Read: James 5:7-11
“Maranatha” is an Aramaic word that means, “the Lord is coming” or “come, O Lord.”
The early church used the word as a coping mechanism for the persecution they endured from the Romans. The Romans required everyone to declare that Caesar was god. The early Christians refused, so the Romans looked upon them as traitors. They persecuted them and put them to death.
Enduring the persecution and waiting in prayerful anticipation of Christ’s return, the common greeting changed from Shalom to Maranatha both as their “hello” and “goodbye”. [What does Marantha mean?]
Like the early Church, Christians today continue to suffer persecution for their faith and eagerly await the Lord’s return. The hymn writer Horatius Bonar exhorted us “to be ready for the last moment by being ready at every moment…”
As believers, God instructs us to wait purposefully whether we are awaiting His return or enduring a trial or tribulation. For as we wait with the right posture, we fulfill His purpose, achieve His plan and claim the prize.
Spiritual Waiting involves a Purposeful Activity and Passivity
Jesus shared several parables with the theme of watching and waiting and being prepared for His return (Matthew 25:1-13; Luke 12:35-40). He intended our waiting for His return or our waiting for His answer to involve purposeful activity and passivity.
J. Hampton Keathley writes, “Waiting involves a passivity and an activity—negatives and positives—things we should do and things we should not do. These negatives and positives in relation to waiting are closely wound together like the strands in a rope. When wound together properly, they give great strength, courage, patience, and endurance.”
Waiting for/with/upon God involves three things: [Waiting on the Lord, by J. Hampton Keathley]
(1) Activity – Things we do – Do the right things correctly
(2) Passivity – Things we are not to do – Always refrain from the wrong things
(3) Activity – Reaction to things that happen to us, in us, and for us in the process of waiting
Waiting with the right Posture allows us to stay with God’s Plan and secure the Prize
After Jesus died on the cross on that Good Friday and before He rose again in 3 days, the disciples had to decide what their position and posture would be. Would they trust His teachings that He would rise again or would they scatter to avoid persecution? Of course, we know that they chose to stay and Jesus appeared in their midst.
In the same way, in our problems we can rely on His promises to work everything to our good (Romans 8:28). When we wait with the right posture, we are able to stay within God’s plan and secure the prize He has for us.
Today, as believers, we live our lives knowing that He can come at any time. We are waiting, yet we stand ready for His arrival.
In the midst of our challenges when we are awaiting God’s answer to our prayers, we are to take this same position and posture. We are to be waiting, but actively ready for His answer. God allows each challenge we face, to have its own Maranatha solution!
1. Discover –
A. When waiting upon God, how do you know when to be active and when to be passive?
B. Looking back have you seen any pattern for how waiting upon God’s answer has steered you closer to His plan for your life? Please share.
2. Develop –
A. I made the mistake of asking for patience when I was a teenager. What a mistake! God allowed several situations to arise that I had to wait and patiently endure with Him. Share some examples of how the Lord has used you or matured you while awaiting His answer.
3. Demonstrate –
A. Although we wait for God often, have you ever considered how often God has to wait upon us to comply with His will. Share with your prayer partner an example of God’s patience with you.
B. Marantha means the Lord is coming! When awaiting God the next time and you are stressed to the max, try saying Maranatha and thanking God for the opportunity He is presenting and for the deliverance that is on the way.
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)
8. Wait while avoiding the Quicksand of Worry (link)
9. Wait with the Weight on God (link)
10. Waiting leads to a Victorious Solution (link)