hardly wait for the bumper to be done so I can teach us all why waiting is so important.

It can drive me crazy when I have to wait for something… especially when I feel like, “I don’t know how long this is going to go on.”

We long for, “Now,” but we live in a world of, “Not yet.”

You get stuck in a traffic jam. You feel like it’s never going to untangle.

Or you call a company about a bill.
Or you want to order food to go.

Have you ever had this happen? Someone answers the phone, and they say, “Do you mind if I put you on hold?” It’s rhetorical. You can’t say, “No.”

Then they put you on hold, and you may be on hold for 10 minutes. It drives me crazy when that happens.

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Did you ever listen to a sermon that just goes on and on and on? You start to think, “This is never going to end.”

If you haven’t, just wait.

One of the reasons we don’t like waiting is waiting reminds me, “I’m not in control.
When I’m waiting, I can’t do any of the important things that make me feel like I’m accomplishing something because I’m just sitting around.” No one likes to do that.

Go to a doctor’s office. They have a whole room devoted to waiting. It’s called the waiting room.

No one volunteers to go to the waiting room.

The one person you never see in the doctor’s waiting room is the doctor.

You never have a receptionist say, “You go to his office. You get work done. You accomplish whatever you want to. When you’re ready, we’ll send the doctor in. He’ll be waiting in the waiting room for you.”

One of the rules of waiting is the less important person always has to wait on the more important person.

Waiting makes us feel less important… and we don’t like that.

I was at Disneyland recently with my family.

You have to wait so long in lines at Disneyland that they actually put signs up in the line that say, “From this point on, it will be another three days before you go on Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Wouldn’t it be great if they had signs like that in real life?

“From this point — six months till you find a spouse.”
Or, “From this point — four years till your kids grow up.”
Or, “From this point — 10 years till your spouse grows up.”

The problem with waiting is it’s not just that we don’t know when “now” is going to come; the problem is “now” may never come.

We may live in “not yet” for the rest of our lives… and it drives us crazy.

You may have seen this — there’s a video on Youtube(well over a million views now) of a guy who is at a fine-dining restaurant, and it takes so long for his order to get there, he actually calls a pizza place and has pizza delivered to the restaurant.

Everyone in the restaurant starts applauding this guy who refuses to wait so long for his food to come.

But then there are more serious and difficult kinds of waiting.

There’s the waiting of a single person to see if God might have marriage in store for him or her.

They’re living in “Not yet.”

There’s the waiting of a childless couple.

I was talking to a couple about how painful it can be, waiting. “God, will you let us start a family? It would be such a good thing. We want it so badly.”

They’re living in “Not yet.”

There’s the waiting of someone who just longs to have work to do that can help pay the bills and is meaningful and a contribution.

“Not yet.”

Theres’ the waiting of a deeply depressed person for one morning to come when, “I actually feel like I want to live another day.”

The waiting of a spouse who is just trapped in such a painful marriage; they feel like it’s never going to change.

The waiting of an elderly person in a nursing home whose health is shattered. They seem to be just waiting to die.

When you have to wait like that (and everyone here has or everyone here will), you ask God a question.

This question is all over the place in the Bible.

Here’s one place in the book of Psalms.

Psalm 13:1-2

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

How long, God, before this light turns green?
How long before my not yet turns into a now?
How long?

Over and over again in the Bible, people ask this question… and God hardly ever answers it.

God hardly ever says, “Another three days” or, “A week from Wednesday.”

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What God generally says is, “Just wait.”

It drives us crazy.

Psalm 37:7
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.

Psalm 37:34
Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land.

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

There’s a lot of mystery to waiting. There’s a lot I don’t understand about it, but there is in the Bible a kind of perspective about waiting, a kind of pattern to it, a way of understanding that, when you get it, will kind of change how you approach waiting.

God comes to Abraham, and Abraham is 75 years old. God says, “Abraham, you’re going to become a father. You will be the ancestor of a great nation. But it won’t happen today, and it won’t happen tomorrow.”

Do you know how long it was before that promise came true? 24 years.

Now, think about being 75 years old and being told you’re about to become a parent and then waiting 24 years. That’s how long Abraham had to wait.

God told Israel, his people, that they would be a nation, they’d be able to leave the slavery of Egypt and be independent. But they had to wait 400 years.

