Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Posted by Erin Posted on 10:14 PM | 3 comments

Becoming a Waiter

This week I have been really struggling to trust the Lord. On paper, I can write out that God is faithful, he is provider, he loves me, he is good, etc. But I am having trouble living every day in that truth. Tonight I even thought, "He keeps telling me to wait. I can see exactly where the door is but all he says is 'wait'."

As soon as the thought was completed in my mind, I felt the Holy Spirit poking me..."That sounds familiar, Erin. Kind of like something you taught the youth this summer."

Well heck. It's true. I did a Sunday morning lesson on what to do in seasons where we are just walking in circles in the desert waiting for the Lord to let us move on. The two chunks of scripture that the lesson was based on were Deut. 11:8-12 and Jer. 29:4-14.

First read Deut.

8 "You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, 9 and that you may live long in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey.
10 For the land that you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and irrigated it, like a garden of vegetables.
11 But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven,
12 a land that the LORD your God cares for. The eyes of the LORD your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
Deuteronomy 11:8-12

From this passage, I made 3 points.
1)God is faithful. Trust him. (This came from investigating the "therefore". Moses had just reminded them of all that God had done for them. He was saying, "You have SEEN that God takes care of us. Therefore we can keep the commands because we knoe they are good for us, because God always does what's good for us.)
2)God’s plan isn’t dependent on our faithfulness, but our enjoyment of his plan is.(-verse 8 and verse 10 say the land that you ARE crossing over to possess. Whether or not the Israelites will get to possess the land is not the issue. They are going to possess it. It is the quality of life they experience there that is dependent on their obedience. It says keep the commands that I give you so that you may be strong and live long in the land which I have promised.
-The Lord was going to bring them out of the desert. But he wanted them to not be weak and depressed when they crossed into the promised land. He wanted them to be strong so they could enjoy life in this place. But the obedience that would give that strength had to start in the desert. )
3)God sees where he is taking us from beginning to end. (This one is pretty self-explanitory)

So, after discussing these three points, I gave an illustration with the help of Tom Cruise in Minority Report. If you haven't seen it, go watch it. There is a scene where Tom Cruise is running through the mall along with Agatha (a precognitive...she can see the future basically). The feds are after them because Tom has been breaking all sorts of laws in order to prove his innocence....yeah. But so, they are running and Agatha keeps making Tom stop to pick things up, notice things, etc. She makes him turn around and take a black umbrella. She points out people left and right. "That lady recognizes you. That man is about to drop his suitcase." Then when they are in the middle of the most open area of the mall and the feds are on their way, Agatha stops. "Wait", she says. Tom tries to get her to keep going, telling her they can't stop there. "Wait." Tom looks at the exit door clearly thinking, "Agatha, the door is right there. I can see it. Let's just go." Instead, he asks, "What are we waiting for?" Her response is "See the man with the balloons? Wait. Wait. Wait...."

So, They wait, and right as the feds are scanning the area from the second floor, the balloon man gets stopped by a little girl. The bunch of balloons hides Tom and Agatha from sight. Then they run and get through the door and there is a blind beggar. Agatha tells Tom to drop some money. The beggar crawls to find it and when the feds bust through the door, they trip over the beggar. When Agatha and Tom get outside it is pouring down rain and that black umbrella that she made Tom stop for earlier was the thing that kept them from being spotted amidst the crowd of umbrellas in the street.

So the point of this illustration...most of the time God doesn't tell us what we are waiting for. Even when he does it sounds ridiculous. (the man with the balloons???) We get really antsy because we can see the door. We know that's where we are headed and we can see that it would be so easy to get there from here. But just like Tom had to trust Agatha, because she knew what was going on when he didn't, we have to trust God. Most of the time all he will do is quietly keep saying, "Wait. Wait. Wait..."

Then what do we do while we are waiting? So glad you asked.

Read Jer. 29:4-14

4 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.
6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
 10 "For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart,
14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Jeremiah 29:4-7,10-14

He tells his people that they will be in exile for 70 years. They know He’s going to get them out but He tells them not to sit around and wait to be rescued.
He says invest where you are.
Seek the shalom/peace of the place you are in.
Get plugged in somewhere. Invest in other peoples lives….friends, at church, school activities.

So that is the lesson I taught to jr high and high school students 8 months ago in Austin,TX. I was reminded of it (gradually) last night and tonight. Thanks, Beth Moore, for talking about the Refiner's fire. And thanks, Roger, for reading Romans 15:4. Both last night and tonight were full of hard moments of my doubts meeting truths.


Marcus and Meg Asby said...

When I read the title I thought you were going to wait tables. I thought, "Erin will be the best waitress EVER. Her customers will love her and she'll get tons of tips."

Waiting is tough. I'm glad the Lord already equipped you with scripture.

Marcus and Meg Asby said...

I'm waiting for the next post!! I keep checking!!

The Sanders House said...

it is always hard to practice what you preach! i can't tell you how many times God brought be back to things that i wrote in a journal preparing for a lesson. you know what? obviously you have "waited" before if you had such insight! so, you know and can believe that God will not leave you hanging. (for long) you are gifted!