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…


Ask For Whatever You Want

Posted: February 5th, 2010 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , | 28 Comments »

God once appeared to Solomon and said, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.”

Can you imagine? God appears to you and tells you to ask for whatever you want. Not need. Want.

Jesus once came across two blind men on the side of the road. They kept shouting, “Lord, son of David, have mercy on us!”

So Jesus asked them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

On another occasion Jesus said, “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

Sounds to me like God actually delights in granting our requests.

Previously, I’ve written about the fact that God doesn’t always answer us, at least not the way we want. Sometimes when we ask for something, He says “no” or “wait for it.” When that happens, we must continue to trust Him. Because He is good, He will not withhold whatever is best for us. If He does not grant our request, then we can be certain He has a better plan.

So what if God came to you today and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you. Remain in Me and let My words remain in you, then ask Me for whatever you wish and I will give it to you. Go ahead. Ask. What do you want Me to do for you?”

What would you ask for?

Whatever it is, I’ll bet you’d take some time to really think it through. I would. I’d hate to blow the opportunity on the wrong thing.

The mother of James and John, two of Jesus’ disciples, once came to Him and asked for a favor. Jesus asked her, “What is it you want?”

She told Him she wanted her two sons to sit at His right and left in His kingdom.

Jesus told her, “You don’t know what you are asking.”

I wonder how often we don’t know what we’re asking. How often do we simply approach Jesus with the wrong requests? Requests, that if granted, wouldn’t be best for us or wouldn’t accomplish His purposes. At least not yet.

“What do you want for Me to do for you?”

It’s a powerful question. How would you answer?

Solomon asked for wisdom. He got it. And a lot more.

The blind men, of course, asked for their sight. They got it. Then they got a lot more by following Jesus.

I can’t say God is going to give you whatever you ask for, but I can say you won’t know unless you ask. So why not take some time to think it through. You might even ask Him what you should ask for.

Then ask for it. And keep asking.

Then combine patient waiting with your asking. And while you’re waiting, also ask Him to strengthen your faith.

What are you going to ask for?

A job?

A spouse?

A baby?

Healing?

Wisdom for a difficult decision?

Let me know and I’ll join you in asking.


Waiting and the Glory of God

Posted: August 10th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

If there’s one thing I know about you–it’s that you don’t like to wait. You don’t like waiting at a stoplight. You don’t like waiting in line at the post office. You don’t like waiting for a package to come in the mail. You also don’t like waiting for answers to your prayers.

I don’t either. No one likes to wait…for anything. We want it and we want it now.

One of things I’ve tried to help my kids understand is the concept of patiently waiting. For example, we’re all in the car ready to go home or out to lunch after church, but Robyn (my wife) is still inside talking. The kids of course get impatient.

“Where’s mom?”

“What’s she doing?”

“I’m going in to get her.”

I used to say those things, too. And, if I’m honest, I can still start to feel that way at times, but I’ve also learned that it’s okay to wait. A lot of life is comprised of waiting, so we might as well all get used to it.

Many years ago, one of my high school teammates was complaining about an injury to his finger one day. I’ll never forget my coach’s response, “It takes a lot to kill a human being.”

Finger injuries won’t kill us. Neither will waiting

Actually, that’s not always true.

In John 11, Jesus gets word that his good friend Lazarus had died. Jesus tells His disciples, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

Then John tells us that Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus. That’s significant because of the word that comes next. The word that confuses us. The word on which the whole story hinges.

“Yet.”

“Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where he was two more days.”

Does that surprise you? Does it bother you? At least a little?

Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters. He got word Lazarus was sick. Yet He stayed where He was for two more days.

It’s not like Jesus shot off an email or sent a text to let them know He wasn’t coming. He just didn’t show. His good friend is sick, but He waits around for a couple of days before going to him.

Maybe Lazarus was too sick to even know. The sickness did end up killing him, at least for a few days, but Mary and Martha saw that Jesus wasn’t coming. I’m sure they kept watching the road, waiting for Jesus, but He didn’t show.

“Yet.”

Maybe you or a loved one are dealing with a serious illness. Could be you’re trying to sell your house. Or waiting for a call back after the job interview. Maybe you’re waiting and waiting and waiting…to get pregnant.

Are you okay with “yet?”

Jesus told His disciples that the sickness would not end in death, rather it was for God’s glory. Jesus could have easily gone right away and healed Lazarus. We know from other stories that He really didn’t even need to go–He just needed to say the word and Lazarus would have been healed.

This time was going to be different though. This time Jesus was going to raise a man from the dead. A man who’d be in the grave for four days. Jesus was going to kick it up a notch.

Are you okay with God using your circumstances, your waiting, your suffering, your confusion…for His glory?

I’ll be honest, I have to check myself even as I ask that question. I’m right in there with you. I don’t like to wait any more than you do.

Will I wait, and wait patiently without complaining, if it will result in God’s glory?

Yet. Small word. Huge implications for how I live my life.

Are you in a season of “yet?” Could it be that God is orchestrating circumstances in such a way that your prayer is not only answered, but answered in a way that brings glory to Him?

Are you okay with that?

Let me conclude with two last things. First, I know there’s pain and confusion in the waiting. And unlike the situation with Lazarus, our circumstances don’t always turn out like we’d hoped. Our family member dies. The house doesn’t sell and we lose it in foreclosure. The job goes to someone else. A good, faithful woman remains infertile.

I won’t pretend to understand why God does or doesn’t answer some prayers. And I don’t have the words to erase the pain that unanswered prayers can cause, but the second thing I want to share has to do with the shortest verse in the Bible.

Eventually, Jesus made His way to Bethany where Mary and Martha were now mourning their brother. Once there, He sees the pain they’re in and John tells us:

“Jesus wept.”

Why did Jesus cry? Think about it–He’d already told His disciples that the sickness would not end in death. He knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. If it was me, I’d have a hard time suppressing a huge grin knowing I was about to bring a dead man to life and give him back to his mourning sisters!

Not Jesus though. Jesus wept. He wept in response to the pain that Mary and Martha were feeling. He saw their pain and felt it with them. It didn’t matter that He was about to perform a miracle and turn everything around. He entered into their pain and felt it, too.

Jesus feels your pain. He’s not far away and unconcerned. He sees what you’re going through and feels your pain.

As you live in a season of “yet”, remember that while God is orchestrating circumstances for His glory, He also feels your pain. He hurts with you.

Waiting is never easy. Often it’s confusing and painful. But there’s a good and loving God behind it. A God we can believe in.


What Are You Waiting For?

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

A week ago at this time, I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico with my family after a 12 1/2 hour drive from Fayetteville. We were headed to Oceanside, California for a week of vacation. Our oldest daughter, Rachel, and her husband live in Oceanside.

One week later, we’re less than 12 hours from heading home. The vacation is about over. No more seeing Rachel for dinner each night.

The last week has flown by. As did the previous week. And the month before that. So has the last year for that matter. And the last twenty.

Time flies. I know it’s a cliche, but I also know it’s reality.

So what are you waiting for?

Who do you need to visit? Who do you need to call? Who do you need to take to lunch?

Is it time for a vacation?

Maybe you just need to throw the ball with your son or take your daughter out for ice cream. Or get away with your spouse for the weekend.

You might have a book you’ve wanted to read or one you’ve wanted to write. Maybe it’s just getting in shape.

Has God put something on your heart? Forgive someone? Volunteer at your church? Start a ministry? Go back to school? Cut up a credit card?

What are you waiting for?