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When We Wait For God Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 31, 2022 1:00 am

When We Wait For God Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 31, 2022 1:00 am

Waiting for God—it goes against our instincts. But waiting for His timing guarantees that things happen at the right time, even if it means our final salvation will take place in glory. In this message, we find three practical ways to wait on God. After all, it is only when we wait for God that we’re able to do what is beyond our abilities. 

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at or call us at 1-888-217-9337.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

Waiting for God, it goes against our instincts, but waiting for His timing guarantees that things happen at the right time. Waiting for God means investing time every day in prayer, seeking His face and seeking His direction. Today, how David learned to wait. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, we're in Psalm 37 again today in your series on When God Shows Himself.

Give us a preview of what we'll be learning. Well, Dave, we're going to continue our emphasis on waiting for God. That means that we have to seek His face, we have to be silent before Him, we have to surrender to Him, and we have to let Him do His work. You know, even here at Running to Win, I want you to know that we see this ministry as belonging to God and not to us. And that's why we do wait on God for His blessing. And it's because of people like you, this ministry has indeed multiplied throughout the years.

We're now in 20 different countries in four different languages. And today is the last day that you have to maximize your gift, because we have some friends who said that every gift given to Running to Win this month will be doubled. Would you help us? You go to

That's, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And how delightful it is for me to hear the rustling of leaves from the Bible for those of you who have one, and bring it. God bless you. You'll notice it says in Psalm 25, verses 4 and 5, make me to know your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths, lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation, for you I wait all day long. Two examples, one from Scripture, the other from life. The Bible says that Joshua, when he came into the land, he was tricked by the Gibeonites.

Do you remember that story? They said, we're coming from a distance, and so they took moldy bread, and they put it in their satchels, and they acted as if they were from a distance, because God says don't make a covenant with the people who are from the land. So they came and they said, oh, we came from a long, long way, and Joshua makes a covenant that he's not going to kill them, that he's not going to fight against them, that they're going to be able to live among them. And those Gibeonites were a thorn in his side.

But here's the phrase you should always remember. It says regarding Joshua, he has not the counsel of the Lord. It seemed so right. He thought there are some things you don't have to ask God about. I mean, it's clear these people came from a distance. It's perfectly legitimate for us to make a covenant with him. But he can't see around corners, and God can.

And those Gibeonites irritated the Israelites for generations because he asked not the counsel of the Lord. One of the interesting things to me as a pastor is why it is that some people marry so unhappily. Most people, when they are married, don't go down the aisle saying, pastor, we're here today and we're committed to misery.

We're really committed to misery. Yet 10 years later, that's what happens. I think of a woman I knew who was counseled to not marry a certain man, and she said, quote, I'm unhappy single. I might as well be unhappy married. So she married him.

Later on, she learned that it's much better to want what you don't have than to have what you don't want. Young people, there's something far worse than singleness. In fact, singleness is a great blessing, and we should preach in our churches about the glories of singleness because God can use you in ways that those of us who are married can't be used because we have other commitments. But the simple fact is that there are so many people who do not ask the counsel of the Lord. They may ask God to bless their marriage, but they don't say, God, I'm asking your counsel. I wait for you all day long for the decision.

They don't do that, and look at where they end up. A number of years ago, when I was a teacher at Moody Bible Institute, and I'm glad to see some Moody students here today. When I was a teacher there, I was having lunch with a student who had graduated several years previously, and he said, I'm going into medicine, but he said, it is so tough.

It is so competitive. He said, this is my lifelong dream, and I fear I'm going to fail, he said. But he said, in my anxiety, I find I can't study. I'm not sleeping well.

I can hardly eat because of the anxiety. I said to him, no problem. We can take care of that right here.

That's no difficulty. I said, what you and I are going to do is we're going to pray, and we're just going to take all this from your shoulders and transfer it onto God's, and you tell him that if he wants you to be a doctor, he's going to help you get through. If he doesn't, you're satisfied with that equally because you're interested in God's will.

We can take care of it right here. He said, no. He said, I can't do that. He said, if I give it over to God, what if God wants me to fail and not become a doctor?

Oh, so that's the issue, huh? You want your will so bad that you won't even turn it over to God and ask for his counsel? I don't know what happened to him, but unless he changed his attitude, he'll never be happy because he doesn't know what it is to wait for God. The Bible says that we should wait for guidance. We should wait for final salvation, final salvation.

It says in Romans chapter 8, verse 23, we ourselves who have the first fruits of the spirit grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for the adoption of sons. We groan within ourselves and we should eagerly wait for the return of Christ, it says in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 7, waiting for the return from heaven. Well, if we're not waiting for the return from heaven, we're waiting for the wrong thing. We want what we want when we want it and God had better get on board. And as a result of that, we run into all kinds of troubles and all kinds of wasted lives and decisions because we want something that God may not give us or we may be out of step with his timetable.

