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Posts Tagged ‘Waiting patiently’

Having spent the last four weeks polishing the final draft of my memoir before sending it back to the publisher, I decided to watch the DVD of “The Hiding Place,” directed by my late friend and mentor, James F. Collier, whom I mention in the memoir.

Jim, as he was affectionately called, had the kind of Christian film career to which, I believe, God had called me. Jim had directed a string of successful feature films for Billy Graham’s Worldwide Pictures, that were instrumental in inspiring and leading many people to Christ.

Hearing my testimony of how I became a Christian through a movie, “Angel in Ebony,” and how I left my career as a pastor to become a Christian filmmaker, Jim took me under his wings when I was a graduate film student at UCLA, and was always available to critique my scripts, advise me, and encourage me as a young filmmaker.

I tried for several years to find investors for one of my films, and when an investor finally promised to put up $1.5 million to make the film, it was largely due to Jim’s help and presence during my presentation.

But when the deal eventually fell through, I was so deeply disappointed and depressed, that I questioned my calling and considered quitting filmmaking.

It was at this low point in my life that God used Jim to bring a special word of encouragement to me. Though I don’t have Jim’s exact words recorded, his advice went something along these lines:

“My brother,” he said (he always called me brother), “one of the things that I have observed in life and in reading the Bible, is that God doesn’t always call us to be successful in the way the world views success, but he always calls us to be obedient. As a follower of Christ, you are successful when you are obedient to him. And in that obedience, you’ll have to wait on his timing for things to happen, not your time schedule; and in learning to wait and trust in God’s timing, you’ll learn patience.

“Don’t despair when God seems slow in acting. Just continue to obey him in your daily life. Be patient, and wait for him to act in his perfect timing, for he knows best. You might have to go through some tough times, but stay the course, be faithful, and trust him.

“Moses had to wait forty years tending sheep in the desert before God called him to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. And David had to wait twenty-three years after God anointed him as king before he became king over all of Israel, and some of those years were spent as a fugitive, hiding in caves from Saul who wanted to kill him.

“So, my brother, wait, be patient, be prepared for a long journey, and above all, trust and obey the Lord through whatever difficulties he might lead you.”

Jim’s words of advice and encouragement have remained with me.

In May 1991, I received news that Jim had died at the age of sixty-two. He and his wife, Jean, had moved up to their ranch in Creston, north east of San Francisco, and while he was checking his property one night, fell down an embankment where he was severely injured. He lingered in the hospital for a few days, but died within a week.

I was greatly saddened by his death, and remembered clearly our meeting at which he gave me such encouragement when I was at one of my lowest points of my life: Wait. Be patient. Be prepared for the long journey. Trust and obey Christ as he leads through the difficulties of the long journey.

That message can also be found in Jim’s movie, “The Hiding Place,” the true story of Corrie ten Boom, who survived the Nazi concentration camps after her entire family was killed for hiding Jews in their home in Holland.

I encourage you to get a copy of the DVD and watch this very inspirational film. Or you can click the links below and watch it on your computer in the following order:

Trailer: watch?v=YWg47sLwlHk&feature=related

Clip 1: watch?v=hhVC9q_ZlDs&feature=related

Clip 2:watch?v=yRgD4z8F3rA&feature=related

Clip 3: watch?v=XoFwNeiAm04&feature=related

Clip 4: watch?v=rNG-L7wIibA&feature=related

Clip 5: watch?v=d-FYG-nTGx8&feature=related

Clip 6: watch?v=SJopT76slTw&feature=related

Clip 7: watch?v=VyXe4txpt9I&feature=related

Clip 8: watch?v=yKbIpfW3fa8&feature=related

Clip 9: watch?v=Qm_ruUyXThA&feature=related

Clip 10: watch?v=wHc_jmRXsMU&feature=related

Clip 11: watch?v=-EN3MlRBGHM&feature=related

Clip 12: watch?v=uj6M-AxQATA&feature=related

Clip 13:watch?v=xjRCuXoZUrA&feature=related

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It was 5 a.m. and dark outside when I left home for my daily walk one morning. It was cold and windy, but I was clothed warmly for the five-mile trek along a route that included a steep stretch of road into the hills above our neighborhood of Granada Hills, one of the towns in the San Fernando Valley, just outside Los Angeles.

