Are you waiting FOR the Lord only or are you waiting WITH the Lord?
In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers discusses the difference between waiting FOR the Lord and waiting WITH the Lord.
In Matthew 26:40 “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” The phrase of focus is “watch with Me.” The disciples were so accustomed to watching FOR Jesus; looking for Him to do things for them, to comfort them, explain to them, protect them! All these ideas are appropriate and necessary. In fact, this one-way street attitude is exactly what a proper relationship with a child is. This is initially pertinent because children do not have the ability to understand outside themselves and need adult input in order to develop. However, at some point the relationship must become symbiotic or the child cannot flourish. This is what Jesus was asking of them. His request was not about something for the disciples, but rather what Jesus needed. He invited them to join WITH him…to watch (pray) regarding this massive task before Him. Although, the disciples clearly did not have a full grasp on the issue at hand, Luke 22:25/26 tells us they had fallen asleep because they were “exhausted from sorrow.” Jesus refers to their state of sleep as “giving into temptation.” Even though it was sorrow for Jesus because they loved Him so much, it was still sin to deny Jesus’ request and fail to pray. Our own issues are very real and God’s attention is absolutely on us and He is with us in our fear, grief, anger, sorrow. However, that fact cannot fog the reality that it is NEVER acceptable to permit our troubles to be our focus in life!
On a recent prayer-walk, God was stressing this verse in a new and incredibly powerful way.I was impressed with the idea of Him yelling this from the side of the road as though He were trying to wake me up. His call was filled with desperation for His children who are perishing every moment of every day. He was asking, not just “won’t you watch with Me,” but “won’t you lay down your worries and concerns, your dreams, your pettiness, your day-week-month-years…to save them with me?” If a house were on fire and people were trapped inside, would we not act immediately and do everything possible to save them? Who of us would stand on the side and explain (calmly mind you) that we cannot help because we haven’t worked through our depression or anger or marriage troubles? In fact, would we allow the anguish from experiences as hideous as abuse, rape, betrayal…even if it were fresh…to stop us, while we stand there and watch someone burn? Definitely not! We would set them aside until the emergency had passed, then turn our attention back to what had been occupying our attention. The flesh has us convinced that until we are free from our personal ailments, we are of no use and have no responsibility to help or lead or manage or engage in the saving of souls! WE HAVE LITERALLY ALLOWED OURSELVES TO BECOME BY-STANDERS WHILE OTHERS BURN, FEELING JUSTIFIED BECAUSE WE HAVE OUR OWN ISSUES!!! And that is true. We all do have our own very significant issues deserving of attention. But, we must be released from the trap of believing that those issues need to be front and center every moment of every day.
I’m sure you know someone you would describe as having a one-track mind.Car salesmen get a bad wrap for this behavior. Some (not all) are always angling, always trying to work a sale into a conversation, always moving the focus to the sale. Most of us will agree that this is incredibly annoying and it will cause us to avoid that person if at all possible. You have probably never considered that you may be doing the same thing with your personal issues. God is trying to call on you to impact the Kingdom; to be someone He can depend on and save his other children…whomever he has put in front of you!! However, you can’t hear Him calling because you’re too busy frantically calling out to Him. Now, to be clear, God can absolutely hear you at the same time He’s talking to you. We, however, do NOT have this ability. We cannot receive from Him if our minds are constantly full of worries! What’s amazing is that when you set aside those concerns and join God in His endeavors, He orchestrates the events to simultaneously bring resolve, healing, and/or inspiration for your life issues. We are actually blocking our own requests when we allow ourselves to remain full of worry.
This is not to suggest that no issue would legitimately cause us to be unable to fight the good fight.I have been there too. Having been hit by a speeding semi, it was a good long time before I was useful to the Kingdom…I was the one in need of saving; not my soul, just every other part of me. Of course, these times exist for all of us. However, we MUST be deliberate about reevaluating our habits, status, and focus at predetermined intervals. Eventually, we all should move from being the rescuee to the rescuer!
We must shed what was behind and strain toward what lies ahead in Jesus Christ!As your attention is given over to God’s desires, you will feel the cracks of insight into God’s heart, which is breaking for the lost. In the same way we would have to take risks to save someone in that burning building, so too we will have to take risks to save souls!
So, what life do you want? One of constantly existing in the cesspool of the flesh, being led around by “problems” which aren’t real troubles when compared to the destruction of a soul? Being deceived into thinking and acting as though meaningless issues of distraction are meaningful objects of attention. This content may seem harsh to some and that may be good. We need to be challenged; to press the boundaries of our insights and focus on GOD’S VISION. He loves us immeasurably and the same lengths He went to in our salvation journey are the same He will go to for the rest of the world, whom He desperately loves as well. Questions we must ask…Are we willing to join Him on that quest? Are we willing to trust that while we aide Him, He will infuse into us that which we need for our own abundant life?