Today’s Text and Thoughts of Encouragement:
“And this I pray; that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight, that your love may display itself in greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment, so that you may surely learn to sense what is vital and prize what is excellent, distinguishing the moral differences, that you may be untainted so that with hearts sincere, you may approach the day of Christ not stumbling nor causing others to stumble.
Philippines 1: 9, 10
“Any belief that does not command the daily walk of the one who holds it is not a real belief; it is a pseudo-belief only! I think it might shock some of us profoundly if we were suddenly brought face-to-face with our beliefs and forced to test them in our practical life. How many professing Christians boast in the Lord but watch carefully that they never get caught fully depending on Him? Pseudo-faith always arranges a way out to serve in case God ‘fails.’
What we need very badly these days is a company of (Christ’s followers) prepared to trust God as completely now as they must do at the last day! For each of us, the time is surely coming when we shall all have nothing but God. To people of pseudo-faith, that is a terrifying thought. For true faith, it is either God or total collapse…We can prove our faith by our committal to it – and in no other way.”
A. W. Tozer
“Faith is reason at rest in God.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten girls who went to wait.”
Matthew 25: 1
The Everyday Bible
“What Happens When We Are Left to Wait”
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope, my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning.”
Psalm 130: 5,6
What is it that I am waiting for in my life right now?
What has this season of waiting made me feel like?
What am I learning about my heavenly Father while I am waiting upon Him?
“Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of spiritual life.”
“Waiting can be the most intense and poignant of all human experiences – the experience which above all others, strips us of our needs, our values, and ourselves.”
W. H. Vanstone
What if I asked you if you longed to glorify God with the life you live? I am certain your response would immediately be, “Yes!” With an exclamation point for emphasis!
But then, what if I told you that I know a proven way for you to glorify God each day. Most likely you’d say to me, “Dorothy, don’t play with me. Don’t withhold the way from me. Tell me exactly what is it that I can do to glorify God.” And then, what if I turned to you and said, “Well, Sue, you will need to learn to wait for waiting patiently for God to work in your life is the best way to glorify Him.” The reason is that it is during the “waiting” times, when God’s glory is exalted because He is lifted high above our earthly dreams and desires.
I must say that finding out that bringing glory to my Father involves waiting is for me, personally, a tough pill to swallow. Why? Because like many people I know, I simply don’t like to wait. Even as a child I didn’t like to wait until Christmas Day to open presents. My sister and I finally badgered our parents into letting us open one small present on December 23. That’s how much we disliked waiting.
Imagine my surprise and yes, unhappiness, when during the past several years, I’ve repeatedly found myself plopped right in the middle of experiences which required waiting. And I’ve kept asking God, “What is it that I’m supposed to learn from these times when from my human vision, my life appears to be stalled. My plans trashed. And my desires thwarted!”
I know I’m not alone. I know many of you are struggling to make sense during times in your life when waiting is agonizing. As I’ve read all the prayer requests over the past 10 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a common link which if carefully looked for, makes its way through nearly all the needs we take to God in prayer. Whether it’s a prayer for a physical healing or a prayer for the spiritual recovery of a loved one or a cry for a financial remedy – somewhere in all these requests is the fact that we are waiting for God to intervene on our behalf. We long for God to come to our rescue or solve a problem which we’ve finally had to admit is too big for us to handle. I’d like to add one more thought: I don’t believe there’s any of God’s precious children who in one way or another, haven’t found themselves in a place where they were perplexed as they were waiting. Wondering why God would leave them in such a confusing situation. As we’re waiting for a response to some problem in our life we may have cause to wonder, “Does God hear my prayers? Will He answer my request? Does what I cry out for matter to Him?”
Clearly there’s a reason for waiting because it happens to nearly all of God’s children throughout the Bible. Abraham and Sarai waited for decades to have their promised child, Isaac. Joseph waited years in prison where he’d been placed after being falsely accused by his employer’s wife. Moses waited 80 years, 40 of which he spent in the desert of Midian herding a flock of his father-in-law’s sheep wondering what the purpose of his life was all about. I could go on and on because waiting seems to not only happen frequently, it also appears to be a vital element in the life of someone God longs to use – often times in ways they could never have ever conceived. In Psalm 130:5, entitled a “Song of Ascents,” we find these instructive words: “I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope. I am looking and waiting for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, I say, more than watchmen for the morning.”
