There was a man once that had refused to leave his house during a flood. He had decided that he was going to wait out the flood and that he would be safe from the rising waters. As the rain continued to poor down and waters continued to rise rapidly, the man started realizing he had made a mistake. Since he failed to heed the emergency crews warnings, they were no longer available to help him, promising only to return after the storm had passed and the waters had begun to crest. Soon, his first floor was overtaken by the water. With little chance for survival inside his house the man retreated to his attic where he began chopping through his ceiling. Once through, he climbed out onto his roof to safety, knowing that the waters would not likely climb that high, though now he was on his own island. Nearly in panic mode the man bowed his head and prayed that God would send him a sign of rescue. That God would reach down and carry him to safety. It was only a few hours before a neighbor’s boat came by and yelled to the man to come aboard. The man replied, “No, its ok. I prayed and asked God to deliver me from the flood waters; He is going to send me a sign.” So the neighbor rode off. Next an emergency services helicopter flew over yelling down to the man to climb in the basket. The man gave the same response that he was waiting on God and the helicopter flew off. By now the waters had continued to rise and the temperature had dropped significantly. He was facing the real threat of frostbite and potentially drowning. Finally, a large coast guard boat pulled right next to the roof and said to the man, just step on to the boat and be rescued. The man again denied the help saying that he was waiting on God. In his frustration he looked up to heaven and declared, “God, I’ve been faithful in waiting on you to send me a sign; to deliver me from my dire situation. Why haven’t you responded to me in my time of need?” To his surprise, the heavens opened and he heard a voice say, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter. How could I have made it any clearer? While you have been waiting on me, I’ve been waiting on you to step off of that roof in faith, reach out, and take the hand that I’ve offered you.”
Now I know this is an old joke and maybe you’ve already heard it (and realized that I probably butchered it), but the moral is very important, one I’ve given a lot of thought to. David says in Psalm 40:1, “I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.” God hears our prayers and we know that we should patiently wait for His answer with spiritually sharp ears to hear His voice. Again in Psalm 27:14 we’re told, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” In our desperation to hear back from God, I wonder if we’re not like the man in the story above. So intent on seeing a miracle, that we miss God’s subtle, or sometimes not so subtle, hand working in our lives.
In the movie Facing the Giants, there is a prayer warrior named Mr. Bridges. Daily he walks the halls of the school praying. One day he stops to talk to Coach Taylor, the head football coach. During their conversation, Mr. Bridges tells him of two farmers and how each of them has been praying for rain. One farmer goes inside and sits on the couch, waiting for God to send him rain. The other farmer is outside tirelessly working in the field, preparing the soil, weeding the garden, getting everything ready for the rain. Both are God fearing, prayerful men. But I ask you, which one is more faithful to receive the rain?
Are your fields prepared for rain? Are you more than just praying for rain, but are actually prepared for it? Has God sent you a rescue boat that you refused because you thought He would send a cruise ship? The Bible tells us to wait patiently on the Lord, but sometimes, He’s really waiting on us…to step out in faith.
Lamentations 3:23-25 “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;”
Micah 7:7 NKJV “Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me.”