Saturday, September 12, 2009

God is Waiting...

God is Waiting...

In the year 1994, sensing the call of God upon my life, I gave up my career as an insurance agent and entered into full time ministry, serving in a church. However, after three years of pastoral ministry, I felt there was a season of change in my life and sought the Lord diligently for further directions. After almost nine to ten months of praying and seeking, one day, the word “Arabian desert” was strongly impressed upon my spirit. As I entreated the Lord deeper, I discerned that the Spirit of the Lord was leading me into a time of waiting upon Him, just like the way He had led Paul, in the early years of his ministry, to wait on Him in the wilderness of Arabia (Gal.1: 16-17).

Paul was in the wilderness for about three years, and it seems that during this waiting period, God had graciously revealed and imparted many truths and revelations to the apostle. In the epistle to the Corinthians, we learnt that he was even “caught up to the third heaven” and “heard inexpressible words...(2 Cor.12:2-4). He also received from the Lord the wonderful mystery concerning the last supper “I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you” (1Cor.11:23). However, unlike Paul, who was given the privilege of marvelous insights in such a short span of time, my call to wait on God since then has become my full time career, entering into its fourteenth year. During these times of waiting, I did not receive great mysteries and revelations like Apostle Paul. In addition to that, very few doors were opened and opportunities given to me to serve and minister, this in turn, resulted in very few available avenues for income. I spent most of my time studying and meditating the Word of God, praying and waiting upon Him, trusting Him wholeheartedly to provide for every single need of my family.

In this article, I would like to share humbly our experience and what we have garnered through these thirteen years of waiting. We hope that through our sharing, many may have a greater understanding of this waiting process that God regularly brings His people through, so that when such times come, we can all learn to embrace the opportunities rather than shun them. To master this spiritual discipline so as to cultivate a deeper sense of God’s presence in our lives, to seek more direct contact with Him, to learn how to deepen our trust in Him and rest in the entire dependence of His goodness, to learn how to receive His life, abide in His life and let His life flow through all, that we may bring Him the greatest glory. Our ultimate desire is to direct God's people to focus on the one great Remedy for all our needs - an absolute dependence on the Great I Am. We hope that through this article, comfort and encouragement will be brought to those who could be waiting and are tormented by frustration, discouragement and disillusionment.

In this study, we would seek to consider the different aspects and purposes of waiting. We pray that this sharing would enliven and ignite a greater passion in those who desire a deeper intimacy with God and who long to have a greater reliance on Him.

Oneness with the Lord

“Those who wait on 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” (Isa.40:31)

The word wait in the English bible actually carried different definitions when it is traced to its Hebrew origin. In Isa.40:31, wait in Hebrew means being gathered together onto God. It is interesting to note that this gathering is not just an ordinary gathering; it is a gathering where we are brought into oneness together. It expresses union or unison. This word gives a picture of a vine with branches intertwined together, like the cords of a rope that are intertwined together to form one solid rope. It is about letting our souls so intertwined with the spirit of the Lord that it allows the life of God to have full sway in our souls, that Christ may be fully formed within us and that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. It is about tarrying before God in the stillness of soul, looking to Him to perfect the life of Christ in us. In fact, this is one of the great burdens of Apostle Paul for the saints. In his letter to the Galatians, he shared with them how he labored and agonized in birth until Christ is formed in them (Gal.4:19). This is indeed, the major and primary purpose of all waiting, to give God time and full permission to mold us. We are like the clay coming to the potter and allowing Him to mold us in any way he desires, for his pleasure and glory. It is a state of our soul where we are not just seeking for our inheritance in Him but rather, recognizing that we are His inheritance and we want to bring Him full pleasure. It is a heart that seeks deep intimacy, seeks to be bound, to be interwoven together with the Spirit of the Lord. Unless and until our spirit comes to this true union with the spirit of God in all our pursuits and ministry, we will have a life of shallow Christianity and ministry.

Modern Christianity has always put great emphasis on the doing rather than the being. Sub-consciously, we are very much influenced by our culture and societal norms. We are programmed to believe that anything that is of great value can only come through hard work. For by default, our minds always fall back to the laws of the world and thus it takes great diligence to lean on the grace of His kingdom. Do not be too focused on doing, focused on just being. Waiting means called into being, being one with Christ. Every work that is of eternal significance must flow out of our union with Christ. Human efforts avail to nothing unless we abide in Him first.

Remember that we are given two great commandments – First: to love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind; Second: to love our neighbor as ourselves. In our zeal to serve the Master, many have switched the order around, making the second commandment our first. The second commandment relates to the great commission, and we have emphasized and exalted the great commission over the first commandment. However, until and unless we return and restore the first commandment back into our personal lives and into the corporate church and make it our first priority, we can never have the full strength, wisdom, knowledge and understanding to fulfill the great commission. The great commission can only be accomplished and energized through the great commandment. It is in union with the Lord that we can fully and truly fulfill His plan. The Spirit of the Lord is ultimately the cause, the source and the force of all true spiritual accomplishment!


