September 28, 2012

Wait? Or get on with it?

A Christian friend expressed her frustration about asking God to help her with a decision between two worthy options. She asked my advice. What should she do in light of having not received an answer? Can she move forward without hearing from the Lord on this particular issue?

She mentioned logos and rhema, making me think of how God speaks. Logos is the written and living expression of God in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, more of an objective understanding of Scripture. On the other hand, rhema is the way He speaks to our need of the moment. He might use a passage from the Old Testament to remind me of His mercy on a day when I need to remember that He is merciful. Rhema is personal and can seem subjective, even though I need to be careful that I don’t “read into” the Bible what God does not say.

The Bible gives a classic answer to this question of how God speaks to us...
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1–2)
Jesus is the Word, the Logos, the ultimate expression of God to the world. In Him, that is in His life and character, I find answers to most of my questions about how to live. Furthermore, He often directs me back to Scripture with phrases like, “Has not God said…?”

Today’s devotional reading does that too. After His resurrection, Jesus was staying with the disciples. He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to…
…wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. (Acts 1:4–5)
Even though Jesus said they had heard these words from Him, there are no verses that directly quote Him, only verses that quote John the Baptist...
I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11)
This points to the attitude of Jesus. In His thinking, whenever John (or anyone else) is filled with His Spirit and speaking truth, He considers those words as His words. That is, this promise did not come from John but from Jesus. John actually said this was true; he got the promise from God…
I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ (John 1:33)
These verses are helpful regarding the question from my friend. John says God made a promise. Jesus said to wait for that promise, repeating it so the disciples knew which promise He meant. The writer of today’s devotional simply says, “Tarry at a promise till God meets you there. He always returns by way of His promises.”

God promises to hear and answer our prayers, and to give us wisdom when we ask. I believe that this is true, but what my friend and I both need to remember is that He may also ask us to wait.

Lord, how like children we are --- impatient and anxious. We know You hear our prayers, and we know that You love us and care about our needs, so why do we have to wait? I sense that You are smiling. You know that Christian maturity is measured by patience and You want us to grow. As James 1:3-4 says, that the testing of our faith produces patience, and we are to let patience finish its work that we might be mature and complete, not lacking anything. From Your Word, I hear You saying that both my friend and I need to patiently wait for Your answer.

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