What Are We Waiting For?

Everywhere I turn, it seems, I encounter someone in wait mode.

Singles waiting for a suitable mate to come along.

Sick folks waiting for a sure cure for their illness.

Estranged couples waiting for a reconciliation of their marriage.

Parents waiting for a wandering prodigal to come home.

Unemployed or underemployed workers waiting for a job.

Students waiting for funding for their education.

Children waiting for favor with their parents.

Missionaries waiting for their support to come in.

And yes, even churches waiting for their buildings to get a CO.

And no, at this writing, we don’t have it yet. Sigh.

I am fond of saying, Waiting is one of God’s favorite four-letter words. It’s true. God makes us wait. A lot. When He does, the temptation remains the same. Like the Jews of old in the Babylonian Captivity we question that our way is hidden from His sight and that our concern is none of His concern (Isa. 40:27).

The prophet had nothing but rebuke for that kind of thinking in the rest of chapter 40. He took them to task for such unbelief in the midst of their wondering if they would ever return to the beloved Promised Land. He did so by reminding them of what they had heard and knew about the character of God.

Everlasting. Creator. Unsearchable.

We may grow faint or weary, but this God never does. Better yet, He dispenses His extraordinary power that hangs the stars in the sky, calls them by name, and sees to their keeping (Isa. 40:26) to the faint and weary and exhausted.

How? By waiting. Not waiting for a change in circumstances. Waiting on Him. Verse 31 is key – But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength. The Hebrew word for wait comes from a root which means string or cord. The verb form has the idea of twist. The imagery is helpful. To wait on the Lord is to bring our slender strand of strength to Him in prayer, meditation, hope, and worship and have Him wrap His creative, unsearchable, everlasting omnipotence around it so that we are strengthened. To renew means to exchange. We exchange our meager strength for God’s unlimited strength. Matthew Henry, the Puritan commentator explains:

But those that wait on the Lord, who make conscience of their duty to him, and by faith rely upon him and commit themselves to his guidance, shall find that God will not fail them. . . .  They shall have grace sufficient for them: They shall renew their strength as their work is renewed, as there is new occasion; they shall be anointed, and their lamps supplied, with fresh oil. God will be their arm every morning, ch.33:2.
The imagery of this strength and its impact in v. 31 takes the breath away. Mounting up with wings as an eagle. Running and not being weary. Walking and not fainting. From the most spectacular of feats of mounting up to the most mundane of tasks of walking and everything in between, God meets us and give us His strength.
Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on Isaiah, summed up well the progression from flying to walking:
As we wait before Him, God enables us to soar when there is a crisis, to run when the challenges are many, and to walk faithfully in the day-by-day demands of life. It is much harder to walk in the ordinary pressures of life than to fly like the eagle in a time of crisis. “I can plod,” said William Carey, the father of modern missions. “That is my only genius. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.” The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The greatest heroes of faith are not always those who seem to be soaring; often it is they who are patiently plodding. As we wait on the Lord, He enables us not only to fly higher and run faster, but also to walk longer. Blessed are the plodders, for they eventually arrive at their destination!
So the question stands. What are we waiting for? If it is for a change in circumstances, that may or may not come. If it is for an exchange of strength with the God of the universe, that you can count on.
So wait, wait on the Lord and renew your strength.

To CO or Not to CO?

That is indeed the question.

As for this latest week in the saga of when in the world will OGC get into its new building, the answer is, I am sorry to say it, not to CO.

However, we are making progress. Next week may bring an entirely different response.

New handrails got installed today. We have requested a final building inspection. It may happen tomorrow or Monday. At this point, that remains undetermined.

As for the site, that work in regrading the approach should get finished over the weekend. A surveyor may or may not have to re-shoot the elevations which could lengthen the process of approval somewhat but not beyond next week.

The civil engineer needs to get what they call record drawings to the city from which they make something called Mylars. That might take a week. All depends.

All of that to say that we have a chance of having everything done by next Wednesday or so and then it depends on the city to answer the question of questions – to CO or not to CO?

So here is the deal. We definitely won’t be in the new building this Sunday, May 20. I plan to recommend to the board on Monday night in our leadership team meeting that we hold off on our first “soft opening” until June 3, just to be safe. Actually I have an ulterior motive in that suggestion. Nancy and I will be out of the country from the 27th to the 31st for our son’s wedding. Those plans have been on the books for months. I never thought they would conflict with the opening day of our facility. Just can’t imagine missing the first Sunday we get to take possession so I will ask for grace to wait until we get back.

So now you know what I know. I choose to believe that God has been working behind the scenes all along for His glory and our good in these delays. The timing will prove perfect as far as He is concerned. How could I conclude anything otherwise after what I preached last Sunday?

All I know is that we are in for a splendid time in our new digs. I can hardly wait. Can’t thank God enough for the privilege of getting to do this on our watch.

C O Wherefore Art Thou?

I am really looking forward to our church getting one of these from the City of Altamonte at some point in the near future.

Our fearless building committee chairman gave me the skinny today about where things stand after almost another full week of trying to dot every “I'” and cross every “T” on our site to the pleasure and approval of our government inspectors.

The good news is that we are really close to finishing the building proper. We expect to have the handrails go in tomorrow. Hopefully first thing next week we will schedule another inspection on the facility and we pass. If and when that happens, then Ross plans to go to the city for that conversation with the powers that be that he talked about last Sunday. He will petition them for a provisional C O that would allow us to occupy our building while we finish up items on our site.

Speaking of the site, the man holes have been adjusted. They need to be surveyed and inspected. We thought that was all we needed to do in the way of finishing up outside.

However, yesterday the Seminole County inspector came back for another pass on the property and brought some friends with him. The list suddenly got longer. Apparently we have some sidewalk to tear up and re-position. And a portion of our entry drive needs to get taken out and regraded and paved again. How long will that take, you ask? Good question, but if we don’t get that provisional C O we are likely looking at the end of the month before we finally get into our new facility.

Sigh. Double sigh. Triple sigh.

How many cliches can I quote you. It is what it is. Good things come to those who wait. Murphy’s law. If we didn’t have bad luck we wouldn’t have any luck at all. That’s probably not the best thing for somebody with my theology to say.

Think I would rather stick with the Scripture in Proverbs 21:1.

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.

Just substitute inspector for king and you will get the picture.

As for me and my house, we will wait upon the Lord and renew our strength (Isa. 40:31).

How about yours?

Man-O-Manhole Cover!

Strange way to intro this blog post, yes? It will make sense quite quickly, I’m afraid.

Wednesday saw us undergo a number of inspections on our property. We faired pretty well on the inside. We passed some items; others need a little more fixing. But overall things look good for the CO from that vantage point.

I wish I could say we got the same high grades on the outside. Turns out we have a problem with not just one manhole cover (we had some inkling about that already). Apparently we have multiple manhole cover issues, two to be exact. Something’s not quite right. Don’t ask me. I don’t even want to know. Smarter folks than I have got it covered (pun intended).

So what’s the bottom line? This I do understand. It will take seven to ten construction days to fix the problem. Best case scenario now for our first soft opening looks like May 20. Wish I had better news for us, but I simply don’t. All I can tell you is that we are doing all that we can and working every angle possible to get closure on this deal. Please pray for wisdom to that end. And of course, please continue to pray for favor with the city.

I thought about concluding by saying something spiritual about the virtue of patience from texts like Romans 2:6-7 and James 4:7-11. But I have to be honest. I’m not feeling particularly spiritual at this moment. Think I’ll go look for a working manhole cover and crawl inside for a pastoral pity party.

Just kidding . . . I think.