Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Waiting is Hard Work

I want to briefly dissect a really radical example of a posture of waiting on the Lord.  This is going to be a little intense, so hang on…

From Daniel chapter 10.

Daniel had a vision concerning future events and began to cry out to God with fasting & mourning, many believe because of the lack of interest by the people of Israel to return to their homeland from their captivity in Babylon to rebuild the temple.  He prayed, and did not hear anything from God as he fasted and cried out….for 3 weeks!  21 days.  Remember that.

After 3 weeks of waiting, the Bible records that on April 23, while still in prayer, Daniel had another
In this vision Daniel saw an awesome man, an angel, and he was terrified, in fact, he says “My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak”.  When the man began to speak, Daniel fainted and lay face down on the ground.  Then look what happened…

“Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.”  God wanted Daniel to simply listen.

Then this!

Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”

This should blow your mind!  Daniel begins to pray and wait on the Lord with fasting and mourning, he hears nothing for 3 weeks, then an angel sent from God shows up and says that he responded immediately to Daniels prayer the moment he began to humbly ask for understanding, but he was blocked by a demon prince who desperately did not want Daniels prayers answered!

Observe Daniel’s continued posture before the angel sent from God.

“How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.” Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!”
As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”

Now he’s ready to hear what the Lord has to say!  Are we ready yet?  Tired of waiting?

We do not know what is happening around us in the spiritual realm as we begin to humbly ask God for his direction and our understanding.  The reason we wait, is because we trust God.  He knows what is happening in that realm.  His work is being accomplished in that realm.  The key to our success in becoming spiritually mature lies in the complete and humble reliance upon the Spirit of God within us and among us, working diligently on behalf of “those who are very precious to God”.  Do you want to be one of “those”?  I do.  Desperately.  So much so that even the angels are amazed by the intensity of God’s passion for Doug Bishop.  Wow.  There is a realm of intimacy and power in our humble seeking and waiting together in prayer, that I believe is going to ignite a fervor among us the likes of which we have never experienced in our lifetimes.  There will be resistance.  It’s happening in the spiritual realm as we pray.  Are we willing to watch and pray?  Are you so desperate for God’s Kingdom to be established in the earth that you plead with him for understanding of his plan for you and for the church?

I want to challenge you on this.  Waiting is hard work.  We’re not waiting in a bored, eye-rolling, deep sighing, inactive manner like some new-age yoga class.  If that’s what you’re doing, stop it.  It also doesn’t mean cramming little prayers around your busy life and giving God the crumbs in your overbooked schedule.  Waiting on the Lord means coming into his presence with trembling knees and pleading with him to reveal his plan and purpose to us.  Sometimes that plan is to give us rest and relief.  If so, great!  Savor it!  But it also means recognizing the majesty and awesomeness of Almighty God who has a very specific plan for his church in this broken world.  More specifically, it means that God has a very specific plan and purpose for Ada Bible Church, in broken West Michigan and beyond.  If we’re busy with our own agendas, we’ll miss it. Are you waiting on him?

We serve a “hands-on” God who is looking for you to help you.

“The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”  2 Chronicles 16:19

God, break our hearts for the things that matter to you.  Remove from our desires the things that really don’t.  Help our priorities to line up with yours, and give power to our prayers so that we redeem every moment you have given us.  Allow us, as Daniel, to be counted among those in whom you delight.  Give us a willingness and determination to wait for you. Touch us, strengthen us, encourage us, and pour out your favor and protection on us as we humbly seek you today.  In Jesus name, Amen.

-          Doug Bishop

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