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When God Makes Us Wait

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Presented by OrLando Yarborough III
Purpose of This Presentation:
What it means to wait on God for something better.
How to wait on God to receive what He has for you.

Advent

We are in the season of Advent. During Advent, Christians prepare for and anticipate the coming of Christ. In scripture, there are two comings of Christ. Jesus' birth was the first coming of Christ. And now, in faith, believers await the second coming of Christ--Jesus' return.
In fact, every time we receive communion (share in the Lord's Supper) we are reminding ourselves of Christ's second coming. Apostle Paul recorded in His letter to the church in Corinth the instructions Jesus left:
1 Corinthians 11:26 (NKJV)
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
What challenges me sometimes with God, if I may be honest, is how God makes me wait (at times).
When I hear the description of life after Jesus returns and what heaven will be like, I yearn for the day I am there, and we are there.
1 Corinthians 15:22–26 (NKJV)
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
Revelation 21:3–4 (NKJV)
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Jesus told the disciples with Him:
John 14:3 (NKJV)
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
So, yes, I look forward to heaven and wish it were here now/already.
Moreover, before Jesus' return, I acknowledge that there is plenty to desire today...even as Christ is coming soon.
The Jewish people are the lineage (God's chosen people) through which Jesus came to live on earth. Many of them knew of His coming and were expecting/looking forward to His presence and victorious reign.
In this season of Advent, I think as we await the second coming of Christ, and as we await better things today, we can learn from people who experienced the first coming of Christ--Jesus' birth.
Opening Passage: Luke 1:26–33 (NKJV): Gabriel Announces Christ’s Birth; Luke 2:1–14 (NKJV): Christ Is Born
Luke 1:26–33 (NKJV)
Luke 1:26–33 NKJV
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Luke 2:1–14 (NKJV)
Luke 2:1–14 NKJV
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Theme/Title. When God Makes You/Us Wait
Or Waiting (on God) for Something Better
(pray)

Something Better…

Have you ever wanted something better?
Something beyond the “nice-to-have-but-I-can-take-it-or-leave-it” category.
Something life-changing, situation-changing, future-altering?
The Jewish people wanted ...freedoms…restoration…and repair…relief ...they were looking forward to something better…(and understood it would come through God)
The word God gave to the Jewish people through the prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 9:6–7 (NKJV) OR Luke 7:19 (NKJV)
Isaiah 9:6–7 NKJV
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
What’s interesting/notable about the Jewish people is that the “something better” towards which they reached was outside of their creative prowess but within the authority, power, and willingness of the God they served.
This something better—in fact, Someone Better--was highly anticipated yet such a long time in coming--40 and 2 generations to be exact...moreover, after Jesus’ birth, the boy Jesus needed to grow into the man Jesus--His ministry started thirty years after His birth and lasted three and a half years.
The forerunner to Jesus, John the Baptist, would ask:
Luke 7:19 (NKJV)
19 And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

Wait For It

It’s not uncommon, depending on the culture from which you take your cues, to hear the recommendation, “Wait for it.”
In fact, you might even be told the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait.”
Similarly, it might be common to hear/receive the recommendation, “Work for it.”
Or “Good things come to those who work for it.”
Of course, the recommendations, “Steal it, take it, lie for it, cheat for it…you can have it if you really want it” are directives that come forward and, if truth be told, can be tempting.
But...
What happens when what you need, what you want, is largely out of your control?
Out of your creative capacity?
Beyond your reach—is outside of your ability?
(...healing. Deliverance. Being rescued. Being restored.)
What happens when what you need or what you want is critical for your well-being and future and rests in the hands of another?
Specifically.....
What happens when what you need rests in the hands of God?
There are some things that God will give in an instant.
(Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13)
There are other things that God chooses to give in time--not right away.
Let me not suggest to you that God lacks control or fine-tuning.
Is anything too hard for God?
When the disciples asked Jesus who then could be saved, Jesus replied:
Matthew 19:26 (NKJV)
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
When the disciples told Jesus to send the multitudes away that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food, Jesus countered with: you feed them (Matt 14:16). And they did.
When the religious leaders questioned Jesus' authority to do miracles and be equal with God the Father, Jesus countered by doing the harder thing--in the face of them all Jesus healed the paralyzed man and then said, "But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”...Luke 5:24 (NKJV)
What I am talking about today is not God’s ability (or lack thereof) to do a thing.
Not even talking about God’s desire or willingness to do a thing.
I am talking about when everything is good—when God agrees, is able, and is willing to provide what you need and want—and God decides to not provide immediate relief, immediate resolve...God demonstrates a preference or strategy for delivery that makes you wait.
God can do the “immediate thing” but when He doesn’t, where does that leave you? Where does that leave your faith?
How many of you have prayed a prayer for God to do something and it was a long time in coming?
Perhaps, it came but took longer than you desired.
Perhaps, you are still waiting.
Today, we live in a time categorized as “A.D.”—In the year of our Lord” marking the birth of Christ.
Prior to Jesus’ birth, people lived in a time categorized as “B.C.—before Christ.”
The Jewish people experienced before Christ and after Christ and were there at the crossover.
I think we can get some empathy from several people in scripture when it comes to waiting on God and receiving what God has for you.
Today, if we were to have a BCAY Tea (like you have residential college teas) I would bring in for our conversation three people to tell us briefly about when God makes you wait.

