We live in a world of instants, with everything from instant coffee and instant energy fixes to instant messaging and split second internet connections. This removes the hassle of waiting from our lives, rewarding us with immediate results. The outcome of this, however, is that when we really have to wait we’re not very experienced or very good at it. That parcel we’ve ordered online starts to become a major issue when it hasn’t arrived after the promised two or three days, or that main course we ordered fifteen minutes ok really better arrive at the table as soon as! Or then there’s those frustrating moments when your phone has died and you’re waiting for it to charge enough to let you finish sending that text.
But what about our ability to wait on God? Just because so little in life now requires us to wait and because we’re always in a hurry, that doesn’t mean that God changes His time schedule or moves at a pace dictated by us and our impatience. All throughout the Bible there are so many examples of God moulding and shaping His people, teaching them valuable lessons, as they wait for Him to act:
Noah had to wait over 100 years for the flood to come, spending that time building the ark and being jeered at.
Abraham was promised a son, then had to wait 25 years before he was born.
Joseph had dreams as a teenager and had to wait through over 20 very difficult and traumatic years before that came to pass
David was anointed as King of Israel and then had to wait through many years of hiding and difficulty before it came to pass.
Hannah had to wait through many years of being taunted about having no children by her husband’s other wife before she had her precious baby Samuel.
Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus that their brother was ill but had to wait through the pain of him dying before Jesus arrived.
There are so many more. But if today you feel you’re passing through a difficult time as you wait for God to bring your breakthrough, then be encouraged because you can see from that list you are in good company. Each of the conclusions to those stories was something very special!
God may never seem to us to be in a hurry, but He will certainly never be late! Remember He knows what He is doing and He is already at work in the situation even though you cannot see it today.
David knew a lot about waiting on God, so there are many references to this in the Psalms. If this is a struggle in your life at the minute, then you may want to make your own list of these and make that a focus for your Bible studies, once the 20/20 Vision days are over. We’ll just look at a few in detail today and then a story of how two people waited (which you may choose to leave until tomorrow).
Psalm 27 v 14
Psalm 37 v 7
Psalm 62 v 1-2
Luke 1: 5-25, 57-66
You may want to print these verses (as taken from the Amplified Bible) and stick them into your journal.
Psalm 27 v 14:
Some ideas to ponder….
We are given 5 main instructions in this verse. Can you list them in bullet points? Remember to look up the meaning of any words that you’d find hard to explain.
Using a dictionary to help you, what do you think it means to have a heart that is “stout and enduring”?
Notice the words “hope” and “expect” teach us we should have a positive attitude while we wait!
Psalm 37 v 7
Take each phrase in turn and write down what you think it means.
Psalm 62 v 1-2
“For God alone”. Sometimes when we are waiting we become a lot more fixated on the gift and the answer that we’re looking for than we actually are on God Himself. We need to remember that perhaps one of the reasons God is delaying His answer is that He wants to teach us that He alone can satisfy us and bring us all the joy and contentment that we need. While waiting we should try to focus on the Giver rather than the gift.
Do you ever remember a time when one of your parents went away on a trip? Can you imagine greeting them as soon as they arrived home with the words “What did you bring me?” That is perhaps the way very small children behave but as we grow up we realise the person and their presence is so much more precious than any gift they could give us!
Think about the words Rock and Fortress. What do these tell us about God?
Writing about this verse Joyce Meyer says
“Whether you need the strength of a Rock or the comfort of His arms around you, cry out to God; He will answer in your time of need.”
This verse also says we should wait “in silence”. We’ll think more about the words we use while waiting in the story in Luke chapter 1.
Luke 1: 5-25, 57-66 Elizabeth and Zechariah
You may choose to leave this passage until tomorrow if you want to focus on the verses in Psalms.
Elizabeth and Zechariah did not have any children. How do we know from v25 that this had been a trial in Elizabeth’s life?
Yet how are their lives described in v6? You may want to copy this verse out.
This verse reminds us that even in the most difficult and disappointing circumstances it is possible to trust in God and live a life that pleases Him. Elizabeth had clearly learned to avoid attitudes of self-pity, rebellion and anger in her heart as she waited. God can help us not to feel sorry for ourselves and wallow in our disappointment when life isn’t turning out the way we had hoped!
So all these years had passed where it must have seemed to this couple that nothing was ever going to happen. This is the difficult part of waiting – we don’t actually know if the answer ‘Yes’ is going to come in the end; but it is in simple faith and by trusting that God’s ways are so much better than our ways, that we learn to have peace, patience and contentment.
Then suddenly their breakthrough came and the angel announced they would have a baby. Note from verse 18 what attitude displeased the angel.
While we are waiting it can be easy to use negative words about our situation “This is never going to change!” “Nothing good ever happens to me!” “I’ve given up!” “It’s a lost cause!”.
Perhaps Zechariah’s way of dealing with the disappointment and waiting had been to give up and block out the hope of things changing; but this was not the attitude the Lord wanted him to have. I think it must have been Zechariah’s words in particular that displeased God, since the outcome was that he would not be able to speak until the baby would be born.
As we wait, let’s be careful about how we talk about our situations. Let’s decide now to use words of hope and expectation and trust. If you have a particular situation that requires you to wait on God at the minute, write down some sentences that you should say that will show others you trust and hope in the Lord.
As we wait let’s remember just how loving and wise our Lord is. He really does know what is best for us!