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23(Isaiah 40,30-31) Learning to Sit Still

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Opening remarks on having to sit still. Other, more serious kinds of waiting.

1.     Single waiting to see if God has marriage in store.

2.     Childless couple (desperately start a family) day by day prayer goes unanswered.

3.     Spouse trapped in a hurting marriage that seems unable to change.

4.     Lewis Smedes – “Waiting is our destiny. As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for, we wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light. We wait in fear for a happy ending we cannot write. We wait for a ‘not yet’ that seems like a ‘not ever.’”

God commands us to wait.

A.    Waiting is the hardest work of hope.

1.     Psalms 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;

2.     Abraham. 75 years old. “You’re going to become a father…” waits 24 years.

3.     Israel told it would be a nation… waits 400 years.

4.     Moses told he would lead the people to promised land… waits 40 years.

5.     Promised a Messiah, the Savior… waited generation after generation.

6.     When He came, recognized only be a few… who were waiting for Him.

Luke 2:25ff.

Luke 2:36ff.

7.     His disciples kept waiting for him to usher in the kingdom… but crucified.

8.     He’s ready to descend, they ask, “Are you going to restore the kingdom? Is our waiting over?” Jesus had one more command. Acts 1. “Don’t leave Jerusalem. But wait.”

9.     Revelation closes with the understanding of waiting.

B.    Why? Why does God make us wait? Why must we learn this as a child, and treasure this skill into adulthood?

1.     What God does in us while we wait is as important as what it is we’re waiting for.

2.     Paul says while we wait, we suffer. Suffering – perseverance – character – hope.

3.     Waiting is not just something we do until we get what we want. It is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.

Waiting is not irresponsibility.

A.    Biblical waiting is not passive waiting around for something or someone to come along who will allow you to escape from your trouble.

1.     “I’m just waiting on the Lord” as an excuse to avoid reality.

2.     “Waiting on the Lord to provide” may be cover-up for bad financial habits.

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

1.     “God I will trust and I will obey you even though the circumstances of my life are not turning out the way I want them to, and may never.”

2.     “I’m betting everything on you, God. No plan B.”

What waiting requires. (3 things)

A.    Patient trust.

1.     Will I trust that God has good reasons for saying ‘wait’?

2.     Will I remember that things look different to God, who views from eternity?

3.     God has a different perspective. 2 Peter 3:8-9.

4.     An economist read this passage and talked to God about it. “is it true a 1000 years is just like a minute to you?” “Then a million dollars must be like a penny” “Lord, will you give me one of those pennies?” “All right, I will. Wait here a minute.”

5.     We want God’s resources, not his timing. The penny – not the minute.

Young person, maybe you’ve been waiting for a relationship to develop. You long for a closeness you don’t have at home or friendships you haven’t found at school. Tempted to say, “I’ve been waiting long enough. I’m going to reach out for whatever satisfaction I can get and worry about the consequences later.”

Will you wait on the Lord? OK God, I’ll take you at Your Word. I will not dishonor you or those close to me. I will seek to build the best life I can right now not knowing what tomorrow holds and even though I sometimes feel like a nobody, and nobody understands?

Illustration: Waiting Like a Trapeze Flyer.

1.     Some of you are very vulnerable right now. You have to let go of what it is God wants you to let go of, but you can’t feel God’s hand catching you yet.

2.     you want to start flailing around. Will you wait in absolute trust? Be patient?

B.    Confident humility.

1.     Isaiah wrote, “the fruit of righteousness will be peace.” Its effect is quietness, confidence. The conviction that God is able.

2.     Waiting requires humbleness. Recognition that I’m not in control. We teach it to our children.

3.     But we are not just waiting around. We are waiting on God. And God is doing something in us.

4.     Therefore, we trust in His wisdom and timing. And wait with confidence.

5.     We may become impatient, frantic. But God is never frantic. (Jesus asleep in storm.)

It is vital for your children to learn to recognize God’s voice. How do you recognize a friend’s voice on the phone? You have heard it many times, it has a certain tone.

One thing you need to learn about God’s voice. It is never frantic. When you hear desperate thoughts, panicky thoughts, that is not God. When you find yourself led to a panicky desperation, that is not God leading you.

Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice.” It’s the voice of a shepherd leading His sheep. Always. We wait with confident humility. Because God is in charge. Because we are not.

C.    Inexhaustible hope.

1.     Hope that is seen is not hope. If we already see it/have it, we don’t hope for it.

2.     What we wait for is not more important that what happens to us while we wait.

3.     Isaiah 40:30-31.

4.     Story of birds. Flappers, gliders, and soaring.

5.     Some of you are soaring… (next part, one at a time). Some are running… walking is all you can do.

6.     Jesus soared … sometimes he ran (cried over Jerusalem). But time came when he put that cross on his shoulders. He didn’t soar that day. Didn’t sprint up to Calvary. He walked.

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