The other word we want to look at very carefully in Isa. 40:31 is the word renew. The word renew in Hebrew has several different meanings. The first meaning is ‘abolish’, and that is the first aspect of what God does to us when we wait on Him. He abolishes the idols and all the inordinate desires in our lives. He removes, He cleanses, He breaks all those things in our lives that need to be broken away from us as we wait and unite with Him.

When we do not live righteously or avoid His will, we will find it very hard to be alone and to quieten ourselves in the Lord. For whenever we quieten ourselves, the voice of our conscience becomes too loud for us to bear and it torments us. On the other hand, the righteous and godly will enjoy the beauty of solitude, being conscious and delighting in His presence. As we wait on the Lord, His Spirit will abolish all insecurity and guilty conscience within us, making us bold and strong in the spirit. Initially, as we discipline ourselves to wait on the Lord, we may feel all that are within us are very dark and unpleasant; we may even feel ashamed to come before the Holy God. But that is the very reason why we need to wait on God, so that we can rest in His marvelous love and trust in His light to expel all the darkness within us, for darkness is never a substance by itself, it is merely the absence of light. “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1Jn.1:5). As we unite with Him in waiting, His light will slowly but eventually dispel every trace of darkness in our hearts and mind. We cannot seek intimacy with God or attain the abiding consciousness of His presence unless we are willing to abolish all unrighteousness and all ungodly desires and fully surrender our all to His will.

To be alone doesn’t necessarily equates being lonely. Loneliness is a melancholy of our soul, hence we can be surrounded by friends and yet feel lonely. However, the discipline of solitude is the strength of the righteous soul. If we have an inner strength within us, we will know how to stand alone, we will not be afraid if people reject us or hurt us for we will have the emotional resilience from God.

Another meaning for the word renew in Hebrew is the word exchange. It is not refresh or restore, rather, it is an exchange of our weakness for God's strength. That is why the word in Isa. 40:31 promises us that “they shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint”. This is because, as we entwine ourselves with the Spirit of the Lord, we do not need to move on with our own ordinary strength, we exchange our weaknesses for His strength. “Even the youth shall faint and be weary, and the young lion shall utterly fall, but those who wait on 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” If we refresh our strength, when we run we can still be weary. But if we exchange our strength for the Lord's strength we will run and never be weary because God's strength is a supernatural strength. It is like Elijah who ate the food and drank the water given to him by an angel and supernaturally “went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights...” (1Kgs.19:8)

As we wait and let our spirits intertwine with the Spirit of the Lord and come into oneness with Him, we not only refreshed ourselves, we exchanged our weaknesses for His strength and supernatural power. We exchanged all our limitations for His supernatural infinity. This exchange imparts a fresh impetus into our lives, enabling us to go forward with new vigor.

Waiting as a Waiter

Another Hebrew word for wait has the meaning of serving like a waiter, that is like waiting to take orders as in Ps.123:1-2 “Unto You I lift up my eyes...behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God...”

God has a plan for every one of His child, whether it is in full time ministry or in the market place. And according to God's infinite wisdom, He planned our lives in phases. Hence, we need to keep coming to God and bind ourselves with Him to be on track with what He is doing. One of the great dangers in life is that we tend to depend too much on our past experiences with God to guide us forward instead of continually seeking His fresh counsel. In the story of Joshua, we learned that the Israelite made a serious mistake by assuming that they will have victory over Ai easily after God gave Jericho into their hands, and as a result, they were defeated because they did not wait for counsel from God (Jos.7:1-6). In making a covenant with the Gibeonites, they again made a great mistake for they did not wait upon God for His counsel and was thus deceived (Jos.9:14).

We should also learn a huge lesson through Abraham. After waiting for a long time without seeing the fulfillment of God's promise to him, he took the matter into his own hand and had a son through another woman. This not only brought a lot of unnecessary turmoil into his marriage but also brought long lasting consequences. Ishmael was born and from him raised Israel's permanent enemy up to this day.

Another danger in our service to God is the idol of identity, as many of us get our identity through our lives’ functions. This may render us incapable of receiving correction without defensiveness or cause us to fall victim to discouragement when receiving criticism. We must avoid the pride ‘traps’ of serving with a 'Messiah complex'. In other words, we feel that we have to be the ones to ‘save the world’. If we don't do it, nobody will do it, and we imagine that the whole purpose of God will fall apart without our involvement. As a result, we overworked, we burned out, we got hurt when we are not appreciated and we become discouraged when the work done did not meet our expectations.

