You Don’t Always Know What You Need

Lately, I have been experiencing headaches and dizziness regularly. The issue is that my eyes have changed over the past fourteen months. As my vision got worse, it has led to side effects that are impacting my everyday routine. I went to the eye doctor and explained to him what I was experiencing. He ran me through a battery of tests, and my right eye is deteriorating more quickly than my left. He changed my prescription, and within a week, I will have new glasses to fix the problem.

Here is the point of my story. When I took my symptoms and tried to give a self-diagnosis, my first thought was a brain tumor. That would explain everything, along with other issues in my life. Then I typed them into WebMD, and I received a variety of possible problems. My research left me affirming my brain tumor diagnosis, or possibly it was just the side effects of influenza. The list of various issues was long and hard to distinguish the correct item. Even when I decided to check my eyes first, because I have experienced problems before, the doctor discovered things that had not crossed my mind. Self-diagnosis, even in the age of the internet, is still guesswork.

If this is true of your physical body, might it also be true of your spiritual life?

Is it possible that your thoughts about yourself are wrong? You think you know what is happening, but you are wrong.

Is it also possible that your friends on the internet are misleading you? Not on purpose, mind you, but rather, they are untrained and inexperienced.

Is it even possible that the book you just read might not be the information that helps you in your walk with God? They are not trying to lead you astray, but their ideas don’t accurately apply to you and your situation?

If you think the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you understand why God gave us the Church. When we come to follow Jesus, we are placed into a community of people who are also following Jesus. There are people there who lead who have been trained in the proper way to interpret the Bible, theology, and how those intersect with people. Other leaders help pray for your spiritual needs and provide the advice that comes with years of following Jesus. Some God-fearing saints have walked paths like yours who want to help you on your journey. There are people your age who bring different life experiences that can stand beside you on this journey. There is a large group of people who are here to help you see your shortcomings, overcome your flaws, and move you into a healthy relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

If you try to walk the journey of faith alone, you are susceptible to the limitations of your own experience and research. You don’t know what you need. You need someone with training and wisdom to guide you in paths of righteousness that you would not walk alone. I know the community of faith is not perfect, just like the medical community, but they are both here to help you.

Waiting for the Lord

Last week I spoke to a group of teachers as part of a Fellowship of Christian Athletes program called a “Coaches Huddle.” It is an informal devotion that I lead along with the other pastors in our community. As God so often does with lessons, what I wrote for the message also touched my life and challenged me. The topic for the day was waiting on the Lord, and I thought you might find it helpful too.

Psalm 27:13-14, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (14) Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (NIV 2011) This Psalm is one written by King David, and the entire thing drives toward one concept. Believers are frequently called to wait on the Lord to act at the proper time in his perfect way.

The Biblical characters underline this truth to us repeatedly. Abram waited 25 years from the promise of a son to its fulfillment. Joseph, in Genesis, waits 13 years for God to give him the place of honor promised to him. Moses spends 40 years in Egypt and then must spend another 40 tending sheep before he is ready to lead the Lord’s people. Even King David, the author of this passage, was anointed as the next king and then spent 14 years waiting to take the throne.

David, understanding the way of God, says two times in one verse, “Wait for the Lord.” He states it and then restates it to drive home his point. This is the equivalent of him shouting at the top of his lungs. He screams this truth to people living a long time ago, and maybe that is so his words will reach clear to future generations like ours. We live in a time of instant gratification. We have microwaves to cook our food in seconds. One TV service now offers “Movies on Demand.” There is high-speed internet where I can get everything from news to entertainment to personal connection immediately.

Yet, believers are willing to wait for God to act in his own time and in his own uniquely perfect way. We submit our will to his leading and his timing. He forces us to trust him day after day, week after week, and often year after year.

The context of this statement in verse 13, where David says he is confident of one thing. If he clings to the Lord and waits for him, we will see his goodness in this lifetime. This is not a health and wealth gospel that says, “Trust God, and he will give you everything you want.” This is “Cling to God over a lifetime, and his goodness will transform you.” You will receive his blessing, even though it may not look like what we were expecting.

Today, at the start of another week, we may find ourselves in the middle of a season where God has not shown up yet. His blessings are delayed, and we feel like giving up. The challenge of David is to keep holding onto God, even when we want to quit. Wait for the Lord, he is seldom early, but he is never late. Trust him while you spend time in the waiting room of life. When we have the least control is when we need to trust that God is in complete control.