Your Answer is Coming

Posted: February 28th, 2010 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Anyone who knows me will tell you I love anticipation. Christmas. My birthday. The weekend. The start of football season. Seeing my wife after she’s been out of town all week. Vacations. A change of seasons. And on and on.

Yesterday, I got caught up in anticipating the arrival of the tsunami in Hawaii as a result of the earthquake in Chili. I watched the news. I read reports online. I even watched a streaming live video of a local news station in Hawaii.

One of the images that sticks with me from yesterday was a large group of people sitting on a cliff. They were staring out at the ocean. For hours. Waiting for the tsunami. Watching and waiting for something big to happen.

Fortunately, the tsunami was not nearly as bad as expected. To my knowledge there was little, if any, real damage in Hawaii, but it has me thinking about watching and waiting and expecting.

What am I watching and waiting for? What am I expecting?

James 4:1-3 says:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

I find it amazing that I don’t have because I don’t ask.

Why don’t I ask?

The primary reason is a simple one. I doubt. I doubt God will answer. I doubt He will come through. And so I don’t ask.

So why do I doubt?

I think I doubt because I’ve asked for things, but didn’t get them. I’ve asked for His help, but He didn’t seem to provide it. I’ve prayed for healing, but both of my parents died anyway. I’ve begged Him for financial help, but things got worse, not better. I’ve known women who wanted to get pregnant, but couldn’t.

And so my doubt sometimes leads me to not ask. Why ask for something that’s not going to happen, right?

No, not right. Wrong.

I don’t have because I don’t ask. If I ask and don’t receive, it’s because my motives are wrong. Simply put–I’m asking for the wrong things.

So what if you and I were to ask for what we want and what we wanted lined up with God’s plan for us? What if we asked without giving up? What if we asked and waited patiently and actually expected God to answer?

It would be kind of like sitting on a cliff overlooking the ocean, waiting for, anticipating a tsunami to roll ashore. If you are asking for something in line with God’s will, then don’t give up. Keep asking. Keep waiting. Keep watching.

Your answer is coming.


When God Has You In A Holding Pattern

Posted: September 5th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Truth | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

40 Days of Believing God – Day 35

A number of years ago, I was in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a meeting. To get home, I had to fly through Chicago. Late in the afternoon, I boarded my plane and took off for O’Hare Airport.

Not long after take-off, we were put in a holding pattern over Lake Michigan due to delays at O’Hare. So we flew around in circles waiting for a runway to open up. We waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, the pilot announced we were returning to Grand Rapids, because we were running low on fuel. Once we were back in Grand Rapids, the plane was re-fueled and we took off again. This time we were cleared to land after about a 30 minute flight.

You may feel like you’re in a holding pattern today. The destination is clear. It’s not even very far away. You’re on the correct course, but God has you in a holding pattern. And just when it seems like the waiting should end–He seems to send you back, not forward.

You thought your marriage was getting better, but then it got worse again. Previous test results showed you were free of cancer, but the most recent test revealed it’s back. That sin that used to plague you–the one you finally gained victory over…it’s back. And just when you thought you were about out of debt, you lost your job and had to use credit cards to survive.

As if things aren’t bad enough, God is silent. You cry out to Him, but He doesn’t seem to answer.

Psalm 77:7-10 (in The Message) says:

Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good?
Will he never smile again?
Is his love worn threadbare?
Has his salvation promise burned out?
Has God forgotten his manners?
Has he angrily stalked off and left us?
“Just my luck,” I said. “The High God goes out of business
just the moment I need him.”

Ever feel that way? Just when you need God the most, He goes out of business.

The writer isn’t through though. He knows during times of confusion, when God doesn’t seem to be around, there’s only one thing to do.

“Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things You’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at Your acts.”  (Psalm 77:11-12)

Could it be that God is calling you deeper into Himself and His word? If everything was already worked out, maybe He knows you’d feel less urgency to seek Him and remember all He’s done in the past. It’s happened to me before. God comes through and I go away. Maybe

Take some time to read through the mighty ways God moved in the Old Testament. Remember what He did for Abraham, for Moses, for Daniel, for Nehemiah, for Joshua, for Rahab and for Ruth. Spend some time in the four gospels to be reminded of how Jesus worked. Meditate on Ephesians 1:3-14 to let your position in Christ sink in.

You may also want to recall the ways God has worked in your life in the past. One of the great benefits of keeping a journal is reading through old journal entries of answered prayers and ways God worked in your life to meet your needs. If you don’t have a journal, let me encourage you to start one. It’s easy to forget the things God does. We need to record them.

Remembering what God has done in the past provides power to make it through the present.


