Waiting on the Lord

I think “waiting on the Lord” is one of the single hardest aspects of the Christian life. Lately, I have been really battling my impatience and frustration over plans seemingly not working out or taking forever to work out! I have been complaining even to the Lord that it so often seems like his timing is “never” rather than “now.” I know that is not true…but sometimes it FEELS that way. Waiting can be so hard. Submitting to his ways (which are not our ways) is not always easy. Readjusting plans and having plans change or fall through can be nerve-wracking and even discouraging when you have expectations in your mind that don’t pan out that way. He is just on a totally different “time-table” than we sometimes are!

Consider the fact that Jesus said “I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20). Who would have thought we would still be waiting 2,000 years later? Every generation has thought and believed that he would return in their lifetime. God’s “delay” (which is only according to our concept of “time” and human understanding of “soon”) has justified in some people’s minds their unbelief. 2 Peter 3:4 even says that “in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say “where is this coming he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” Peter later goes on though to remind us that: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise like some understand slowness.” In the case of Jesus’ coming the issue is this: “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) He then goes on to warn however that when the “day of the Lord” does come, it will “come like a thief” (2 Peter 3:10) taking people by surprise and changing everything dramatically: “the heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” (2 Peter 3:10). He then calls us to holy and godly lives in light of this reality (2 Peter 3:11-15).

The point is this: God is faithful and his promises are “yes” and “amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). It’s just a matter of “time” and God’s “timing.” He just does not operate according to our schedules or when we may desire!

Consider God’s promise to Abraham regarding having a child. When God made the promise the reality of it didn’t happen that night. Rather it was 25 long years later after it became humanly impossible apart from His miraculous intervention in Abraham and Sarah’s life! (Genesis 15-21; Romans 4:16-25). As much as we may sweat it; God seems to delight in showing up when there is no “human” hope left or human ability. The impossible only can happen after all human possibility is eliminated! Don’t be discouraged when human hope seems to die; rather rejoice because it’s then that God brings forth and “births” that which only he can do!

Consider Joseph. From the time of his dreams to the fulfillment of his dreams was about 13 years.

Consider the Israelites as slaves in Egypt. It was 400 years (which God made clear to Abraham would be the time frame) before they were delivered from their slavery!

Consider David. When Samuel anointed him as king until the time he actually became king was a span of somewhere between 7-15 years! Those years in “between” were some of the most trying and difficult days for David. And then when he did finally become king, he only became king over Hebron (which was a very small portion of what God promised him). It wasn’t until seven years later that he became king over ALL of Israel (2 Samuel 5:4).

Consider the time between the giving of the law of Moses which pointed to the Messiah…and the actual coming of the Messiah: it was a span of over 1,300 years! In between that time there were hundreds of prophecies spoken revealing all kinds of specific details. Yet none of them came to pass for several hundred years after being spoken!

It is easy to get discouraged and lose hope when “waiting” for God to fulfill his promises or see the dreams/visions he has given us come to pass. At times it seems impossible…and it is humanly speaking! (which is how God likes it because then he gets the glory for doing it when it happens!) But when God’s “timing” does come, things can instantly and dramatically change. Again think of Joseph. In one day he went from being a nobody in prison who was forgotten; to second in command of all of Egypt whom everyone knew!

Timing is important in all aspects of life. There is in fact a “time and season” for everything under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-12). Waiting on God is not easy, but it is essential. It’s evidence of our faith and trust in Him. It’s also not for us to focus on the “when” but to be faithful to “what” God has called us to do. Jesus said to his disciples before ascending to heaven: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” (Acts 1:7). Rather they were to focus on obeying Jesus’ command to “wait for the gift my Father promised…the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:5). And when the Spirit “suddenly” came…everything was changed; beginning with them! (Acts 2).

I have been thinking about a time when God told David this in 1 Chronicles 14:15: “As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army. So David did as God commanded him and they struck down the Philistine army, all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. So David’s fame spread throughout every land, and the Lord made all the nations fear him.”

Notice David was told to wait until he heard the “sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees” (referring to angels at the command of the Lord of the army of heaven!). This would have required listening for and discerning this “spiritual” sound. It would have required being “still” and exercising “self-control” in not getting ahead of the Lord or failing to move when it was time to move.

May God likewise help us “wait” for his signal and timing and then “move” when it is time to act. May he grant us spiritual discernment to recognize the “sound” of heaven calling us to “march on.” It is only then that God will grant us the victory and do more in us and through us than we could do in our own abilities, wisdom or strength.

Rest this day in the faithfulness of the Lord. He who has promised will not lie or fail you, for He is faithful!

Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 37:7: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…”

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