Our whole relationship with the Lord should be - for His will to be done in us and through us as it is ordained in heaven. As such, our first priority in any service must always be to ascertain the mind and heart of God. The more the counsel of His will is sought and found and honored, the more surely and mightily will God do his work for us and through us. We need to learn to serve God like a waiter, like the Psalmist, always looking to the hand of the master.

We need to restore the waiting spirit, we need to learn that in order to walk in the path of God consistently, we have to wait upon Him consistently to give us His divine counsel on a regular basis “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me. For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” (Ps.25:4-5)

Long Suffering & Spiritual Growth

Another important meaning to take note regarding the word wait in Hebrew is - to wait silently in patience. Of all the principles that go together with faith, the most important is long suffering, often translated as patience in most versions of the Bible. However, biblical patience is not just a feeling of patience and calm, it refers to endurance, it is faith tried to almost breaking point. The spiritual attribute of long suffering is an inner attitude that arises from the will; it is a decision to endure that is rooted in our faith, in our growing belief that God will definitely keep His promises. Thus, faith often has to be working together with long suffering to achieve the miraculous. In Heb.6:12, the Amplified Bible phrased it beautifully “In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are (now) inheriting the promises” Hence, the word long suffering or patience speaks of the ability to stretch forth our passionate desire to achieve that which faith has conceived.

When we talk about an overcoming faith, we are not just talking about what we believe but how long we can continue to believe despite all opposing circumstances. The latter is what matters. It is also not just about receiving the Word, but how long we can continue to hold fast to that which we have received, and allow it time to take root in our lives and finally bear fruits that really please the Lord. In the parable of the sower and the seed in Mark 11:1-20, all received but the word did not take root in all as it grows in different types of ground . Indeed, on the ones sown in stony ground, Jesus said that they hear the word and “immediately received it with gladness”, however, it “endure only for a while” (Mk. 4:16). The important thing is allowing the word to take root and grow within us with expectation.

Success in Christian life is through the process of growth. When we were babies, we could not do some of the things we can as adults – not because we lack the potential or that it is not in our destiny – but because we just have not grown to have the capacity to do it. We need to grow into our victory rather than trying to achieve victory, to grow into our ministry rather than trying to perform the ministry. Growing establishes who we are, and then, the doing is just a natural outcome of who we really are.

We are called to walk by faith and “whoever believes will not act hastily” (Isa.28:16). We must learn to grow in incremental steps. The great pyramid, which stood as an awesome mega structure on earth for thousands of years, was built one stone at a time, over a long period of time. Sometimes the incremental steps are so small that they are insignificant to the natural eye but when they finally burst through into manifestation, the seemingly small and insignificant steps can lead to an avalanche of faith as well as God’s presence and power.

All things are possible to those who believe, however, it often takes time. Time is the key factor in doing the impossible. With time, knowledge increases, faith increases, wisdom increases, skill increases, anointing increases and resources increase. If we are fully convinced that all success in Christian life and ministry is by the process of growth, then we must learn to wait on Him silently, for growth takes time. Rest assured that if it is God’s Will and our destiny to do what is in His heart, we will be able to accomplish it by allowing God to help us grow day by day into it. Hence, we need to learn to endure the long suffering of silence, to cultivate the discipline of solitude.

Do not despise the days of small things. For it is from the small things that big things are made of. Many times it appears like waiting is just losing and wasting time, but it certainly is not. On the contrary, it is an unconscious spiritual advancement. We must believe that God is watching over us in love and secretly strengthening us. Waiting puts us in a position for God to work in us for his full pleasure “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil.2:13). Don't let waiting be hindered by unbelief. If we wait continually, God will work continually. Waiting does not diminish us; in fact, we are enlarge in the waiting. Let our waiting be full of trust and we will soon develop the joy and the holy habit of waiting “whoever keeps the fig trees will eat its fruit; so he who waits on his master will be honored” (Prov.27:18).

All growth is accomplished through cumulative discipline. Do not be so consumed by the vision of the future that we forget to take the daily incremental steps towards its fulfillment. Whatever our goals, whatever our dreams and desires are in God; we can only take it one step at a time, one day at a time. Often times, we just have to focus on planting one tree at a time to create the forest. Waiting gives us the spiritual poise, the soul-balance, to take one day at a time, to learn to make each day of our life a special day for growing more in God. And one day, when we look back from eternity, we will suddenly discover what a giant of faith we have become. Faith works with long suffering, they go together.

