BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 tells us that there is time for everything on the earth. There is time for waiting. Waiting gives life a rhythm. Everybody has to wait for one thing or the other. It doesn’t matter how wealthy or powerful you are; you have to wait at some point for something. It could be at the airport, an intersection, the hospital, etc. All other things being equal, a baby has to wait in the womb for nine months. If it comes prematurely, it is expensive to maintain.
Maybe you have just ended a season of waiting in your life and you’re on the move somewhere now. But soon, you’ll have to wait again. Waiting time is a preparation time for the next thing. It should not be wasted. There is something you can do while you’re waiting. If you’re at the airport waiting for your plane to arrive for boarding or the plane is already on ground, but you’re just waiting for boarding, there is something you can do. You don’t have to be upset, grumbling or complaining. You can maintain a right attitude; you can be reading your Bible or an edifying book or writing, checking and replying mails; you can even be praying.
Don’t waste your waiting time – waiting for your appointment, employment, admission, etc. Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Promise of the Father, which they had heard from Him. He said John truly baptized with water, but they shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from the day He spoke to them (Acts 1:4-6). Did they wait? They did. Were they just idle, waiting for the Promise? No. Waiting time should not be idle time. The disciples invested their waiting time in meeting together in one place. The meeting that day would have included praying together and sharing the Word of God. The Promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on that Day of Pentecost as they waited (Acts 2:1-4).
You have to wait for the promises of God in your life. Habakkuk 2:2-3 says, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie” (New King James Version). Waiting makes us value or appreciate the promise when it is fulfilled. Waiting further allows us to enjoy what we have received, rather than receiving it and moving into something else that is ready for us. No. We must keep enjoying what we have now and wait for the new thing God wants to do for us.
Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (New King James Version). God can do immediately what He has purposed to do next year or in five years’ time, but He has chosen to do it at the time He has fixed. He wants us to wait. During waiting, God prepares us for what He has already prepared! Waiting time could be a time for maturing to handle what God has promised. The new thing He wants to do, most times, doesn’t happen immediately. We must wait. We must never waste our waiting time.
Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Saul, David, Job and many Bible characters had to wait. John the Baptist waited before he started his public ministry. He was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel (Luke 1:80). Jesus waited for 30 years before He started His public ministry though at age 12 years of age he was found in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions (Luke 2:42,46).
You must wait. If you fail to wait, you may produce a ‘mistake child’ who will laugh at your miracle when it comes eventually. That was what happened to Abraham (Genesis 21:9). The world is not at peace today because of that error.
How can you make the best use of your waiting time?
1.Develop intimacy with God. What you are waiting for is not more important than God. Your fellowship with God is more precious than any promise you’re waiting to be fulfilled. You will always need God in your life. In fact, when what you’re waiting for comes, you can’t enjoy it without the presence of God, His protection, His provision, His guidance. Therefore, cultivate the presence of God now so that it can be said of you that the LORD is with you.
James 4:8 says you should draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Seek the LORD; seek Him early (Jeremiah 29:13; Psalm 63:1; 42:1-2; Philippians 3:10).
2. Don’t be anxious; be prayerful. Anxiety or worry is a waste of your waiting time, because it achieves nothing. Jesus said not to worry about your life (Luke 12:22a). “And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?” (Verses 25-26). Worry cannot make what you’re waiting for to happen. So relax and trust God to work things out for you in His own time. Yo need your faith, not worry, as you wait. The just shall live by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4). The New Testament says the just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).
Instead of being anxious, pray in faith. Any time you’re getting anxious about the matter, go to God in prayer. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 New King James Version).
Wait in prayer, not in anxiety. Charles Spurgeon said, “Wait in prayer… Call upon God, and spread the case before Him; tell Him your difficulty, and plead His promise of aid. In dilemmas between one duty and another, it is sweet to be humble as a child, and wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly, and are heartily willing to be guided by the will of God. But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him; for unfaithful, untrusting waiting, is but an insult to the Lord.”
