The Seven Filters – Filter #7, Pt 4 Am I absolutely positive?

Waiting Patiently

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30–31, ESV)

I really like waiting. Not! I am being sarcastic. Actually, I do not like waiting. One of the things that used to really get my goat was going to a fast-food restaurant and not getting food fast. We go to the fast-food restaurant, not for the ambiance, and not for gourmet food, but for the fast service. We want average edible food for an average price served quickly. Thus, it sometimes gets frustrating waiting for fifteen or twenty minutes in line to get fast-food.

I do not think any of us are good at waiting. I really should be better than this seeing that some of my ancestors were from the United Kingdom. If you have ever been there, they are the masters of queuing, that is lining up and waiting. They seem so peaceful, just standing in a line and doing nothing but waiting. I guess it is a way of life and I also guess that internally, they are just as frustrated with waiting as I am. However, their outward demonstration of patience is admirable and an example for us.

You see, the ability to wait on God is one of the most powerful expressions of true faith. Isaiah laid out this principle for us.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30–31, ESV)

All people get tired of waiting. Yet, waiting on the Lord is different. Those who wait on the Lord gain strength. In it, as well as demonstrating faith, we grow in it.

In many cases, we find ourselves without clear direction. We have an issue. We have a lot of thoughts and ideas regarding what to do. However, we are uncertain. In this situation we must wait, but what do we do while we are waiting.

Let us look at a very familiar example of waiting from the Scriptures. Just prior to Jesus ascending to heaven, He tells His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). So, they waited in an upper room in Jerusalem. Luke recorded what they did. “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (Acts 1:14, ESV) They were in number about 120 believers who were in prayer. They were seeking the will of God to be accomplished in prayer.

Then it happened on the day of the Feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came upon them, and they were all filled with the Spirit. Remarkable things then happened in Jerusalem as Peter preached the first sermon there and about three thousand who were gathered in Jerusalem for the feast believed and were baptized.

While we are waiting for direction, we should pray to God and seek Him in His word for that direction. James makes this clear. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5, ESV)

James wrote this verse in the context of going through various trials (James 1:2-8). There are many tremendous trials that we encounter in life, but one we do not often consider is the trial of looking for God to direct us and having to wait on Him for the answer.

In Portsmouth, we had a prayer meeting with some of the local pastors once per month. We grew to be a pretty tight bunch. At one of our Thursday prayer meetings, one of the pastors let us know that he had just lost his position as an associate pastor in one of the area’s larger churches. He asked for prayer in seeking the Lord’s will in what he should do next. He had many ideas but did not know for certain what the best choice might be. So, we prayed for him, and he continued to seek the Lord. Month after month we continued to meet and I would ask him again, “Has the Lord revealed anything to you yet.” Then, he felt led to go for another advanced degree in ministry. Yet, he kept on praying and seeking the Lord. Finally, a year or so later, the Lord led him to begin an itinerant ministry that the Lord used to bless many congregations. He had to wait on the Lord but was rewarded with direction.

The point of this story is that when we are not certain regarding the actions that we should take on our thoughts and ideas, we must continue to seek wisdom from the Lord through prayer and the word of God. We should continue to run our thoughts through the filters until we can pass through the seventh and final one, which is, “Am I absolutely certain?”

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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