Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
Exodus 3: 5
“It may be on a kitchen floor,
Or in a busy shopping store,
Or teaching, nursing, day by day,
Till limb and brain almost give way;
Yet if, just there, by Jesus thou art found,
The place thou standest on is Holy ground.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And (Elijah) said to his servant, ‘Go up now, look toward the sea,’ And he went up and looked and said, ‘There is nothing.’”
1 Kings 18: 43
“5 Lessons On Prayer From Mount Carmel-
Lesson 3 – Patience”
“Take from us, O God, all tediousness of spirit, all impatient and unquietness. Let us possess ourselves in patience…through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Is there a specific need which I have in my life right now and I have been “patiently” waiting for God to meet this need but nothing appears to be happening?
Can I understand how Elijah may have felt when his servant returned with the message, “There is nothing”?
“Godly patience is a willingness to wait for God’s timing.”
“For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away (and enjoy to the full) what is promised.”
Hebrews 10: 36
The great 19th century author and prayer warrior, E. M. Bounds, in his book, The Necessity of Prayer, penned those profound words: “Patience has its perfect work in the school of delay.”
Quite honestly, I can’t remember anyone that I have ever met who told me they loved it when things were delayed. I can still remember during all the years I traveled on business, scurrying into an airport, looking for the illuminated board which displayed arrivals and departures. It was always annoying to see the flashing words “Delayed” by the flight I was scheduled to take, especially when it meant that I might miss another connection in a city I needed to get to.
The problem with delays is that the result usually means we end up waiting. And whether waiting is in an out-of-town airport or is for a long-awaited job which is critically needed or is for the salvation of someone close to your heart -- waiting is tough. Especially when it comes to waiting for a promise to be fulfilled for an unanswered prayer. Author Ben Patterson, who wrote one of my favorite books, Waiting, makes this observation about the delays we all have experienced when we pray, “Perhaps one reason God delays His answer to our prayers is because He knows we need to be with Him far more than we need the things we ask of Him.” When I read this, it got me to reflecting on my own unanswered prayers. The fact is that when there are times that I am in a “holding pattern” or a “waiting time” in my life, it is during these specific moments that I am apt to spend a great deal more of my personal time in communion with my heavenly Father. Evidently, the Apostle Paul was one who found delays in life to be those times when we get through them because we pray, for as he instructed his Christian friends in Rome: “Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all time” (Romans 12: 12, G.N.B). The Apostle Paul not only understood but encourages us to pray through our delays. We are to hold fast during the times when our prayers go unanswered. And finally, we are to learn to “patiently wait” -- two words that don’t seem to go together at all.
What makes the lesson of patience even more difficult in the world in which we live is that delays are often viewed as interruptions or problems. Author Heather McCallum pinpoints our challenge with this observation in her book, Let God Surprise You, “Our society has become accustomed to instant coffee, microwave meals, and quick access to information via the internet. We don’t like to wait, but sometimes we learn while we are waiting. During the time of waiting, God leads us through the valley and refines our character.”
As we have traversed the God-designed pathway which Elijah walked in his life, we will find that it took over 3 ½ years for God to fulfill the promise that it would rain again. Elijah was not told, when the drought began, how long it would last. Nor did God layout for Elijah, at the beginning of the dry season, what he would do, where he would live and how he would survive. The information Elijah was given by God was on what we might call a, “need to know” basis. When Elijah needed to know what to do next, God told him. And during each delay, Elijah found out that God had the lesson of dependence and humility for him to learn. And when he climbed up to the top of Mount Carmel to pray for the promised downpour of rain, and his servant came back with the report, “There’s not a cloud in sight,” I just have a feeling, borne out by the lessons God had for his faithful servant, that Elijah said to himself, “No problem. I have time -- because my time is God’s time. I’ll be patient. And while God’s delaying His answer, I’m going to tell Him how grateful I am that I can count on Him to keep His word to me. I know He’ll come through just when His time is right. And when he does, He’ll send an abundance like He always has.”
Now I ask you, “What is it that you need in your life right now? Have you been praying and yet no answer has come? You’ve waited -- patiently, too, yet there is nothing, as Elijah’s servant reported!”
My encouraging word to you today is to keep waiting. In spite of the delays. Keep trusting, as Elijah did. Have faith in the same God who Elijah knew wouldn’t just send the rain but when it came, as the Hebrew defines the word, “abundance,” it would bring a noise and a sound. It would be like a multitude. There would be a wealth of rain! And when your prayer is answered there will be no disguising it. Everyone will know God has heard your prayer. AMEN!
“Wait, patiently, wait,
God never is late;
Thy budding plans are
in Thy Father’s holding,
And only wait
His grand divine unfolding.
Then wait, wait.
Trust, hopefully trust,
That God will adjust
Thy tangled life;
and from its dark concealings,
Will bring His will,
in all its bright revealings,
Then trust, trust,
Rest, peacefully rest
On Thy Saviour’s breast;
Breathe in His ear
Thy sacred high ambition,
And He will bring it forth
in blest fruition.
Then rest, rest,
Mercy A. Gladwin
“Do not judge God’s ways while they are in progress. Wait till the plan is complete.”
F. B. Meyer
“Sometimes I wish that I might do
Just one grand deed and die,
And by that one grand deed reach up
To meet God in the sky.
But such is not Thy way, O God,
Not such is Thy decree,
But deed by deed, and tear by tear,
Our souls must climb to Thee,
As climbed the only Son of God
From manger unto Cross,
Who learned, through tears and bloody sweat,
To count this world but loss;
Who left the Virgin Mother’s arms
To seek those arms of shame,
Outstretched upon the lonely hill
To which the darkness came.
As deed by deed, and tear by tear,
He climbed up to the height,
Each deed a splendid deed, each tear
A jewel shining bright,
So grant us Lord, the patient heart,
To climb the upward way,
Until we stand upon the height,
And see the perfect day.”
G. A. Studdert-Kennedy
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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