I was eager to walk that morning, for I was deeply troubled about my life and needed to work off a lot of pent-up frustration. But even more importantly, I needed the time of solitude and privacy along those deserted and darkened roads to pray and seek God’s help and direction.

As I walked I poured out my frustrations to God. I told him how burdened and beaten down I felt, and how I had lost the passion, dream, and direction for my life.

Then somewhere along the walk, amidst my tears, weariness, self-pity, and complaints, the Lord reminded me of some verses from Isaiah 40, the words seemingly rushing back into my consciousness with each step that I took:

Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall fall exhausted,
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 40:27-31, New King James Version—NKJV)

I mulled those words over in my mind, especially, “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.”

A scene from the past flashed in my mind, one that I had seen many times from our church which sits atop one of the ridges of the Santa Monica Mountains, overlooking the San Fernando Valley.

It was a scene of a high-flying bird—sometimes an eagle, sometimes a hawk—hovering or slowly gliding majestically above the slopes. Its wings would always be spread wide, almost motionless, as it circled above unhurriedly under the California sun, as if waiting patiently for something. Inevitably it would connect with that something—an unseen thermal draft—its outstretched wings catching the full force of the swift-rising column of hot air that would send it soaring effortlessly to greater heights with hardly a flap of its wings and no wasted energy.

As I walked up the steep hill in the dark that morning, I closed my eyes, spread out my arms eagle-like, and tried to imagine what it would be like to wait for those thermal drafts and soar like an eagle. The cold wind blew steadily on my face, chest, and outstretched arms, and I began to feel as if I were being lifted gently off the ground and borne aloft by the wind.

Though my feet continued to pound the ground in a steady walk up the hill, my imagination took me to another realm where I seemingly experienced the sensation of flying like an eagle high above the San Fernando Valley, with the city lights shimmering and sparkling below and the dawn’s faint light gently washing the eastern sky. I felt as if I were hovering in the wind, gliding, waiting, and then soaring as a thermal draft swept me upwards and effortlessly to higher levels of flight above the valley.

The sensation of flight was wonderful and thrilling, sending shivers through my body. But an even deeper sensation followed—an overwhelming sense of God’s presence and a feeling of total well-being. This was God’s touch of grace, his moment of blessing for one who was poor in spirit, and one who mourned (Matthew 5:3-4).

Later that day and in the following days as I thought about that transcendent experience, God communicated clearly and profoundly through various scripture passages how to reinvigorate our lives as Christian believers:

· Never give up and quit.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed or broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, New Living Translation—NLT)

· Wait patiently for God and he will restore our flagging strength and spirit.

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. (Psalm 37:7, NLT)

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3, NLT)

· Trust God completely to do what he promises in his Word.

…those who trust the Lord will possess the land. (Psalm 37:9b, NLT)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18, NLT)

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. (I Peter 5:6-7, NLT)

· Rest quietly in him.

The Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says, “Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15, NLT)

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT)

· The Holy Spirit’s presence and will are to us what the thermal air currents are to the eagle or hawk.

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, NKJV)

I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your law is written on my heart. (Psalm 40:8, NLT)

Always be joyful. Keep praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, NLT)

I’ve never been able to recapture that sensation of flying, but the lessons learned through that experience and those scripture passages have stayed with me, especially whenever I see one of those majestic creatures soaring over the slopes of our San Fernando Valley.

****

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, sometimes we find ourselves tired, discouraged, and utterly burnt out on life. Thank you for assuring us through your holy Word that if we wait patiently on you and seek your guidance, you will renew our strength, reinvigorate our flagging spirits, restore us to our rightful minds, and empower us to soar to greater heights of living and serving. Teach us to wait patiently, for it is in quiet waiting that we experience you in your fullness and transforming power. Amen.

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