And then God told Moses he was going to lead the people to the Promised Land. But they had to go to the wilderness and wait 40 years.

Then came the great promise of the Messiah, the Savior of the world. God’s people waited generation after generation, century after century when God seemed silent.

Then the Messiah comes. Jesus comes, and he lives and he teaches. And his disciples keep waiting for him to bring in the kingdom the way they expected him to — to right all the wrongs. But he was crucified.

And as Jesus was getting ready to ascend to Heaven, they asked him again, “Is now the time? Are you going to restore the kingdom? Is our waiting over now?”

And Jesus had one more command. It’s in Acts 1. He says, “Don’t leave Jerusalem, but” — anyone want to guess what the next word is? But “wait.”

So they do. They waited in the upper room, and the Holy Spirit came.

But that didn’t mean the time of waiting was over for the human race.

Paul writes in Romans 8:23-25

We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

43 times in the Old Testament alone the people are commanded, “Wait. Wait on the Lord.”

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Obvious question: Why does God make us wait?

If he can do anything, and if he’s all loving, why doesn’t he bring us relief and help and answers now?

Well, I certainly don’t understand all of this, but I believe that at least in part, what’s going on is this —

What God does in us while we wait is just as important as what we wait for.

The enemy wants us to hurry up so we miss what God wants to do in us.

God’s focus is about the person he’s making us to be, not so much the place he’s leading us to.

God is a sculptor with our lives, not a traffic cop. He puts us on a potter’s wheel and molds us into something incredible.

The enemy wants us to believe God is just our personal map application — that he just wants to stand at the intersection of our lives and point to the places we want to go.

That’s not true.

God wants to put his hands on us and mold us into what he wants us to be.

And a lot of times that means being still, not moving, but waiting on the Lord.

God says, “My will for you is so much more about who you are than what you do or where you go.”

The Apostle Paul says in Romans 5, “While we’re waiting for God to set everything right, we suffer. But suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character and character produces hope.”

God is producing these qualities in us while we wait.

And what that means is that biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want.

Waiting is part of the process of becoming who God wants us to be.

So in the time that remains today, I want to talk about what it means to “wait on the Lord,” and why it’s so important that we learn this… and not be deceived by the enemy.

A lot of times people think waiting on the Lord means, “If I wait for God to give me what I want, God has to do it.

“If I don’t get the circumstances I want now… but I keep waiting on God, God has to give me even better circumstances in the future.”

I remember many, many years ago hearing a Christian speaker talk about waiting on God and how he had been dating a beautiful girl he was in love with, and then she broke up with him.

It broke his heart until he realized if he just keeps waiting on God, it means God has an even more beautiful girl in store that God has to give to him.

I just want to say waiting on the Lord is not a technique that makes sure you get the circumstances you want from God.

If you believe that… I want you to know that’s a dangerous place to be.

That’s a real dangerous place because if you feel like there’s some particular circumstance you have to have (like if you don’t get it, life’s not worth living).

If that’s you, you’re going to have one of two problems —

One is you might never get it. That’s a problem because you have to keep living.

The other problem is you might get it. You might get that thing you’ve always been waiting for and then find out, “I’m still waiting for something. I don’t know what.”

In other words, you don’t want to let what you’re waiting for become what you’re counting on.

That’s a dangerous place to be — when what I’m waiting for (this circumstance) is what I’m counting on.

Are you with me? Okay.

A real important aspect about waiting on the Lord is it has nothing to do with being passive or apathetic or slow to act when action is needed.

If your boss comes to you and says, “Why don’t you show more initiative and take more risks?” and you say, “I’m just waiting on the Lord,” it would not be a good reflection of someone who is following Jesus.

Satan would want us to believe that Biblical waiting is just a passive waiting around for something or someone to come along that will allow us to escape from our trouble.

People sometimes say, “I’m just waiting on the Lord,” as an excuse to not face up to reality, to not take appropriate action or own up to their responsibility. That is not what waiting on the Lord is.

I’ve heard people with impulsive spending habits – horrible financial debt – refuse to save money and get in the midst of a huge financial mess say, “We’re waiting on the Lord to provide.” That’s not biblical waiting.

