“How much of human life is lost in waiting?” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Few people enjoy waiting. Yet it is a common constant for us all. It is not possible to live without waiting.
The Bible has a lot to say about waiting, and not all of it is bad. There is actually a positive side to waiting. What we do while we are waiting can be the key to opening up a whole new life of opportunity. The Psalmist discovered this when he wrote:
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I have hope. (Psalm 130:5)
Waiting – I wait for the LORD, my soul waits
At the beginning of this Psalm the Psalmist cried out to God for mercy and help. Yet there was no immediate answer. This is a common experience and raises the question, what do we do when answers to prayer are slow in coming? The Psalmist’s answer was to wait. As the watchmen waited for the inevitable dawning of the morning, the Psalmist waited for the inevitable answer from God. Waiting is no fun, but it is part of the Christian life. The Lord’s timing is impeccable and his answers to prayer are worth waiting for. Wait for the Lord.
Word – in his word
How we wait for the Lord is as important as the waiting itself. When the Psalmist waited it wasn’t an idle passing of the time. He turned to the scripture and spent the waiting time in God’s word. It is in the waiting times that God teaches us faith, and it is in the word that faith is strengthened and grows. A commitment to the Bible and the prophetic word are essential to surviving and thriving in the waiting times. God even uses the waiting season to draw us into more reading, studying and meditating on his word. Wait in his word.
Hope – I have hope
When prayers go unanswered for a season, the first thing we lose is hope. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” (Proverbs 13:12) Yet in this Psalm the Psalmist did not lose hope. Rather, as he waited his hope was renewed and strengthened. This is what time in the word does for us. It builds faith, which produces perseverance, which generates hope. God is faithful. What he has promised he will fulfil. The waiting season is a time to revisit the promises God has given to us and to feed our hope with the word of God. Wait in hope.
“Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.” (John Ortberg) When it comes to waiting for the Lord, what is often seen as a negative can become the greatest positive of our lives. There is no limit to what God can do in us as we patiently wait in his word.