The following sermon was preached by my late and beloved sister (date unknown) at Memorial Tabernacle Church in Oakland, California. While going through her papers after her death I found a file with some of her sermons enclosed. This week was the first time in three years I had strength enough to read them. I can still hear her powerful and anointed voice proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. I thought I would share one of her sermons with you in memory of birthday this week. She was born on June 7, 1947. She would have been 66 years old. –Pastor Stephen King
Something in Pastor’s message reminded and assured me of something the Lord gave me this week.[i] I was troubled in my spirit because after such a good and powerful Sunday worship service (and fellowship repast following), only a “faithful few” returned that evening for worship. Evening worship services are now becoming a thing of the pass.
I remembered as a small girl, after we had a great Sunday morning service, we would stay at church, and then afterwards have a fellowship luncheon, and later that evening everyone stayed for evening service. The power of God would be present. The saints testified and witnessed to their experiences and walk with the Lord. I asked the Lord, “What happened?” and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom I heard the Lord say to me, “This is just a waiting period.” I then rushed to my Bible and opened to this scripture:
“O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble” (Isaiah 33:2).
Some things we want come with a waiting period. I recall my daughter, Rachel, giving birth to my granddaughter, Chanell. The Monday before she was born the doctor tried inducing labor and my daughter painfully labored for awhile. Her cervix dilated 2 centimeters but still she couldn’t give birth. Finally, they sent her home. Wednesday came and the doctors attached her to an IV and tried again to induce labor. Her cervix opened again another 2 centimeters and stopped. She felt miserable and tired. Again, she was sent home.
Something was wrong. The fetal heart rate started to fall, so the doctor admitted her into the hospital. That Thursday he inserted a long plastic catheter into her cervix that would force it to dilate. The pain was so intense and unbearable that the doctor had to give her morphine. She was expecting. Something was about to happen. She was about to give birth. The baby was coming.
When little Miss Chanell came out and her mother saw that she was a whole and healthy little girl, she was ecstatic. There was only joy, happiness, pride, and praise to God. She got what she expected and wanted. All the pain, discomfort, and anxiety were only a memory now.
Likewise, the Church must travail in order to birth the blessings and promises of God. And, “. . . Rachel labored in childbirth, and she had hard labor” (Genesis 35:16).
Now ladies, I know you understand what it’s like to decorate your home. Sometimes we get the chance to buy new furniture and it takes time and labor to find the right pieces we want to go into each room. After much searching and going to numerous stores finally we find the pieces we want. Unfortunately, the salesperson tells us that they must be special ordered and it might take several weeks or a month before delivery; but we are willing to wait for the things we want.
The date of delivery finally comes however the furniture doesn’t arrive. Immediately you’re on the telephone to find out why the delay. You want to speak to the salesperson that sold the furniture to you. “Where’s my furniture?” you ask. The salesperson tries to explain and reassures you that it’s on its way. You don’t accept the explanation and ask to speak with the manager. The manager is the one who has authority. The manager is the one who makes the final decision. The manager comforts and assures you that your furniture is on its way. Just be patient and wait a few more days. It’s coming.
Jesus made a promise one day to His disciples, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). You have to wait for it!
When your furniture finally arrives you’re elated, happy, and satisfied. You call a few friends over for lunch to see what you purchased and what you had been waiting for. After your friends arrive you also wait to see if they will notice the change in your home. There is no way they could miss it. They will surely get on the phone and tell someone else.
Our Christian experience is similar. We want something from God and sometimes it requires a waiting period. When it doesn’t happen the way we expect or when we expect it we often ask God, “What’s happening?” The Lord then responds, “It’s coming!” Impatiently we sometimes tell the Lord, “Yes, Lord, but I’ve been waiting and praying, and it seems as though things have gotten worse.” The waiting period continues. But Isaiah tells us, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31)
We wonder why people are not being stirred. The hearts of men and women have not been revived. Neighbors walk past the church and never enter in. We’ve invited our coworkers to church and they complain about coming to one of those noisy “Sanctified Churches.” This is just a waiting period. Waiting increases strength. Waiting increases power.
Judah and Jerusalem were distressed because of battling the Assyrians and being invaded by the enemy. But there was a group of praying folks who cried out, “Lord be merciful unto us—you have the power to forgive—favor us now. We have waited for You. Now be an arm every morning for our troops as they go to battle. Be our weapon and our support. And be our salvation in the time of trouble.”
I just want you to know that the waiting period is almost over. Something is about to happen. The time is almost upon us when God is going to pour out His Spirit on us. Not just during our Sunday morning service, but a season of refreshing, a season of revival a time for restoration, and a time of renewal is coming. It’s coming . . .!
[i] She was referring to a prior sermon I had preached. Unfortunately, her typed manuscript was not dated so I can’t be certain of the sermon or time she was referring to.