Why God makes us wait

19 02 2016

WAITING.   A most important characteristic of burial-like times is waiting. God consistently asks us to wait past our time table. In so doing, He causes us to realize our own inability to know what to do. He also trains us to listen to His voice and watch for His promptings.

As difficult as these realities are, seasons in the tomb offer the disciple rare intimacy with Jesus. Paul exhorts, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3). When you ponder this truth, you would struggle to find any greater mystery in all of life. Consider its depth. The Bible reveals that God is Spirit (John 4:24a). In God, your soul is hidden with Christ. Why? Because you died to yourself and your rebellion against God. Your soul is safely hidden with Christ in God.

This reminds us of the intimate conversation Jesus had with His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion. Using the analogy of the vine, Jesus spoke of a sharing of life that would exceed anything they had so far experienced.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (Jn. 15:4).

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (Jn. 15:7)

The Greek word for abide means “to stay, abide, remain.” When you remain with Christ over extended periods, you enter a profound intimacy with Him. From this place of abiding you will bear much fruit (Jn. 15:5) and your prayers will be answered (Jn. 15:7). Your prayers will be answered increasingly, not because you gradually convince God that you are right, but because your prayers change. Your prayers change because your desires have changed. And your desires have changed because you have been to Gethsemane and Golgotha. You have surrendered more of your will to Him, and have sacrificed more of your life to Him. The way of Jesus is conforming your prayers into the prayers of Jesus. No wonder your requests “shall be done for you”!

I have symbolized this aspect of the trail with a patch of darkness. When your situation is dark, remember that light and darkness are alike to God. He sees you. By faith, you may come to see Him more clearly in the darkness of your tomb-like season.

Some have called this the theology for Saturday, for that is the full day the Jesus lay in the tomb. Our culture is impatience. Waiting abhorred. Sadness to be ignored through distraction. But this does not fellowship with Christ in His burial. Failing to ponder our burial-like experiences cheats us of some of our most meaningful opportunities to abide with Christ.