I met Lisa Burkhardt Worley at a speaker’s workshop and quickly connected with her heart for Jesus. Lisa is an author and speaker and the founder of Pearls of Promise Ministries, a ministry with a goal of helping women overcome dysfunction and trials in their lives through the strength of Christ.
Lisa, a former national and local sportscaster, has co-authored two books, the Pearls of Promise devotional and a new book, If I Only Had…Wrapping Yourself in God’s Truth During Storms of Insecurity, which will be released in late May, 2014.
Answering a call to ministry, Lisa earned a Master’s of Theological Studies degree from Perkins School of Theology, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2008. Today, welcome and enjoy Lisa’s devotion about that most difficult place we all find ourselves at one time or another … waiting “in between.”
The question from this week’s Bible study lesson provided an “aha” moment. It asked, “In what ways can waiting make you more like Jesus?” The lesson was all about waiting on the Lord and how God uses those “in between” times to shape us. For me, the timing of the teaching was perfect.
But the question presented in the study prompted another question, “Did Jesus understand waiting on the Lord when he walked this earth? Did he ever experience the emotions and uncertainty that come from being in limbo? Hebrews 4:15 says, For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses. Did he comprehend how difficult it is to wait on the Lord?
Then it occurred to me. Jesus’ life was all about waiting.
But it was even more difficult, because he knew what he was going to face. Persecution, mockery, a painful death on the cross. Scripture reveals in John 7 that he was aware of what was ahead:
After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, ‘Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.’ For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do.”(John 7:1-6)
“My time is not yet here…” Jesus was waiting. It wasn’t time for him to die but he knew it was coming. He knew the feeling.
He waited before me.
So back to the initial question. “In what ways can waiting make you more like Jesus?” After the “aha” moment, I was able to answer this question more thoroughly. Jesus waited from birth. He did not let his waiting period paralyze him in any way. He continued to do ministry; he healed the sick, loved the unloved and taught about the kingdom of God. For Jesus, waiting did not mean to come to a total halt. He didn’t worry about what was ahead in the future and sit around complaining that nothing was happening. Waiting meant to carry on until his Father said, “It’s your time now.”
I realized we need to do the same. While in the waiting period, it is important to continue to live out our calling. Waiting does not equal stop. It means to stay closely connected to the Lord so we’ll be able to hear God when he says it’s time to change my direction. Being like Jesus in the wait means to do ministry like Jesus did, and handle the in between with dignity.
Are you waiting? How are you handling it?
Did Jesus ever struggle with the wait?
Prior to his arrest, he prayed on the Mount of Olives and the Word says he was in so much anguish his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. According to medical authorities, under conditions of great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can rupture, mixing blood with perspiration. Jesus knew his wait was almost over and it was stressful.
But when God said to Jesus, “It’s your time now” he went peaceably. When our wait is over, the direction God calls us may not be exactly what we imagined. Will we fight it?
As in Jesus’ life, the wait is part of the preparation for what is ahead. If nothing is happening, it’s important to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Continue to trust God when he is silent because the wait simply means it’s not your time yet. It’s comforting to know that Jesus understands.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15, NIV)