Lessons on Waiting
"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him"
Wait! That is one word that most of us do not like to hear. Do you remember as a child when you were forced to wait for Christmas morning before you could open your gifts? No child likes to wait. I have heard all my life, “Good things come to those who wait,” – but what if I do not want to wait? Abraham was one of the greatest men in the Bible. He and his wife Sarah were barren and heartbroken over their childless home. God gave them his word that they would have a son – but they would have to wait. How long? God did not say. During their waiting, they grew impatient. As a result, they worked out their own plan and Ishmael was born – but that was not what God intended. They settled for less than God’s best merely because they did not want to wait.
In 2009 God brought my family and me back to the United States after serving many years in Guyana. At the time, I knew it was the right thing for several reasons, but it did not take long before my heart was longing to be back in Guyana. I tried my best to fit in and do God’s best where I had been planted – but my heart was in Guyana. God was telling me to wait. Finally, the call of God to return to Guyana was confirmed in both my wife and me, we could go back to Guyana! However, we would need to wait. It was important for our children to finish high school. It was necessary for us to raise support. We would need to wait. 2020 rolled around and we were able to set a date for our move to Guyana - the waiting would come to an end!
Well, you know what happened next – Global Pandemic. In an exercise to safeguard its citizens, Guyana closed its ports of international entry, just days before my scheduled flight to return! What did that mean? I would have to wait. My waiting period to return has now stretched to 11 years and 5 months, but who is counting?
Strangely, as much as I long to return, I am at peace in my soul. Psalm 62:5 is a great encouragement, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” If I have learned anything since the pandemic changed our travel plans, it has been to let go of everything and wait on God. Jesus taught me to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” This life is not about me getting my way, going where I want to go, working on my schedule. Everything is about God’s kingdom coming and His will being done. That must be my desire above all other things. Even a good thing, like a ministry, can become an idol if we are not careful.
I am willing to wait on God. I am his, the ministry in Guyana is his, and he will open doors, or shut doors, as he deems appropriate. There are many who need Christ, but God knows that more than I do. He is preparing Wendy and me for the next chapter. We will wait, and wait patiently because our “expectation” (hope) is from him. Pray with us that God will continue to grow us and prepare us, and we will wait in obedience for his timing to return to our people in Guyana.
"Brethren, pray for us." 1st Thessalonians 5:25
Over the past couple of weeks, I have heard from 3 of our pastors who have been very sick with the flu. In one of our villages, where they were still okay to have church services, they had to cancel because of a significant flu outbreak all over the village. Some of our pastors are too remote for me to have communication with them, I can only pray that they are okay along with their families.
The curfews and other prohibitions on public gatherings have really curtailed our ability to do ministry. We do not have technology as do churches here in the States. Online services are not an option, and even visiting from home to home, as we did for some time, has been shut down. Our people are really hurting.
I know that God is good and God is sovereign. He will hear the cries of his people. Please join in prayer with your Guyanese brothers and sisters who are hurting. God is not absent in the midst of these challenges. Pray for our people to see God work in miraculous ways - I believe he can and he wants too - if we ask! These challenges are opening doors of ministry such as we have never seen. We only need God's wisdom and leadership to do what he wants to be done.