Waiting on the Lord in this case does not mean sitting around hoping you get a letter from Nordstrom saying, “Bank error in your favor. Collect two hundred dollars.”

Waiting on the Lord in this case probably means registering for Financial Peace University and learning principles for good money management.

Biblical waiting is not passive, it’s not a way to avoid an unpleasant reality.

Waiting on the Lord is a confident, disciplined, expectant, active, sometimes painful, clinging to God.

Waiting on the Lord is the continual daily decision to say, “God, I will trust you, and I will obey you… even though the circumstances of my life are not turning out the way that I want them to… and may never turn out the way I want them to. I’m betting everything on you God, and there is no plan ‘B’.”

That’s waiting on the Lord. And it’s hard work.

A Question I’d like us to reflect on is this —

Will I trust that God has good reasons for saying wait?

I don’t know what they are, but will I trust that God knows what he’s doing?

Will I remember that things look different to God because he views things from eternity?

This is what Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:8-9

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God has a different perspective.

An economist who read this passage was quite amazed by the truth of it and talked to God about it.

He said, “Lord, is it true that a thousand years for us is just like one minute to you?”

And the Lord said, “Yes, it is.”

And the economist said, “Well, then a million dollars to us must be like one penny to you.”

And the Lord said, “Well, yes it is.”

And the economist said, “Well, Lord, will you give me one of those pennies?”

The Lord said, “Sure… wait here a minute.”

Too often, we want God’s resources, but we don’t want his timing.
We want the penny, but not the minute.
We want his hand, but we don’t want his calendar.

And we forget his work in us while we wait, his work in you while you wait is as important as what it is you think you’re waiting for.

God’s will is much more about who we are than it is about what we do, or where we go.

Now, the danger in waiting is I’m going to get tired, and when I get tired of waiting, I will stop being faithful to God. I will stop obeying God. I will stop trusting God and decide I’m going to take things into my own hands no matter what God says to do.

One time I was driving to work about five o’clock in the morning. It was dark, and I came to a red light that would not turn green.

Have you ever had that happen to you?

I waited forever. Clearly the light was malfunctioning. Clearly something was not working correctly, so eventually I went through the red light.

It turned out there was one car present that I had not seen, and it too had red lights.

The driver of that car asked why I didn’t wait for it to turn green.

I explained I had applied the “reasonable amount of time” standard. It sounded vaguely legal to me.

I waited a “reasonable amount of time.” I waited as long as any reasonable person would wait. Clearly the light was not working, so any reasonable person would go through.

The problem was while I explained that, the light turned green, which kind of undermined my argument.

Now the classic case of someone who got tired of waiting on the Lord in the Bible is Abraham and Sarah.

Originally they were named Abram and Sarai. God changed their names.

God comes to Abram one day and says, “I’m going to be with you, and I’m going to start this new people, Israel. I’m going to do it through you, and you’re going to have a son with your wife, Sarai. It will be the beginning of a community and of redemption, consolation for the world, redemption for the world.”

Now Abraham is 75 years old at the time, so naturally he wants to know, “When is this going to happen, God? I’ve been waiting for a child my whole life long.”

God says, “Not yet. Wait.”

The days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months. The months turn into years. Eventually, more than a decade goes by.

Abram is now in his mid-eighties. His wife, Sarai, is in her mid-seventies. Still no kid.

This is what the text says. Think about waiting here.

Genesis 16:1

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”

In other words, “This red light is never going to turn green! God’s promise is broken. God just forgot. No reasonable person would wait any longer. I’m tired of waiting. Let’s run the red light.”

Then the next verse:

Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

“Abram agreed to what Sarai said.”

“Well, honey, if it’s what you want, okay. I’ll do it.”

He does, and Hagar gets pregnant.

Then look what happens next.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”

“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

People who have not read the Bible are amazed that this kind of stuff is in here.

This is like reality show material — The Real Housewives of Abraham.

Sarai is just saying, “I’m tired of waiting on God, so I’m going to run a red light.”

This is what people do. “I’m going to sleep with this person even though we’re not married because I’m tired of waiting for intimacy. I’m tired of waiting to feel close to someone. I’m tired of waiting. I’m afraid it may never come. I’m going to run a red light.”