If we truly desire to grow in genuine faith, we need to learn to wait on God, walk confidently in darkness and handle silence. For part of the process of reaching spiritual maturity is to be brought to the edge of our understanding and then go beyond that. Even in uncharted waters of uncertainty, we trust “Who among you fears the Lord...who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God. Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with sparks; walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled – this you shall have them from My hand: you shall lie down in torment”(Isa.50:10-11)

God's silence forces us to grow in our confidence in Him, as we walk through the darkness or unknown territory without clear light and reassuring directions. It is often in this way that we develop our own personal history with God. One of the wonderful things about faith is that we do not really know how it gets into us and grows within us. The bible calls it the mystery of faith (1Tim.3:9). For sometimes mentally we think that we have faith, but in reality we do not have it, all we have is information and knowledge. That is not going to produce anything as faith is not a mere mental prominence. For that reason, we are warned not to create our own fire in an attempt to manufacture some light. We may lie down in turmoil instead of safety and peace.

We have to learn to wait on God. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”, and if we will to learn to wait on Him, He will “made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:1, 11). Flow with His times and seasons. If we learn to handle silence and darkness in our lives, we will be like trees planted by the rivers of water, which will bear fruits in its season and have leaves that shall not wither. There is a season for bearing fruit. There is a season for God to do something in our life and there is a season to be prepared so that our strength will equal our days (Deut.33:25).

If we do a serious study of Paul's life, we will realize that he was hidden for the more than ten years in his ministry. He was born again in Acts 9 but was commissioned only in Acts 13. Between Acts 9 (around A.D. 35) and Acts 13 (around A.D. 45), a period of ten years has passed. God has His time and purpose. God has a season and time to promote us, whether in the ministry or in the secular realm. Learn to wait on God; do not go ahead of what God did not ask and do not grab what God has not given “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him...those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the land” (Ps.37:7:9).

All the training in our spiritual life - our Bible study, meditations, praying and fasting, should point us and prepare us in humility to look to and depend upon God Himself, and in patience, to wait upon His goodness and mercy. Waiting teaches us to have an absolute dependence on God's mighty workings, to place ourselves entirely at His disposal. It leaves Him, as Almighty God on the throne, to do His work. In waiting, there is a call to rest and an assurance that we will inherit our promises.

James says “let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect lacking nothing” (James 1:4). Patience and long suffering honor God and give Him time to have His way with us. It is the highest expression of our faith in His goodness and faithfulness. It brings our soul to perfect rest, having the assurance of losing our self will in His perfect will “In patience possess your souls...” (Lk.21:19). Such patience is needed for the true waiting on God. “May the Lord direct our hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ” (2Thess.3:15) that we may all learn to silently wait on Him continually (Hosea 12:6), for impatience has been a sin of God's people in all ages.

Cultivating a Surrendering Heart

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...” (Ps.27:13-14)

One very vital element that is needed as we learn to wait upon God is a quiet and confident persuasion that it will not be in vain. Many people do not like or dare to spend too much time waiting on God for one simple reason, they fear that it would be a waste of time and all their waiting will be in vain and their hope will be put to shame. Their hope is focused on what happens after the period of waiting. Will they definitely experience a period of God's blessing? The prayer of David in Ps.25:3 “Indeed, let none that waits on You be ashamed”, could reflect the fear that many have when they desire to surrender more of their lives to wait on God.
God is Love! He delights to impart Himself and all His blessedness to His children. We should dismiss from our mind the thought of a grudging God, who would only give us little morsels of blessings here and there, and only after much petition, tears and prayers. Instead, picture a loving mother, already preparing and setting aside gifts for her daughter’s wedding, even way before her daughter has found the love of her life. Feel the mother’s preparation joy, feel her tender and anticipating love for her child. Where did she learn that from? She learnt it from God.
That is the love our Father God has for us, He knows what we need even before we ask Him. He anticipates and prepares the answers for us even before we are aware that we need them. And He is just waiting for us to call and wait upon Him, so that He can give all these treasures to us.
We need to revolutionize our thoughts about God. Knowing that God is Love is the only and all sufficient warrant for our wait on Him. So come, come and bathe in the warmth and sunshine of God's unfailing Love. Just as the sun does its work to strengthen and feed the weak plant that seeks its rays, God will do His work likewise in us. Take courage and believe that God will hear and help “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who wait on the Lord” (Ps.31:24). We are waiting on a God who can never disappoint; we are in the hands of a divine and almighty Worker. Let us rest our faith in the infallible promise of God as spoken in Isa.49:23 “...I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me”.

To those who are engulfed in darkness, the morning light speaks of hope and deliverance. In Ps.130:5-6, the Palmist cried out “My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning”. Here, the Palmist painted a picture for us, as believers, we should learn to wait on the Lord intensely and desperately, for His light to shine on us, in us and through us. We should wait on Him more than those who are engulfed with darkness, who are in distress waiting for the morning light.

There is a Christianity of the mind and Christianity of the heart and despite the latter being of greater importance, the former is usually far more diligently cultivated. We always presume that our heart is alright, so we focus on cultivating and developing our mind through much teaching and learning. Sadly, that is the very cause of much feebleness in our Christian life. Our heart needs to be anointed first by His Spirit before all else can take place.

