I wish we were sitting together right now and I could hold your hands as we pray for God to guide this discussion and lead us to a place of peace and understanding. If there is one question I hear more than ever about my relationship with God, it’s why do I bother praying? I can hear the argument still.
You just said God is in control. You just said He’s got it all figured out. You just said He knows better than I do. So, why should I pray?
I’ll admit that sometimes examining faith on the surface can seem contradictory. Without God’s Word I would be completely lost. How can a God that is perfect, smarter than we could ever measure, and completely unshakable, do what WE ask for? It doesn’t make any sense…. Or does it?
If you have your bible turn to Exodus 33. I also encourage you to get a bible if don’t have one! Mine has become a sanctuary. If you’re looking for a bible, this is my absolute favorite for bible study. Now, just a heads up about what is going on here: Moses and the Israelites are making their way to the Promised Land, but not without sounding like a bunch of overtired children (no offense, Israel, I sound just like you a majority of the time). Go ahead and dive in!
The beauty in this passage is that God said he was going to do one thing (not send His presence with Israel) but through Moses’s pleading and genuine prayer, God acted differently (agreed to go with them). Did Moses change God’s mind? Not exactly. God is unchangeable. He knows what we need, though, and He knows how to go about providing for us.
God created a moment for Moses to be vulnerable with Him, to bow down and humble himself before his creator. He created a moment for Moses to ENGAGE with him. To be a part of God’s work.
When we bow before God and pray from a genuine place, He moves. God never designed us to be robots that follow him without question or thought. He could have, but he didn’t. Why? Because he loves you, dearest. He loves us more than we could ever imagine. He wanted to talk to us, to hold us, to listen to us in our pain, and hear our call for Him. And all of these things benefit us, too! They make us stronger and more concrete in our faith.
Have you been holding out? Take some time right now and lay it all out for him. Engage, talk, ask, and believe without wavering. I’ll be praying for you tonight, sister.
First, let me confess to you that patience is not my best quality. I fail miserably at sitting tight and not trying to cut corners. It’s something I’m working on, though, because I understand the importance of letting God pave the way for us.
Now that I’ve given you a glimpse of where I’m at, I want to paint a picture for you.
It was late Christmas Eve. The whole world was going to bed in hopes that Santa would visit their homes that night. Emma was one of them. She rushed to slip on her fuzzy, warm pajamas and brush her teeth, so quickly that they were barely clean from the candy canes she and her brothers had earlier that evening. But she didn’t care. It was Christmas Eve! In just a few short hours Santa would be sliding down the chimney with presents for her and her family. Emma nestled herself between the blankets and received goodnight kisses from her mother. “Momma, its Christmas Eve, and tomorrow Santa will have visited us.”
“You are absolutely right, my angel.” As her mother closed the door with a smile, Emma breathed in deep. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. This night already seemed like it was just taking too long. No matter how she flipped and flopped she couldn’t get comfortable and her feet wouldn’t stop twitching from all the excitement. She wasn’t sure if it was seeing the gifts under the Christmas tree, or opening them, or having Momma and Daddy open her gifts to them, or just the beautiful feeling that every Christmas morning brought with it. Absolute joy, hope, and love. It all just felt so good. This had always been her favorite time of year. The yummy foods, the stories of her best friend baby Jesus, and bright Christmas lights covering everything just made it so magical. She cuddled up to Paddington bear, kissed him goodnight, and closed her eyes.
The next morning, Emma felt sun rays touch her cheek. “It came.” She whispered to Paddington. “Christmas came.”
I hope most of you can relate to a time when you had that kind of excitement. That complete assurance, that when the sunrise came something beautiful was about to happen.
Waiting, waiting, waiting.
Maybe you are waiting for something more than just Christmas morning. Maybe you’re waiting for something you desperately need, like healing or a new job. Maybe you are waiting for anything! Nothing bad is happening, but ain’t nothing good happening either, you just feel stuck. Maybe you are waiting for warm weather, to have a baby, meet Mr. Right, graduate high school, or perfect timing (you want to move forward but something is holding you back and you are waiting for that release). The list of things we have to wait on in this life could go on and on. Especially being a lady.
I took a couple weeks praying about which biblical woman the Lord would use to paint a picture for me. What does it look like to wait for a sun rise with joy. Someone who embodied Hebrews 10:22-23,
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full ASSURANCE of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Immediately I jumped on Esther, who if you have never read about and you really struggle with waiting and be patient you should really hit her up. There wasn’t much time she didn’t spend waiting on someone or something. Then I thought about sweet Ruth and her time spent waiting and remaining obedient. All in hopes that the Lord would one day redeem her, heal her in her widowed state. But that’s not who he brought me to.