I’m going to quit praying for this child.
I’m going to break my commitment.
I’m going to bail on bringing my best self to work every day because it’s just too hard. This job is just too difficult. No one is ever going to notice.
I’m going to reduce my faithfulness quotient in this difficult marriage because it’s just getting too painful.
I know I made this commitment around generosity (or whatever it is), but I’m just tired of waiting for the circumstances I want.
I’m going to run the red light. I think God has forgotten me.

I want to tell you God has not forgotten you.

God uses waiting in people’s lives. He does this over and over and over in the Bible.

Through waiting, He teaches Abraham patience and, “How do you become obedient even when it’s difficult? How do you develop hope?”

Every parent knows the power of waiting.

Waiting turns out to be one of God’s most important tools in shaping character.

When we start thinking about God’s will for our lives, immediately our minds start thinking decisions, choices, options, here or there, these people, those people, this thing, that thing, this situation, that situation. Which path am I supposed to take?

I think God is trying to speak to each one of us, saying, “My will begins with you. My primary will, my major agenda, my really big focus right now is not so much where you work or where you go to school or who you marry or where you live – it’s who you are.”

I want to raise a very practical question at this point because very often people will wonder, “In any given situation, how do I know, ‘Am supposed to just wait patiently, or should I take action?’”

Like, “I really want my old girlfriend or my old boyfriend back. Do I wait on them, or do I write that relationship off and start looking elsewhere?”

Or, “I don’t like the job I’m in right now. Should I initiate looking for another job, or is it more spiritual to wait on the Lord?”

In situations like that, this is what I recommend asking yourself —

What would a person of good character, deep faith, and great wisdom do?

Then take your best shot at that.

In situations where it’s not clear what the right thing to do is, ask, “What would a person of good character, deep faith, and great wisdom do?” Then take your best shot.

In Abraham’s case, would a person of good character, deep faith, and great wisdom have sex with their wife’s personal assistant, even if their wife suggested it?

I didn’t mean for that to be a tricky question.

The correct answer would be no. You guys scare me sometimes.

A person of good character, deep faith, and great wisdom would not have sex with their wife’s personal assistant, even if their wife said, “This is a good idea.”

This is very important — waiting on the Lord, in other words, is not about automatically assuming that passive inaction is the more spiritual road to go down.

Waiting on the Lord, for better or for worse for you, does not remove the need for wisdom and decision making.

It just puts them in the context of 100 percent commitment to obeying God.

“God, I will obey you. I’ll exercise judgment, try to do what wisdom and good character would do, but I’m not going to run a red light. I’m not going to violate your Word.”

Waiting on the Lord is not just that.

This concept is so important!

Waiting is not mostly about our effort and our commitment. It’s not mostly about us at all.

How you feel about waiting depends mostly on what you’re waiting for.

People who study waiting say there are actually times when we like to wait, when we prefer waiting.

There’s a famous article by an economist about 30 years ago who found people have a big desire to to be kissed by their favorite movie star. People actually want to receive a kiss from their favorite movie star.

And it turns out people will actually pay more money to receive that kiss three days in the future than they would pay to receive it right now today…

Because it turns out people figure, “If I get it right now, I’ll miss the joy of anticipation — of imagining and savoring and picturing and getting to look forward to it.”

People don’t just want the joy of that moment. They want all the moments that lead up to it where they get to savor, “Oh my goodness. What’s that going to be like?”

We love to anticipate.

It turns out we’ll actually pay more so we can experience the anticipation. We don’t want to lose out on the anticipation of a good thing.

People don’t want to wait too long. If you wait too long, your movie star will start to get wrinkled and aged and saggy and flabby, and then the joy goes out.

Three days turns out to be just the right amount of time to wait. It’s just the right amount of time.

It turns out how you feel about waiting depends mostly on what you’re waiting for.

Now, something I’d like us to do for the month of October is start thinking about waiting as a spiritual practice.

Spiritual practices are things we do to receive power from God to be enabled, empowered, to do what we can’t do right now.

Waiting is actually a wonderful spiritual practice. It’s one of the ways God shapes us.

So anytime you have to wait this month, instead of fighting it, instead of being all hurried and focused on yourself and all the important things you have to do, take it as an invitation from God to be reminded…

”I’m not in control of the world, and that’s a really good thing. I’m going to wait with Jesus, and I’m going to wait in hope. I’m going to wait in peace. I’m going to remember the world is not on my shoulders.”

