“The waiting is the hardest part” —Tom Petty—
The waiting is the hardest part. Just ask our French bulldog pup, Walter—whether it’s for food, treats, to go outside, or to play… it’s not an easy thing. Waiting isn’t just hard for dogs; we humans also struggle with delayed gratification. It may be waiting for the light to turn green at an intersection, waiting for our turn in line at a store, or for us Wisconsinites, waiting for springtime to come after a cold, snowy winter.
We live in a world where access to just about anything we need or desire is at our fingertips and can be brought to our doorsteps via on-line shopping. Even the simplest of tasks in our homes can be performed via a virtual assistant, but God is not “virtual”—He is spiritual and He is real (John 4:24).
Funny thing about God, even in our high-tech world today, we still have to wait on His timing and ways. God doesn’t operate with our ’prayers on demand’. We can’t just say, “God”, like “Siri” or “Alexa” and get a response (Isa. 55:8-9, 29:16). God does desire for us to continually bring our requests to Him in prayer regarding all things in our lives. We can have confidence that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and will answer us in His perfect time (Phil. 4:6, 1 John 5:14-15).
That brings us to the kind of waiting that pleases God—patient waiting. Patient waiting doesn’t tap toes, pace or fidget. Patient waiting doesn’t whine, worry or carry on in an angry rant. Patient waiting requires a demeanor of stillness. “Rest (be silent-wait or stand still) in the Lord and wait patiently for Him (Ps. 37:7). Here’s how the rest of verse 7 and into verse 8 goes, “Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm.” Our prayer should be as the Psalmist, “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (Ps. 25:4-5). The Lord Himself exemplifies all longsuffering (patient waiting), not wanting any to perish, but all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth (2 Pet. 3:9, 1 Tim. 2:4). It’s in knowing and trusting in God’s Word that will encourage us to patiently wait as these verses suggest: Ps. 39:7, 62:5, 130:5-6; Rom. 8:25; Phil. 3:20.
There’s a lot to be learned in the wait —
•Sometimes we find out that what we desire is not within God’s will for our lives. Many times as He closes one door, another one (that we may have been unaware of) is opened.
•Sometimes we learn that we have to accept the things God’s allowed us to have control of and let go of what we don’t (that includes other people & the choices they make).
•For whatever reasons, God only knows, some things we even patiently wait for never come in this lifetime. But God is faithful to those who patiently endure (Heb. 6:15, Lam. 3:25, James 5:10-11).
Waiting on the Lord (rather than ceasing to strive in our own flesh) enables our strength to be renewed and our hearts to be strengthened (Isa. 40:31, Ps. 27:14).
So—“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Ps. 27:14).