In his enlightening comments, specifically on Psalm 130:5, Matthew Henry points to the fact that since this verse is a Psalm of degrees, it ends with a climax. “I wait on the Lord” is the Psalmist’s emphatic pronouncement because it is from the Lord that “I expect relief and comfort, believing it will come, longing till it does come, but patiently bearing the delay of it, and resolving to look for (the answer) from no other hand.” But Matthew Henry also focuses our attention on the fact that as we wait, if we learn the lessons of waiting, we will end up at the pinnacle of total and complete dependence on God and no other. As Henry looks at Psalm 130: 5, he states, “the ground of our dependence is the word of the Lord in which we hope. We must hope for that only which He has promised in His word, and not for the creatures of our own fancy and imagination, we must hope because He has promised, and not from any opinion of our own merit.”
As I’ve found myself calling out to God for direction in the dark times of waiting, when more questions fill my mind than answers, I’ve taken great comfort from God’s stalwarts down through the ages whose own perplexing thoughts have left them to wonder what God was up to in their lives. The spiritual giant C. S. Lewis, in writing about waiting states: “One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. God takes the saint like a bow which He stretches, we get to a certain point and say I cannot stand any more; but God goes on stretching. He is not aiming at our mark but at His own, and the patience of the saints is that we hold on until He lets the arrow fly straight to His goal. If we are willing to remember God’s call and assurance there need be no strain at all while we are waiting. The ‘stretched bow’ time may be a time of unbroken rest for us as we ‘rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him’” (Psalm 37: 7).
Thankfully, our loving Father will never ever let more strain be applied to your life or mine than we can bear. As Pastor and Author A. B. Simpson so beautifully penned, “Unless a violin string is stretched until it ‘cries out’ when the bow is drawn over it, there is no music. A loose violin string with no strain upon it is of no use – it is dead, has no voice. But when stretched till it strains it is brought to the proper tone, and then only is it useful to the music-maker.”
What are you waiting for God to do for you right now? Is the strain making you feel as if you can’t take anymore? Well, take heart! God has a special place for you in His Symphony. He’s getting you ready to play “first chair.” His waiting time is preparing you to melodiously play the song of your life with only one purpose in mind and that is to bring glory to your Father’s name.
Author Nan C. Merrill’s book, Psalms for Praying, is one of my favorites and I’d like to share Merrill’s “Prayer” from Psalm 130: 5, 6:
“I wait for You, my soul waits,
And in Your Word, I hope;
My soul awaits the Beloved
As one awaits the birth of a child, or
as one awaits the fulfillment of
If today you feel that the time of waiting you are going through has pushed you nearly to a point of breaking, my prayer for you is: “Don’t give up. Keep holding on. God’s plan for your life is going to have you playing the music of heaven.” As one unknown poet wrote long ago:
“Though bowed, you are not broken;
Though stretched, you’re strong my friend.
You are resilient like a willow,
You’ll find your spring again.
Though your branches now weigh heavy,
Your roots go deep and true.
This is just a change of season
God has better plans for you!”
“My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved.”
Psalm 62: 5, 6
“Lord, I’m bored,
I’ve lost my vision.
I’ve lost my sense of vocation.
Nothing seems to have any meaning any more.
I keep putting one foot in front of the other;
but where am I going, and why?
What’s the use?
Everything used to be full of life;
now it’s all silent and empty.
Lord, if only I were somewhere else,
if only things had turned out differently,
if only I could see where it’s all leading,
if only I didn’t feel so depressed!
But these are the circumstances You’ve given me:
and not somewhere else
that I have to learn to trust You
in patience and humility.
Lord, help me to remember
that they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength.”
“But those who wait for the Lord, who expect, look for, and hope in Him, shall renew their strength; they shall lift their wings and mount up close to God as eagles mount up to the sun; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.”
Isaiah 40: 31
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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