In Faith Moments, Odalis Turincio shares her thoughts on living out her faith and how we can grow closer to God. Take a moment to join other members of our community every 1st and 3rd Thursday at 8:30A.
Good morning. Welcome to Faith Moments. This is a space for us to have a conversation, explore faith, and listen for God in our lives. Something He may be wanting to do or something He’s been speaking over us in whatever you’re walking through. My name is Odalis. I’m part of the Pastoral Team at Cornerstone, and I’m grateful you’re here. I’m grateful to be here and to share these minutes that we have together.
We’ll just take this time to talk this week about one of my least favorite things, which is waiting. I don’t know how you do with waiting, with patience. I have learned to not pray for patience. Usually, that means sometimes God puts some things in your way, which require patience, and that’s how you learn. The old scriptures have plenty to say, so grab a Bible, if you have one handy. We’ll be in the Psalms. Before we do anything else, I would love to pray to invite the Lord into our time together. Let’s pray.
Father, we thank you for this time that we have. God, I thank you for everybody who is connected now and who’s connecting later. Lord, I thank you for whatever the precise circumstances we’re in right now. You are the one who is sovereign over everything and is with us in these places. Lord, we know that you work all things for what is the right result, a good result, the right way for things to be for those who are paying attention to you. We want to pay attention to you here at this time and invite you to speak to us. For you to inform our hearts, minds, thoughts, and feelings. God, we want to draw a little closer to you at this time. Would you meet us here? Jesus, we pray these things in your name. Amen..
Waiting. It might just be me, and I think it’s probably not just me, but it might not be you and that’s okay, but I don’t like waiting. I like to just get there. I like to drive a little over the speed limit, just a little. I like the plane to go faster. I like time to go a little quicker when I’m excited to get somewhere or if I’m nervous about something. I remember in school, waiting for grades. I remember waiting to hear back from doctors, or for news about a loved one. Whatever it is, I want the time to go quickly. I’m lousy at waiting. Right now, I feel particularly lousy with a ‘hurry up and wait’ kind of feeling in this season. It’s like a weird, almost fake pressure to get stuff done or be productive. To keep up with chores or get back to real life. But life right now isn’t exactly going anywhere. There’s not a lot of real, normal life to go back to right now.
We’re six months into the shelter in place. We’re just starting to scratch the surface in San Francisco about what it looks like to reopen and praise the Lord for that. It’s representative of a lot of work that medical professionals have done, that those in authority over the city have been very thoughtful over. There’s a lot to show for the fact that we are now in this place. Praise God for the fact that COVID numbers are improving. It’s a tentative waiting, a slow, slow, slow thing to re-engage here slowly.
The improvement is encouraging, but we have a long way to go until we’re back to normal. Until school is back all the way in session with sitting in class together. With parents, not homeschooling. Or until work resumes with a commute and a workspace and things like that. It’s a long time until we can just fully re-engage in church or community. I know those in my circles so miss being able to do that together. It’s a long time until we can feel like we can go back to what we used to rely on.
Granted, this season of disruption is not a wasted one. The Lord has been doing some really beautiful things. Some of us needed this disruption to remind us that what we do, what we produce, and our jobs don’t define who we are. The disruption has forced us out of that to settle back into where our worth comes from. Where does our worth come from? From being with the Lord, from being the Lord’s. He defines our worth. He defines who we are. From there, all things come, right?
This disruption, in many other ways, for many different kinds of people, can be and has been helpful, but we’re still waiting. I am awful at waiting. When I have something to look forward to, the days drag on. It cannot come soon enough. It takes forever to arrive. The more I pay attention to what I’m waiting for, what I’m waiting to change, what I’m waiting to arrive, the harder it becomes to deal with that in-between. Sometimes it’s an exciting in-between, but sometimes it’s a much harder in-between. Waiting to heal, waiting to hear good news or bad news, whatever it is, this waiting in the middle place. What do we do with waiting? Luckily, the scriptures talk a lot about this. One thing I am challenged by constantly is that the waiting that the scriptures described, it’s not a passive waiting. We’ll start again in Psalms. Turn to Psalm 27. We’ll kind of jump around here.
Psalm 27:13, “I remain confident of this, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” So, this version of waiting points us toward a confident hope, toward trust in God. The reminder that waiting takes strength and it takes courage. Be strong and take heart. Again, it’s a confident hope. There is something. There is always, always, always, no matter what the circumstances, there is the Lord, who’s present, strong. Though the season might be long that we wait, we wait with confidence that we will see His goodness.
How about Psalm 33:20. “We wait in hope for the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In Him, our hearts rejoice for we trust in His holy name.” In those seasons of difficult, painful, scary, and unknown waiting, the trials and difficult times, we wait with a focus on God as our help, by our sides, refilling our hearts with joy and gladness. Him being the one who restores our hope, our joy. In Him, no matter the type of waiting, there is a sense of rejoicing. Him, our hope, our strength, our shield.
It’s not passive. It’s not sitting in front of Netflix to binge and pass the time, hoping the days go a little quicker. It’s not. Sometimes a little Netflix can be good to reset to turn the brain off a little. A little, right? This isn’t the type of waiting that the scriptures describe, even though there was no Netflix when this was written. It’s a different type of waiting, an intentional kind of waiting.
