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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

Listen and Wait

Series: Renewal

I Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV

Matthew 24:42 ESV

Matthew 26:41 ESV

I Kings 19:11-15 ESV

Mark 13:33-37 ESV

I Peter 5:6-10 RSV

Years ago sometime after 1976 we were preparing for a life in the ministry and it seemed like we weren’t getting clear answers because no doors were opening.

Nearly fifty years later I find my perspective interesting.

I assumed no open doors and no answers meant I needed to pray more. I remember feeling like God wasn’t listening to my prayers.

In I Corinthians 16:13-14 the Apostle Paul wrote, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

Paul’s strong words might remind us of a military guard watching, standing firm, and being strong.

The term “be watchful” or to watch was used by Jesus as a command in Matthew 24:42 when he said, “stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”

Jesus reminded his disciples in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

When I was young I thought (erroneously) that waiting wasn’t a necessary part of life.

I hadn’t learned to surrender and accept God’s timing.

I hadn’t learned that while we wait God is preparing us, doing a good work in us every day in every way.

I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it.

I wasn’t thinking that the time spent waiting is a precious gift from God because God is pouring in me what I will need.

When I was young I prayed, but I hadn’t yet learned to pray, stop, and listen for the still small voice.

Elijah had to learn it, and so did I. In I Kings 19:11-15 Elijah was told, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus.“

Just like Elijah I needed to learn to listen and wait.

I had to learn that God is IN the waiting.

I came to realize that sometimes God is silent for a reason. There simply are times when God is giving us something we do not see or hear.

Really, I had to come to a place where I let God be God.

In order for that to happen I needed to recognize that God is God and I am not.

In Mark 13:33-37 Jesus had specific words for his disciples that are important for us today. He said to them concerning the future, “concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows,[c] or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

At some point when I was young I stumbled upon I Peter 5:6-10 and I memorized it. That was nearly 50 years ago and I carry it with me still. It says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.“

Be humble before God.

Let God exalt you at the perfect time.

In the interim, cast your anxieties on God because God DOES care.

Be sober (the Koine Greek word is ‘Nepsate’ and it means to be of sound judgment for the purpose of prayer.)

Watch. Listen. Be silent.

Sit with God.

If you grow restless remember the devil prowls around. Resist Him. Stand firm and keep your eyes on Jesus.

In due time God will restore, establish and strengthen you.

Wait for it…

Spiritual Practice: Sit with God

Sit in silence and wait for God to restore, establish, and strengthen you.

In God, Deborah


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