For All Saints
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame.(Psalm 25:3)
Let us now think of the great company of God, saints throughout the world, who are all with us waiting on Him. And let us all join in the fervent prayer for each other, “Let none that wait on thee be ashamed.” (Psalm 25:3)
Just think for a moment of the multitude of waiting ones who need that prayer; how many there are, sick and weary and solitary, to whom it is as if their prayers are not answered, and who sometimes begin to fear that their hope will be put to shame. And then, how many servants of God, ministers or missionaries, teachers or workers, of various name, whose hopes in their work have been disappointed, and whose longing for power and blessing remains unsatisfied. And then, too, how many, who have heard of a life of rest and perfect peace, of abiding light and fellowship, of strength and victory, and who cannot find the path.
With all these, they have not learned the secret of full waiting upon God. They need what we all need- the living assurance that waiting on God can never be in vain.
Let us remember all who are in danger of fainting or being weary, and all unite to cry, “Let none that wait on the be ashamed!” If this intercession for all who wait on God becomes part of our waiting on Him for ourselves, we shall help bear each other’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
There will be introduced into our waiting on God that element of unselfishness and love, which is the path to the highest blessing, and the fullest communion with God. Love to the brethren and love to God are inseparably linked. In God, love to His Son and to us are one; “That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them.”(John 17:26)
The very heart of desiring God’s presence is one of wanting others to experience Him. It is so easy to focus our prayers on ourselves or our intimate circle. But the heart of those desiring the presence of God is broad. No better picture of this is seen in the relationship of Moses and God. During the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, repeatedly the Israelites reject the presence of God. They see Him only as the Deliverer, the Protector and the Provider. Even then, at almost every turn and at every point of need, they complained. Their only desire was to receive their need met. Finally, after repeated rejection, God tells Moses that He will destroy them and raise up another people. Moses, who is the friend of God, intercedes for the children of Israel. He pleads with God for mercy and actually says to God, “If you choose to destroy them, destroy me with them.” There’s no doubt that God could have raised up another group and maybe an appreciative one. Not only had the people complained about God but on several occasions were about to kill Moses. It would be understandable if Moses had agreed with God. It might even have been justified, but Moses demonstrates this concept of wanting others to experience the presence of God so much that he is willing to even sacrifice his relationship with God. What a picture of love this provides.
James tells us that we should pray for others that we may be healed. Over the years, I’ve had several ask the question, “Pastor, how is it that you pray for, show compassion to others all the time? Don’t you have any needs or concerns? How do you maintain your faith and enthusiasm for God?” Here’s the secret: as you pray for others and as you minister to the needs of others, you experience the flow of the Holy Spirit as He moves through you to bless others. It’s like being the pipeline. As God works through you, He also works in you.
Many continue to seek a church where they “receive” something. They want to hear good music and good preaching and good fellowship. Maybe they desire great youth and children ministries or senior ministries. Perhaps being cared for is at the top of the list. What ever the desire, it far too often is about them, so they move from church to church trying to find that place that meets their expectations. In our environment today, there is a lot of comparison shopping. The local church is compared to the TV or internet nationally known church. And so, the search continues to find that place that fills my expectations.
This is not the picture painted here. Andrew Murray along with Moses and James are saying to us that what we look for is a place where we can serve. A place where we find avenues to bless others. A deep inner wish that others might experience the presence and provision of God. Once you taste the satisfaction of seeing others experience God, once you see them grow in their faith, you will no longer be content to just experience God alone. Once you see how important it is for everyone to wait on God and not give up, you get to that place of Moses who said to God, “Bless them with me or don’t bless any of us”. This takes us far beyond our selfish desires for ourselves and brings us into the larger desire that others might enjoy all we have known. In the larger way, if we have experienced the saving grace of God and fully know what that means, we cannot rest until all know that grace. This is the heart of evangelism. I leave you with a question. Do you think we can fully enjoy all that God is and all that heaven holds by ourselves? Or is there a deep desire that everyone we know shares all with us? Can we give up all that’s important to us for the sake of those who have not experienced God as we have.
One last story. A few years ago, I was in Tennessee at a Minister’s Conference. I had the honor of sitting with an elderly minister. He was in his eighties and had been pastoring for sixty years. In that service, the music was totally contemporary, the newest contemporary. When we stood to sing, he stood. It was obvious that he wasn’t familiar with the songs. After we sat down, he patted my knee and said, “Brother, I miss singing the hymns and the songs I know.” I thought, “Boy, here it comes, the tirade against contemporary music.” What he said, however, was so powerful and so unselfish. He said, “While I miss singing the hymns and the songs I know, my desire is that this next generation will experience to presence of God through their music as I have with the music of my day. I have enough of the hymns stored up in my heart to sustain me in the rest of my journey whether I hear another hymn or not. I just want the next generation to walk with God, to experience God and to know God as I know Him.” At that moment, with tears coursing down my face, I heard the heart of a true follower of Christ. “I want others to experience God as I have experienced Him and whatever means it takes for that to happen, even if I give up my preferences, that’s my desire.’
May we never be content to have our prayers answered until we also see the prayers of others answered. May we never be satisfied to walk alone with God until we know that others are walking with God also. May we become unselfish in our demands and place the needs of others first.
Those who know me know I love music. Over the years I have played everything from bluegrass, hymns, southern and black gospel to some of the newest contemporary music. I confess as I’ve aged, some of the music is challenging and I love my comfort zone of three cord, 4/4 time songs, where I don’t have to think about chord patterns. But I want more than anything to have as many as possible to experience God in the ways that I have. I have no pattern of church services, rituals, or traditions that are more important to me than having individuals to experience God. What drives me is that every person is more important than things or methods. My deepest desire as a pastor is that everyone has a deep personal relationship with God, that all are having their prayers answered and that all are living in the blessedness of Christ.
Dr. John Thompson