Man, I feel like every day there is something we are all waiting on and are just wanting to happen. That could be your Chipotle order, an interview, your future husband/ wife, a baby coming, and so much more anticipations that can take our eyes off Jesus. We yearn for changes in our leaders, our workplaces, our schools, and our hearts. I’ve never met anyone who likes to wait. And yet we spend most of our lives doing exactly that.
Our culture celebrates the instantaneous delivery of nearly every desire we can conjure up. We can order something from Amazon and hold it in our hands in a matter of hours. We can watch the entire next season of our favorite show without moving from the couch, and read the news and the newest bestseller on our phones. We can have food delivered when we want it, download the newest album by our favorite artist the moment it’s released, and try the next technological breakthrough as quickly as we can tap “Order Now.” Our society is geared toward satisfying desires immediately. Waiting means being left behind.
What I have come to know is that the Bible teaches something different about waiting. God’s people have had to wait for His good purposes for centuries at a time. Israel waited for deliverance from slavery in Egypt for 400 years. Jesus came to redeem His people after four centuries of silence from God. We are now waiting for the return of our Savior who will right the wrongs of sin, take us home to be with Him, and make all things new. We are slowly being sanctified with each passing day so that with time, we become more and more like Jesus. The Christian life and the narrative of the Bible aren’t at all about instant gratification or quick returns. Much of the Christian life is lived in a waiting period. But God does good work in our waiting. Even when we’re waiting for Him to fulfill good desires like children, marriage, provision, companionship, or growth, there is much that He can do while we wait for Him to act.
I want to give you three ways you can wait on the Lord and wait well.
- ACKNOWLEDGE GOD’S SOVEREIGN CONTROL OF ALL THINGS.
Verse: “Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:13–14—
Application: Yes, even our present predicament is of the Lord. And we cannot straighten what God has made crooked. As much as we may want to “fix” this problem, we are first to wait upon the Lord by acknowledging his sovereign purpose in it. If it were up to us, we would make an even bigger mess of things. However, God will “fix” things in a much better way than we ever could. Sometimes the most difficult thing for us to do is to do nothing at all—nothing except wait upon the Lord. In order to get good at waiting, we first need to acknowledge that God is sovereign and nothing we are presently experiencing is outside of his eternal decree and direct oversight.
- SEEK SPIRITUAL STRENGTH FROM THE LORD
Verse: “Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; Wait for the LORD!” Psalm 27:14
Application: Our helplessness becomes especially obvious during times of calamity. In God alone do we find the strength to tread life’s troubled waters. In the Psalms we find a repository of prayers to God, many of them ask God for help. Something to notice in this passage is the relationship between waiting on God and finding strength in God.
- SEEK THE LORD THROUGH CONSTANT PRAYER
Verse: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Application: As we’ve seen already, our waiting should not be that of inaction. Instead, w should be actively praying for the Lord to bring deliverance.
Jesus has done what no other sacrifice could do. Through his perfect humility and obedience, even to “death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8), he has paid for our transgressions and reconciled us to God. Those who trust in him while they wait can be sure they are never out of God’s sight, never away from his presence, and never absent from his thoughts. And one day we will experience those realities like never before.
Christopher Ash wisely reminds us, “We praise, not because the present is easy, but because the future is glorious.” And during interminable longings and delays, God is setting the stage for a mind-boggling, joy-expanding, never-ending celebration around his table. And more than anything we can imagine, that’s something worth waiting for.
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