He brought me to Mary. Anyone who has had to wait nine months for a baby to come would probably agree with me that it’s a long time to have to wait to meet your son or daughter. I don’t know for sure but I would imagine that nine months probably feels like an eternity when you are growing the son of God in your belly. So, if you have your bible with you, I encourage you to open it to Luke 1:30-33, and 46-55.
Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end. Luke 1:30-33
Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, because He has looked with favor on the humble condition of His slave. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and His name is holy. His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him. He has done a mighty deed with His arm; He has scattered the proud because of the thoughts of their hearts; He has toppled the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly. He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, mindful of His mercy, just as He spoke to our ancestors, to Abraham and his descendants forever. Luke 1:46-55
As most of us know during these 9 months Mary and Joseph were not just coasting to the finish line. While Mary is pregnant, she rode and I’m sure walked at times from Nazareth, their hometown in Galilee, to the house of David in Bethlehem, Judea, a 70 mile journey. Again I’ve never been pregnant but I have trouble imagining tying my shoes, not a 70 mile journey on a donkey. We know they didn’t have much money, there’s no record of family with them, and let’s not forget there is a very powerful King on the hunt for them. No stableness, no money, and a precious baby that the whole world is desperate for you to protect. Nine months.
What are we suppose to do in that chunk of time? It has to be more than just waking up every day, right?
I thought back over my life and tried to remember my responses to waiting as I grew up. When I was in elementary school my response to waiting for something was complaining- that one stuck actually, as my dear mother reminded me, I couldn’t keep secrets for anything because I just chose not to wait. If there was something I knew that you did not, I was going to let you know! As I got older distractions came about. Comfort eating and clothes and other material things. Boys. Anything to fill those gaps of time. To make it feel like it was going by quicker. Now that I’m an adult waiting on big things is sometimes met with meltdowns and more complaining and an occasional tantrum with the Lord. Why am I still waiting? What could possibly be taking so long?
Can I just tell you that Satan loves it when we have to wait for something. He thrives on it. It gives him time to confuse us, distract us. We wait for something big, and he whispers, good luck, you’ll be waiting forever. We wait for healing, and he whispers, He forgot about you. He forgot about you. Now at first we may feel super strong and say back Nu Uh! My God is good, he will come through for me. But then time starts rolling and nothing happens, and when Satan comes around again, he starts to lay seeds, and this time we start to take ownership of them. Did he forget about this? Does think I don’t deserve this? Does he even care? Suddenly it becomes so easy to doubt, to be negative and give up. It gets dark.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me.” You’re wrong! “Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:11-12
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full ASSURANCE of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23
After Mary heard what was going to happen to her she responded with, “Surely” Surely, surely. The Greek word for “surely” is “gar” and it’s literal translation is “indeed”. Indeed I will be called blessed because he has done great things for me. This word implies confirmation. It can be found 1,067 in the New Testament most often found as “for” In Romans 5:6, “For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly.” Surely, his timing was perfect.
There is no doubt, no wavering, no question, just complete assurance that what the Lord said to Mary would happen. Jesus would be hers, he would be holy, and he would save the world. She had 9 months to play the “What if” game and fear what would happen to this baby. So many things for her to panic over, have meltdowns over, give up and run. But that’s not what scripture records for us. It gives us a snapshot of a young girl who rejoiced with complete assurance, and in 9 months time would give birth to the savior of the world.
After Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth exclaims, “She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!” Luke 1:45
She was radiant, infectious with the amount of joy and hope she had, and it was pouring over Elizabeth. How I would love to have those words spoken over me. Mary wasn’t any different than any other girl, she didn’t have super powers, or money, or even a husband yet! So why can’t we have the hope and she had faith she did. I would be happy to have that kind faith and assurance in what the Lord said he could do and NOT have to have a baby.
At this point I was telling God, “But, Lord! What if what we are waiting on doesn’t have a date on it?” Mary had an end in sight! That baby was not going to stay in her for longer than 9 months. Wouldn’t you think, though, that the God who created the entire world, and knew exactly what time the sun needed to come up, and exactly how long a baby needed to grow before coming into the world, would know exactly when to bring about what we need in our life, too?
What are you waiting on, hoping for? Do you trust him to deliver you, provide for you, love you, forgive you? Sister, he does not delay!
2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but He is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.
Unwrap your bible this year. See what kind of promises he has in store for you. Let truth and the Holy Spirit wash over you and allow yourself to be excited that anything is possible with Him guiding us.
Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
In the meantime? Romans 12:12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Just like our little Emma, Mary allowed, that’s right, allowed herself to be so excited because she knew that in time a beautiful day would come. Her hopes and the whole world’s cries would be answered. There was nothing to doubt. Be patient on him, loved one, as he is with you. And in this time, rejoice, dance, kiss Paddington good night and smile! The sun will rise again. It always will.