Read: Isaiah 50:11 |
Augustine’s mother, Monica, was a fervent believer who prayed constantly for her son’s salvation. She dedicated her whole life to praying for Augustine’s conversion. At one point, when Augustine devoted himself to the Manichaean philosophy, Monica begged a holy man to speak to Augustine, and show him why their beliefs were not true. The holy man refused because he knew that Augustine had a great intellect, and would likely try to savage his arguments. Instead, the holy man re-assured Monica by admitting that at one time, he had been a Manichaean, and that Augustine was too smart to deceive himself much longer. At this, Monica began to cry. The holy man sent her away, saying, “Go, go! Leave me alone. Live on as you are living. It is not possible that the son of such tears should be lost.”
Benefit # 3 of waiting in God’s Waiting Room – Win Battles
The advice given to Monica, Saint Augustine’s mother, was to wait for God to move. If God directs us to wait, we must follow His direction and wait if we want to win over our circumstances.
Too often, we view the battle from our earthly perspective and make our decisions based on what we see or others tell us rather than waiting for God’s input. From our earthly panorama, we view, weigh and balance the strategic and tactical considerations. We count the costs, examine the logical components from every angle, and then weigh the spiritual cost/benefit. The pain of personal experience reveals that even when earthly cost/benefit looks better to us at the moment, waiting on God’s timing will inevitably bring greater victory.
Consider the example of how Job waited with God. Satan, the Accuser, came before God claiming that Job only loved God because he was wealthy and well off.
Up to this time, Job’s life was one filled with prestige, possessions, and people. Satan attacked and stripped him of each one in order to get him to turn his back on God. Job’s friends were pawns as well, for they advised him to weigh the circumstances on earthly scales. Yet, Job won a great lesson and restored fortunes by waiting upon the Lord (Job 1:13-22; 2:7-10; 14:14).
The counter intuitive approach of waiting when “action” may seem obvious or even necessary requires faith and patience in the Lord. At the same time, our waiting does not mean that we should be in a purely passive posture. Being in God’s Waiting Room is not a sedentary activity. We are to watch, walk and work with God during the interim.
Benefit # 4 of waiting in God’s Waiting Room – Hear answers to our prayers
As we abide with God, hearing and seeing answers to our prayers fortifies our faith.
Augustine’s mother Monica witnessed an answer to her most frequent prayer. After many years, Augustine went through a fierce inner struggle before being touched by a revelation in Scripture, and thus became a Christian. The son she had spent her life praying for went on to affect the whole world.
If we run ahead of God, we experience painful chastening by turmoil, exhaustion, and failure. Taking matters into our own hands has ample instructive precedent in God’s Word. Think of Abraham with Ishmael, Saul usurping the role of a priest, Israel looking to Egypt for help (Isaiah 30:1-3). They each elected “not” to wait for the answer and suffered for it. Stay with God and watch Him answer our prayers!
We cannot afford to walk by the light of our own fire (Isaiah 50:11) because moving without God invites futility and failure. Augustine’s mother walked with God and trusted Him to answer her prayers (James 5:16).
Waiting provides us a time of discovery; a time to connect with God’s power; a time where God fights our battles; a time where God answers our prayers in ways we could never imagine and a time the roots of our faith become more firmly entrenched in Him.
A. What “battle” do you best remember that God fought and won for you?
B. How did you discover that God answers prayer? What did you pray for? What happened?
A. Are there certain battles that you are willing to let God handle and those that you want to handle on your own? Why?
B. Augustine was taught the right things as a child but wandered away. His mother is famous for monitoring and praying for him. Did your parents fervently pray for you and are you fervently praying for your children?
A. Share with your prayer partner this week the battles that God has fought and is fighting for you.
B. When Augustine was young and both of his parents were Christians, he struggled with the flesh. He is quoted as saying “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet”. Have you felt, voiced or lived this sentiment as well? How do/did you overcome it?
Profiles on Waiting Outline
Postures we should adopt when waiting for/with/upon God
1. Wait on Time (link)
2. Watch for Him (link)
3. Wait by walking within Touching Distance (link)
4. Work while waiting upon God’s Answer (link)
5. Willful Waiting does not Wilt (link)
6. Weather the Storms while waiting under His Umbrella (link)
7. Wait with an Unwavering Faith (link)