Charles Stanley - When God Says Wait
When I think about all the lessons I've learned throughout all the years, the most important principle I've ever learned is this one. Obey God; leave all the consequences to Him. But there's a second principle that I think is so very important and that is wait upon God for His timing. Wait upon God for His timing. His timing is very, very important. And so often we think, well, if I know what God wants me to do, that's all that matters. No. I also need to know when He wants me to do it or how He wants me to do it.
So, when I think about these passages and I think about all the opportunities we have in whatever God calls us to do, you can never go wrong waiting for God's timing. But it requires something. It requires that we be patient because God doesn't always tell us, immediately, when He wants us to do a certain thing. Sometime it's there's time that goes by. And when we step ahead of Him, we get ourselves in trouble. So, timing is very important with God because what He wants to accomplish is usually more than what we have in mind. So, when I think about this, I came to this verse in the twenty-seventh Psalm which reads, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord". That is, don't hurry but wait for Him. Waiting for Him is a difficult thing, especially when I want something now. Or, when I think it's necessary to have it now and God doesn't think the same way, "Wait for the Lord; be strong, let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord".
So, I think about two times in my life where this principle was very important. And the first one, I remember when I had wrecked my automobile, lady hit me from behind and knocked me about thirty feet down the street. And I remember being in the car and God spoke to my heart, Don't buy a car. I thought, Well, that's strange. I'm not even thinking about buying a car. But God knew I would be thinking about it. And so, I waited and waited and waited, and I thought, Okay, God. I'm going to do what You're saying and I'm just going to trust. And so, I finally thought, Well, I've got to do something. So, I went to this dealer and I sat in this particular car I chose, and I waited, and I prayed and talked to God about it and then I got up and left. Then I went back, and I sat in it and I fumbled around like you do and checking everything out to see how it all works. And it's like God said to me, Do you want this, or do you want My best? I said, Well, God, I want Your best. He said, Well, don't buy this car.
So, when the salesman walked up and said, What do you think? I said, You probably won't quite understand what I'm thinking, but I'm not going to buy this car. And so, it was probably a few months later, I'm going with a friend of mine, to a meeting and he says, When are you going to buy yourself a car? I said, Well, I've just been waiting for God to show me. He said, Well, what kind would you buy if you were going to buy one? I didn't even think, I said, Well, if I just had my choice, I'd buy one like this, and three days later, I got a check in the mail to buy that car. Now, it was a whole lot better than the one I was looking at had a whole lot more expensive. And then, of course, I don't always do the right thing sometime. And when I first came to Atlanta, we lived with a friend of mine for three months because we couldn't find a house.
And so, finally after looking and looking and looking, said, Okay, we'll take this one. But I said, Now, one thing I want to be sure I put in the contract, there's no water in the basement. If there's any water in the basement, no deal. Well, when I went home, I thought, Well, Lord, I didn't do what You said do. I stepped ahead of You. That night it came this horrible torrential rainstorm, put a foot of water in the basement and saved me. The very same day that it rained, I found the house that we moved into, brand new house. God's timing isn't good, it's perfect, because He knows all the details. He knows past, present, and future. He knows what we need, what we want; what's the wisest thing to do. You can never go wrong waiting upon God's timing.
So, when you think about decisions that you make and decisions that you're faced with, ask yourself the question, Am I in a hurry? Am I waiting on God's timing? And I talk to people oftentimes who are making big decisions who tell me why they've got to do something right now. And I'm always willing to say, has God told you this is the right time? Well, now, I don't always hear from God. I say, Well, if you haven't heard from Him, you'd better listen because God has a right time and a wrong time. The Scripture says in this twenty-seventh Psalm, "Wait for the Lord, listen to this, "be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord". That fourteenth verse. He repeats it, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage". Why did he say that? Because oftentimes it takes courage to wait.
Listen. When the Spirit of God saved you, the Spirit of God inhabited your life, He was there for a number of reasons, one of which was to give instruction, to give direction for your life because God knows none of us are sufficient within ourselves to always make wise decisions. And so, we have the Holy Spirit to caution us, to quicken our spirit to do the right thing, always willing and ready to show us the right thing to do. So, what I want to talk about is this simple subject, "When God Says Wait". When God says wait in your life, what do you do? Do you pray and say, Well, Lord, thank You for that, but I think I've got this all figured out now, Lord. No. When God says wait, that's exactly what He means. Whatever the issue is, you wait till God gives you direction. Somebody says, Well, now, I don't know that I always hear God. Watch this carefully. Are you listening? Say amen.
That's why you need to learn to listen to God when you don't have anything that's pressing. You don't start like this. You learn to listen to Him when you don't have a big issue in life, when there's no pressure. You make it a habit to listen to Him, with little things in life, things that are not so crucial at that particular point. Learning to listen to God and waiting on His timing, I believe is the second most important principle in the Word. We're not talking about whether we believe in God or not. We're talking about Christians. We're talking about waiting upon God till we have clear direction as to what to do. Because we have the promise of God's Word, He will give us direction. It's not a matter of trying to find, is there any place in the Word of God where we have direction? Sure, there are many places. He promises to give us direction. He promises to answer our prayer.
