Derek uses an account of a three week experience of waiting on God to show how life changing and important waiting can be. He lists several steps that were involved during this time that you can incorporate into your life: sitting at His feet, beholding His glory, the vertical way, and falling in love with Jesus.
I’m going to end by reading an account from a friend of mine, a well known minister, Johannes Facius. He just wrote this newsletter, of which I received a copy, about something that has just happened in Australia. How many of you’ve been to Australia? Well, the Aussies are a pretty tough crowd, I think you’ll agree. A breakthrough in Australia, a spiritual breakthrough, would be a remarkable event. And, I believe it’s coming. But I want to read this account. I hope it will help you.
“A couple of days ago I returned from the ends of the earth, Australia, and the most unique gathering of spiritual leaders I have ever attended. After this experience I will never be the same again.”
And, he’s a man of mature ministry and experience.
“Noel Bell, Intercessors for Australia and Tom Hallas, leader of YWAM in Australia...”
I know them both.
“...had felt the need to call together pastors, elders and leaders of ministries from all over Australia to come together to seek the face of the Lord. The conference was called ‘Leaders Looking Unto Jesus’ and the time frame was three weeks. This in itself was a daring step. How could anyone imagine it being possible for busy spiritual leaders to set aside three whole weeks? When I realized that more than one hundred had responded to this call and saw that most of them stayed for the whole period, I was convinced that it had to be one of the seven wonders of this world. Had anyone proposed to me to do something like this in Europe or the States I would have laughed at the thought. If we can get leaders together here for a whole day we ought to be grateful. Apparently God must have something special in mind with Australia and I would not be surprised if a very powerful spiritual awakening would come out of Australia and touch the worldwide body of Christ. Possibly it is the isolation that our Australian friends feel out there at the edge of the globe, coupled with a realization of the hardness and roughness of the Australian heart, that have been the main factors moving our friends to cast themselves down before the Lord. At any rate, no matter how far I go back in living memory I have not been a part of anything like this before in my years in the ministry. So let me enlighten you with some of the extraordinary things that took place.”
Then there are a few headings.
“Sitting At His Feet. This was the way God laid out in picture the purpose of this gathering, to sit at His feet like Mary and not like Martha try to please Him and serve Him by our own initiative. To enter into His rest which is the rest from our own works, just as God having created heaven and earth in six days rested from His works on the seventh. This proved to be very difficult for all of us. Whenever we tried to sit silently in His presence only five minutes would pass and someone would not be able to wait any longer but had to break in with a prophecy or a song or a scripture reading. All proving how hard it is for us to wait and let the Spirit take the initiative. Praise God we had lots of time before us, three whole weeks. And slowly but surely we learned to just wait until the Spirit would begin to blow with His gentle wind among us. How difficult it is for us to just enjoy God’s presence without exercising any kind of activity.”
The next heading is:
“Beholding His Glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18 became very much alive to us. ‘But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ Coming under the entire Lordship of the Holy Spirit is equal to coming face to face with Jesus.”
That’s exactly what I was trying to say.
“In the light of His glory and perfection we can measure ourselves in all our shortcomings, and be exposed to the transforming power of His Spirit changing us into the image of His dear Son. How different this way is to our own attempts at looking at ourselves and despair over all that is lacking of Christ-likeness in our character. God had called us together not as we had expected, to load on us new knowledge and information, but to change us into the likeness of His dear Son.”
The next heading:
“The Vertical Way. For me personally a change took place in my whole thinking. As one who has been active in the prayer movement for more than twenty years I had developed a way of discerning problems and places by help from the information available and using my analytical mind. By looking unto Jesus and waiting to come face to face with Him I discovered that any true discernment of any situation only comes when we look at it through His face. If we want a true picture of ourselves we need to see ourselves the way He looks upon us. If we want to know where the church is standing and how the situation is in our very own nation we can look at it at the horizontal level and measure it by the outward appearances, but we would end with a wrong and untrue picture. Only as we behold the face of the Lord and come to understand His burden for His church and His world we can apply our prayers or ministries with great effect.”
And the last heading is:
“Falling In Love With Jesus. When people give themselves to seeking the Lord over a three week period one would expect that they would end up by being drawn into intimacy with Him. And so it was. The overall discovery of this time was a deep realization of how far away from our first love and from the centrality of Christ we had been used to living our lives—even as His servants. Therefore, the calling was to enter into the bridal chamber and to fall in love with our heavenly Bridegroom, to return to our first love and make Jesus the center and focus of everything we were doing. And so it happened. As He went on exposing His great and strong love to us we yielded more and more to Him, and the joy and the worship increased in quality and strength. At the end, whole sessions were spent just reveling in His love. We had lost any ambition of being effective and wanted only to be with Him more and more. The Song of Solomon with its many rich pictures of the developing love relationship between the bride and the bridegroom became a guideline for us all the way through. I know that I am using big words when I say that nothing so far in my life can compare with these weeks. But I’m convinced that no matter how big such a statement might sound, it is the truth. And as I am writing this newsletter I have a strong desire in my heart to be allowed to continue in this direction, looking unto Jesus. This is also what I wish for all of God’s people, that they would have the great joy of being a part of such a gathering in the nearest future.”
Now I read that simply because I wanted to move out of the realm of theory and into the realm of practical experience. That’s an up to date account of what happens when people take time to wait on God.
Dear brothers and sisters, I am convinced that the greatest need in the life of most of you is to take time with God. And I’m persuaded, if I’m sorry to say it, that most of you don’t give God much time. I think that’s a thing of which many of us need to repent.
Ruth and I have learned—and this is very, very miniature—we’ve learned to take one day a week to wait upon God, and we have no idea of what will happen. We don’t have an agenda, we don’t have a prayer list. Sometimes we start by reading the Bible, sometimes we don’t. But at the end of the day we tend to say to ourselves, “How did we ever get here?” We had no plan or thought of being involved in what we’re in at the end of the day.
It’s time for me to stop, I think I’ve said all I need to say.
But I want to invite those of you who really feel that there’s a barrier between you and God, that you’re not hearing from God the way you wish, there’s things that come in your life between the Lord and you. You would like to confess them and be free from them today.
If you need to get clear in your relationship with God—I know a lot of you are thinking about physical healing. But let me tell you that is not God’s number one priority. There were some people in these meetings in Yorkshire who were instantly healed when they forgot about healing and determined to get right with God. So, there we are. If you want now to come and lay your life before the Lord, just come down. I’m not going to make any special appeal. Don’t be embarrassed. From wherever you are, if you feel there’s a burden on your heart. David said, “My sins have mounted up over my head and are a burden to me.” Many of you would like to be healed but you’ll never be healed until you’ve dealt with the sin problem in your life.
So, those of you who want to come, by all means, come.