Wednesday, August 8, 2007

While You Wait...Testify!

I have recently noticed that a most of my conversations with others have been about how to avoid waiting. One friend shared with me how she hasn’t shopped at Wal-Mart because the lines are too long and she has to wait. Another friend who lives in another city told me that if I come to visit to take an alternate route due to construction for it took her 45 minutes to go seven miles.


My children talk to me about how they can’t wait to grow up so they can do what ever they want and not get into trouble. Yeah right! I too remember not wanting to wait until graduation from high school so I could move out. After I graduated, I went into the military and that was all about hurry up and wait and wait and wait. Now that I’ve been married for 19 years, either I’ve had to wait for my husband to come home from work or he has to wait for me to get ready if we’re going somewhere together. In the recent days my husband and I talked about the days of retirement that lay ahead in about eight years and we can’t wait! Or can we? We’ll have to wait won’t we?


Why don’t we have patience? I’ve had Christian brothers or sisters tell me not to pray for patience or we’ll be faced with more trials to develop the patience. I tend to think that trials and tests come anyway, so I might as well pray for patience in the trial. Quite frankly, I’m getting to the point in my walk with the Lord, I’m asking more quickly in a trial what I need to learn from it for I’ve been through a few (actually more than a few) that I’ve had to do over. And I really don’t want anymore do overs!


James 1:2-4 (NKJV) reads, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.


Isn’t that good news that if we let our faith produce patience and let patience have its perfect work that we can be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing?!! Sounds like good news and it is good news, but it takes working out the desires of our flesh.


I remember from the study of Acts in chapter 27 that the Apostle Paul was prisoner on the ship bound for Rome. They had landed in the port city of Fair Havens on the island of Crete. The ship had lost a lot of time on this journey and it was after the Fast, which is The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur which is in September or October. The Mediterranean Sea was difficult and dangerous to navigate during the winter months. Paul advised the centurion of the dangers of continuing to sail on in this season. The captain and the owner of the ship decided that New Havens was unsuitable place for them to stay for the winter months. They went against Paul’s knowledge and advice and decided they knew of a better port city to stay in for the winter—Phoenix also on the island of Crete.


At this point, Paul as a prisoner sailed on with them. He already had a word from the Lord Himself that he will testify of Christ in Rome. Though he knew the dangers that lay ahead in the seas, he never fretted about the situation. Shortly after setting sail, hurricane force winds were upon them. They started tossing cargo overboard to lighten the ship. After many days in a storm and without eating, Paul stands up and tells the crew, “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island." Then after fourteen days, Paul encouraged the crew to eat and then they crashed on the island of Malta. No one lost their lives that were on board the ship.


Paul had faith in what the Lord had told him. Perhaps Paul’s faith was being tested when no one took his advice and his faith in the Lord developed his patience in that storm. While he waited for three months on the island of Malta before he was able to leave for Rome, he testified of Christ. He prayed for the sick and they were healed.


Paul had waited for three years since the Lord put it on his heart that he would go to Rome. Then it appeared near the end of the journey that he wouldn’t make it. But Paul’s faith was strong, it developed his patience, and patience had its perfect work. More people heard about the testimony of Jesus.


Therefore, whenever we go through trials and have to wait let us keep our faith in the Lord. His Word is full of His promises for us. The enemy may try to batter us with the storms, but God is faithful to do what He promised. Our trials in the storm will produce patience and patience will have its perfect work. Nevertheless, while we’re waiting for the Lord to fulfill His promises—keep sharing the testimony of Jesus so more will know Him.

4 gracious comments:

jen said...

Waiting is always the hardest thing for me to do. I want things to happen right away, the right way. Many times I have to sit back and ask God for the patience to endure the wait. I know all things will happen is His time, I just sometimes wish His time matched up with mine. :) Good stuff. I'm saving this for deeper study. I hope you are having a great and blessed week Sister!

Karen said...

Thanks for your words on patience. In a society that tries to push now, now, now...it can be hard to fight our tendency to want something right now. While studying about God's love, I learned about this characteristic called patience. What I am so encouraged by is the fact that God has perfect patience with us. He hangs in there and endures with us. He doesn't give up on us. He extends us great mercy and grace. He has perfect patience with us that never fails. And we should be so thankful for that because that very characteristic of God lets us know that no matter how many times we mess up, God is still hanging in there with us and loving us. That's awesome.

Leah said...

Waiting....my husband is sooo bad at waiting. Especially for something wonderful like a delicious meal at a restaurant. He simply will not wait. For me the thing I find it difficult to wait on is God's timing. I want everything NOW!!!! HE certainly has His Holy Hands full as He teaches me to wait on Him.

Thanks for the reminder that things are accomplished in the waiting.

Leah
www.thepoint-leah.blogspot.com

Lisa said...

GOOD MORNING! SHONDA WRITING THAT PIECE MEANT MORE TO ME THAN YOU'LL EVER KNOW. I PRAY THAT YOU AND YOURS HAVE A VERY BLESS DAY.

LOVE IN CHRIST