The following is a part of our weekly devotional series, which is a companion to the 2013 Foursquare Life Journal. This week’s Bible reading comes from Ps. 117, 119:81-176; John 15-21; 1 John 1-5; 2 John 1; 3 John 1; and Rev. 1-14.
I am Mike Lwin. I do not like slow things. I like quad shots at Starbucks, fast cars, high-speed Internet and jet-skiing. My ministry leadership style is similarly fast paced.
I like to focus on the future and let God do big things, but sometimes the future doesn’t work out exactly the way we plan it. Why do I tell you this? Because God has our church in a waiting room, and it’s painful!
Recently, our church raised nearly $3 million toward the acquisition of 203 acres of prime land on the island of Oahu. As a nine-years-young church, we didn’t think we’d raise that much, but God was faithful. We were greeted with optimism and encouragement by nearly every state department and community organization that heard about our “promised land.”
The master design included a 2,500-seat auditorium, an outdoor amphitheater, sports fields, a Christian school campus and innovative farming including a Bible-themed garden. Everyone who heard about our vision was in favor. Things were going so well; we knew that God was on our side and the future was looking bright.
Suddenly, the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) rejected our special use and zoning-change applications. We were crushed. We had no idea what to do. The lease on our existing church building ends in Jan. 2014. Our church, which sees more than 5,000 in weekend attendance, was about to be homeless!
Why was God letting us down? Did I hear God wrong? Was this vision really not from God? I thought I had seen, so clearly, a vision of a future opportunity God was giving to our church. I started to lose faith, and fear began to creep into my heart. Doubt began to diminish my faith, and fear started to lead.
During that time, the Psalmist reminded me that God is faithful even when we become faithless: “Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples. For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever” (Ps. 117:1-2, NIV).
As a church, we got on our knees and repented of anything we might have done that was not God’s plans. We prayed that He would show us His will. We prayed that if the “promised land” was not His plan for us, He would give us the strength to walk away from it. We committed that if we did not get our new campus that we would be fine because we had His love.
God saw our hearts and revealed His faithfulness once again. Four weeks after the denial letter, we were informed DPP had appointed a new director. The new director was our architect and mastermind behind the entire design of our new 203-acre campus! God had been faithful; our “promised land” plans were to be reviewed by the architect who first designed them.
So, now we are in a “waiting room” for the new campus. We’ve seen God move mightily and prove His faithfulness, yet we must now wait for final approvals.
Sometimes God puts us in a waiting room. When He does, we must trust that He is faithful. The waiting room is a room where God grows us, a room where we learn to trust that God will finish what He has started.
Does God have you in a waiting room right now? Seize the opportunity for growth that He is giving you. God uses a waiting room to transform us today for the future opportunities He has waiting for us tomorrow.
Good things come to those who wait!
By: Mike Lwin, senior pastor of New Hope Leeward (Leeward Oahu Foursquare Church) in Waipahu, Hawaii
Download the yearlong reading plan (PDF, 80 KB), or sign up for the full, online version of the Life Journal. To purchase a Life Journal for your own use, or to place a bulk order for church-wide use, visit FoursquareJournal.com. Learn more about Foursquare’s 2013 Life Journal project.