The Psalmist said “Lord, what do I wait for...” (Ps.39:7-8), there may be times when we feel like we do not know what we are waiting for. There may be times when we do not know how to ask as we ought to and that can be weary and discouraging, as we do not know what to expect in our waiting. In times like this, all we can do is to completely surrender and yield to God. Sometimes, all we need is for God to do a deep and transformative work in our hearts, to strengthen our hearts to love and trust Him, then all our waiting will be worth it. Remember, God is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb.12:2). He who saves us will bring us into the completion of our call as we walk steadfastly with Him.

There is only one source of life and happiness for the heart “...wait only upon God. He only is my rock and salvation” (Ps.62:5-6). Let the living God alone, no one else but Him and Him alone, be our hope and joy. Waiting bring us into the goodness of God, it links us, in unalterable dependence, to God himself. Hence, be willing to cultivate a surrendering heart and learn to wait on Him and bathe in His goodness “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lam.3:25-26).

Waiting as an Intercessor

Many think that waiting on God is all about us, strengthening us from within - a discipline of the inwardness of Christianity. This is deception! Waiting also has its outward focus, it is about evangelism, about strengthening the body of Christ, more specifically, it is about intercession.
“Behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him, and it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ” (Lk.2:25-26)

Simeon was a man who knew and practiced this truth. He knew the timing of God, he knew that God was going to restore Israel and thus, spent his life waiting for the Comforter of Israel – The Messiah. It seems to me that he believed and did his part in intercession for the coming of the Messiah. And probably, before Jesus came on the scene, there were a lot of devout men and women whom God had called to wait and pray for the nation of Israel. Among them would be Anna the prophetess who “served God with fasting and prayers night and day” (Lk.2:37)
It is not how demonstrative or how public we are as the disciples of God. The most important thing is to do the perfect will of God. Simeon and Anna may not have the privilege to be disciples of Jesus. They may not have a chance to be one of those great prophets of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, they lived in the perfect will of God, waiting in intercession for His perfect will to be manifested on the earth.

“I will wait for the Lord to help us, though He has turned away from the people of Israel. My only hope is in Him” (Isa.8:17) Here again, we have Isaiah, a servant of God waiting upon the Lord, not on behalf of himself, but for his people, from whom God was hiding His face. Waiting on God is not necessarily only for our personal benefit. It is not meant to be a spiritual self-indulgence, rather, it can be a form of intercession. As we wait and intercede, we are expecting God to act on our behalf. The privilege of waiting upon God brings with it great responsibility, we must learn to use our access to God wisely for the body of Christ and for the nations. In fact, one of the primary calls of Sower's Wheat ministry is for us to wait on God on behalf of the nation of Japan, to patiently wait in intercession for the consolation of the Japanese, until we see the Son of Righteousness reign supremely over the land of the rising sun. May we be willing to learn to wait on God in confidence, like Simeon, Anna and Isaiah, who waited patiently on the One who had hidden His face from so many of His children today due to their own darkness.

Romancing & Ravishing His Heart

Waiting on God is also about demonstrating our love for Him and ravishing His heart, it is our way of saying we love Him, “For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him” (Isa.64:4).

Waiting on God is coming into His presence to be with Him, simply for who He is, not because we are waiting for something or for what He can do for us. It should be an expression of our true love for Him. If we truly love Him, then we will love to be in His presence. The apostle Paul in I Cor. 2:9 quoted this very passage that first appeared in Isa. 64:4, but interestingly, he put in an additional revelation "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him." Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he replaced the word wait with the word love. It seems that Paul had the understanding and revelation from the Spirit of God that when God said those who wait on Him, God was also referring to those who love Him. Those who will wait on God are equivalent to those who love Him. Many only know how to love Him with works, but it is important to know how to love Him with our presence.

In Revelations 2:4, Jesus in talking to the Ephesians church says this, "Repent for you have lost your first love for Me." The Ephesians church was one of the most powerful churches during those times. It was in Ephesus that the whole gospel went out to Asia Minor. Paul was there for a period of about 3 years, spending two of those years in the school of Tyrannus. In fact, it was through that church that revival was brought to that whole land (Acts 19:1-10). Yet right now, Jesus is asking them to repent for they have lost their first love for Him. They were zealous in their works and did a lot of good works. Nevertheless, they have lost their love for Him. In Rev. 2:2 Jesus said “I know your works, (they were hard working for God) your labor, your patience, you endure and that you cannot bear those who are evil.” They were righteous. They seek to purge unrighteousness from their midst. “And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them to be liars. And you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.” They seem to be very mature in their faith and possessed great Christian qualities.