5 Wrong Ways to Wait on God

Posted: August 28th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Other | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

You have a need. God promises to meet that need…but nothing happens. So you wait. Then you wait some more. And you keep waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Until you’re tired of waiting. So tired.

After God promised Abraham and Sarah they would have a son, they waited 25 years for his birth. David waited 14 years to become king after being anointed by Samuel and he spent much of that time running for his life. A Savior was promised thousands of years before Jesus finally came on the scene.

We might have to wait a week for the results of a biopsy, fifteen months to sell a house (or longer these days) or a few years for a start-up business to become profitable. Maybe for you it’s waiting for God to provide a spouse or a child.

Waiting is a mega-theme in the Bible. It’s something we have to learn to do well.

Let’s quickly look at a few ways to NOT wait well. I’ve tried each of them.

1. Anger. God doesn’t behave like I want Him to. He doesn’t come through for me, at least not the way I wanted. So I conclude He’s not good after all. He’s not loving or kind like He says He is. He’s just not worth trusting. After all, I did my best to obey Him and now He’s treating me unfairly.

Then I think I have every right in the world to be mad at Him. Soon, my anger turns to bitterness and cynicism. It’s a downward spiral from there. I’ve been in that spiral. It’s not pretty.

2. Discouragement. The waiting seems endless. Things aren’t getting better, they’re only getting worse. In fact, just when it seems things can’t get any worse, sure enough, they do. My circumstances can look so overwhelming that I lose hope. I can get to a place where I cannot even see how things will ever get any better. I’ve been there, too.

3. Feeling sorry for myself. This is a subtle one to fall into. It’s a victim mentality. I did what God wanted, but I guess He’s just against me. It’s also a twisted way of trying to manipulate God. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had much success with that.

4. Manipulating my circumstances. Abraham and Sarah tried this one. When Sarah couldn’t get pregnant, she suggested Abraham sleep with one of her servants. Being the unselfish, man-of-faith he was, Abraham went right along with her plan. When God has me in a season of waiting, it’s best to not take things into my own hands. Nothing good can come of that. It’s also a good idea to be sure you’re getting wise counsel, even if it’s coming from your spouse.

5. Lowering my expectations of God. This may be the worst of the five, but I was guilty of this for a number of years. After living through the first four, I figured the safest bet was to just lower my expectations of God. I just wouldn’t expect him to do anything for me. If I didn’t expect Him to answer prayers, bless me or help me out of difficult situations, then I wouldn’t be disappointed. If He did do something then it would be a nice surprise. I guess it’s kind of like the person who gets burned in a relationship and vows to never fall in love again.

I don’t know if there’s a more offensive way to view God than as someone who really can’t be counted on. Someone who won’t come through and therefore shouldn’t be trusted. It’s a total lack of faith and reflects a terrible view of God.

So those are the wrong ways, but how do we respond when the need is unmet and God doesn’t seem to be in a hurry?

We actively wait.

A doctor I saw in Little Rock (before we moved) was an ultra-marathon runner. Those are the 100-mile races. He and I got into a fitness discussion one day and he was explaining his workout schedule to me. There didn’t appear to be any rest days, so I asked him about it.

He said his rest days consisted of going to the athletic club and riding a stationary bike. He called it “active rest.” He and I had different definitions of “rest.”

Waiting on God is kind of like that though–it’s active. We pray. We read His word. We seek counsel. We worship. We serve. We live in community with others who are believing God. We continue doing the last thing He showed us to do.

We actively wait.

My wife, Robyn, is a great example. She is doing an awesome job leading the Young Life ministry in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She has an incredible team of committed college student leaders. Ministry is occurring on the University of Arkansas campus, at Fayetteville High School and at the middle school level.

The budget is lagging behind though…to the point that her salary was cut until adequate funds are raised. She isn’t waiting passively, she’s waiting actively for God to work. She is continuing to do ministry: coach leaders, plan retreats, hold events, etc. She’s also actively working to raise the funds to meet her budget. She is active while she waits on God to lead her to the people He has called to help support the ministry.

Your circumstances are different.

You’re trying to repair a broken relationship.

Medical test after medical test hasn’t revealed the cause of your symptoms.

You’ve tried to sell your house, but the offers aren’t coming.

Active waiting is refusing to give into the five destructive waiting behaviors while continuing to pursue and believe God. I know it’s not easy. I’ve failed many, many times. I’m getting better at it, but I still fail. A lot.

God is at work in your circumstances. Right now. He has a purpose behind the waiting. When the time is right, the waiting will end. In the meantime, wait for Him…actively.

(By the way, if you or someone you know wants to invest in a strategic, life-changing ministry to middle school through college students, email Robyn at: robynstutts@gmail.com)