Two weeks again I began talking about the seasons Christians and really everyone goes through in life. I want each of these posts here and here to help you survive these seasons. This week I want to talk to you about the waiting season.
Who here likes to wait?…Anyone
No one is raising their hands I see. No one really enjoys waiting because it goes against our human nature. There are so many places in the Word of God that speak about this very subject. I want to share a story with you before we get into the word today.
It was the late 90’s or very early 2000’s.
My Father and I were sitting on the couch in my childhood home located in Florida. We were just talking about life, I began to express my desire to one day have a WIFE and FAMILY of my own but did not know how it would be possible due to me having a severe disability. Thoughts like, “who would even date me” and “why would any girl want to take care of me, much less marry me”. My dad & I began to pray over my wife. We prayed and prayed for years. In High School I only went on one date…..a blind date at my junior prom. It was a DISASTER!!!!! I began my work career and met a young lady who I ended up dating. She started of by taking care of me and we developed a friendship and then we started dating. She had a background filled with drugs but appeared to be free of them. Then one Friday night in late January, she was going to go to New Orleans (3 hours away) under the guise of a “girls night out”. I thought this felt a little odd but I reluctantly agreed. The next day she came over, brought lunch and we were going to spend some time together. Upon her arrival I could tell there was a problem. We began eating on my sofa, her eyes were very red and blood shot. The night before in New Orleans she had relapsed. I began to cry and told her to place her keys on the counter and leave. Weeks and weeks went by and I was completely heartbroken, however I found out around Valentines Day that she had actually begun to date a WOMAN! That dagger in my heart just turned a few times more and I love all hope. My father and I still prayed, even though I had lost all hope.
FAST FORWARD 5 YEARS and I met someone with cerebral palsy. I was in full time ministry at this point and traveled around preaching. We began to date. It got serious and I proposed to her and we began to plan our wedding. My parents loved her, and her parents loved me. It was Memorial Day weekend and we spent that Saturday together. I took her out for ice cream and as we got ready to leave God began to speak to me about a man that was also there. He began to leave but God would not leave me alone about him, so I had my aid run out in the parking lot and flag him down. As I began to minister to him he began to weep uncontrollably. As it turned out His wife had dies a few years prior and he had been praying for a sign to know if she was ok (if I remember correctly) I was that sign. It was incredible! On the way home though- the bomb went off. I was told by my fiance not to ever do that to her again because it was totally embarrassing to her. TALK ABOUT BEING DEVASTATED!!!!! I went home that night crying and I decided the next morning that I was going to church with the intent of turning in my resignation to my Pastor and leaving the ministry for good. You see, not every “good” thing is a “God” thing! For some reason I did not do this. The next day, we broke up. This put me into a tail spin! I lost all hope. I thought that girl was my final chance to have a family- so I began to medicate myself with alcohol, pornography, and other things.
Finally, my Pastor gave me some tough love-very tough! It was hard for several months, but I had to take a sabbatical from all ministry and get healed. During this time I joined e-harmony. A few months went by and nothing. “Yeah” I thought to myself; I am going to be single forever. Oddly enough- I believe my Father was still praying for my wife. (Thank you Dad for keeping the faith).
I checked my email one day………I had a message from someone named Katie. We began communicating the next 4 months. On December 16th we had our first date and 10 months later I had the privilege of marrying my best friend!
The waiting season…..very difficult indeed!!!
However the process I endured has made me in the man of God I am now.
I can pull up so many examples in the Word about the waiting season, but today, let’s talk about Joseph. In Genesis 37 we find the story of Joseph and I encourage you to read it on your own. I am only going to hit the highlights due to length. The first part of chapter 37 we read that Joseph had a dream. Not just any ordinary dream either. Let me explain; Joseph was the youngest of the bunch-and also his father’s favorite. This right here causes sibling rivalry alone, however, it gets better!
Little ol’ Joseph had a dream that his brothers would bow down before him. Joseph-still wet behind the ears thought it would be a novel idea to tell his brother about this AMAZING dream! A few years ago I saw a shirt that I really wanted that said. “Seemed like a good idea at the time!” This is a t-shirt that Joseph needed. Of course this did not go over well with his father or his brothers.
Genesis 37:10-11 (NLT)
“What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.
His brothers had the idea of killing him but instead they sold him into slavery when Joseph was only 17 years old. Fast forward to
Genesis 41:46 (NLT)
He was thirty years old when he began serving in the court of Pharaoh, the King of Egypt. And wen Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence, he inspected the entire land of Egypt.
He waited 13 years for this God-given dream to come to pass. Waiting Seasons are very hard but stay faithful. Keep in mind…
Luke 16:10 (NLT)
If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in the large ones. But if you are dishonest in the little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.
Waiting is very difficult, especially when years go by and you have lost hope.
Believe me I know! The key is found in these four areas.
First, you and I must have faith. The bible says in Hebrews…
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”
There were weeks and even months I had lost all hope of ever getting married much less having a family of my own.
Secondly, it is also equally important to stay grounded in the Word. There is a big difference between just reading your Bible (although it’s a must) and applying it to our lives.
James 1:22-24 (MSG)
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
Thirdly we must be in constant prayer. However, here is where many people mess up (myself included) We pray for our will to come to past instead of God’s. Jesus taught us how to pray. The best scripture we can go glean how to pray is in Matthew.
Matthew 6:9-10 (NLT)
Specifically: Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Finally we need to remember is to keep coming to church and serving in the church. I get this is very difficult to do when you are in this waiting season. Over the years, even in the different roles I’ve served in, many times I haven’t wanted to come to church. Yes, even as a lead Pastor! We must remember what the author of Hebrews said.
Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.