Waiting Upon The Lord: Your Way or HIS? – June 2003
Waiting upon the Lord is a major part of Christianity, but it is also one of the most difficult phases to go through. The difficulties are usually impatience, distractions and the inability to hear from the Lord. To seek the Lord’s face regarding a matter encompasses many stages, perseverance, dedication and discernment to know when the Lord has spoken. I had to go through such a period recently and I have to admit that it was the first time I had done it sincerely, because I needed to hear from the Lord desperately about a relationship.
It was the beginning of a friendship; blossoming at an alarming rate. There was no doubt we were falling in love with each other and I needed to know what the Lord was saying regarding us. Therefore, as one who has made mistakes in this area before, I knew I had to take the initiative and seek the Lord’s face, but it was difficult. I devised a three-day prayer and fasting session in order to know His will. Fortunately, the object of my affections was out of town during that period, so it helped me concentrate somewhat.
Day one went smoother than I thought it would. I had decided to fast from food and other distractions, especially television, the latter being one of my major distractions when I have decided to seek the Lord in the past. I put on Christian music and had my bible at hand, with my prayer points and lay on the couch after each prayer session, in order to hear from the Lord. I felt at ease during this day’s session; my spirit was at peace and I felt that the Lord was going to answer by the third day.
By the second day, I was getting distracted, the object of my affections had sent me a text message that really touched me, therefore my emotions were all over the place. I grew impatient with the Lord, willing him to answer in the positive. I conveniently forgot about the bible passage, which said, ”my ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts”. The primary object of my prayer session was to hear from the Lord about whether the relationship was certified by Him, whilst the secondary object was for me to broach some godly issues of our relationship in an inoffensive way to my friend. I knew I had to get serious with the Lord, so my prayer sessions were intensified and I ignored all distractions and grew desperate to hear from the Lord.
I do not profess to be an expert now, but I am writing to put across an opinion, a very strong one at that. On this second day, the Lord took the matter out of my hands and instead of me broaching the subject with my new friend, he brought it up. I strongly believe the Holy Spirit led him to this. We discussed the relevant issues and the Lord revealed through the discussion what way I was going to go with the relationship. What I want to put across from this experience is the fact that the peace of God does really pass all understanding. Before my Holy Spirit led discussion with my friend, my emotions were in turmoil, but after a discussion of about six hours; I had so much peace within me that I could not explain.
Although things had not gone the way I preferred, the peace within me made me know the right decisions had been reached. Cynics might say all I needed to do was to ask questions of my friend and I would have had the same peace of mind that I had after the fasting and prayer session. But I strongly disagree. Simply on the basis that my friend actually admitted that he had no clue why he brought up the specific subjects he did on that night. He had assumed all was fine and I did not give him any indications to the contrary. He said that he just felt compelled to say something about those specific issues. Some would call that instinct; I call it being ‘under the unction of the Holy Spirit’.
Let me explain why I feel this strongly. Firstly, before this particular session of waiting on the Lord, I had always been under the misguided impression that God does not speak to ‘ordinary Christians’ like me, but I was proved wrong. God speaks to all His children, whether a Pastor or newly born-again Christian. I have been a Christian for a number of years and yet this is the first time I had heard clearly from the Lord about a situation, without having to consult older Christians, e.g. a pastor. So what had been different this time, I hear you ask? Well, I was sincere! It was as simple as that. I made up my mind that I would not be distracted or half-minded about it. As I said earlier, my greatest challenge had been complete devotion, due to distractions like T.V, Radio, magazines or phone-calls, but on this occasion, I shunned these distractions and filled my mind with things that would enhance my spiritual man, e.g., worship music, biblically inspired books and prayer points. These things helped me concentrate on hearing from God and to mean it.
Secondly, I had also been under the misguided illusion that God speaks in grand ways and gestures; I suppose I wanted a burning bush as a sign or the wind to stop blowing so I would know the Lord had truly spoken. But, it is really true that He works in mysterious ways. That little voice of reason that we all tend to call instinct is really the Holy Spirit, He who is the third of the God-head, who carries out the instructions of the Trinity. He comes so silently and whispers the right thing to do, but usually we ignore it because we want to see the writing on the wall.
Further and most importantly, we seem to go into waiting on the Lord with pre-conceived ideas of how we want the Lord to answer. That is to say, we tell Him how we would recognise Him, e.g.”lord, if that guy does not call at 8p.m, as we agreed, I will take it as a sign that he is not for me”. But I have found out that I cannot manipulate God. The bible says to ‘surrender all’, mine was to seek His face, the when and how of the matter was not for me to dictate to Him.Agreed, the saints of the Old Testament did tell God how they wanted him to manifest and he obliged them, but we have to be mindful of the fact that we serve a dynamic God, He is ever pro-active and He is aware that we are choked with daily distractions and do not have the patience to wait on Him. He can answer like the times of old, because He never changes, but Mankind has changed from those times.
We want instant answers in this age of technology, but He wants us to be still and listen for Him. That is why He demands the sacrifice of our time and our complete attention when we seek His face. That is why those who have pre-conceived ideas of how He works become disappointed when He does not manifest in the way we want. Someone once said that God likes to speak in the ‘still of the morning’ and that’s when he departs the best of Himself to us; I think the same is true of when we seek His face in total silence and complete devotion, He comes ‘like a thief in the night’ and answers us.
A perfect example was my last session, I was asking God to help me bring up some issues with my friend, instead in His infinite wisdom, He took the matter out of my hands and my friend brought it up instead and even in a deeper context than I would have dared to venture (for fear of offending him and subsequently losing him) and with such clarity and open-mindedness than I would have used. If I had been adamant about hearing from the Lord my way, I would have missed the fact that the Lord had spoken, that He had shown me which way the relationship had to go, that I had to take things slow and be patient for Him to complete and perfect His work in His own time. Honestly speaking, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but the peace that accompanied the decision confirmed that all is well.
In conclusion therefore, I would implore all who seek the Lord’s face to be sincere in spirit and not hold the Lord to ransom in the way He has to answer us. My example might seem trivial to some people who have more pressing matters that they need answers to, but I would like to encourage them that the same principles apply. It seems simple, but it works. Also, do not believe He cannot speak to you, remember, He called and spoke to Samuel when he was a youth, therefore, He can always speak to you.
Finally, some would say they do not have the time to switch off phones, faxes or worldly interventions when they lead such busy lifestyles, but I would say it is possible. At work, no matter how busy we are, we always seem to find time to go on our breaks, right? Well, if you can take a coffee or lunch break, I strongly believe you can take a praise-break! SHALOM.