If we stop reading right there it looks as if these Christians are first class Christians, people whom we want to emulate. However the Lord said in verse 4 “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have lost your first love”. They don’t love Him like they used to. The word first love is significant for it gives a picture of how when a person first fall in love. When we first fall in love, we love the presence of the one we love and we intensely desire to be with him or her all the time. That's the illustration the Lord used. If He is our first love, we will truly love to wait upon His presence, merely because of who He is and how intensely we desire to be with Him. We show God how much we love Him by how much we love to wait on Him.

Our Ultimate Dependence

Waiting on God is also a crucial step in which our dependence upon God grows. Without this deeper awareness of God in our lives, God restrains Himself from giving us more grace, for with humility comes grace. “Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation...” (Ps.62:1-2)

The word waits in this passage means to stand still, to be in a position of ultimate dependence to experience the full salvation that can only come from God alone. If salvation is entirely His work, just as creation is, then it only makes sense that our first and highest duty in life is to learn to wait on Him, so that we may enter into our full salvation – to be all that God intended us to be.
In fact, the root of all the difficulties and hindrances that hold us back from experiencing the full salvation of God is this -- a defective knowledge and practice of waiting upon God. For all that is needed, for the manifestation of the mighty power of God in this world, is to return to the place of absolute and unceasing dependence upon God. An irrefutable fact on this earth is that we are His creation, He is the Creator and we need Him. God, as Creator, formed man to be a vessel in which He could show forth His power and goodness. Man was not created to have within himself, a fountain of life for strength or happiness. Man's glory and blessedness was not to be independent, but dependent on God in His infinite riches. Man can only have true joy and strength to do His work when he is constantly receiving from the fullness of God.

God never created men to be independent by ourselves. He created us to be dependent directly on Him. However, because He has given us a free will and an intellectual mind, we have the tendency to become self dependent and do not always acknowledge that we need Him. Men have often become self-confident and self reliant. It is beneficial to have a good self-image, but foolishness to be self-confident without God. We should be Christ confident. Salvation is to bring us to God and teach us to wait on Him to accomplish all things through Him.

Many who first started ministry for the Lord, will wait and travail before the Lord earnestly, to seek His strength, anointing and wisdom. However, along the way as we gained more experience and become more confident and skilful in the ministry, we turned ‘professional’ and tend to rely only on our own strength and abilities. We do not see the need to wait on God anymore as we have preached so many sermons that we could preach anything even without His fresh oracles. We have led so many worship sessions and conducted so many bible studies that we can do it in a moment’s notice. Yes, people can continue to be blessed through our worship or through the knowledge we imparted in our ministry, because we are so experienced and skilful in doing all these. However, something will be missing; the element of the Love and Life of God will not come through. Unfortunately, many are satisfied with such shallow & superficial ministry.
For that reason, Paul gave us a stern warning in 1Cor.13:1-3, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing”. Yes, we can do all things to profit and bless people in Christ Name, but at the end of the day, if the life and love of God did not flow though our ministry, then it is all vanity. However, if we have the life and love of God, we will have the grace to inspire and transpire the life and love of God to other people.

Waiting on God expresses our need of Him. Jesus said in Jn. 15:5 “I am the vine you are branches; you abide in me my word abide in you; you shall bear much fruit. Without me you can do nothing.” We have everything when we are in Him and we have nothing when we are without Him. The full confidence of the former and the full consciousness of the latter will impregnate true life into Christian ministry. Acknowledging our impoverished state without Him and recognizing the fullness we can have in Him is the key to enable the Spirit of God to flow beautifully through our lives. The secret to combining these two elements and maintaining them is to learn to wait on Him (abiding). For as a matter of fact, we can be an illiterate in regards to His life and yet continue to expound the Scripture eloquently. He wants us to acknowledge Him all the time and to do it afresh regularly.

If we don’t acknowledge our needs we cannot acknowledge His supply. In fact, if we are to examine the names of God carefully, we will realize that every one of His names has to do with addressing a need in our life. Every name of God has to do with the need of men. And when we acknowledge our needs we are acknowledging His name. We are acknowledging that God can meet our needs. God has always been there to be the God to all mankind. It is time we yield ourselves unreservedly as apprentices to God for Him to work in us. We need a deeper conviction that God will do all for us and through us. That conviction will nurture a humble and abiding reckoning of our deep helplessness and the need for an entire and unceasing dependence upon God. We need a higher consciousness that the essence of life is to give God His place of honor and power.

