Well, many of our churches are back to not meeting in person again.
And so, we are back to waiting.
Waiting to be back in person. Waiting to preach to a crowd. Waiting for children’s ministry rooms to have children in them. Waiting to perform weddings. Waiting for Bible studies, small groups, and prayer meetings.
Is it just me, or is this not very fun?
And yet, if we carefully read scripture, it reveals that waiting is a very important and biblical idea.
- Abraham: Years and years of waiting for God to deliver on what He promised—a son.
- Jacob: Years and years of waiting for Rebecca.
- Joseph: Years and years of waiting in prison, even though he was innocent.
- Israel: Gets rescued from slavery and then wanders around in the desert for years and years.
- David: He’s anointed as king and then waits for years as Saul slowly unravels.
- Jesus: He waits until he is 30 years old to begin his public ministry. I’ve got to believe that Jesus in his 20s was itching to preach.
- Paul: He has this powerful conversion experience and then disappears for a few years...waiting in the wilderness.
My friends, waiting is normal and a very biblical idea.
In fact, God typically does incredible work in the waiting.
Actually, I think he does necessary and needed work in the waiting.
In the Waiting
In the waiting, God transforms. God used the waiting to transform the character and faith of Abraham, Jacob, and Paul.
In the waiting, God prepares. God used the experience of waiting to prepare David, Jesus, and Paul for the ministry and leadership ahead of them.
In the waiting, God reveals. God used the difficult season of waiting to reveal His character and person to Abraham, David, and the nation of Israel.
Here’s my challenge: I have found myself incredibly frustrated during this season.
All I want to do is get back to the way things were.
I want the church doors to be open and people to come back.
I want to preach to full rooms and not wear a mask.
I bet you’re feeling the same way.
But, I’ve realized I’ve been missing something important.
So often in the scriptures, God does incredible work in the waiting.
What is the work that God desires to do in me during the waiting?
What is the work that God desires to do in my church during the waiting?
How might He desire to transform, prepare, and reveal?
And what about you? What about your church?
Focus on the Now
What I’m saying is it’s possible for us to miss an opportunity here.
We could be so focused on what comes next that we miss the right now.
It’s possible that we could close ourselves off to the work that God desires to do in us right here and now.
Could I challenge you and your team to ask three questions in this season of waiting?
- Is there something God desires to change in us?
- Is there something God desires to prepare us for?
- Is there something God desires to reveal about Himself?
I have a suspicion that God desires to teach and shape us in this season, and many of us are missing it.
There is something else we see about waiting in the scriptures. Often, God provides a wonderful blessing on the other side of the waiting.
- Abraham and Sarah receive Isaac.
- Jacob finds peace with his brother.
- Joseph is able to provide for his people and experience reconciliation with his brothers.
- Israel enters the Land of Promise.
- Paul becomes the OG Christian missionary.
I wonder what God might be pleased to do in and through our churches on the other side of this pandemic.
And, I wonder if those blessings are contingent on our willingness to listen and respond to the movement of God during this frustrating season of waiting.
Let’s not waste our waiting.
What is God teaching you in this season?