There is nothing you can do&emdash;no turning over a new leaf, no winding back the clock, no fixing the unfixable. Your bills are piled up and there is no money to pay. Your cupboards are mostly bare, yet there are no fewer mouths to feed. The car just quit, your phone was disconnected and the mortgage payment is two months behind. You have blown it. All your youthful hopes and dreams of a good life are shattered and broken. You are numb from shock as your life has systematically turned into a dreadful nightmare. You want to scream, but that would upset the kids. You want to cry, but you are too mad. You would pray, but. . . oh, what the use. To pout and sulk you've tried before, which only increased your miseries. You think about getting drunk, but dread the sure hangover. What do you do when your plate is so filled with problems that you have reached your limit and circumstances are out of your control?
by Jerry Gentry
"And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever" (Exod. 14:13).
Trusting God in the face of total defeat is perhaps the ultimate test of patience in the Christian walk. Nobody wants to be friends with a loser, as Job found out through rejection and terrible trial by fire. Yet when he learned to stand still, and wait upon the LORD, he found restoration.
When David and his men found that their wives and children had been taken captive, "David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God" (1Sa 30:6). David had learned how to stand still and wait upon the LORD. Soon every wife, child and piece of property was recovered without damage.
Elijah depended on God solely for his sustenance, while he hid himself "by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan" (1Ki 17:3). God told Elijah, "And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there" (v. 4).
All was well, until "the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land" (1Ki 17:7). What was Elijah to do? He had no water to drink? Would he die of thirst? He had to wait upon the LORD.
"And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee" (1Ki 17:8-9).
Elijah had learned a great lesson. He had learned to stand still, and wait upon further instruction from the LORD. He had submitted his life in total trust without murmuring, until God's sure answer came.
Three great men of God&emdash;Job, David and Elijah. And all three men came to that point in their lives where they had no power to change overwhelming negative circumstances. Christian, have you ever experienced the end of your rope, so to speak? Have you came to that proverbial brick wall in your life, where you were blocked in, where you were totally helpless, where you knew all roads said, "dead end?"
If you are a genuine believer, you have most likely already experienced such adversities. But did you know that every person is born into such a helpless state? Each of us is born into sin, without remedy of ourselves. You personally came into this world, in sin, as an unbeliever, under the wrath of Almighty God. You were born into this world with the certain flames of hell leaping out to devour you.
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).
Before we even had an interest in Him, he died for us. While we were reveling in unfaithfulness, He showed Himself faithful. While we were spitting in his face, lashing him with a cat-o-nine tails and driving the spikes into his hands, He was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).
Yes, Jesus set us the ultimate example in how to stand still, and wait upon the LORD, in this case, His Father in heaven.
Yet our first response to adversity is seldom to give thanks, as the Bible teaches, but to murmur. The people of Israel have always had this problem. When times are good, we forget God. And when things get bad, we blame God, just like our forefathers. Yet every believer must sooner or later come eyeball to eyeball with the reality of God, and learn how to stand still and wait upon the LORD, even in awe, in wonderment. For which is easier for God&emdash;to save us from eternal flames of hell by giving His son to die on the cross; or simply to provide our daily needs?
Now it would seem obvious that providing our daily needs is a mere drop in the bucket compared with sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross. Yet if we have trusted Christ to save us in genuine faith, how is it that we think we may someday die of thirst, or fail to have something to eat?
Waiting upon the LORD is a test that our forefathers failed miserably, at least twice. Yet it is a lesson that every genuine believer must learn. We must come to that place in life where we simply stand still and wait upon the LORD. Such a place of trust has been likened to receiving the impossible. It has been called "breaking the faith barrier."
How do we learn to "break the faith barrier?" What exactly does this mean?
The Bible gives us some clues.
"Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah" (Ps. 4:4), the psalmist counsels. And, "For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth" (Ps. 37:9).
The prophet Isaiah gives us great encouragement: "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isa. 40:31).
Christian, wait upon the LORD. But how must I do this, you ask?
It is a challenge that requires complete yieldedness and trust, even when all looks bleak and hopeless. It is a lesson in uncommon faith. And the harder you work to achieve it, the less of it you find. You must simply learn to stand still.
"Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence" (Ps. 59:9), the psalmist declares. And, "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him" (Ps. 62:5).
Did you thank God for the present circumstances in your life this morning? Did you thank Him for sending you your present trials, your impossible situations, your blind alleys and dead end streets? If not, Christian, you have yet to learn the lesson of wait upon the LORD.
Did you declare your victories this week, in the face of your various your defeats? Or did you complain? Did you sing praises when you wanted to curse? Did you thank God when you wanted to cry? When the devil reminded you of your past sins, did you remind Him of his sure future doom? Did you speak words of scripture, or words of vanity? Did you rejoice, or did you murmur, when you last approached the Marah of your life?
"And when they [the children of Israel] came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah" (Exo 15:23).
"And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?" (v. 24).
Yes, our forefathers murmured more than once against Moses. God commanded Moses to put a certain tree in the water, and the waters were made fresh. The people drank their fill. Later, Moses was again challenged by their murmuring:
"And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink" (Exo 17:1).
"Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? (v. 2).
"And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?" (Exo v. 3).
"And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me" (v. 4).
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go" (v. 5).
"Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel" (v. 6).
"And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?" (v. 7).
And much later, after the children of Israel had wandered in the desert forty years, then came again to this very same spot. You would have thought these children would have remembered the lesson of their fathers from forty years earlier. But such was not the case.
"Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there" (Num 20:1).
"And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron" (v. 2).
"And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!" (v. 3).
"And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?" (v. 4).
"And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink" (v. 5).
"And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them" (v. 6).
"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying" (v. 7).
"Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink" (v. 8).
"And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him" (v. 9).
"And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?" (v. 10).
"And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also" (v. 11).
"And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them" (v. 12).
"This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them" (v. 13).
Instead of murmuring and complaining, the Bible teaches "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1Ths. 5:18).
It also says, "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4).
And be reminded of Jesus' promise: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20).
Can we learn that waiting upon the LORD, requires that we "have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men" (Acts 24:16)? Can we learn the lesson that always seemed to catch up short our Israelite ancestors of the old covenant?
"For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Hebr. 4:2).
Are you a man of faith or a woman of faith? Then you have learned to wait upon the LORD, and not take matters into your own hands. You have learned where to draw that line of when do take action, and exactly what action to take, which is where we often get into trouble. When we take premature action, we often take the wrong action.
In our pain, or zeal, or determination, or impatience, we put the "petal to the metal," so to speak, and speed ahead of God. And when we get ahead of God, He does not always follow our lead. Once we get far enough ahead, and realize something is wrong, instead of retracing our steps to get back where we belong, we put on the gas even more, thinking we can work things out on our own. In such instances, we have failed to wait upon the LORD.
The psalmist declares: "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth" (Ps. 46:10). Christian, learn the lesson of when to stand still. Learn how to wait upon the LORD.