Monday Morning Devotion-June 8, 2020
From "No" to "Not Yet" to "Yes"
Wait for the gift my Father promised. Acts 1:4
It's hard to wait. No doubt about it. And during these trying times when we offer up prayers dealing with our lives that have lots of uncertainty in them, we hope for quick answers. Sometimes we do get them, but they may not be what we were hoping to see, hear or experience. Back in 2014 I addressed this, and I thought now would be a good time to revisit that devotion:
One of the mysteries of prayer is that we sometimes believe that what we are praying about has received a "no" answer from God because it has not come about. No change has been noticed. A deadline has come and gone. A plea seems to have gone unrecognized.
But maybe it is just a "not yet." Maybe we are being called on to wait for whatever reason the Heavenly Father, in his Omniscience, wants us to. Discerning whether it is a 'No" or a "not yet" is sometimes difficult.
But waiting is important. And as Mark Batterson says, "waiting with holy expectancy is even more important."
There could be a lot of reasons why God would ask us to wait and gives us a "not yet." Pastor Eric Speir, writing in Relevant Magazine, says "God always has good reasons for making us wait. Waiting is a part of life and one of God's tools for developing people. Speir points out five reasons God makes us wait:
1) Waiting Reveals Our True Motives: Waiting can bring out the best as well as the worst in people. Those without good motives won't wait long. They only want short-term gains or success. Whereas, people with good intentions are not so quick to jump the gun and give up, even though a lot of what we ask for is to benefit ourselves. If our motives are good, we will wait longer.
2) Waiting Builds Patience in Our Lives: Often being patient while we wait on small things to come about leads us to be patient enough to wait on the big ones as well. "If we can't wait for God to do a small thing, we certainly can't wait for something bigger."
3) Waiting Builds Anticipation: Children at Christmas is a good example of this. They have so much anticipation built up through waiting for Christmas to finally get here they enjoy it even more when it arrives. The eager anticipation has increased the joy.
4) Waiting Transforms Character: Waiting rubs off the rough edges and we are changed as we wait. Our perspective on what we are waiting for may become different. We grow a little and understand more in most cases.
5) Waiting Builds Intimacy and Dependency Upon God: The great men and women in the Bible had one thing in common. They learned that their success was achieved because they had an intimate dependency on God.
A big part of the "holy expectancy" part of waiting is understanding that God doesn't ask us to wait without Him. When we trust Him, we go through the difficulties in life with Him. Speir says that "God is just as interested in the journey as He is the destination."
Joyce Meyer proposes these ideas of what to do when you are waiting on God. When you feel like an answer to a prayer has not been immediately forthcoming or you find that the answer to your prayer is in a "not yet" status.
Meyer says that there are two ways to wait on God's answer. You can wait passively or expectantly. "A passive person hopes something good will happen and is willing to sit around waiting to see if it does. After a short time, he gives up saying, 'That's it! I've waited and waited and nothing's happened.' The passive person has more wishbone than backbone.
Waiting expectantly means that you expect or look for something to happen in answer to your prayer. But to wait can also mean to serve°like a waiter, serves you in a restaurant."
Meyer adds, "Our act of waiting is not meant to be sitting around hoping something will soon happen." We are to continue to prepare for the time when the 'not yet'from God will become a 'yes.' In other words, this time of waiting becomes a time of preparation so we will be ready when God provides the solution."
Myer also echoes what Speir said about patience. "We spend a lot of time in our lives waiting because change is a process. Many people want change, but they don't want to go through the waiting process. But the truth is "waiting is a given---we are going to wait."
We have to decide if we are going to wait the right or the wrong way. Waiting wrong°that is with great impatience will make us miserable. Patience is one of the most important Christian virtues. Patience is a fruit of the spirit as we read in Galatians 5:22. It is developed under trial.
"As we develop patience, the Bible says we finally feel completely satisfied---lacking nothing." Even our relationship with God will change. Think about that. Has your relationship with God changed? I'm sure it has because life moves on and as we get to know more clearly the things God wants, our relationship is strengthened. We become closer to Him.
It is important in the waiting process to accept God's timing. "God gives us hopes and dreams for certain things to happen in our lives, but He doesn't always allow us to see the exact timing of His plan." We might give up if we knew how much time would be involved.
Meyer adds "°when we accept God's timing, we can learn to live in hope and enjoy our lives while God is working on our problems."
Batterson says, "I hate to wait. I don't like waiting at red lights. I don't like waiting at the doctor's office or waiting in the drive throughs for fast food. It's never fast enough. I don't even like waiting for December 25th, so we start opening gifts on Christmas Eve!'
You name it I don't want to wait for it. But waiting is part of praying, and praying is a form of waiting. Prayer will sanctify our waiting, so we wait with holy expectancy. And waiting doesn't delay God's plans and purposes°it expedites them."
And the even better news is that sometimes we don't have to wait for what we think is a "no" to turn into a "not yet" and then, at a later time, a "yes." Although there are many benefits to having that happen. Sometimes we just get an immediate "yes." What a joy that is!
Monday Prayer: Lord grant us the wisdom to wait when necessary and the faith and patience to understand that in your timing our prayers will be answered. Amen!