What Is Waiting?

First, Waiting is living your best life under your circumstances, doing what’s within your ability, according to faith, and letting God/trusting God to handle divine matters.
Divine matters are outcomes that cannot be maintained through your manipulation, schemes, strength/might, or resources.
The first BCAY Tea conversation we would have is with the Shepherds (who received an announcement of Jesus’ birth).

I think the Shepherds would tell us, "Open your eyes so you may see when God fulfills a promise." Luke 2:8–20

Luke 2:8–20 (NKJV): The Angels Announce Jesus To The Shepherds
Luke 2:8–20 NKJV
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
Saints, "Open your eyes so you may see when God fulfills a promise."
What the Shepherds saw affirmed what they heard.
What helps us continue in times of waiting is having a promise fulfilled along the way. Open your eyes to recognize it.
The second BCAY Tea conversation we would have is with Simeon.

I think Simeon would tell us, "Open your ears to receive/hear God's promise." Luke 2:25–35

Luke 2:25–35 (NKJV): Simeon’s Prophecy
Luke 2:25–35 NKJV
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.” And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Simeon had a word--a promise that he would not see death until he has seen God's salvation--that kept Him expectant, hopeful, and committed.
My word is: OrLando, handle God’s business and He will handle yours.
Matthew 6:31–34 (NKJV): 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Also…
Romans 8:28 (NKJV): 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
What is your word from God?
How does it keep you?
What challenges does it pose?
What helps us continue in times of waiting is hearing a promise that bolsters our faith. Open your ears to hear it.
The third BCAY Tea conversation we would have is with Anna.

I think Anna would tell us, "Open your heart to be devoted to God." Luke 2:36–38

Luke 2:36–38 (NKJV): Anna’s Testimony
Luke 2:36–38 NKJV
Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Anna countered the time with Devotion.
Scripture says Anna served (God with fasting and prayers) night and day.
Anna did not depart from the temple.
There is a temptation to try a thing for a little while.
We have to...
Build the muscle of devotion.
Build the muscle of commitment.
It’s in the consistency, repetition cycle that muscle is built—instantaneous gains can go as quickly as they come.
Yet, what I earn, I can keep…am able to keep.
The cost of faith is a price not to be taken for granted.
Choose your commitments wisely.
Choose your devotions wisely.
Scripture says do not make oaths lightly.
Ecclesiastes 5:1–5 (NKJV)
Fear God, Keep Your Vows
5 Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
2 Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few.
3 For a dream comes through much activity,
And a fool’s voice is known by his many words.
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it;
For He has no pleasure in fools.
Pay what you have vowed—
5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
Bet on Jesus
Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
What helps us continue in times of waiting is devotion to the One who is dependable. Open your heart to be devoted.

What Helps?

Having a promise fulfilled. (Open your eyes)
Having a promise made (prophecy). (Open your ears)
Having devotion. (Open your heart)

How To Pass/counter The Time Waiting On God?

What is challenging about time?
What can be challenging with time are the decisions and nature of choices and experiences that can happen over time.
Life-taking/Life-Destructive choices and experiences or life-giving choices and experiences.
Proverbs 29:18 (NKJV): 18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
But happy is he who keeps the law.
How do we live in a way where our choices and experiences are more life-giving than life-taking?
A couple of things to know:
The way is more narrow than broad.
Matthew 7:13–14 (NKJV): Two Ways of Life
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
The value of faith-filled community and company cannot be understated.
Hebrews 10:19–25 (NKJV): Hold Fast Your Confession
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
God helps us in community and in communion.
John 14:25–28 (NKJV): 25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.
John 15:26–27 (NKJV): The Promise of the Holy Spirit
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
John 16:7–15 (NKJV): 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

Waiting on God takes our eyes, ears, and heart.

In faith, believers await the second coming of Jesus Christ.
As we wait for Christ's return, many of us also yearn for better things.
Even when God says "yes" to better things, He doesn't always deliver right away. God makes us wait on Him.
The Jewish people show us what it looks like to wait on God and we can gain insights into what it takes to do it well.
May we choose to open our eyes, open our ears, and open our hearts to God.
Additional Information and Resources:
Read the Gospels' account of the coming, birth, and life of Jesus Christ.
Read the book of Acts to see what the early Apostles did after the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, awaiting His return.
Conclusion / Final Thoughts:
Every delay is not a denial.
I'm reminded of what the author of Hebrews says about Jesus, and I choose to trust Him.
Hebrews 4:15-16 (NKJV) 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all [points] tempted as [we are, yet] without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Next Steps:

Journal

How open are your eyes? What do you need to see? When you pray, what promise do you want to ask God to help you to see/recognize?
How open are your ears? Can you hear God's voice, or are you hearing a bunch of other things more? In prayer, how can God help you to hear a word from Him...a sustaining promise?
How open is your heart?
Hebrews 3:12-14 (NKJV) 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
Do you trust God and devote yourself to Him? What is your prayer? Are there things that have happened to you that you want to resolve with God...so that you may move forward with Him?
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