September 14th 2009

How Well Do We Wait? 

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him”

Psalm 37:7 (NRSV) 

I’m sure many of us choose the shortest queue at the Supermarket checkout. Actually, sometimes I look in people’s baskets and follow those with the least number of items to the till; how sad is that? I also push the button on Pelican Crossings; watch the sign that says, “Wait” light up, and then dash across the road if it’s even halfway clear. Waiting patiently is not easy for us human beings. 

Waiting may be the hardest single thing that we are called upon to do. And yet, it’s amazing that God, who knows all of our faults, who realises that we are by nature impatient, says over and over again in His word; “Wait!” Have you ever noticed that? 

Abraham was about 75 years old when God told him that he would have a son and become the ancestor of a great nation. But how long did Abraham have to wait? Twenty five years! (Genesis 15:1–4; 21:1–5) Forty three times in the Old Testament alone, the people of God are exhorted to “wait on the Lord.” And the last words in the Bible are about waiting, “The One who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20, RSV). 

For 2,000 years God’s people have been saying; “Come Lord Jesus!” “We’re waiting!” (Patiently?) 

Why do you think God makes us wait when He knows full well just how impatient we can be? Why not just give us all the answers now? Author Ben Patterson observes; “What God does in us while we wait is as important as what we are waiting for.” That makes a lot of sense, because there is a wonderful promise attached to waiting. 

This scripture, in fact, is one of my personal favourites: “He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:29–31, NLT). That’s a promise for those who wait. 

A final thought: God also knows what it’s like to wait; He waits with us and for us: “But the Lord still waits for you to come to Him so He can show you His love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for Him to help them” (Isaiah 30:18, NLT). 

Prayer

Gracious and tender Father, thank you for your patience with us. Thank you that you are working out a very special purpose in our lives as we wait on you and wait for you and the fulfilment of your promise to us.

Amen 

Study by Cliff Neill 

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