How to Wait Well

Posted: September 22nd, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

 How to Wait Well

Have you noticed the medical test results or the hiring decision always seem to come next week?

Have you ever waited for something important to come in the mail, but it doesn’t come on Friday? You hope it’ll come on Saturday, but it doesn’t and…now you have to wait another 48-hours until Monday.

A few years ago, I’d gone out to dinner (Joe’s Crab Shack in Branson, MO!) with my wife and son. On our way back to where we were staying, we came to a traffic light that had turned red. We waited for it to turn green. And waited. And waited. And waited. It’s not like this was a busy intersection. In fact, it wasn’t busy at all. There were almost no cars on the road that had the green light.

The waiting made no sense at all.

And yet, we, along with the car in front of us and the car in front of that car…continued to wait. And wait. It was the longest red light I’ve ever seen. And it was all made worse by the fact that the waiting seemed so pointless.

Finally, the first car in line just went through the red light. So did the next car. I would have also except when I got to the front of the line, the light finally turned green.

Waiting is hard. It’s especially hard when we can’t understand why we’re waiting.

Are you waiting for something?

Results of a medical test?

A spouse?

Your spouse to finally understand your needs?

To be reconciled with a child?

A job?

An answer to a prayer?

A baby?

A financial breakthrough?

A miracle?

There’s nothing easy about waiting. In the Christian life, it’s probably the hardest things we’ll ever do. Because if we’re waiting, it means we probably don’t have what we need or want. We have a desire that’s unfulfilled. Or we’re in emotional or physical pain. It means we have to do battle to believe God, not what we see or feel.

I’ll be honest, one of my greatest weaknesses has been waiting well. When a need or desire goes unmet long enough, if I don’t guard my heart and mind, I can become angry and disappointed. Not just at life, but at God. That’s been a dark road for me more than once.

I’m in a season of waiting right now. Maybe you are too. If you’re not, I’ll bet you just came out of one or will soon enter one. That’s just the way life is.

So if much of life involves waiting, let’s look at how to do it well. Here are four suggestions…

  1. Choose to believe God, not your circumstances or feelings. If we focus on our circumstances, then it’s easy to become fearful, worried and anxious. It’s also easy to begin thinking God isn’t very good or faithful. We have to settle it once and for all that we will choose to believe God is good, loving and faithful…no matter what. I’ve found that if I view God through the lens of my circumstances, He doesn’t look kind or loving at all. He seems distant, unconcerned and uncaring. I’m still on a journey of viewing my circumstances through the lens of God’s eyes.
  2. Delight yourself in the Lord. That means choosing to make Him your priority, to find your pleasure and enjoyment in Him. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This isn’t a magic formula, but it is a way to get our desires met. As we delight in God, He can change our desires to match His desires for us…and then fulfill them.
  3. Know that God likes to be trusted. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God…” I found out what a big deal this is to God a number of years ago. You can read about it by clicking here.
  4. Use the power of your imagination to anticipate God’s blessings and favor. We can either focus on our current circumstances and/or on a worst possible outcome to our situation OR we can begin to anticipate the good God is bringing about for us. You don’t need to know how God is going to work on your behalf, only that He will. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to figure out how God will meet your need or fulfill your desire. You can’t possibly imagine all the ways God could bless you or answer your prayer or fulfill your desire. Let Him choose to surprise you if He wants to. Let Him be creative if He wants to be. Don’t project your limitations onto Him. He doesn’t have any.

My oldest daughter and her husband just celebrated their 9th wedding anniversary. They tried to get pregnant for about five years. Without success. After several years of trying, they began seeing various doctors and trying various procedures. Without success.

It was hard and disappointing for them. It was also hard and disappointing for this dad. I so badly wanted them to have a baby. My heart ached for them. And I had to fight hard to not let my negative thoughts run wild. It was a battle to not head down that dark road of anger and doubting God’s goodness.

We spent this past Christmas Eve at their house. When we arrived around dinner time, my daughter and son-in-law wasted no time in handing each of us an envelope. I have to say, I’m pretty perceptive. I usually have a good sense of what’s happening around me. I can read the vibes in a room. But not that night.

We all opened our envelopes at the same time. In it, was an ultra-sound image of our grandson. I was speechless. Maybe because of the lump in my throat.

Tyler was born on July 31st. This picture of me holding him was taken a few days ago.

 How to Wait Well

I don’t know what you’re waiting for. God does though. And He knows when and how He’s going to answer your prayer, meet your need or fulfill your desire. In the meantime, choose to wait well…

The Parts the Bible Left Out

Posted: August 20th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Truth | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

40 Days of Believing God – Day 19

He lived for 500 years in obscurity, then it was said, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9) We know nothing of those 500 years. Just a one line assessment of his life. Some time later, God commanded him to build an ark. At the age of 600, the ark was complete and the flood began. It took up to 100 years to build the ark, but none of those days are recorded for us.

We know how Moses was born and who raised him. We know he killed an Egyptian when he was 40. At the age of 80, God called him to lead the nation of Israel out of their slavery in Egypt. We know they wandered in the desert for the next 40 years. Like Noah, we have a record of some very significant events in Moses’ life, but it’s really just a small number of days.

In his closing remarks in the letter he wrote to the church in Colosse, Paul includes greetings from a man named Demas. That was in the year 60. Seven years later, in a letter Paul wrote to Timothy, he said, “Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved the world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.” At least seven years of ministering with Paul and all we know about Demas is that he’s a deserter.