And so, when I look at this verse, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord". In that verse is a warning. Listen, "Be strong and let your heart take courage, wait". Why does he say, "Be strong"? Because he knows that at some points, sometimes in our life it's very difficult to have to wait; especially when everybody around you is telling you, Well, why not now? This is a good time. It's a good time of the year. This is a great time. Not whether you have the money or not. Not whether you've found the will of God or not. Listen. If we're going to practice the best principles, one of those principles is simply this. That is, wait upon the Lord. Be strong he says wait upon the Lord. So, let's think about it for just a moment. What are the requirements for waiting upon God? Because there are requirements.
Well, the first one is this. And that is I have to trust Him. If I'm going to wait upon God, I've got to trust Him because my waiting is saying I'm trusting You God that Your timing is better than mine. You know what I do not know. Your time is always right, and so I'm going to trust You and I'm going to wait 'til You give me permission to go there, or do this, or have that, or buy the other. It isn't that God's trying to deprive us of anything. He only wants what is best for us, so it takes faith. And what I mean by that is simply this. Am I willing to trust God for His timing before I make a decision? You say, Well, how will you know God's timing? He will show you. What does He say? "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you". That is, God is willing to show you the truth if you're willing to ask Him.
Now, if you're living in sin, disobedience to God, you're probably not going to hear Him because you can't hear Him because you don't particularly want to hear Him. But I'm talking about people who really and truly want to do the right thing. You want what's best for you, for your family, decisions that you have to make. It takes faith to wait upon God because trusting Him doesn't mean I'm going to get what I want when I want it. Trusting Him says I believe that when the timing is right God will provide what I'm asking Him for. So, would you say that you have the faith to wait upon God when you come to a decision in your life? A major decision? It takes faith to wait. Because we think, well, if I don't get it now, what? I won't get it. If I don't do it now it won't be done. Let me ask you a question.
Is there anything too hard for God? No. Can't God control any and every circumstance? Yes. If God tells you to wait do you think that something's going to slip up from under God's care? No. If we'll stop and think the power of God, the wisdom of God, the love of God, the knowledge of God, we're not going to miss anything we ought to have by waiting upon God. If God doesn't provide something that you've asked for and you are trusting Him, it's because you either don't need it, because it's not good for you, or it's not the right timing. It all boils down to this. Do I trust Him or do I not? A second thing that is required of us and that is simply patience. In the thirty-seventh Psalm listen to this. Three times in the thirty-seventh Psalm he says beginning in verse one, "Do not fret". Second times he says, "Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him; Do not fret". Third time, "Do not fret". Three times in that Psalm he says don't fret. That is, don't allow yourself to get anxious about something when you can ask God about it.
Now, if I should ask you: do you believe God loves you? You would say, yes. What would you include in love? Wouldn't you include good advice, good guidance, provision, help, strength, energy, or whatever? When you include those things in God's guidance and love for you? Yes, you would. If you believe that God is who He says He is, you can believe that God will show you the right time to do anything and everything. The right time to make a purchase, the right time to go yonder, the right time to do this, the right time to have this particular job. God's timing is always perfect. Do I believe that He has our best interest at heart? If I believe that I'm going to wait but watch this, somebody says I don't have any time to waste. You never waste time waiting on God. Never. You'll always find out that His timing is always the right time. It takes faith, it takes patience, it takes courage.
And I love one of my favorite verses in the Bible is in this first chapter of Joshua. He says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go". And so, if I'm going to trust Him, I've got to trust His time. It takes courage to say no to offers. For example, I remember on one occasion somebody wanted to give me a very, very valuable piece of property and build me a house at no cost, in a wonderful place. I thought it was a great idea. Ha-ha, I did. And so, he just said, Here's the architect and y'all just design it; just design it the way you want it, and here's where we're going to put it; which was on a beautiful island. And so, naturally I thought, Well, Lord, You're just blessing me. And then when I got to praying, that's not what I got.
Now, I got real encouragement from the person who wanted to do it; and encouragement by the architect, naturally. And so, the Lord and I had to talk about it, and I wanted to know, well, why not? Huh-huh, why not? And the Lord reminded me that's not the right question. The right question is if it's My will; and this is not of Me. It's not My will. It looks right. It's free. But it's not My will. And so, you must say no. Well, then, I had to deal with that. How do I tell my friend that I cannot accept something so valuable and beautiful and desirous? And when I finally did, naturally he did not understand. I said, Well, the only thing I can tell you is this. When God tells me not to do something, I've made enough mistakes in life to know He means exactly what He says, and I cannot require of God to tell me why. Sometimes He'll tell you why; sometimes He won't. It was probably about six months later that I realized why.
