HOMILY FOR THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
Most of you probably know the saga of my attempts to fly out to England last Sunday night. As I was flying out on a standby ticket, I was hoping there would be at least one seat available, but for three days running, the flight was full to capacity. I finally got away on the fourth evening. Imagine my surprise and delight to find that I had been assigned a place in business class!! As this had never happened to me before, I was moved to ask the Lord “What are you trying to teach me, Lord, through these things?”
A number of things came to mind as I chewed over the events firstly, the Lord seemed to be saying to me, “Bob, many of my people think they only have a standby ticket to heaven, so they are on tenderhooks of suspense, not knowing if they will get into heaven or not, or whether they will get bumped by someone more holy or worthy. Many of them also think that all they can look forward to, even if they are lucky enough to get into heaven, is to be squeezed into the back somewhere, along with the other sinners .but they don’t know that I have a first-class seat reserved for them in my kingdom, that angels will wait upon their every need, that I will pour out on them all my best and choicest blessings, that is not a standby ticket, an if or maybe, that is a guarantee of my favour upon them.”
The favour of the Lord that I experienced when I finally got on board the plane last Wednesday and found I was in business class, was a sense of the favour of the Lord. I believe this is the time of the favour of the Lord, that the Lord is indeed wanting to bless us with His best and choicest blessings, not just when we get to heaven, but even now...Psalm 27 affirms “I am sure I shall see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living...Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord.”
All the prophetic words that are being spoken out over God’s people in these days all speak of breakthroughs, of open heavens, of restoration and revival, in short, of the time of the Lord's favour, and yet, and yet, as our psalm says today, there are also many who are saying “O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord!" They are crying out “We have been faithful, but how long, Lord, where are the blessings you have promised, look on my situation, I am struggling to meet bills, I am experiencing much pain and anguish, things are not going well in my marriage or my family.” What are we to do, brothers and sisters, should we just give up on the Lord? And yet, the psalm is saying, “I am sure I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord.”
I could have given up there at the airport, I could have decided to go back to my apartment and spend the rest of the holiday there but I knew my friend was relying on me to be there for her to celebrate her wedding, had many setbacks and disappointments, and didn’t want to add to them. I could have given up waiting for a seat to come available on my stand by ticket, and paid out the $900 dollars or whatever to guarantee a seat, and presented the bill to my friend who had insisted on paying for my flight, but the Lord knew I was trying to help her out with all the expenses she was already having with the wedding, but I could have given up waiting, and the Lord would have been robbed of the opportunity to bless both her and me, He would not have been able to give her the gift of my presence at the wedding, or give me the gift of a first class seat to England if I had given up waiting and so that is the second lesson of all these events of last week: “...wait on the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait on the Lord”
How long should we wait on the Lord? Until He comes through! When will that be? I don’t know, I am not the Lord, sorry, His ways are not ours, His thoughts are not ours, His timing is certainly not ours, but of this I am convinced, come through He will!
I shared this word with you some time back before Easter, and it has gradually come together for me as I have chewed over it. The Lord is not into growing big churches, He is much much more into growing big people, people of rock-solid faith and trust in Him, people of durable character, loyal, trustworthy, obedient people, not whiners and complainers doesn’t mean to be stoics, yes, it is o.k., to groan, that is biblical, the whole of creation is groaning, while it waits for liberation and glory (Romans 8:20-25), and the Holy Spirit is said to be groaning too (Romans 8: 26-27) So we can be groaning under the weight of our trials, and difficulties, but if we are still seeking to trust the Lord, and rejoice in the midst of it, and seek His face, then we are not only groaning, but growing, being stretched into people who will be able to stand under the greater weight of glory to come. Look at Ephesians 4:11-16 and James 1:2-4 this is what God is doing with us at this time, brothers and sisters: in our groaning, He is growing BIG PEOPLE.
Fr. Bob Poole