Enoch was 65 years old when he became the father of Methuselah. “And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:22-24) That’s it. He lived 365 years and all we know is that he was a father, he walked with God and God took him to heaven before he died.

The Bible leaves a lot of parts out. It’s kind of like watching a highlight film rather than watching every play from every game from the whole season. In some cases, it’s more of a lowlight film. The Bible seems to catch most people at their best (Enoch) or their worst (Judas). In most cases (David, Paul, Peter, Abraham, etc.), we get to see both.

What occurs to me is this–the days and events that are recorded in the Bible are the result of all the unrecorded days. Demas didn’t just suddenly decide to desert Paul after seven years. The thoughts and choices that aren’t recorded for us led him to his decision to throw in the towel.

More than likely, you’re living one of your “unrecorded days” today. It doesn’t feel very special. In fact, it’s filled with boring, routine tasks. Keep in mind though, today is setting up one of your “recorded days.”

Enoch and Noah were commended because they “walked with God.” Demas is remembered “because he loved the world.”

Which one is more descriptive of you today? Are you walking with God? Are you being faithful to do what you know to do? Are you persevering in believing God?

Or are you in love with the world? Are you making little comprises that are setting you up for a fall? Are you growing weary of doing good?

The private thoughts and the unseen choices we make in our “unrecorded days” are charting our course. Just because today doesn’t feel special doesn’t mean it’s not significant.

Today is the day to walk with God and believe Him…and reject what the world entices and tempts you with.

Noah walked with God. Enoch walked with God. Both were commended as men who pleased God.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

What If God Spoke Today?

Posted: August 8th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Truth | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

40 Days of Believing God – Day 8

Have you ever prayed something like this?

“Lord, I’m afraid. I just don’t see how things are going to work out. I know You say not to worry, but I do. I try not to, but I can’t help it. I know You see what I’m going through, but sometimes it feels like maybe You don’t care. I pray about things, but nothing seems to change. And it feels like…well, sometimes it feels like I can’t really count on You. Things are pretty bad, Lord. Where are You?”

Can you relate to that prayer? Maybe you feel that way today.

So what if you poured your heart out to God like that…and He answered You?

“I know you’re afraid and I know you can’t see how things are going to work out, but is it enough that I see how things are going to work out? Can you rest in knowing that I not only see how things will work out, but I am the One who is working them out for your good and My glory?

“Today, will you believe that I love you? I mean the kind of love that would die for you even though you didn’t deserve it. Will you believe that I am good and could never do anything toward you that isn’t motivated by My perfect love and kindness? Will you believe that I am faithful to every promise I’ve ever made and that I will never fail you nor forsake you?

“I know you’re afraid, but it’s because you’re not looking at Me. Like My disciples, you’re looking at the storm. Like My children in the desert, you’re looking at what you don’t have instead of what I do have. Fix your attention on Me today. There’s nothing I can’t handle.

“Will you believe Me?”

Will You Believe God For 40 Days?

Posted: July 27th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Truth | Tags: , , | 6 Comments »

Confession time. I’m a worrier. I hate to admit it, but I am.

I’m working on it, so maybe you could say I’m a worry-aholic who’s in recovery. I’ve been worry-sober for about, oh, maybe eight hours. I seem to often fall off the wagon.

And that’s why this blog is called, “I Believe God.” I need the daily (or almost daily) reminder to believe Him. Not my circumstances. Not my feelings. Not the media. Not the opinions of others.

A couple years ago, a friend of mine approached me with the idea of exchanging emails for 40 straight days–focusing on believing God. We would choose to intentionally believe God.

We often exchanged more than one email a day. We prayed through email. We encouraged each other through email. We believed God together through email. It was an awesome 40 days.

Of course, we didn’t stop believing after the 40 days were up, but the 40 day focus was a great way to stay committed and get the ball rolling.

God responds to faith. He just does. He wants us to believe Him. We often talk of wanting to know God better…well know this–God wants to be believed. He is pleased when we choose to trust Him, not our circumstances. Just read the accounts of Jesus and watch how often He commends people for their faith or rebukes others for their lack of it. Meditate (think about it, chew on it, pray over it) on Hebrews 11:6. You can’t get away from the fact that God is moved by our faith.

So what might happen in your life if you chose to believe God for 40 days? What if you chose to trust Him, not what you see? What if you found a partner to join you? What could God do?

On August 2nd, we will launch a 40-day faith adventure. We will believe God. We will encourage each other. We will share stories of what we’re trusting Him for and what we see Him doing.

If you’re on Facebook, I encourage you to join our group, “I Believe God.” We already have over 100 people in the group.

Whether you’re a regular reader of this blog or just stopping by, let me encourage you to join us. Find a partner with whom you can believe God together. Check back here each day for encouragement to keep believing.

Let me encourage you to also share your stories by leaving comments. It’s hard to believe God and not our circumstances. It’s almost impossible to do it alone. We need each other.

Whether you’re in South Korea or India or Europe or Canada or the Philippines or the United States or some other place on the globe–join us. Let us know you’re taking part in the 40 days of believing God. Your prayer or your story may be what God uses to encourage someone on the other side of the world.

The 40 days launches in just six days. Find a partner. Leave a comment so we know you’re taking part. Check back daily. Share your story.

And believe God will do great, great things.