In my walk with Christ, there have been many times that I have had to wait on God for direction for the future. Times when things have not gone the way I expected. Times when tragedy has knocked at my door. I haven’t always waited with the right attitude. I have often moaned and groaned and complained. I am learning however that there is a better way! Our attitude during the wait says so much about who we believe our God is and how much He loves us!
I believe Apostle Paul gives us a wonderful example of just how we are to wait. Throughout Paul’s life he went through many things that most of us have never had to endure. He educates us on some of his sufferings in the book 0f 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 NIV16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about.22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.
Thankfully most of us will not endure all the sufferings that Paul did. We will however, have to face our own. No one escapes from life here on earth without enduring some difficulty and suffering. We live in a fallen world and until we see Jesus face to face, there will be things from time to time that we will have to endure. Instead of complaining and moaning, I believe the Lord has shown us in the book of Acts how we are to wait. Acts 16:16-34 NIV16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
Many in the church today would have spent the first few days in prison complaining to God that they had been imprisoned unjustly! The focus being on how it was affecting their life! Instead, Paul used every opportunity, no matter how difficult or painful, to allow Christ to use him for His glory. He and Silas prayed and sang hymns and God answered supernaturally! They glorified Christ right there in that prison cell and ultimately many others were saved because of their response!
God wants the same from each of us. He wants us to trust Him completely as we wait on Him for our answer. He wants us to glorify Him in our response and our actions, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. We don’t have to run to everyone else and tell them all of our woes, we need to run to our Master. He will hear us and answer us and while we wait, we need to pray and sing hymns and glorify Him in our behavior. Just as the jailer watched Paul and Silas, others our watching us and our response during these times has the ability to make a difference in where they and their families may spend eternity.
Prayer and praise are the oars by which a man may row his boat into the deep waters of the knowledge of Christ. ~ Charles Spurgeon