Waiting on the Lord - The Crucible of Purification
Waiting is a crucible. Almost nothing causes your flesh to burn like waiting on the Lord. Bob Sorge recently tweeted, "There is no hotter flame than waiting on God. That’s why God calls you to wait—He’s refining you." Bob knows what He's talking about, having walked a path of waitingfew of us have ever experienced.
When we understand that God uses waiting as a means to purify our hearts it gives us courage to persevere, though we may wait long. We know that the outcome of the waiting is ultimately for our good and blessing, though the pain of the waiting can be excruciating.
In Leviticus 8 we see the process of sanctification the Old Testament priests had to go through. The process was intricate, involving multiple sacrifices, washings, and offerings. Once the entire process was complete the final phase was waiting. For seven days the priests had to wait to fulfill the purifying process. It is the same for us today in that there is a required waiting for all believers that will produce the necessary purification the Lord desires. Without waiting we will remain fleshly. Through the waiting God purifies us and makes us fit for His own purposes.
Below I've listed three ways that we can agree with the Lord while we are in the waiting process that will enable our hearts to embrace His dealings with us rather than reject them.
1. We must agree in the waiting that His leadership is perfect -God always has our good in mind. His perspective is far superior to ours. Often we think we understand all that is at stake, but the truth is that we only see in a limited way the actuality of any situation. God's perspective is perfect and His leadership is flawless. He knows how to fashion our hearts through the waiting in ways we would never choose, but that ultimately form in us a greater depth of intimacy and holiness. Agree with Him that He knows what He's doing, though you may wait long.
2. We must agree that the waiting itself is redemptive. God uses the crucible of waiting as a refining measure to conform us to His image and will. Waiting is an important part of the process in the formation of our hearts. If we skip the process of waiting we short circuit the activity of God in our lives and thereby forfeit in some way the desired destiny He has for us. The waiting in itself is working for us, "A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor 4:17)."
3. We must agree to say hopeful in the waiting - Most often the process to answered prayer is wait-obey-DELAY-blessing. We are so accustomed to microwaved answers that we have no fortitude to wait for diamonds transformed from coal, over time, through pressure and heat. A delay is not a “no” from God, it's simply part of the process. Our posture is that we must hope in God while we eagerly wait and never get embittered.
Sometimes believers point to Proverbs13:12, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick but the desire fulfilled is a tree of life" as a justification for being depressed in times of extended waiting. Deferred hope is not simply delayed hope, it’s delayed hope that ends up being cast off. The key to not getting into heart sickness in waiting is renewing yourself in hopeful expectation, knowing He's a good leader, who has your best interest in mind and is purifying you through the process of waiting.
Waiting is not easy. It flies in the face of everything that is native to our flesh, which is why the process of waiting is so critical. God's use of waiting as a means to purify us is His kindness towards us and evidence of His commitment to not leave us as we are but to gently and graciously call us into His destiny for us.