Learning to WAIT

The Inner Man
The Inner Man for Teachers

OBJECTIVE: The students will be able to explain that patience is a virtue Christians should strive to attain in every situation. They should recognize that the patient Christian is one who spends much time waiting at the feet of Jesus.

Those in your senior-level class will have a broad base of experience to draw from as you approach this study with them. The point you will want to bring out is the difference between passive and active waiting. Waiting on the Lord is more than just biding our time.

A visual aid for opening this session might be a minute minder (where sand runs through a small glass) or a stopwatch. Illustrate the difference between sitting silently and motionless for one minute, and then spending the same period of time doing something. How much faster the time goes when a person is active!

You might also move into the discussion of this topic by asking your class to identify some different things we may be called to wait for in  a spiritual sense.

  1. They that wait upon the Lord qualify! Just that one condition is given—wait on God— but with it four great promises. Note the word “shall” that is used in each promise. The four blessings are: spiritual renewal, mounting up as on wings of eagles (attaining higher heights of victory), the ability to run the Christian race without being weary or giving up, and being able to walk with God all the way from earth to Glory. In Isaiah 30:18 we read the promise: “Blessed are all they that wait for him.” Have your class tell of times when they have waited on the Lord and have received new strength, healing, or encouragement to keep running the race.
  2. The positive precepts are: trust God, delight in Him, commit your ways to Him, rest in Him, and wait patiently for Him. Bring out that waiting patiently for God and fretting do not go together. They will separate as oil and water do. Ask your class to describe what they might expect to see in the Christian life of one who practices these precepts. They will likely conclude that he will have a settled demeanor, will be confident, sure, secure, and without anxious care.
  3. The word is “abide.” In conversing with His disciples, Christ did not use the Old Testament word wait, but He used the word abide, which has a similar meaning. Help your students find the blessings in John 15:1-11 that come to those who abide in Christ. These are: answers to prayer, the Father glorified, Jesus' love for us, abiding love, permanence, and fullness of joy.
  4. Habakkuk said, “Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come." Explain to your students that we can't see the end from the beginning as God can. Our times are in His hands and we do not know all the intricacies in our lives and the lives of others that have to be worked out before the answer to our prayers can be realized. As you discuss why it is necessary to wait patiently, remind your students that the events recorded in Acts 2:1-4 were the results of tarrying. When Pentecost was fully come, those gathered in the Upper Room were all in one accord. Tarrying until all was right within brought the Comforter. Explain to your class that if we fail to tarry as we should, we will not receive the fullness of the Lord's blessing. We can expect answers to prayer when we obey the Lord by waiting patiently for Him, and while we are tarrying, consecrate our all to Him.
  5. At the end of twenty-one days of prayer and fasting Daniel saw a certain man. Overcome by the glory of the Lord, he fell in a trance, yet was conscious of the Lord speaking. What beautiful words of endearment Daniel heard from this heavenly One! Remind your students that from the first day of Daniel's tarrying, his words were heard in Heaven. Discuss why it is valuable to make a habit of intercession. They should see that prayer, consecration, and waiting on God bring the answers in our time, just as they did in the time of faithful Daniel.
  6. Show your class the enormity of this lesson on “learning to wait.” We are nearly two millenniums nearer to the Lord’s coming than when the church at Corinth heard from Paul “come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord.” Exhort your students to seek for the full armor and to consecrate their all so that they may have spiritual gifts to use in the service of the Lord. Remind them of the encouragement that Paul also gave to the Corinthians when he said that Jesus “shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8). A good example of those who were blameless and ready is the parable of the ten virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13. Five virgins were wise, but the foolish ones failed to get oil in time. The foolish virgins are typical of those who fail to abide in Christ, who fail to tarry for their experiences, who fail to wait for “the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of me.


KEY TEXTS: Psalm 37:1,3-8; Isaiah 40:29-31; Daniel 10:1-21; Habakkuk 2:3; Luke 6:12; John 15:1-11; 1 Corinthians 1:7

OTHER SCRIPTURES USED: Isaiah 30:18; Matthew 25:1-13; 1 Corinthians 1:8