Psalm 27:14 (NLT)
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
One of the hardest things to do in life is to wait. Whether we are expecting something good, something bad or the unknown, waiting is tough. Patience is a virtue, something we have to work for. It’s a quality that we are not born with, but that we learn. And it’s something, because of our human nature, that we have to practice…over and over and over again. I believe we get better as we go along, but life will always test our patience and sometimes, so does God.
Waiting on God
Waiting on God is probably the worst kind of waiting. We believe our God can do anything and that He’s all-powerful. Yet He doesn’t always seem to use that power when it’s needed most. Why?
Well, one reason is what I talked about in last week’s sermon. If our desires are not lining up with God’s, He’s not going to fulfill those wants. It’s not because He’s not interested in our desires, in fact, it’s the exact opposite. He wants the best for us and not just the topical desires. So we have to take the time, with God, to examine our desires to find if they are the true longings of our hearts, the ones that God has planted there, the ones that make us who we really are, or if they are superficial or destructive desires that will only lead us to a life of pain and emptiness.
Another reason God may not move as quickly as we think He should is because it’s just not the right time. God’s timing will always be better than ours. In what seems like God is not answering our prayers or just taking His good old time, is often really Him building us up or, if necessary, tearing us down to prepare us for the next step, strengthen our trust in Him, or even changing our thoughts and our perspectives to see like His.
There are many people in the Bible I could use to give you an example of waiting on God. The stories of those waiting on God throughout the entire Bible are endless. But let’s look at just one, King David.
King David Waited
King David, the author of many Psalms, was no stranger to waiting and knew full well of its difficulties. But through it all, David’s greatest desire was to live in God’s presence every day of his life. We often run to God when we experience difficulties, but David sought God’s guiding presence every day. So when trouble came his way, he was already in God’s presence and better prepared to handle the situation.
That certainly didn’t make David perfect as he still made plenty of bad choices over the years, but more than his poor choices, David was after God’s own heart. He wanted to see and love and forgive like God. He wanted to honor God with his life. He wanted God to get the glory for the great things in his life. He knew it wasn’t he who did them, so he was more than happy to give God the credit. It was with a lot of practice, through years of waiting, that lead David to trust in God’s promises and timing.
The promises started in the humble home of his father Jesse, while David was just a boy, a shepherd boy. It all started when the prophet Samuel showed up at Jesse’s home to anoint the next king of Israel who was to be chosen from Jesse’s family. Only one of Jesse’s sons would be anointed. And after all the strong ones were looked at, it was realized that little David, the youngest of the sons, was the chosen one of God.
Scripture tells us the Spirit of God rushed over David and was with him the remainder of his days (1 Samuel 16:13 ESV). With such an anointing, one would expect David to run to take his seat on the throne. But the only running David did was back to the pasture and his sheep. Therefore, his wait began. And meanwhile, God prepared David to be king. However, the only vocation David had known was shepherding. He didn’t know the ins and outs of the royal protocol or rules. David did not have the support of the people or armies to defend him as king. He was only a lowly shepherd boy. Instead of taking the position he was promised, David waited for God to move him literally from the pasture to the palace. David waited 15 years to be king of Judah and even longer to be king of all of Israel. And during his wait, David was chased through the wilderness by jealous King Saul, suffering at the hand of his enemy.
But none of that waiting was wasted. During the waiting, God prepared David by teaching him many lessons, particularly about waiting. And we have the pleasure of reading many of those lessons in the Psalms. Most of David’s beautiful and poetic psalms were written while in caves, caverns, and the wilderness, all while waiting on God. Many times David cried and begged God for help, intervention, and defense. And God never left him down.
This past week on Facebook, I posted a video where I broke down Psalm 13, a prayer by David. It’s a perfect example of one of David’s waiting lessons. David was truly suffering, probably at his wits end, and decides he can’t take it anymore. He boldly lays it out and asks God, how much longer! David asks 4 times “how long?” How long will you forget me, how long will you hide your face from me, how long with I be left in my agony, how long will my enemy keep defeating me?
Then David asks God to restore his sight. Meaning to change his perspective on how he sees the suffering to how God sees it, what God can do with it. David didn’t want to live in sorrow and agony. But if his situation isn’t going to change anytime soon, then he wanted to see it differently believing that God is allowing it for a reason. David doesn’t necessarily need to know why, he just wants to know that God is listening and that He’s still there with him in the suffering. David ends by reminding himself of what God has done so far in his life, that as David trusted in God, God was always there before, and that God has always been good to him.
