“I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him…it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:24,26
How are you at waiting? I think one of our biggest challenges in life is waiting well. Think about it – so much of our daily life is spent waiting for all sorts of things. We’re forced to slow down until it’s our turn at the grocery store checkout, or to get a haircut, or talk to a “live” customer service person on the phone.
Then there are the bigger things we have to wait for, the requests near to our hearts that we’ve been lifting up to God. We may believe He’s heard us and that He has a good plan. But we can struggle if there’s a stretch of time between praying and receiving.
Waiting is going on in our house this morning. My son is waiting for news from a college he applied to. My husband and I are waiting for news about a family situation. In both cases, getting the answer feels like an urgent necessity because we really want resolution.
Well, I have to confess that I am not very good at waiting. If I’m not careful, my attitude can sour from one day to the next, and I’ve been known to whine during times of long heavenly silences. God knows I need growth in this area – and He’s been providing ample opportunity for me to work on it.
Two major emotions swoop in to make my waiting time difficult – fear (What if God doesn’t give me what I want?), and impatience (I need to do something right now to move this along!). In those moments, I focus on myself and my wants.
So how does God want us to wait instead? In Lamentations it says “quietly”. In other places we find descriptors such as “in expectation” (Ps 5:3), “in hope” (Ps 33:20), and “patiently” (Ps 37:7). All of those are positive and peaceful, no sense of rushing or worry. What a relief that would be! And what a difference from my usual reaction.
Waiting well seems to come down to trust. God already knew what I’d be asking for before I said anything, knows what’s best for me, and is working whether I see evidence of it or not. The question is, do I lean on God and His word, or my own understanding (what I see or feel at any given moment)? Can I let God be God?
Today my goal is to stay close to God, and to re-focus on Him as many times as I need. His promises may not include getting everything I want, but they offer His goodness and grace. Maybe this time of waiting can become a chance to worship God instead of questioning Him.