I was asked Sunday by my co-worker, Johnny, where I had been in the Word while we were in the hospital. He wanted to make sure I was turning to the right Place with my fears and heavy heart but in that moment, I was so exhausted and overwhelmed to give him an answer. I was in several different places in the Word over the days we were in the hospital. I wrote most of them in my journal and when I reflected over them today, I knew I wanted to share one of the most significant.
I wanted to keep up with my Bible study in Tammie Head's "Duty or Delight". Most of the time when you are waiting on God to speak, it is best to stay on your structured reading routine versus the hunt-and-peck method. This one particular day she touched on a familiar verse...one that we almost glaze over because we've heard it so much:
"Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time." Hebrews 4:16
The Greek word for "boldness" is parresia and it means "freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, openly, frankly, i.e without concealment, without ambiguity or circumlocution, without the use of figures and comparisons, free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance, the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity." Does any of this cause a flood of emotions within you? It did for me!
For those of us who have received Jesus Christ as LORD and SAVIOR, we have rights. Yes, you heard that correctly. I, for one, have spent too long walking around as if I don't have any rights. Sometimes, we confuse walking with boldness in our rights with irreverence toward God...and it just isn't so. Prayer...bold prayer...is our right, given to us by God! And look at how bold our prayers can be! (Go read the definition again...go ahead, I will wait.)
How many times have we edited our prayers before God!?! Plenty. Out of embarrassment. Out of shame. Out of unworthiness. Out of fear. But based on that definition of boldness, however, we have no reason to edit! We can lay out our deepest fears, our worst hurts, our biggest dreams, our intense anxieties...whatever it is...we can bring it to Him! Our words do not have to be eloquent nor our phrases long. It doesn't matter...we just need to get to the heart of the matter.
And my FAVORITE part of that definition is, "...the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity." GOD DOES NOT IGNORE US! When we come before the throne of God, we have secured and audience of One. He listens. We have His attention! In these days of waiting, I have been uttering some pretty raw and honest prayers...and I am so comforted by the fact that He hears!
Another part of that verse that speaks to me is we will find mercy and grace "at the proper time". I'm sure many of you have had opportunities to ask God, "When?" When will You...heal my marriage...provide a job for me...heal my illness...save my loved one...etc. This verse reminds me that the answer lies within the sovereignty of our God..."at the proper time." He WILL answer. We just have to wait until the proper time.
I want to share two pieces of encouragement that I have listened to several times. The first one is a sermon by Judah Smith at the New Spring Church Leadership Conference in 2010. He talks about living in the mean time while you're waiting on the proper time. Click here and then select Judah Smith, session 4.
The other is "While I'm Waiting," a song by John Waller. This is my personal battle plan while I'm waiting...to serve Him, worship Him, commune with Him. If you are waiting on God to move in your life, I hope you will do the same!