Look, before we can believe in any of God’s promises, we have to look at the Promise Maker. Who is He? What kind of God do we have? If we focus on trusting in just the promises before we trust in the Promise Maker, or if we focus on receiving His promises more than receiving Him, then we’ll miss it. We’re going to miss the greatest promise there ever was. This promise that God, the Creator of this world, is with us. He not only wants to be with us, but he also wants to speak with us and walk with us through all of life.
Any confidence we have in God’s promises will always be rooted in our relationship with Him. As we grow in relationship with God, our trust in His promises grow. David figured that out in the beginning when he was just a boy ready to kill a 9ft. giant with a sling and a stone. He trusted that God had a purpose for his life and that God was going to see it through no matter what, because he knew what kind of god we have…a sovereign, almighty God who never forgets His promises.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.
If you don’t ask how are you ever going to know? If you don’t seek, how are you ever going to know what path to take? Again, our trust grows when we fix our eyes on God, when we learn and study His Word, and when we stay alert and pray.
Our Waiting has a Purpose
I believe our waiting has a purpose for someone other than ourselves. It’s not all about us. Just think of how rich our lives are today because of the waiting David endured. All that he went through means we have the comfort, compassion, and hope from all of those Psalms he wrote.
So what about all the waiting we are having to do during this pandemic of the Coronavirus? We are not going out to eat, going shopping, visiting family, running the kids to clubs, sports, and events. We can’t do any of the normal we used to do. Could it be that God is using this waiting time for something bigger and better than we could ever imagine?
I have heard many people praying for a revival for our world. Our world is so lost and broken. I recently read a statistic that said 80% of those in their 20’s in the United States, do not profess to be Christian. It used to be the other way around! If this keeps going, our world is surely only to be more lost and more devastated than we are now!
Again I ask, could God be using this time for something more than we can see in the moment. I really think our world needs to be brought to their knees. We need to turn ourselves to God, and if this pandemic is going to do that, then you know what…as much as I want this thing to be over too, I’m going to patiently wait. I’m going to trust that God didn’t just vanish this disease from the earth yet for a bigger reason than we understand.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…GOD DID NOT CAUSE THIS VIRUS! BUT God will use it for His good!
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”
Do you know who is called according to His purposes? Everyone one of us! Not just the ones already believing.
Look, God does not ignore the cries of His children. But we need to repent, ask for forgiveness and turn our hearts over to God. Many who already have done that at some point in their lives have still turned away from God since. We need to go back to Him. We need to use this time to share with everyone we can about how great of a God we have. Who He really is and how much He really loves us.
John 3:16-17 (NIV)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Philippians 4:13 NIV
“Therefore we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.”
We can do all things, including waiting on God. When it seems that God isn’t answering our prayers or doesn’t understand the urgency of our situation, remind yourself of who He is. Otherwise, that kind of thinking only implies that God is not in control or is not fair. But God is worth waiting for. Lamentations 3:24-26 calls us to hope in and wait for the Lord because often God uses times of waiting to refresh, renew, and teach us.
“The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”
Seek the Lord, seek His heart, and change your perspective. We can start to see the ways God is working during this pandemic. Some ways that I alone have seen:
- Every day, I see families walking together.
- I have seen churches finally get online overnight, now reaching hundreds and even thousands of new people – people they would have never reached otherwise.
- We thought we were connected before with all the internet and social media, but we are more connected now than we have been in a very long time through an old invention called the telephone. People are calling family members sometimes daily to check on each other.
- Children are making cards and pictures for nursing home residents.
- At Adams County Christian Academy, the principal is challenging the kids every day to do something without their parents having to ask them to do, like make their beds, set the table, have game night. Each week they post what they did and the response is outstanding!
- Kids are getting to be kids again and play outside, learn how to bake, learn how to do basic tasks around the house.
Is this what we have been asking for?! We’ve wanted change, we’ve wanted life to slow down. Here it is. So why not make the most of this waiting time. Change your perspective and instead of worrying or be disappointed, be thankful and wait patiently to see what the Lord is going to do with this. And if we allow it, our waiting time, our thankful hearts, will also bring us to an intimate knowledge of God that we would not otherwise have.
Psalm 27:14 (NLT)
“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
Make good use of your waiting times by discovering what God may be trying to teach you in them.
Father, nothing is impossible for you. Forgive us for the times we get so wrapped up in the kingdom of earth and we forget about the kingdom of heaven. We want to live expecting the unexpected, trusting in a God whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts and whose ways are higher than our ways. In all our ways, we trust you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Trisha Guise, Pastor