By Pastor Tim
Have you ever waited for something? Of course! Sometimes the wait is not too hard. Other times, it seems tortuous. What’s the difference? When we really prize the thing, we are waiting for or when the wait is long, the wait is harder to endure.
At FBC, we’ve been searching for a lead pastor for about a year now. All of us hoped we would have found our next lead pastor by now. Many of us expected we would have found him by now. The gap between reality and hope or the gap between reality and expectation can bring disappointment and sometimes despair. You might have thought, “How long, O Lord?” It’s hard to wait for something that seems so good and so needed.
Why are we still waiting? We might guess about reasons. Perhaps not many pastors are looking for new jobs right now. Perhaps pastors would prefer to move their family to the suburb of a big city. Perhaps our church is too big. Or too small. These are all human reasons, very real. And yet we believe that human reasons don’t explain everything about our waiting. We believe that “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Ps 115:3). So, God could bring us the lead pastor we need anytime. Why is he choosing that we wait?
Waiting reminds us that we are not able to bring about all that we need. We all love seeing what we can accomplish…and glorying in that. We hate being weak and needy. But God alone is the giver of every good thing, not us. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17). So, why does God make us wait for good things? So, that we are confronted with our inability, our weakness, our pride in self. Waiting calls for us to repent of faith in self and put our faith in God alone.
Note that faith in fate is no better than faith in yourself. Faith in fate might sound like this, “It’ll all work out.” Or, “Everything has a purpose.” These are true, but they won’t all work out by themselves as though the universe itself is in control. Creation is not in control of creation. Only God can say, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isaiah 46:10).
It doesn’t honor God when we leave him out of our expressions of faith. Instead, let’s say, “God will work it all out.” Or, “God has a good purpose.”
Waiting calls us to look more earnestly and steadily to God alone for all that we need. Dependence on God is good and right. Ps 62:5–7 says, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”
Pleading over and over with God to come help is good for us and brings glory to God. Jesus told us that faith keeps praying and does not lose heart (see Lk 18:1-8). It takes effort to be to this over and over, day by day. Fasting from food can help give us an urgency to pray when we let the hunger in our bellies remind us of our need for God. We ought to pray alone, just us and God. And yet, praying with our church family is also a means God uses to move us to wait for him in prayer.
God’s plan is not only that we would seek him more earnestly and steadily until we get what we need this time, but that we’d keep seeking him for all that we need. He wants us to become something we are not yet. He wants us to glorify him by being a people individually and together that seek his face for all we need, big and small, not just for a new lead pastor, but beyond.
God has a purpose in our wait for a lead pastor: 1) that we would realize more fully that we cannot bring about all we need, 2) that we would seek him earnestly and steadily for this, and 3) that we would be changed to be a more praying people. Please join me in seeking our glorious God.