Recently I was in a waiting situation that was not fun and it revealed that I was a pretty wretched person. Seriously, being forced to wait for something shows you a heart that is very gross – a heart that is not apparent very often. Being put in a waiting situation removes your control over where you are and what you planned on doing and it reveals how desperately you need sanctification.
On my husband’s 45th birthday, our last day with family being in town for the Holidays, we went to a park and had a blast. First of all, we were thankful that the weather was nice enough to be outside! That’s not always the case here in Northern VA during the winter. The kids were running around and excited to go and play on the swings. My daughter and niece ran ahead of us and pushed past a chain link fence to get into the playground. My niece got through just fine, but somehow the way my daughter pushed the gate, it ricocheted and slammed her in the face.
Scream. Blood. More blood. Lots of blood. Thankfulness that God designed us with a large frontal bone to protrude over our eyeball in a protecting way. I knew just by the cry that we were going to make an ER visit as my daughter has a pain tolerance that is concerning and does not cry very easily when in pain.
Our oldest son ran to get the first aid kit from the van, and we began applying pressure. For one split second, I pulled back the gauze and saw a very deep wound. Ugh. My husband took one look at meand we quickly whisked her into the back of a second vehicle we had (since not everyone could fit into one car-unexpected blessing) and off we went. We showed upatthe Emergency Room with an actively bleeding wound, even through it was slowing down as her blood had been coagulating and stopping the flow. Finally it stopped. Yay!
But that simply meantthat we were bumped down the ER triage list. Not yay. So, we waited seven hours in the ER waiting room. Seven hours!!!! Lots of time to examine my wretched heart and how much I trust in my own ways and timing and not God’s sovereignty.
Talk about having to stare at my wretched heart and how much I trust in my own ways and timing and not God’s.
I have found that as I grow in my walk with the Lord, and as His Word has its sanctifying work in my life, that I desire Him and His ways- even His Will above my own! The aspect that I struggle most with, however, is His timing. I want all the good things NOW. Like now, now. Immediately. Waiting is not part of my American Christian vocabulary.
There are many verses that speak of waiting, but the one that consistently refines me is found in Psalm 62. David, wrote in verse 5
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.”
Now there is something very important we need to consider about this psalm and the reminder to wait. This is a psalm penned when David was king. Stop and consider that for a minute. “King”. A king was telling himself to wait. It’s easy for us to think of our waiting situation as unique to us, as one that only we have had to patiently endure. We can easily believe the lie that if we had more power or influence we would not endure waiting, because we would just make things happen. Well, here’s a truth to counter that.
God reigns, His ways and timing reigns. No matter how powerful we think we might be, all of us must learn patience. David was, and we are all simply humans on a small planet, in a huge galaxy that inhabits a microcosm of space.
So we can learn from David’s declaration to his own soul to wait for God. What do we see in this small verse – quite a few things.
First, David declares his ultimate trust and dependency upon God and not man. It is easy to be upset at men for delays and to vent about them, but God is the one in whom we live and move and have our being. As a Christian, those frustrations need to be transforming us, and not simply stewing in us, churning up bitterness and anger.
Trust me, I have been forced into a really rough waiting period that we knew was caused by the inactions of one man, and it was REALLY easy for us to determine that he was to blame. Hindsight being 20/20, I can now thank God for those inactions, because they’re what God used to delay our entrance into the military and call us to a church in Northern Virginia.
Was that fun to suffer through? No! I’d rather have a non-novocained root canal. However, we certainly learned that God alone is Almighty and He had not been pulled off His throne by the events in our lives.
Secondly, waiting shows us the foundation of our expectations and hope, and often it is not in the Lord. This often true in our lives. David declares “my expectation is from Him” – from God and not from man. It’s in the long delay that we are forced to see how much trust we have put in man and not God. Sometimes that man is ourselves and our desire for control. We think we do a pretty good job controllingour lives and making decisions that honor the Lord, so we think we should be at liberty to continue to make those decisions.
Then God steps in and shows ushow little control we actually have, and how utterly dependent we are on Him.
Waiting, forces us to stare hard at our expectations and ask questions about why we even have those expectations in the first place. Often it’s because we’ve been comparing our lives to others or making determinations based on what we see of how others are living and thinking that our life should look the same as theirs. When it starts to deviate it makes us consider why we’ve thought that to begin with. And brings us back to that place of submission to God’s will, ways and timing.
Waiting purifies desires and forces us to consider why we are hoping in something besides the Lord. See, when our expectation is in Him, we aren’t concerned with how others are living, we are much more concerned with Him defining our desires. And guess what? He always wants to give us more of Himself. He always wants to reveal more of Himself to us. We can have it all, if Jesus is all we want.
So how do we wait well?
I wish there was a magic pill, a one-time vote we could cast that would make this process easy, but there isn’t. Like everything else that’s sanctifying, it’s a lifelong process that is only completed when we are no longer bound by time, because we are in glory.
Here is the only answer-fix your eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2 is the only answer to waiting. And these verses follow Hebrews 11, an entire chapter that speaks of the faith of men and women throughout time. Faith that was often worked out in the midst of waiting on God. Faith that took them right up to the wire and sometimes past their own abilities, and yet God brought His will to pass.
We should remind ourselves of the truth in this passage and choose tobelieve His Word above our feelings, emotions, whether waiting in good days, or bad days, or in totaloutright discouragement. I’m sure that many of the heroes of the faith had those types of days, too. In fact, Scripture tells us of their doubts and how some of them took matters into their own hands and how that didn’t turn out very well. In fact, one of our prayers in a waiting situation has become, “Oh God, do not let me birth an Ishmael.”
Finally, in my study of many biblical saints, waiting was used to refine them. God knows that we NEED the time of waiting to become the person who can walk through whatever God is allowing us to wait for. We really don’t like that fact, but it’s true. We think we can handle so much more than we can. And God mercifully makes us to wait,allowing us to see how much we need Him to withhold things from us that we think we’re ready for. Looking back on your life, can you imagine getting the things you wanted so badly immediately? How badly would you have ruined them? How badly would they have ruined you?
Waiting well is a crown to those who are willing to endure the process. God’s Word is full of promises to those who are willing to wait for Him.
Waitingsanctifies, and that’s good. Because it eliminates the dross that must be burned off, that would not have been brought to our attention if wewere not out in that situation. Waiting shows us how we worry when something we think we control is taken out of our hands. Waiting shows us who we really trust in. So instead of walking in condemnation, allow the wait to purify you, refine you and make you more like Christ.