Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, which became years. Now there are more than 10 of them. A full decade has gone by that I have been praying for God to deliver me from a circumstance that hangs over my daily existence like a darkening shadow. Sometimes I cannot bear it another day. And yet, the days keep passing, as if the end is nowhere in sight. Honestly I don’t feel any closer to the eradication of my problem than the day it started.
Has God forgotten me?
I was in church one Sunday when I heard a woman say, “You know, every character in the Bible is made to wait…”
My ears perked up. I began to do a little review of the Bible characters to see if that was indeed true.
Abraham has to wait until the last moment for God to save Isaac from being sacrificed.
Moses is made to wait several times, including 40 years as a shepherd and 40 years as the leader of the Jews in the wilderness.
Noah has to wait in the ark as the storm rages on for 40 days and then for the water to subside. He is even made to wait seven days in the ark with the door closed before the rain begins!
Jonah has to wait three days inside a great fish that has swallowed him.
Joseph has to wait in a pit after his brothers leave him for dead, and in a prison after Potiphar’s wife lies about him.
David is made to wait on God’s provision all throughout his reign as endless enemies threaten his kingdom.
Paul is made to wait in prison for long periods of time, and shipwrecked in the middle of the open sea for a day and a half.
It got me to thinking. If God told His story of love and redemption to us through the people listed above (and more) can we assume that there is something about our waiting that God values?
Can we assume that there is something about our waiting that God values?
And while we may resolve to keep a stiff upper lip while we wait, taking a grin-and-bear-it attitude isn’t necessary. Read through the Psalms that King David wrote. His cries to the Lord ring out as some of the most gut-wrenching in all of literature. But each times he does, he also sings great joy and celebration of God with praise, praise, and more praise. In fact, read the final Psalm, Psalm 150 where he is exhorting mankind in all the many ways to praise God in good and bad times. The very last line offers one final enthusiastic reminder: Praise the Lord. It has no exclamation point because it is an exclamation point.
Waiting on God, no matter how long, need not be torture, but rich and joyful as we sing praises to him. God uses waiting to do great things in our lives, like building our faith. And faith is our highest calling.
Psalm 27:14 (ESV) Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!