Let’s go to Psalm 37, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret when people succeed in their ways when they carry out their wicked schemes.” Waiting requires patience. Again, maybe that’s obvious. I constantly need that reminder for patience. But when we’re in that waiting place, we should not be looking at others. We should not be comparing our state of waiting, our state of success, or hearing back of good or bad with others. We should not be getting the wind knocked out of us with that comparison. The scriptures say don’t fret. Don’t let the anxiety of comparison take away what you should be doing. Speak still before the Lord, waiting patiently for Him, not looking to others and what their lives are like to define what your life should be like. Waiting before the Lord and remembering I’m His, He’s got me and He’s going to define what it is I walk through. Don’t fret. Don’t fret about others.
Another one, Psalm 119:165, so towards the end of it, “Great peace has those who love your law and nothing can make them stumble. I wait for your salvation, Lord, and I follow your commands. I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.” Waiting in this one is connected inseparably to the word, the scriptures, to learning about them, to learning the God who reveals Himself to us through them. Learning to trust this word over our circumstances. Learning to trust this word over the things that we can see, that we can identify, the things that we can sort of make sense in our own minds, learning to trust God’s ways over our ways.
That love, that trust is what brings us this peace in these waiting times. It can be what helps to provide some of this patience. Again, this is really active. It’s not a, ‘let me wait and just see what happens.’ It’s a, while I’m waiting, let me be productive. While I’m waiting, let me get to hear God’s voice a little clearer. While I’m waiting, let me foster my love and trust in God a little bit, because I’m waiting anyway. I’m waiting anyway. So while I wait, let me turn my ear to you, God, and hear you more clearly. Let me learn to love your words more deeply because that’s where we find our peace.
Last one, Psalm 130, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits. And in His word,” there it is again, “I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, people of God, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love, with him is full redemption.” We don’t really have watchmen a lot now. I mean, you might know where you live and if so, I want to hear all about it, but we don’t really have watchmen generally in our society now. At the time, from what I understand, you would have watchmen posted and they would be up all night. They would be keeping an eye out on the community and on the area that surrounded it to look for dangers or to look for messengers, to keep an eye out, to guard through the night. Watchmen stand through the night, they stay up all night, they wait for the morning.
This is this beautiful reminder that we wait, we put our hope in the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than they stand and guard, more than they stand firm, awake and attentive because they sure need to do so nothing sneaks up on them. More than watchmen wait, we wait for the Lord. We put our hope in Him. We wait with a longing. We wait with hope and joy for the one. We wait with this anticipation because we get these little hints of the one we’re waiting for.
We guard against the dangers of stillness. There is a danger in being idle. What is the old figure of speech? Idle hands are the devil’s playground. I think I could be wrong. That’s sort of a harsh thing to say, but in some ways, it’s true. When we’re bored, anybody heard of boredom eating. That’s one side of it and it can certainly get more serious from there. The idleness, when we just give in to that idleness and the things that satisfy in a temporary, sort of superficial way. We have to guard against those places in this season of waiting. We guard against the unknown fears of the night, the known ones too. We stand firm, even when the waiting drags on. Even when we can’t fathom how long it’s been, how much time has passed, and how much longer is ahead of us. We wait, and we hope in the Lord, His salvation, His presence, and how He shows up for us.
For however long we’re in this season of waiting, this sort of in-between. For however long we’re longing and waiting, hopeful and impatient or patient. If you’re patient, I commend you. For however long we’re sitting in whatever each of our circumstances are. I would ask you to just bring your specific circumstances to mind, what are you waiting for? What does it look like? This is a question for us. What does it look like to wait well, to wait well?
I would love to pray for that here for us together, for the Lord to guide us, for the things we already know, for Him to help strengthen us to be diligent in those ways, for the things that we don’t know, for Him to help us understand and for all of us to have patience in the waiting. He’s our hope. He’s our hope in these places. We wait for Him more than watchmen for the morning. Let’s pray together.
God, we thank you for your strength. We thank you for your peace. We thank you for the confidence we have in you, that we will see your goodness in the land of the living. God, we will see your goodness at work in our lives. We take heart in you. We find our strength in you. God, we trust in your holy name. As we wait patiently for you, for those who are waiting in this place of difficulty, God, we pray for your strength, provision, for you to breakthrough in those places, for you to give us strength, and to renew the joy of those of us who are there. Help us to trust in Your Word and wait for you more than watchmen wait for the morning. For those of us who are waiting in a more settled state, just need to be patient, things are a pretty okay place, God, renew our patience. God, renew our thirst for you. Renew our desire to dig into Your Word, to build our trust in you, to get to know you, and to find our hope, joy, fulfillment, satisfaction, and salvation in Your Word.
Lord, reveal yourself to us and help us to be productive in this time. No matter what the seasons of waiting are, God, help us to wait well. Help us to wait in a way that glorifies you. Help us to wait in a way that helps us look more like your son. Jesus, when you walked the earth, you didn’t rush to the conclusion. You didn’t rush through your years of waiting and preparation before you started your ministry. You didn’t rush through your years of ministry, but you waited well. You did everything in the timing of the Father. We, in this time, submit our timing to you, Jesus, to you Father, and we ask for your spirit to help us wait well. We thank you, Jesus, for Your Word, for your life that fills each of us, and we pray for you to have your way. We pray these things, Jesus, in your name. Amen.
Thank you for joining this morning, for spending these faith moments together. God bless you as you go from here and may the Lord, His strength, His comfort, His spirit guide you and help you to wait well. We’ll see you next time.