October 19, 2015
The Waiting Game
My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; for my expectation is from Him (Psalm 62:5, ASB).
Friend to Friend
I’m not very good at waiting. I don’t like to wait on anyone or anything. I tend to view the waiting rooms of life as missed opportunities and unproductive circumstances to be avoided whenever possible.
And as far as silence goes, if there is a word to be spoken, I will gladly speak it. In fact, for much of my life, I have tried my best to avoid silence and solitude.
However, I am learning that while the seasons of silence and the waiting rooms of life are different in nature and purpose, they are always for my ultimate good.
Silence sometimes falls like a sweet, gentle and refreshing rain. I don't have to do anything, be anything, or seek anything. I am just with Him, and He is with me. I crawl up into my Father’s lap and wrap my arms around Him and find healing and restoration. I fall in love with Him all over again as He reminds me that His love for me is unchanging and unconditional. The Father gently reassures my frightened heart that He is not going anywhere, and that I can count on Him to be with me – no matter what!
But there are also times when waiting in silence feels more like a bottomless pit from which there is no escape. The darkness is filled with fear and unanswered questions threaten my peace. I am lonely and don’t understand what God is doing. I am tired of being hurt and disappointed. Quitting seems like the easiest way out. My energy is gone, and no one seems to understand.
I was so excited when I read the story of Elijah. I knew he understood what I was feeling. One day he was the conquering hero. The next time he shows up in the Bible, he is sitting under a Juniper tree, wallowing in self-pity – and begging God to let him die. Elijah was exhausted from his battle with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. He won that battle, but he still had to deal with Jezebel who put a hit out on him. He had called down fire from heaven, proving the existence of the only true God, destroying Jezebel’s false gods and idols. She was one ticked off woman! And Elijah was one exhausted man.
Elijah needed to rest – big time. He found that rest while sitting under a Juniper tree, waiting in silence for God to show up. I know. God had showed up in big ways for Elijah, but this time, Elijah needed a personal, one-on-one encounter with his Father. I’ve been there, haven’t you?
It doesn’t really matter what compels us to crave time under the Juniper tree. It only matters that we come. Clinical depression brought me to my knees and drove me to seek God as never before. I found rest in Him through the promises of Psalm 40:1-3.
I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV).
I had read the book of Psalms many times, but in the silence under my personal Juniper tree, these words settled into my soul and really took root.
I began to learn how to wait on God.
I came to the precious place of desperation and cried out to Him.
I made the deliberate choice to trust Him like the helpless child that I am.
During those exquisite moments, we laughed, cried, and talked about the trials that brought me to the pit of darkness. For the first time in my life, I began to realize that anyone or anything that makes me cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.
I am learning to embrace the silent times of waiting as gifts from His hand to my life. So time under the Juniper tree is good. Sometimes I just need to be reminded. How about you?
Thank You, Lord, for arranging the circumstances of my life so that I must stop and rest. Thank You for the healing I find in You. Thank You for the new truth and redefined purpose for my life. Help me apply the truths I find under the Juniper tree.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you long for times of silence or avoid them whenever possible? Why? I encourage you to find a few minutes each day this week to spend in silence before God. Establish the habit of a silent retreat when possible. Read the Psalms daily and keep your gaze on God.
More from the Girlfriends
We will never be free from stress this side of heaven – so we had better figure out how to deal with it. That’s why I wrote the book, Escaping the Stress Trap, a verse-by-verse study of Psalm 23 with Bible Study included. Check it out!
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