WAIT ON HIS TIMING
Years ago, I was in Australia, sitting in the home of a friend of mine, Robert Coleman. Robert had been a wonderful and successful singer, who, at one time, was the lead in Camelot on the West End Stage in London, the English equivalent of Broadway. He later responded to the call of God to be in full time ministry and accompanied me on one of our trips from Australia to America, when I was working on the Australian PTL Club. As we talked, he said something that at the time startled me, ‘God is slow.’
My immediate thought was ‘My God is not slow. He is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to jump tall buildings in a single bound.’ But as I meditated on this, I realized how true Robert’s words were. For example, I am glad that ‘The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy.’ (Psalm 103:8). I am glad God is not fast on the trigger regarding judgment.
When it come to answering our prayers, fulfilling His promises, manifesting His prophecies, God is not slow. He is always right on time. Timing is one of the most difficult aspects of guidance to get right. We want things to happen right now and as a result, we are tempted to think of God as a ‘McDonald’s in the sky’ and expect instant answers. However, we have to learn to ‘wait on his timing.’ His timing is not always our timing. To us, He may appear to be slow, but He is always on time. We just have to learn to wait.
Just think of the disciples in Acts 1. They were told to wait, ‘not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father (v4).’ So, for ten days, following the Ascension of Jesus to heaven, they waited, spending time in prayer, and ‘when the day of Pentecost had fully come,’ the Holy Spirit was poured out on the waiting disciples and the women. It came ‘suddenly.’ Why? Because it was now God’s timing; the right time; His time. That’s why. Hebrew 10:36 declares, ‘For you have need of patience/endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.’ Abraham waited twenty five years before Isaac was born. David waited thirteen years before he sat on the throne. Paul waited thirteen years before he began his ministry. These all happened in God’s timing.
In 1971, I received a prophetic word that I would be writing letters. It kind of puzzled me as I didn’t like to write letters; I didn’t write letters. But now, over forty years later, I am writing the ‘Langstaff Letter’ every two weeks. So, let’s learn to wait on God’s timing.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
When I first went into ministry, many years ago, I had no great expectations of what would happen. I was simply responding to the call of God on my life. I thought I would be a run of the mill minister: Probably get sent to a country church in Australia and after five to seven years be moved to another church and eventually maybe get back to the city of Sydney where I came from.
Dorothy, my wife, had other ideas. She would say, ‘You are not going to be a regular, ordinary Methodist minister. God has something more planned for you.’ I would argue with her, or just smile because I didn’t believe what she was saying. She actually had more faith in God working in me, than I did. You see, at that stage, I had no real expectations. I wasn’t expecting the unexpected.
Then something happened. After a long spiritual journey, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which completely changed my ministry and my life and consequently, I began to expect the unexpected.
- So, as I look back on my life and ministry with Dorothy, there are so many wonderful things that I would never have expected when I first entered into ministry in 1963. Just to mention a few:
- I never expected to preach in the largest church in the world, Dr Cho’s church in Seoul, Korea.
- I never expected to minister in approximately forty countries, in every continent of the world (except Antartica). Initially, I never even expected to travel outside of Australia. In fact, Dorothy and I used to talk about taking a trip when we retired to Tasmania, off the Southern coast of Australia.
- I never expected God would call our family to move from Australia to live in Minnesota. We loved Australia. We never wanted to leave it, except that God called us to do so.
- I never expected that at my age, I would be pastoring Church on the Hill, a wonderful church in Chaska, MN.
I could go on . . . So much so, that I am always wondering what God is going to do next. No wonder my life verse is Ephesians 3:20, ‘Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.’ Expect the unexpected!
After the last Langstaff Letter, I received a response from a missionary leader, that we help to support, in East Africa, where he is involved in training East African ministers.
‘Thanks for the encouragement. Before coming to Africa, I preached in 70 churches. What I preached more often than anything else was Genesis 12, about dreaming God’s dreams. We have seen those dreams happen, indeed, much more than I dreamed. Rejoicing in that and listening for some new dreams for the second half of life.’
Here is a man who dared to dream and has experienced those dreams come to pass . . . But I was particularly taken by his comment, ‘ listening for some new dreams for the second half of life.’
You are never too old to dream. So keep dreaming.
That is my word for 2016. Maybe it is a word for you too.
WAIT ON HIS TIMING
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Have a great year in 2016 and remember, ‘The Best is Yet to Be!’