Waiting upon God is not a common experience. Very few people have been able to really wait upon God as He requires of us.
- Most people do not even consider the option of waiting for God to reveal His will and then for fulfilling what He has promised. Doing what seems good to them is the way for such.
- There are those who try to seek the will of God but then are unwilling to invest the years required.
- There are also those who go some time in the experience of waiting upon God only to lose hope and give up.
Giving up is easy because of the options that we do have and that is the greatest challenge for waiting upon God.
“Deny, refuse, and learn to give up the common to become the sacred.”
And in this experience, even more than the result or achievement, the experience of waiting upon God is in itself most sacred.
However, this principle goes against our conditioning to value the result over the process. We have become so obsessed with the end result of it all that the process, the journey, the means is relegated – if at all – to a distant second in significance.
In God culture, the process is of utmost significance. It is holy. God is very much interested in the story and the smallest of details. Well, without any shadow of doubt, when the process is all right then the result would be excellent.
Hence, rather than seeing ‘waiting upon God’ as a difficult to swallow pill that promises some kind of benefit, let us joyfully receive it as a precious gift from God. A priceless opportunity to linger in the presence of God almighty.
We need to pray for the unreached and under-reached people groups of the world.
When we look at India, over the years mission work has increased greatly. However, that does not mean that it has resulted in a proportional impact on the unreached, under-reached people groups with the good news of Jesus Christ.
When I talked to some missionaries, who have been serving God for more than four decades now, they said that there was a time when resources were scarce but the population was welcoming, receptive, and tolerant. They, and many others also, worked on ‘fresh soil’ sowing the seed of God’s Word with tears. Nowadays though, resources that we own or can make use of have increased exponentially. People are also responding to the gospel in greater numbers. But the general population has become increasingly resistant, prejudiced, and hostile to the missionaries.
There may be three reasons for this change in people’s attitude:
- The resistance of the powers of darkness that hold the people captive.
- The propaganda against Christian faith and especially evangelistic work.
- The shameful mistakes on our part in making exaggerated, heroic claims that had little to do with ground realities.
The first reason calls us to pray and ask for the move of the Holy Spirit over our land.
The second reason calls us to live and work with humility and wisdom. Building bridges and making friends, allowing people to see us for who we are.
The third reason calls us for introspection –
Giving a report of our work is an essential part of missionary vocation. And we need to admit that there are those who have a tendency, for whatsoever reasons, to exaggerate. Nonetheless, is it also not true that as we are engrossed in prayer and doing our part in God’s harvest, in due time the work itself would speak on our behalf. And then, should we be seeking such momentary applause in this temporal world for our work that pertains to eternity.
All human beings would prefer a salvation that we can earn ourselves. However, ‘salvation by works’ does not work with an infinitely holy and righteous God who will not compromise His nature and justice.
And, ‘salvation by faith’ in Jesus Christ is the offer that He lovingly extends unto us.
Let us therefore, not only be visited by the grace of God but rather overcome by His grace. So that every resistance to God’s gift of salvation may be broken. Such resistance is actually the carnal desire to assert one’s own self.
If seeking to act independently of God led to the original sin then it is also the chief factor that keeps us from God’s gift of salvation. ‘Salvation by works’ offers a sense of control to us which we do not have when we receive ‘salvation by faith.’ God is in control and we have nothing to boast.
Paul says that the election of Jacob over Esau was determined by God even before they were born. Even before they did anything good or bad. In my evaluation, although Esau showed least consideration in keeping his birthright, in most aspects of his life, as recorded, he appears pretty straight and Jacob shows all deception and crookedness. But Paul makes clear that it testifies to the importance of election in God’s working.
Now in the election of Jacob there is hope for all those who are broken and defeated. While some are naturally better than others and some do their best to lead good lives, no one is justified before God by any of those factors. God justifies us, not because of our works of righteousness, but because of what Jesus Christ did on our behalf. It is not about us, it is all about God. It is about Jesus Christ and we need to believe in Him for our justification.
Many in their zeal seek to establish their own righteousness. But it is only their ignorance, as they end up failing to submit to God’s righteousness.
For Jesus Christ is the righteousness to everyone who believes.
Serving God is about seizing the moment along with Jesus Christ for the glory of His name. Seizing the moment is best done by them who are full of love for God and also others. And true and pure love is possible for them who have received the love of God in their own life.
God’s love takes away fear and selfishness, expanding in us the capacity to be generous and hospitable.
While Mary, who anointed the feet of Jesus, could seize her moment to worship Him; Judas, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, ended up revealing what was filled in his heart.
While Mary made the most of it; Judas, in the pretext of helping the poor, ruined his moment with the Lord.
Ministry has a BIG side to it – BIG events, BIG results, BIG changes – nevertheless, most often ministry is in the small, even the very small things of life. And blessed are those who are enabled by the Holy Spirit to make the most of those little moments.
The foundations of the world are indeed shaking. And when the foundations are shaking we need to have the foundation that is within us all the more secured in Jesus Christ.
We are thankful to God for granting us another year. So also, we need to live our lives fruitfully, by:
- Practicing righteousness; and,
- Experiencing God’s holiness
We need to be ever willing to hear and learn from our Master, so that we may be prepared to do His bidding and serve Him.
Church historians Bengt Sundkler and Christopher Steed, in their book A History of the Church in Africa, acknowledge the role of the Capuchin mission in the extensive evangelization effort in Black Africa prior to modern times.
“From 1645 to 1835 no less than 440 friars were working in Kongo/Angola. The climate was not beneficial. More than half of the men died after only a few years or months in the country, but this did not frighten them, new recruits followed unhesitatingly. These were men who in a time of worldliness and war found strength in meditation and a disciplined prayer life.” (emphasis added)
The difficulty we have in doing difficult things is because of our foundation within not being nurtured, the altar lies neglected.
Any age, any time – no matter what the external circumstances are – a Christian is only as strong as his/her foundation within, reflected by the personal disciplines of holy (i.e. set apart) living.