You say, well, wow, how long do we have to wait? Abraham, whom we are going to be studying in detail, said, it's said of him in the book of Hebrews, that he died without seeing the promises fulfilled. There are some promises that God won't fulfill for us until after we're dead, after we see Jesus Christ, but we wait and we wait patiently and as a result of that waiting, we are absolutely convinced that the only good that takes place in our lives is the good that God produces within us. So what better way to spend our lives than to spend them waiting on God. Now, let me give you some practical benefits. Waiting on God is a big time saver.

It's a great time saver because when you wait on God, God makes up for you the time that you spend waiting on him. If you were to go to a library and look at all of the things that Martin Luther wrote, literally volume after volume, commentary, translation of the Old Testament, translation of the New Testament, I just look at that and I say he did it without a word processor. He had to write every line. How in the world did he do it? Well, of course he didn't have television, God be thanked. And he didn't have some of the modern things. He didn't have cell phones, God be thanked. But Luther says the reason that I can be so productive is because I spend so much time in prayer.

That's how you become productive. There's that old story of a man who is chopping down a tree and he was flailing away at this tree with sweat running down his face and somebody said, you know, you should sharpen your ax. The tree would go down more easily.

He said, I don't have time to sharpen my ax because I have to get all these trees down before noon. Waiting on God sharpens our ax. Waiting on God enables us to do things above and beyond our normal abilities because we begin to understand that it is what God does through us that is that which is most important and not what we do for God.

And we change the way in which we view reality. Waiting on God saves time. Waiting on God saves energy because there's a transfer of all the psychic energy, all the guilt, all the burdens, the transfer is taken from our shoulders onto his. Wait on the Lord, the Bible says, be of good courage and he shall strengthen by heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord. You say very nice, but how do we do it? Well, don't get impatient. I'm going to tell you. How do we wait on God?

Is it just passivity? You just simply sit back and say, okay, we're going to wait for God. I'm going to wait for God to give me a job. I'm going to wait for God to get me through school so I don't have to study.

Just going to wait on God. Let me give you three words and all three begin with a letter S. First, seek God. The Bible says in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1, this remarkable statement, without faith it is impossible to please God for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and I love the translation that says, and that he rewards those who diligently seek him out. In evangelical circles, we have this idea that since we found God through Jesus, God no longer has to be sought. And yet you read the Psalms and David is continually saying, I seek thee with my whole heart. I seek thee. How do we seek God? Well, we seek God through his word, most assuredly, because we read it and we meditate on it. We seek God by being with the people of God and singing the songs of God. We put ourselves in the way of God, so to speak, and we seek him in that sense. We seek God with our whole heart.

Have you ever bowed in prayer and said, God, teach me to seek you? The first word is seek. There's a second word, and that is the word silence. Silence. The scripture says in Psalm 62 verse 5, for God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for he is my hope.

Let me give you a little window into my own life. The older I get, the more I begin to realize that prayer isn't just simply coming before God and saying, now here are my needs. Here are the things you need to bless. Prayer is rather opening our soul to the Lord. There are times when I come before the Lord in prayer when I don't say a word. I just simply say, God, I'm here, and I just need your presence for these silent moments.

I have nothing to say. The problems in the world are so overwhelming. The needs are so great that unless you come and help us, we won't be helped.

Unless you do it, it won't get done. There was a man who was chiseling marble, and a minister walked by and said, I wish I could chisel the hard human heart like you are chiseling this marble slab. And the man said, you can if you do it like I do it, namely on my knees. Who is it that can change the human heart? Who is it that can take stray children and bring them back to the fold? Who is it that can overcome the blindness of the human heart and grant life?

The only person is God. Therefore, why should you and I simply rush into his presence, give him a list of do's and don'ts, and then rush out? If we can't be quiet even when we pray, how are we going to wait on God for the whole day?

Sometimes because of the busyness of life, because of the schedules, because of the thoughts and the anxieties. There are times when I have to be in God's presence 10 or 15 minutes before my heart even begins to really subside and the anxiety and the stray thoughts begin to disappear so that I can just concentrate on God. And you do so in silence. You say, God, what sins do I need to confess? God, what burdens do I need to give to you? God, what's going on in my life here?

What is it that I've not looked at that you're trying to teach me? And God does not talk to me in words, but there are ideas that come to our minds, particularly ideas that need to be surrendered by the power of the Spirit, and that can only be done in silence and it takes time. All of us say, oh, I want to be holy, but I want to be holy in a hurry. It's hard to be holy in a hurry.

