Wait on the Lord…

    Feb 20, 2015

    Preacher: William (Tex) Culton

    Detail:

    How do you wait?

    Shuffle through the pages of a magazine? Look over your facebook messages and pictures? Play a game on your smart phone? Sleep?
    Watch T.V.?

    Send text messages? Write in your journal? Do you pray?

    We are not good at waiting for something. We are a naturally impatient culture. When we call for change, we expect it NOW! We want our cars to start easily, the heat to come right up, our smartphones to gather data at mega-speed? We want our fast food faster and our sit down meals delivered to our table in a timely manner.

    We want our sermons short, our services less than an hour, our three minute eggs in two minutes!

    We sound the horn as soon as the light changes to green and try to squeeze through on the yellow so we won’t have to wait.

    We just don’t like waiting; we consider it a waste of our precious time!

    OUR PRECIOUS TIME….and it’s precious because when all is said and done, it’s all we’ve got. What is the average life span today? 79?

    And how do we spend our time? They’ve done time studies and I was amazed at how we spend the limited amount of time we have.

    First of all we spend 25 years sleeping…that leaves 54 years

    We spend 10.3 years working!…We’re left with 43.7

    We spend 9.1 years watching T.V…..32.6!

    Oh, and two of those years are watching commercials…..

    We’ll drive 4.3 years and spend three months in traffic!….We’re now down to 28 years.

    We spend 1.5 years in the bathroom! 26.5 years left to ourselves.

    Women spend 8 years shopping and one year deciding what to wear and 1.5 years doing their hair.

    We’ll spend 5 yrs. At our desks and two years in meetings

    And during these years we’ll laugh out loud 290,000 times, walk a total of 110,000 miles, drink 12,000 cups of coffee or 48 pounds of tea, consume 1442 gallons of alcohol, have 158,000 dreams (we forget 80% of them), and swear 2,000,000 times (80-90 times a day!)

    Women spend 17 years trying to lose weight and we spend 3.66 years eating what it took 2.5 years to prepare! And finally, 70% of our waking life in front of digital media!

    WHAT IS PRECIOUS ABOUT ALL OF THAT? ONLY THE FACT THAT WE ARE PRECIOUS!

    After considering how we spend much of our lives, I guess we can begin to understand why we get impatient with things. There’s not much left after we get through with the basics of making a living and taking care of our bodily needs and then we have families with all those obligations.

    We can tend to lose sight of our purpose and we can begin to feel as though everything else in life is dictating what and who we are to be and how we are to spend our time. This is a loss of a sense of self and it often leads to resentment. Resentment is like a low grade fever, sapping our strength and causing us to withdraw, even when we seem to be engaged with life; and we may self-medicate and consume 3000 gallons of alcohol in our lifetimes and sleep 35 years instead of 25!

    Our impatience will begin to rule our lives and we will develop into cynics blaming our moods on whomever comes into our sights. It is not difficult to find a target for our disappointments.

    Isaiah faced the disappointment of his people who were held in captivity (over 40 yrs.) and thought that they had been disregarded by the Lord. They felt invisible (hidden from God) and helpless and that their God was weak.

    Many of us are familiar with these feelings. They can be caused by chronic illness, emotional stress, and children in crises, financial limitations, divorce, and addiction! It is a form of self-pity that is common to depression and for those of us who are religious, spiritual and believe in God, we tend to either blame God or beat ourselves up about our poor relationship with God. Isaiah was writing to a Godly people who believed that they had been deserted by God because of their sin. They tried to stay faithful and keep their religious observances….but they were practiced by rote and were becoming increasingly meaningless. They were getting tired and were ready to give up!

    Isaiah writes these encouraging words. Encouraging not only because they are beautiful poetry, but because they are true, and they are as true today and to us as they were to those ancient Hebrews languishing in Babylon with no foreseeable way of release.

    Their lives in captivity had as much meaning as their lives as free people. They were told to “Wait for the Lord.” For those who waited would renew their strength…

    They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint!!!!!!!!!

    God gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless!

    What does it mean to wait for the Lord?

    The root of the word is the same as rope or cord. Does it mean “hang on” because God holds the other end? Wait also means “to expect” or “to look for” and finally it means “to serve.”

    Some commentators feel that this waiting is characterized by prayer; thus the “hang on!”

    Bu many look to the other meanings of the word to instruct the faithful on how to behave between the beginning and end of our perceived trials. Which can very well be our entire lives.

    It seems to me that we are always waiting on something and living between events and preparing for something that is about to happen or cannot happen unless we prepare for it!

    I some ways we are like impatient adolescents rushing to grow up and forgetting what fun it is being young. We are unhappy that we cannot do the cool things that adults do, and so we experiment with them, acting like we perceive adults act….often to our great disappointment or embarrassment.

    Frank Lloyd Wright tells of a time when he was 9 and crossing a snowy field with his uncle. When they crossed it the uncle looked back and pointed out the difference between his footsteps and Frank’s. The uncle’s was as straight and as true as an arrow’s flight while Frank’s meandered aimlessly from the fence to the cattle to the woods and back again. The no-nonsense uncle stated that his tracks aim directly at his goal. There is an important lesson in that! F.L.W. decided right then not to miss the things in life his uncle had missed.

    It is easy to allow our attitudes towards the demands of life to keep us from the joys of living.

    We all need goals, and heaven knows we have far too many, but we must also realize that the objective in life is not the goal but the journey on the way to the goal. When we focus on retirement, or our first million, or our dream house or whatever, we may lose sight of the journey….it becomes like a commute rather than a life. Life is what happens in-between, on the journey. We can gather this from the life of Jesus the itinerate preacher who walked from town to town when he could have stayed in almost any one of them as honored teacher, preacher, healer, prophet, miracle worker. But, as is seen in today’s scripture, he moved on…his ministry was fulfilled in the journey. He knew where he was going and why he was going there and what he would accomplish, but he waited in the Lord trusting that God would work out the purpose for which he was born. In the mean-time, in between time he WAITED ON PEOPLE.   He served.

    I feel that this is exactly what God expects of us as we wait in the Lord….as we lead our lives trusting that God has a purpose for us that we are able to fulfill if we just remain faithful. You as a church are waiting in the Lord for a new minister.

    Your waiting is not a waiting in line at the motor vehicle station. Your waiting is active. Your session is diligently working on values and vision and mission while making all the decisions that sessions make when there is a permanent minister in place. And you as the greater church must be about the ministry to which you have been called. To wait for the Lord is, as best we can to be Christ to those who need us to be Christ to them most and to bring them the most we have of Christ’s healing and hope. And we can only do that if we believe we have it in our own hearts and know that this time right now is as important as the time will be when your new pastor comes on board. In fact, this part of the journey is as important as was that 40 year sojourn that the Jews had in Babylon. It was there that they developed the synagogue, the communities of believers that encouraged and supported one another until they were released to return to Jerusalem. So your time “in between ministers” is to continue to grow this fellowship by encouraging and supporting one another and reaching out into the community for folk whom God is calling to be a part of you.

    We wait expectantly, we wait in hope and we run and not get weary and we walk and not faint! For God is with us on this part of the journey, as God has always been with us.