Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Hole Truth



It was dark and cold in that hole. In reality, the hole was not that deep. However, to a four year old kid, it might as well have been an abyss. I was the four year old kid, and I cannot remember ever being anymore afraid in my life. There was some construction being done in front of our house, and right outside the front door was a hole that was around six feet wide, four feet across, and maybe five feet deep. I had just finished breakfast, and my mom announced that we were going shopping. I remember being very excited (ironically, I despise shopping now), leaping to my feet and running out the door. The next thing I remember is being at the bottom of the construction hole, terrified and screaming. Within seconds, I saw my mom’s hand, grabbed it, and was returned to safety. Had I waited two more seconds before running out the front door, I would have heard mom instruct me that we were going to go out through the garage because of the large hole by the front door.
Whoops.
            I was excited, envisioned a store full of toys, and I jumped the gun. After jumping the gun, I landed in a deep, dark hole of my own impatience. First of all, mom never said we were going TOY shopping. I heard what I wanted to hear. Secondly, by failing to wait and listen to ALL of the instructions, I had sacrificed safety and security. I learned a very important spiritual lesson that day: wait for instructions before running ahead.
            Oh, that we would learn to wait on the Lord before we run ahead of His will! The Bible uses the word wait over 160 times. One of the important exhortations of the Bible is the call to “wait on the Lord.” Even though God promises special blessing for waiting, waiting is one of the most difficult exhortations of Scripture. Why is it so hard? For one thing, we are programmed to take matters into our own hands in today’s society. The world exhorts us to create our own destinies. Yet, over and over again we are told in Scripture “wait on the Lord.”
            So why should we wait? Scripture gives us at least two reasons to wait on the Lord.
Because of What He Can Do
            David very briefly summarizes this thought for us, “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You (Psalm 39:7).”  There is a sense of dependent expectation in David’s statement. We get the idea that David is convinced that God is going to do what only God can do, and doesn’t need his help to do so. My children used to believe I could do anything. One time we were driving home after dark when suddenly a streetlight went out. My then two year old son simply said, “Dad’ll fix it.” Why is it so hard for us to believe in God that way?
            Having financial problems? Dad’ll fix it.
            Having marriage problems? Dad’ll fix it.
            Having health problems? Dad’ll fix it. You get the point.
            Dear friend, if I have learned anything in my life it is that God doesn’t need my help to be God. Oh, I have tried to help Him from time to time. I have run ahead when He said to wait. When I do, I always end up in a deep, dark hole of blunder. The good news is that God is always there to pull me out of the hole. Always!
Because of What We Cannot Do
            We also wait on the Lord because we cannot do what He can do. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that SEEMS right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (emphasis mine).” Jeremiah 10:23 states that, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man who walks to direct his way.” Let’s face it, we may be educated and experienced, but we can never exceed God’s power or outdo His capabilities. He holds the universe in the palm of His hand, and I have been falling into holes for forty years. I can’t fix my life. I don’t have the power. Neither do you.
            Like everyone else, the economy has been hard on my family. I have been working two jobs to do what I can and occasionally applying for bigger, better jobs. My two jobs are by no means glamorous or high-paying, but they do allow me time to be with my wife and my church. Recently, I was offered a job at a large company. Better pay, good benefits, and all the trimmings. Here is the rub: it was a third shift job, and I would no longer be able to spend evenings with Laura or be involved in our church.
            What did I do? Pray about it? Wait on the Lord? Of course not! I took the job. After all, God wants me to have a better income for my family, right? Maybe. Maybe not. What I know for certain is that God wanted me to wait…again. And I jumped the gun…again. After two nights of misery and loneliness from being away from my wife and church, I was in yet another hole. I didn’t see a way out. Two hours before my third night on the job, I received a call saying that the company had over hired and that I would be called when I was needed. My other jobs still needed me, so I didn’t even miss a day of pay! From the hole, God reached in His hand, pulled me out, dusted me off, and reminded me, “Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).”
            There is still more month at the end of the money, but it is comforting to know that my God still supplies all my needs according to HIS riches and glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Not my riches and glory; His riches and glory. I cannot provide what He can provide, and I cannot give what He can give. He is God, I am not. Neither are you. Trust Him! Wait for Him!
            There is a reward for waiting. Isaiah 40:31 promises us that, “They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” 
            Friend, I don’t know what you may be going through at the moment, but whatever it is the challenge of Scripture is to wait on the Lord. He is God and we are not. Take care not to jump ahead of Him and His promises, lest you wind up in a deep, dark hole. Be encouraged today, because the sovereign Lord of the universe loves us with a steadfast love and personally cares for us like a father.
             As David wrote in Psalm 103:13-19, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more; and its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant, and who remember His precepts to do them. The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; and His sovereignty rules over all.”

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