Like the song says, take time to be holy. First word is seek. Second is silence between you and God. The third word, of course, is surrender. Surrender, says God, what is there for me to do from your loving hand?

No manipulation, no desire to finagle events to have them come out according to my liking. I am thine. Do with me as seems good in thy sight.

And that's when the transfer takes place. Now, let's help ourselves here by remembering that when Jesus died on the cross, his death was a sacrifice for sinners and he died in our place. And those of us who have trusted him and some of you who are listening to this message have not trusted him, but those of us who have trusted him, we know that we are pinning our eternity on Jesus. My whole eternity is staked on Christ. I trust none other than Jesus. Now, if we can entrust our eternal souls to God, why is it that we are struggling so much with tomorrow?

Why cannot we simply say, God, here it is? Remember that story that I've told you years ago about the woman who had the very heavy suitcase? She was carrying it and she was so discouraged because it was so heavy and a bus came along and she was very glad to pay the fare. She got in the bus and then after that she continued to hold up the suitcase in the aisle of the bus. Somebody said, put it down. She said, well, I'm just glad that the bus is carrying me. I can't expect it to carry my suitcase too.

My friend, if you're a believer, you're on the bus. Put it down. Put it down. And I conclude with this. What God does in us while we wait.

If you haven't been taking notes until now, you'd better pull out your pen right now. This is not my quote. I go, it from somebody else.

That's why I know it's good. What God does in us while we wait is usually more important than the thing for which we are waiting. My soul wait thou only on God for my expectation is from him.

And I say it one more time. The person who waits is absolutely convinced that any good that is done is a work that God himself does. And that's why waiting is the way to go. Let's pray. Father, we ask in Jesus' name, you who are the reader of all hearts, you, Father, who know the thoughts and the intents, you know, Lord, those areas of our life that we've kept from your sovereignty and grace. You know, Father, that we are people who find it difficult to wait, impatient, self-willed. In all humility, help us to cast ourselves at your feet and say my soul waits only on God. Father, if what you do is all that is important, do in us that which pleases you and teach us to wait. Whatever God has talked to you about, would you talk to God about now?

What is it that you need to do? Some of you have never trusted Christ as Savior. Your eternal destiny is dependent on where you are with Jesus. You could even do that while you're praying right now. Say Jesus, I embrace you as mine. For those of you who know him, are you willing to say today, by your grace, I'm going to wait on you.

You talk to God right now. Our Father, like the eyes of a maid looking to her master, like a dog looking to his owner, so our eyes are upon you from whence our expectation comes in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.

You know my friends, sometimes I see myself only as a spectator. I see what God is doing, waiting for God to do what God does best, and that is to show us his favor. And you know, part of that favor are folks just like you who contribute to this ministry. I want to emphasize this today because it is August the 31st. It is the end of our matching gift program. It is also the end of our fiscal year, and you can help us end this year in a very strong financial position. Today is the last day we are giving you the opportunity of having your gift doubled to this ministry. Generous friends have said that they are willing to double any gift given up to $90,000.

Of course, even $10 becomes 20, and you can do the math. Very quickly, here's what you do. Go to I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy. or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Remember, it is August the 31st, the end of our fiscal year, the end of our offer to you to have your gift doubled. All one word,

Call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time again for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life. Pastor Lutzer, Mina listens to Running to Win and has a question on behalf of a friend who is struggling in her relationship with God. She asks, Though she has faith in God, she feels there are certain things in which she keeps failing. How, then, can she still have faith?

Well, my friend, first of all, I want to say to this woman and to you, join the club. We all have struggles. What this believer needs to understand a couple of things. First of all, that struggles are common to us.

In fact, it says in the book of James, it says, Count it all joy when you fall into various trials. So the fact that we have struggles and the fact that we even fail is part of the Christian experience, and she should not think to herself that somehow her life is abnormal because she's experiencing this, number one. Number two, she needs to continue to be in the Word and with the people of God. She needs input from the Scriptures to assure her of forgiveness and also God's help. How can she continue to have faith? Well, that exactly is the trial of our faith about which the Bible speaks so often that when we're going through life and when it appears as if God isn't on our side, it is then that we must keep believing because he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he rewards those who diligently seek him out.

Encourage your friend, pray with her, pray for her, and help her to know that no matter how difficult the Christian life becomes, you're there to take her by the arm and keep leading her all the way to victory. God bless you. Some wise counsel for Mina and her friend from Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Thank you, Pastor Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, you can by going to our website at and clicking on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Next time, a series begins on Growing Through Conflict, a journey through the life of King David of Israel. Don't miss Part 1, Family Conflict. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-04 05:25:09 / 2023-03-04 05:33:50 / 9

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