Our Ultimate Provider

“The earth is full of Your creatures, ...the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both great and small...Every one of these wait on You to give them their food in due seasons...” (Ps.104:25, 27)

In Psalm 104, we can see that the whole creation was waiting on the Creator for their provisions. It seems to sum up the one relationship that all creation has with its Creator -- that of total dependence upon Him for everything. For just as much as it was God's work to create, it is His work to maintain. The whole creation is created to be ruled by one law – waiting on Him.
However, waiting for the Lord is not easy, often it causes our heart to cry out in agony. We squirm, squiggle and squeak, for we feel neglected yet constrained. Nevertheless, waiting upon the Lord for needed supplies is one common way in which He trains us. The problem in a society full of resources is that we can easily operate without waiting upon God. Just think about credit as an example. If we need more money than what we have to acquire something, we can simply fund it through credit or mortgage, thus overriding God as a means of our resources.
The problem is ‘made worse’ by the availability of all sorts of voluntary personnel, governmental assistance, charitable channels and other easily accessible resources. They are not necessarily bad in themselves, but they can, in many cases, be received without God's help. Man can raise money for all sorts of weird things in today's world! And this is true even in the church itself. The need for God's people to wait upon God has been substituted by good programs and often we use secularly proven methods to achieve things for the kingdom of God. And we trained men to depend on these proven or 'scientific' means to preach, raise money, counsel or even evangelize. We have neutralized the word 'Worldliness' and equate it to 'pragmatism'. The 'God' factor is virtually eliminated. We need to be very careful not to fall into this snare. God wants His people to pray and wait upon Him. If we don't, we tend to forget Him and minimize His ways. Hidden behind all these is our desire to live in a world in which we can be in control. We need to repent from this and wait upon God!

As we read this Psalm and open our hearts to its precious truth, we will learn to look upon all life in nature as a spokesman for God's goodness and how He continually maintained His creation by His marvelous power. As we picture all the beasts on the earth, the birds in the air, the fishes in the sea and even the little insects and other crawling creatures, waiting on Him until He gives them their food in due seasons, we will see that it is the very nature and glory of God to be the supplier of all good things. He is a God who gives all! We must let this truth sink deeply into our hearts. Then, waiting on God will become an attitude of unceasing and entire dependence upon Him, a demonstration of true faith, an expression of our true relationship to the ever-blessed Great I Am.

We can be reassured that He who created us for Himself, will definitely give Himself fully to us, He will never disappoint us just as it was promised to us in Rom.8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things”. In waiting on Him, we will find rest and joy and strength, and the supply for every need. What nature and animals do unconsciously, we should do it consciously and voluntarily with a grateful attitude, acknowledging the marvelous and wonderful grace of God. God's people should learn to live by God's standards in God's power for God's glory.

Our Ultimate Rewarder

“Wait on the Lord and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land” (Ps.37:34)
God is a rewarder and loves to reward His children. In revealing Himself to Abraham, He said, “I am your...exceeding great reward” (Gen.15:1). And in Psalm 57:2, it says “I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them].

To those who truly desire to wait on the Lord, we must also keep His way, for God can never be found except in His way. Psalm 19:7-11 echoes this truth, “The law of the Lord is perfect...and in keeping them there is great reward”. Waiting on the Lord has to do with worship and faith while keeping His way deals with our walk and work. Our outer life must be in harmony with our inner life so that the inner can be an inspiration and strength for the outer. If we do not keep His way, our waiting can be in vain.

Psalm 37 spoke of the evil doer who prospers in his ways and it called upon the believers not to fret or worry about this. When we see men around us prosperous and happy even though they forsake God's way, and ourselves left in difficulties or sufferings, we are in danger of fretting and gradually be tempted to seek our prosperity in their paths. That is the reason why God calls us not to be impatient for Him to act but to travel steadily along His path and He will honor us “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way...those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth” (Ps.37:7; 9)

However, keeping His way is not by our own strength, rather, it comes from a surrendering, willing and trusting heart. This heart in turn comes only from the strength we derive when we come into waiting on Him “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart” (Ps.27:14). Our work is to consecrate ourselves without reserve and He will prove Himself and sanctify us through His word and the work of His Spirit in our lives. We can only find our true deliverance in waiting on Him, it cannot come from conquering and obeying in our own strength.

Cultivate a Hearing Ear

Heb. 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” The words seek here means to look earnestly to the Lord. It expresses an earnest waiting for the things of the Lord, expecting something, looking to Him with hope, to hear Him so as to receive His plans and purposes for our lives.

Waiting on God tunes our spiritual ears to hear Him. The things of the spirit like the voice of God, His wisdom, His plans, His counsel, etc, do not come to us naturally. It takes a cultivated heart of seeking Him, waiting on Him to experience these. God's voice is heard only in the spirit realm. If we dwell in the natural realm, we will not be able to hear Him. His voice, His counsel, His wisdom, they have been there through the centuries for men to tap on, yet unless we synchronize our spirit with His spirit, we cannot hear Him. It’s just like there has always been a vast array of information and resources out there in the world, yet it is only in this digital age, with the help of internet, that we are able to access them at our finger tips. All we need is a modem, to get connected, to gain access to all these information. Likewise, waiting on God is our ‘modem’; it is what we need for our spirit to be in unison with His spirit, to hear Him.

