This week’s sermon tackled one of the most difficult topics in our lives: waiting. Simply, God commands waiting and promises blessings when we obey. Yet, we want what we want when we want it, and that wanting makes waiting nearly impossible. Towards that end, we asked this Big Picture Question:
Big Picture Question: Why is waiting a good thing?
And we attempted to answer that question in this way. Waiting is a good thing because when we wait…
We understand God’s purposes.
We understand sorrow.
We understand joy.
Our setting is Jesus’ explaining to His disciples in John 16:16-24 that in a little while, they won’t see Him (His ascension) into Heaven, but in a little while they will see Him again (His return). The disciples are confused. They don’t know what Jesus is talking about, and they want Jesus, their Savior, to stay. They have expectations of their Savior (an earthly kingdom, kicking out the Roman rulers), that Jesus seems uninterested in fulfilling. Instead, Jesus wants them to know the true nature of His rule and the true nature of what it means to be Savior. In this, the disciples realize that Jesus, the Savior, is going to unfold God’s purposes before them, and those purposes are higher and better than theirs. We too learn God’s purposes when we wait. We may want our purposes now, but waiting teaches us that God’s purposes are the ones that our hearts need. Waiting teaches us to understand God’s purposes.
Jesus knows they are confused. So, Jesus gives them a few more details. Unfortunately, the details aren’t incredibly comforting. He explains that while He is gone, the disciples are going to suffer, and the world is going to rejoice as they suffer. Like the disciples, we spend our waiting time wishing away pain and suffering. Jesus, however, wants the disciples to understand suffering. Waiting helps us do that. And the value of understanding suffering is that we, as creatures, understand our Savior’s suffering on our behalf. Waiting teaches us to understand suffering.
Jesus, however, gives the disciples two pictures. There is a day when we will see God, the Father, face to face, and we won’t have to ask for a single thing because Heaven will erase all of our needs and suffering. Additionally, while we wait, Jesus teaches us that if we ask for anything in agreement with His will (in His name), He will give it to us. We are not left alone. This picture of present and future joy only comes to us while we wait. Waiting helps we understand joy.
We ended our sermon in this way.
Truth: Waiting is a good thing because as we wait, we understand God’s purposes, we understand sorrow, and we understand joy.
Application: Live knowing, that in the waiting, we are most able to love and trust Jesus.
Action: Pray that God would make the waiting in your life sweet and joyful even if you suffer.
I hope you enjoyed the sermon, and if you missed it or want to explore it deeper, you can find it online now. I look forward to seeing all of you again this week and on Sunday.