Everyone Has To Wait
- 2005 18 Jul
"I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, exhausted with waiting. But I cling to your principles and obey them. How long must I wait?" (Psalm 119:83-84, NLT)
None of us like to wait, yet we all find ourselves in a waiting mode at some point in our lives. Some women wait to have a baby, others wait to see their husbands come to Christ, still others wait for their child to be healed or their marriage to be more intimate. Single women can fall into the trap of thinking they are the only ones who have to wait, but this isn't true. Everyone waits...some wait for months, others for years. Waiting is a part of life, married or single.
The ways of God are a mystery, and often there are no satisfying answers to the whys of waiting. Still, waiting is never without purpose, and as we wait, God desires to work in our lives. If we let Him, God will:
* strengthen our character (Romans 5:3-5)
* teach us about His character (Isaiah 64:4)
* show us something that can help someone else (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
If this is true, and if we trust that waiting is part of God's sovereign plan for the prescribed moment, the question suddenly changes. We no longer ask should I wait, but how should I wait.
How Shall We Then Wait?
There are two types of "waiters" - passive and active.
A passive waiter lives in standby mode, putting her life on hold until she gets married. She thinks, When I get married, I'll do this. Or, When I have a husband, I will be that. Her only action is to occasionally check her watch, wondering why Mr. Right is so late.
In her loneliness, the passive waiter becomes indiscriminant about the company she keeps. She lounges on the couch of her singleness, and before she can fluff her pillow, the Destructive D's of Discontent, Discouragement, Despair, and Depression nestle beside her. They smother her as they scoot over to make room for their nasty cousins, the A's - Anxiety and Anger. These companions so monopolize her time and space that her life has no room for God or for giving to others.
What a contrast to the active waiter. The active waiter finds purpose in every moment. She eagerly grabs hold of life and squeezes and possibility out of every situation. Through the waiting, she develops an enviable trust in God. Psalm 37:3-7 (NIV) describes the active waiter:
* Trust in the LORD and do good [by reaching out to others];
* Dwell in the land [make your home, settle down, be at peace where God puts you].
* Delight yourself in the LORD [make the Lord your only joy], and he will give you the desires of your heart.
* Commit your life [totally and unreservedly] to the LORD;
* Trust in Him and he will do this:...
* Be still before the LORD and
* Wait patiently for him.1
Trust, dwell, delight, commit, be still, and wait are all imperatives - they are not suggestions but commands. But of all the commands in Psalm 37, "wait patiently" is the most difficult. We can do this only if we have knelt at the altar of God's timetable with open hands and an open heart and prayed:
But as for me, I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."
My times are in Your hand. (Psalm 31:14-15, NKJV)
Waiting is an offering and a sacrifice. We may lift up our very waiting to God, in a spirit of expectancy, asking only for His agenda. As Elisabeth Elliot observed, "Waiting on God in this way is true faith - no agenda of one's own, no deadlines, no demands on what God must do. Simply as open heart and open hands ready to receive that which God shall choose, and a perfect confidence that what He chooses will be better than our best"2
And joy of joys - as we wait, bowing to God's plan and purposes for our life, He promises to meet us in the agony of waiting. What does He promise?
To hear you. "I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry....He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God" (Psalm 40:1,3)
To work for you. "From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him" (Isaiah 64:4, NRSV)
To renew your strength. "Those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary" (Isaiah 40:31)
To give you peace. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)
We can imagine our loving heavenly Father saying to you:
My dear daughter, do not be anxious about anything.
All things are in my control.
Talk to Me about your concerns.
Do not look at the things that others have
or what I have given them.
Do not look at the things you want.
Instead, look to Me.
As you set your heart and your desires upon Me,
I will give you peace. I will satisfy your longings.
In Me you will find what you have been seeking.
1 Based on Elisabeth Elliot, Loneliness (Nashville: Nelson, 1988), 133.
2 Elliot, Loneliness, 140.
From Gift-Wrapped by God. Copyright © 2002 by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus. Used by permission of WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved.
Read Part One of this article here.