Many years ago, I was with my family on vacation. We were in an airport. We had landed, and we were at the baggage claim.

I was impatient, and I was in a hurry. I was kind of grumpy, and I was staring at the conveyor belt as if I could will the luggage to come faster by mental effort. Do you ever do that kind of thing?

I was sending really clear signals to my family who was around me, “Don’t approach me. Don’t talk to me right now. These are just moments when I’m not in control, and I’m not happy about this. I just want what I want now.”

My children were standing right there.

The whole purpose of this vacation was to be with them, and I could have (if I wanted to) been with them…

played with them
talked with them
laughed with them
done some kind of goofy, silly stuff
made a memory together
taught them a little bit about life and how I don’t have to carry the whole burden of the world on my shoulders instead of this preoccupied, grumpy, “When is my luggage coming out?” routine.

That moment is forever gone… and a thousand other moments like it.

They shape me… and they shape my children.

See, waiting in this world is inevitable. We live in a not yet world.

Waiting on the Lord is optional.

So this month, let’s wait on the Lord.

Take the world off your shoulders… and just wait.

When you’re shopping this month, deliberately get in the longest line. Don’t try to will the line to go faster. Let someone else in front of you. Tell them, “I’m waiting on the Lord. You go ahead.”

In your car this month, when the traffic thickens, deliberately get in the slow lane on the freeway. Actually let someone else in front of you. “I’m waiting on the Lord.”

Drive with Jesus.

When you come to a stoplight — what does the color red mean at a stoplight?

It means stop.

So just stop and remember as long as you’re there, “God, I don’t have to will this light to change. It’s actually going to change, and I can just stop. You keep on running the world, and I can be at peace.”

Then it will turn green. What does the color green mean?

That means go.

Sometimes our God says, “Go.” Isn’t that a good thing? Just be thankful. “God, thanks for all the time in my life when you tell me to go. I’m so glad I get to move with you.”

Then sometimes the light will be yellow. What does yellow mean?

It’s just like a little warning to you. “God, thanks that sometimes you warn me. God, I’ll trust you that you will get me where I need to go without putting other people in danger. I don’t have to be frantic. I don’t have to be an ‘I always have to speed up’ kind of person.”

Just wait when you wake up in the morning.

Over 85 percent of us go to sleep with our cell phone by our bed so the first thing we can do is look at all of the texts and emails that have come in over the night and be overwhelmed by all the things you have to do and the problems you have to solve and the questions you have to answer.

For the month of October, put the phone somewhere else and just wake up and invite Jesus to be a part of your day… and wait on him through the day.

There’s a passage in the Bible with a wonderful promise attached to waiting on the Lord, and I want to walk you through it.

These are beautiful words from the Prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 40:30-31

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Now, I just want to unpack these words.

Isaiah says, sometimes when you wait on the Lord, you will mount up or soar on wings like eagles.

This is a beautiful picture.

I did a little research on birds and flight and discovered that birds have basically three methods of flight.

The first one, the most familiar one, is flapping.

In flapping, birds just keep their wings in constant motion to counteract gravity.

Hummingbirds can do this 70 to 100 times a second. Flapping keeps birds up in the air, but it’s a lot of work.

It’s quite awkward and clumsy, but I spend a lot of time flapping around. I know something of what it feels like to flap. I’m sure you do too.

Then there’s gliding. That’s when a bird builds up enough speed that it can coast for a while. It’s pretty smooth… but because of gravity, it doesn’t last very long. Coasting doesn’t last.

Then there’s a third form of flight, and only a very few birds are capable of this – third is soaring.

An eagle can soar. An eagle’s wings are so strong that it is capable of catching rising currents of warm air.

Without moving a feather, in sheer majesty, an eagle can soar to great heights. It can soar right out of sight.

Eagles have been clocked at up to 80 miles per hour, soaring, without flapping at all, just soaring on invisible columns of rising air.

It’s a magnificent picture… the writer says that for those who wait on the Lord, these times will come.

And when you soar, it’s like you catch a gust of the Spirit.

Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it will, and so it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Some of you are in an era of spiritual soaring right now. You find yourself simply held up by the Spirit of God.

God is answering prayer with extravagant generosity
using you in ways that leave you amazed
regularly giving you power to rise above temptation and sin
flooding you with strength and wisdom beyond your ability

You’re just soaring right now.

If that’s your condition, be very grateful, and do all you can do to stay in the stream of the Spirit’s power. Be real obedient as the Spirit guides you.

And keep praying. Don’t assume you’re soaring on your own strength. Don’t assume it’s you.

Maybe there’s certain spiritual practices helping you to catch the Spirit’s power – solitude or reading Scripture or simply getting enough rest.

Be real diligent in these things. Build on them… and enjoy the ride because you’re soaring with the Spirit.

But then there’s the next group. Some of us in this room are not soaring, but we’re running and not growing weary.

Now, if this is you, your life is not effortless right now.

You may not see a whole lot of miracles.
You may have to do some flapping every once in a while.
But with persistence and determination, you know you’re running the race.
You’re staying on course.
You feel frustration, but you also feel God’s pleasure in your obedience sometimes.

If that’s you, you just need to keep running, faithfully obeying, and serving, and praying.

Don’t try to manufacture spiritual joy. Don’t compare yourself to someone who is soaring right now. Your time will come.

Just keep running.

Stay faithful… because when you run, you grow real strong.

And then there’s a third group.

Some of us in here are not soaring and cannot even run. Because of doubt or pain or fatigue or failure or crisis all we can do is just walk and not faint, just walk and not keel over.

For some in this room, all you can say today is, “God, I’ll hang on. I don’t seem too fruitful or productive. I don’t feel very triumphant. I’ve been hurt. I’m wounded. I’ve suffered loss. I’m confused. But God, I won’t let go. I will obey you, and I’ll just keep walking.”

I want to say a word to those of you who are in this third group.

You may be surrounded by some real fast runners. You may be surrounded by some eagles that soar higher than you can see. It’s a hard thing to be a walker when you’re surrounded by racers and eagles.

But sometimes walking is the best you can offer God.

And you know what? God understands. Jesus knows all about that because he really did become a human being, and he knows all about our condition.

Sometimes Jesus soared. And you can read all about those times in the gospels.

I think when he was on the Mount of Transfiguration and he was so immersed in the glory of God that his body became literally, physically radiant with beauty and light. I think he soared that day.

I think when he stood by the tomb of his friend, Lazarus, and he just spoke the word, and a body that had been laying there dead came out of the tomb, filled with life, I think Jesus soared on that day.

But he didn’t always soar. There were some times when he faced pretty serious obstacles, and I think he just kept running.

When he wept over the defiance of Jerusalem; when he was frustrated because his disciples were so slow, they were so disciple-challenged; and when he faced the opposition of religious leaders who should have been his first followers, but fought him every step of the way, I think in those times he kept running. He just ran.

He didn’t turn aside from the path even when it went uphill. He just kept running.

But then one day it came time to take the road to Calvary, to the cross. He wasn’t soaring on that day. When the cross was placed on his bruised and bleeding back, he didn’t sprint up to Calvary.

He was a young man, but he stumbled and fell that day — the creator of the universe. His knees buckled, and his back bent, and he stumbled and fell.

And then he just got up and kept walking. All he could do was just walk some more.

Sometimes, walking is all you can do. But in those times, thank God walking is enough.

In fact, I want to say this: I think maybe it’s when life is the hardest and we want so badly to quit, but we say to God from the deepest part of our being, unsupported by soaring emotions or running strength, “God, I won’t quit. No matter what, I won’t quit. I’ll just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and I’ll take up my cross, and I’ll follow Jesus even on this hardest of roads.”

I think maybe, just maybe, God cherishes our walking even more than our soaring and our running.

Because what we wait for is not more important than what happens to us while we’re waiting.

And because the one we wait for will be worth the wait. He will be worth the wait. He will… because —

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Let’s pray as the band comes to lead us in a closing song.

God, we are a waiting people.

Some of us right now think back to times that we have been waiting and saw you answer in ways that bring us so much joy, and we’re so grateful.

Then others, God, are waiting right now with so much pain it feels unbearable. God, we invite you into our waiting.

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