Monday, January 14, 2008
Eagerly Waiting Patiently
Rom 8:18-25 (NIV) I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
One of the most common challenges facing believers today is frustration. I have a Master’s Degree in it. Let me explain. The Master has allowed me to experience it to a certain degree throughout my entire life. For most of it I have lived in circumstances that were conducive to this climate of frustration. The youngest of three and only boy I found myself “odd-man-out” at an early age. Added to that I have always been small in stature and was one of the smallest kids in my class all the way through High School. Also, we were a paycheck-to-paycheck middle-class family so there was no social or economic advantage from which to draw. Said simply, there has been little in the way of my sojourn that hasn’t involved a fair amount of frustration. I know we could compare and contrast conditions of third world countries and we’ll do that another time.
I remember when I was a young boy of around 8, I had this intuitive revelation that it was okay to just chat and visit with God. I spoke to him like I would speak to any of you; as a friend. I shared my frustrations and He listened. I commanded Him to fix it and He would chuckle and say “I will.” When it didn’t happen on my time table, frustration grew. Back to the “outer courts” I would stomp to express my disappointment in Him. “I thought I could count on you! I thought you said you would fix it! I thought you loved me! I thought You were God and could fix anything!” His gentle response was “You can.” “I did and I will.” “I do.” “I Am.” It all seemed shallow at times until I came to understand the magnitude of the “I Am,” His perspective on my life, and His bigger-than-I-could-ever-imagine investment in me. I began to learn the principle of surrender. For a young man with a point to prove and a huge chip on the shoulder, surrender was rarely an option. Learning it has been, and continues to be, something of a challenge.
About three years ago we had a minister from New Zealand at our church who operates in the gift of exposing others. I’m kidding - he has a prophetic anointing that is married to encouragement. He spoke to many individuals that day from the platform, including my oldest daughter and me. We had never met this man yet through the revelation of the Holy Spirit he began to speak of things only God could have known. As he was talking to my daughter I was gob-smacked with the accuracy of his statements. He moved on and spoke to a few others and then came back to me. He spoke of a knot of frustration he could see in my belly. He said that God was going to undo the knot. He was right on. The knot had replaced a river of living water and had dammed it shut. Frustration brings spiritual constipation. Before you know it toxins and waste fill your heart and mind. Cynicism creeps in and you get creepy or snotty or angry or resentful or all of the above. Red flags go up where white ones should reside.
Surrender. That’s what I love about the charismatic worship experience. When I lift my hands, I surrender my pride, my territory, my vessel, and my kingdom to Him, and to His. I surrender all. It’s hard. It sucks, and yet it rocks. When I fully surrender my frustration with my situation, I find myself in the position of eager expectation. Once again I dance in the Holy of Holies with my Father and best friend instead of pacing the outer courts with my selfish ambitions and petitions. As I groan inwardly I can love outwardly. I am enabled to look past the tip of my nose and see the Father and coming King, and my brothers and sisters. I remember my adoption papers are signed with my name in the Book, so I wait eagerly for His appearance. Hope is restored. Hope melts frustration.
Eagerly I wait patiently in hope…in surrender.