May 7, 2019
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I'm pretty sure there's a five-year-old kid in all of us (for sure there is one in me), and one place it came out in me was years ago when we took our kids to one of America's major theme parks. Like a lot of theme parks, we found you had to get there very early because you have to wait for some of the most exciting attractions. The earlier you get there, the shorter the line. Of course, you can't ride all the rides simultaneously, so even the early birds end up in lines a good part of the day. Now, at this particular park, some of the longest lines are (you're going to know where it is now) for a ride called Space Mountain. You might have been there. It's basically a wild roller coaster ride through outer space in almost total darkness. When we took the kids there, I asked someone coming out how long they waited in this obviously long line. "An hour," one guy told me. An hour? Well, we did it. We even went back later and did it again. We even saw a lot of teenagers - you know, people not normally known for their patience, enduring the wait for Space Mountain. Why? Because you have to wait if you want the best stuff.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Waiting for the Best."
Most of us aren't too good at this waiting business, unless apparently, we know that what we're waiting for is worth the wait! That's why those people stood in that line. The Bible introduces us to several of God's impatient servants, like the prophet who wrote our word for today from the Word of God. His name is Habakkuk. He was seeking what he considered to be justice in some events that the prophet considered to be unjust. And, in essence, God says, "I'll answer your prayer." Then comes that dreaded word: wait.
In Habakkuk 2:3, God says, "The revelation awaits an appointed time." In other words, it's coming, Habakkuk, but not until it's time. It's not time yet. God continues, "Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." "Wait for it." I don't like those words. We don't like that idea. I mean, take a line at a theme park! But it's okay if we know there's something real good at the end of the wait. We don't like that idea in our lives right now unless we know there's something real good at the end of the wait.
By the time we get to our word for today from the the Word of God in Habakkuk 3 beginning with verse 16, the impatient prophet has changed his tune. He said, "I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us." That was the justice Habakkuk wanted, he wanted it right now! But it wasn't going to come right away. He says, "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior."
Underlying this model of patient waiting is a solid gold lesson of Scripture: getting God's best is a lot like getting the best rides at a theme park - you have to wait for the best. Sadly, Scripture is filled with the lives of people who couldn't wait for God's answer, who took matters into their own hands - maybe like you've been doing right now - or you're tempted to do.
God promised a son to Abraham in his old age, and Abram couldn't wait for God to do it, so he conceived a baby through his wife's handmaiden. And the result was a centuries-old battle between the children of Isaac, the Jews, and the children of Ishmael, the Arabs. Moses wanted to deliver his people from Egypt, but he acted too soon and in the wrong way, and he ended up a fugitive in the wilderness for 40 years.
It could be that right now God has asked you to spend some time in His waiting room - and it feels like the line's not moving...nothing is happening. But God's best almost always comes after a wait - like the birth of a baby. Right now God is preparing you for your answer and your answer for you and you can't rush it. He's building faith in you right now that you'd never have if you got your instant answer.
Don't rush it - you'll ruin it. You may be getting tired of waiting, but don't leave the line or jump the line. Stay where you are, and wait patiently. Believe me, what's at the end of the line is really worth the wait!