3. Trust in the LORD and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Be bendable; don’t be rigid. Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and obey. Psalm 37 says you should commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him and He will do it. Walk in the Spirit. That is, let the Holy Spirit guide your life (Galatians 5:16). Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God (Romans 8:14). Follow divine instructions while you are waiting.
4. Live a holy life; obey the Word of God. Let your life – your choices and decisions – be in agreement with the Word of God. Romans 12:1 says you should present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Verse 2 says you should not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
Don’t accept any offer or adopt any method or solution that violates the Word of God. Abstain from form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). That was what Joseph did during his waiting time. Mrs. Potiphar put pressure on him to sleep with her, but Joseph refused and eventually fled from her. “But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside” (Genesis 39:11-12 New King James Version).
Let nothing stain your garment of righteousness. Live a holy life. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
5. Be faithful and diligent in what you’re doing currently. Don’t be lazy or idle. Don’t be weary. Don’t build your castles in the air. Don’t throw away the water in your bucket because of the rain you’re expecting to fall. Don’t shut down your life because of the new thing you’re waiting for.
In Babylon, false prophets were prophesying the deliverance of the Israelites from captivity, raising their hope whereas it wasn’t yet time. God told the Israelites to continue to live their normal life. “Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters — that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace” (Jeremiah 29:4-7 New King James Version).
God warned them not to let the prophets and diviners in their midst deceive them; they should not listen to their dreams. He said though they prophesied in His name, He didn’t send them. Be careful so that you don’t become a victim of false prophets who will raise your hope in vain. God further told the Israelites, “After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (verses 10-11 New King James Version). God is also telling you the same thing He told them.
6. Develop yourself; cultivate your gifts, talents and skills. Be serious with your training; whatever you’ve mastered now, you may need later. Are you waiting for your marriage partner, employment, admission, promotion, etc, develop yourself? Don’t just be dreaming about tomorrow while you waste today’s opportunities to develop yourself. What you despise today, you may need tomorrow.
Paul reminded Timothy, his protégé in the ministry, to stir up the gift of God which was in him through the laying on of his (Paul’s) hands (2 Timothy 1:6). Joseph started as a dreamer, but over the years, he cultivated his gift such that he could interpret dreams both for two prison inmates and the king (Genesis 40; 41:1-46). “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men” (Proverbs 22:29 New King James Version).
7. Don’t associate with fools. Avoid focus breakers and distractions. The promise you’re waiting for is too precious to allow wrong people into your life. The Bible says he who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed (Proverbs 13:20). Proverbs 14:7 says you should go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge. The Bible calls some people fools – I didn’t call them. Be careful of their involvement in your life. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes” (Proverbs 26:4-5 New King James Version).
You will be blessed if you don’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful; but your delight is in the law of the LORD, and you meditate in His law day and night (Psalm 1:1-2). Verse 3 says you shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever you do shall prosper
The people you associate with matter a lot as regards making the best use of your waiting time. Don’t company with idlers, time-wasters; don’t company with the ungodly, sinners. The psalmist says in Psalm 119:115, “Depart from me, you evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God!” (New King James Version).
8. Humble yourself. You must wear the garment of humility always; never remove it. The Bible says before honour comes humility (Proverbs 15:33b; 18:12b). Humility will enthrone you; pride will dethrone you. Proverbs 16:18 says that pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2 New Living Translation).
As you wait for the promises of God to be fulfilled in your life, the maturing of what He is doing in your life, your promotion or the fulfillment of the promise someone has made to you, remain humble. Don’t let anything go to your head. God hates pride. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6). Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:10). 1 Peter 5:6 says a similar thing: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (New King James Version).
Conclusion: Invest your waiting time; don’t waste it. Don’t be idle or be complaining. Don’t be anxious or be angry. Engage your life profitably as you wait for physical or spiritual things you’re expecting. Above all, develop intimacy with God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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