In waiting upon the Lord, we seek nothing else but to be in one with Him. It capacitates our spirit, soul and body to hear Him. Every musical instrument needs a tuning once in a while, for through the process of use, it gets slightly out of tune. Likewise, with our busy lifestyle, our soul can easily get disconnected with our spirit, and in turn, often gets out of tune with the Spirit of the Lord. We need to upgrade our 'modem' regularly, we need a regular tuning, we need to wait on Him to learn how to tune in accurately to His voice in our private closet, so that even as we live in the midst of an explosion of voices in this busy world, we are still able to detect and stay connected to His voice.

God is Waiting...

When I was a young believer, I heard many sermons exhorting believers to be strong in the Word and the Spirit. They promised that if one is equipped in the Word and in the Spirit, He will definitely succeed in every arena of his life. I took this seriously and cultivate these two elements in my Christian life as diligently as I can. However, while seeking the Lord for greater wisdom to put this article together, I felt the spirit whispering this to me – that “there is one element that is needed to unlock the wisdom of the Word and the power of the Spirit in your life and that is the condition of the heart. You need to cultivate a loving and leaning (fearing) heart towards God always”. This dawned upon me the understanding that - we can learn and practice all the principles and truths in the Word and lead very prayerful lives, but if we do not have a heart that loves God and depends on Him, we still fail in life, and worst of all, we fail and disappoint the God whom we serve. We will become domineering and unloving ministers, full of knowledge and power yet void of His compassion and grace, thus unable to reflect His true ministry.

We believe that in the last days, God is raising up the 'Davidic generation' - a generation with a heart after God's own heart. A generation that when God says “Seek my Face”, will respond with “Your Face I will seek” (Ps 27:8). A generation that will not be satisfied with the superficial but will truly love God, seek after God and know God. For only those who truly “know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (Dan.11:32). In fact, knowing God is the very purpose of eternal life “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God...” (Jn.17:3). We need to repent of the “dead works” of the flesh. There is a new wineskin that God is preparing to contain His new wine and God is waiting for those who are willing to yield to Him a hundred percent, so that He can mold them to be the new wineskin.

In Isa.30:18, the Bible says “ Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you...that He may have mercy on you...blessed are all those who wait for Him”. Upon close examination, we realize that the word wait appeared twice in this verse. The first refers to the Lord waiting and the second refers to man waiting. Thus, the verse simply means God is waiting for us to wait for Him. There should not be any shadow of a doubt in our hearts that the Lord loves the world more than we do. He has a greater passion and intensity of desire for revival, transformation, reformation, etc, in our lives more than we do. However, He is 'limited' by our unbelief and the 'dead works' of our flesh. God is waiting to be gracious to us, that He may manifest His mercy to us, to bring us to His ultimate Goodness which He desires for the earth and humanity. But, we must learn to wait on Him to receive His divine counsel and knowledge, His divine strength and wisdom, His divine provision and power, so that we can flow with His grace to work with Him to accomplish all that He intended to do for His people on this earth.

God has glorious and inconceivable purposes concerning every one of His children. He waits with all the longing of a father's heart that He may be gracious to us, to reveal His love and power to us. We can have this assurance that each time we come to wait upon Him, to commune with Him, He is waiting and ready to meet us. If we have not received from Him, rest assured that our God is a good God and He knows when we are spiritually ready to receive the blessings for our profit and for His glory, as premature blessings can destroy instead of bless.

God waited four thousand years until the fullness of time before He sent His son. He waited eighty years to prepare a man to bring deliverance to His chosen people. Now, He is waiting for a committed generation to usher in His Son to rule and reign physically on this earth. Learn to wait on Him, our time is in His hands (Ps.31:15). The greatest blessing and most powerful meeting is when a waiting soul and a waiting God meet each other. King David had mastered the know-how. He could have built the temple. However, God said I didn't choose you to do that. He flowed with the dispensation of God. He didn't argue with God and the Scripture tells us that he indeed “served his own generation by the will of God...” (Acts 13:36). He knows where God has placed him. Likewise, if we want to be like David and serve our generation by the will of God, then we must learn to set our priority right like him. The “One thing”, he desired in his life, is to wait on the Lord “to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire of Him” (Ps.27:4) so that he may know his station in the kingdom of God and flow with it. We are signs and wonders to the world. We are to fulfill our part on the historical face of this planet. Everything we do must flow with God's perfect timing, His dispensation and what He has ordained. That is the very reason why we must wait on God. God has His dispensation. And he who is wise in the Lord discerns the times of God. Don’t get into a hurry but learn to wait on Him.

If God's people do not live by faith in His love, then we will never come to the understanding of God's gracious love in waiting to express towards humanity. Remember, God is still waiting…..for us to wait on Him!

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