Now, did I covet it all during that time? No, I didn't. I knew very clearly that God was saying to me, No, this is not My will. It looks like My will, but it's not. This is why listening to God is so very important. And it's why it takes faith, patience, and courage to wait upon Him till we know His will. Many things look like the will of God; because oftentimes it looks like God just being good to you. In other words, I couldn't think of any reason not to accept something that was so desirous. But finally, the Lord showed me I didn't have to understand why. All I had to understand is whether I was going to be obedient or not. God's, watch this, God's timing is perfect. It's perfect. It may appear to be late, but it's perfect timing; because God knows all of the avenues that affect us. It takes faith; it takes patience; it takes courage. It takes determination.
To obey God, takes determination sometimes because of all of the things that other people think and what they say and maybe their influence in your life and all the rest. It takes determination to wait. Why are you going to wait? This is a chance of a lifetime. Why are you going to wait? Watch this carefully. You say, Why do you keep saying watch this carefully? Because I want you to watch it carefully. Because it's so very important. Things may look exactly right, but something deep down inside of you, who is the Holy Spirit, is cautioning you, Mm-mm-mm. Mm-mm-mm. And, watch this carefully. If you don't obey the heeding of the Holy Spirit. He doesn't get louder and louder and louder. He comes on loud to begin with, but because of your disobedience you hear Him less and less and less, finally, you don't hear a thing. You have to determine. You have to determine to wait for God; especially when you've got lots of pressure on you. You have to determine to wait upon God. Everybody has an opinion about something.
So, think about it. It takes faith, patience, courage, determination; and then it takes strength. No. Not moving until God says move. Not making a choice until God says make a choice. It takes strength. And so, we go to the Scripture and who is the source of our strength? Almighty God. Lord, if this is not Your will, give me the strength to say no. And Lord, give me the desire of my heart for you and for obedience so strong I don't want to do anything that brings about disobedience in my life. It takes strength to say no, and especially if somebody's saying, Aw, come on. Come on. Come on. Come on. It's going to be okay.
Let me tell you why it's going to be okay. Nobody can change the mind of God by telling you it's going to be okay. And this is why you have to be careful. It's easy to listen to loud voices rather than the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit. He's not going to shout unless it's so very important that God is not going to put up with it. And He overrules with His sovereign care and comes down so strong, No! And God knows how to do that. So, let's go over them again. It takes faith, patience, courage, determination, and strength. And then the last one it takes is endurance. You just have to hang in there and listen to people tell you why you should; listen to people who tell you why you should not, endure. That is, you endure their suggestions, their influence, their testimony, whatever it might be, but you have to decide if you're going to be obedient to God or not.
Waiting upon the Lord is a lesson we learn and having heard this sermon, I pray to Almighty God you do not walk out of here and forget what you've heard. If you do, you're going to get in trouble. The world's full of trouble. The world's full of offers. People are full of suggestions of how you ought to live your life and what you ought to do and what you should not do. There's only one ultimate supreme voice that you listen to and that's God. If I'm going to wait upon Him and listen to Him, it takes faith, patience, courage, determination, strength, and endurance. That means I'm willing to hang in there, God, with You no matter what until You show me what to do. Obey God; leave all the consequences to Him. But wait upon the Lord until you know that you have heard what He requires of you. God's not going to tell you to do anything sinful, disobedient out of the will of God.
This is why we talk about walking in the will of God; because it's the safe place, the best place, the wisest place, the happiest place. It's the most successful place you can be is walking in the will of God. Will you miss some things in life? Only those things that are not good for you. Obey God, you'll have what God knows is good for you. So, you have to decide, are you going to listen to Him, or listen to somebody else? Listening to God and walking on His schedule, making decisions based on His guidance and direction in your life, is the only way to live. Amen?
Now, if you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, all of this is foreign to you. I understand that. So, the most important decision you need to make in your life is to surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, confessing and repenting of your sin, surrendering your life to Him; then, you can hear Him. And you're going to realize that God has something for you you never dreamed of. He has the best for you, if you will surrender your life to Him and begin to trust Him, follow Him, obey Him, your life's going to change. And it's going to change for the better. And I trust that whatever you're doing, wherever you are right at this moment, you will stop when this service is over, and you will ask God to cleanse your heart, forgive your sins, surrender your life to Him, and begin the most awesome journey you could possibly imagine. Walking with the living God who has promised to provide your needs, give you direction, and give you an excitement about life you will never, never experience until you've surrendered your life to Him. And that's my prayer for you.
Father, we love You and praise You that You love us enough to stop us dead in our tracks when You know we want to do what's right. You know who's listening to this message right now. Who's in the process of making a decision, maybe it's a decision that has long-range consequences. Father, I pray that You'll speak to them clearly, impress their heart, move their mind, will, and emotion to do the right thing. And to realize they can trust You, God. Lord, impress their heart to trust You, and watch You work in the most awesome fashion. Always for their good, and I pray this in Jesus's name, amen.