Submitted By Pastor Tom Tripp
Waiting is extremely difficult for us. At times it is even painful or agonizing. I am lousy at it. Perhaps you are lousy at it as well. That’s probably why the Bible repeats this call to us so many times: “Wait upon the Lord.”
Yet Scripture is clear about the fact that God often keeps us waiting. Indeed, Scripture is clear about two vital truths that we need to take into consideration:
1: God often keeps us waiting, and
2: God is always at work for good in all circumstances.
Since waiting is common to us all, and since God is always working for good in all circumstances, we can be certain of the fact that God will bring good even out of our agonizing experiences with waiting. Therefore, the question we need to ask in times of difficult waiting is this: What good does God bring out of our waiting?
For starters, waiting gives us the opportunity to recognize who is God and who is not, who is sovereign over all that happens in life and who is not.
One of our basic problems in life is that we think we are in charge of life, that we can or should control our destiny. But waiting forces us to face the truth that we cannot control what happens to us.
As waiting drives us to face the fact that we are not in charge of our lives, waiting also gives us an opportunity to practice submitting our lives to God’s trustworthy authority. Waiting provides us the opportunity to practice submitting our longings, expectations, plans, and demands to God’s better wisdom.
If waiting succeeds in moving us from the illusion that we are in charge of our lives to submitting our lives to the authority and wisdom and care of the true God, then waiting will have done its good in our lives.
Furthermore, waiting on the Lord gives us the opportunity to practice casting on the Lord the burdens and worries and fear that weigh us down.
Look at it from this perspective: The English words “wait” and “weight” not only sound identical to the human ear, they feel identical to the human heart. When we have to wait for something, it feels to us like an ever-increasing weight is pressing down upon our heart. The weight of waiting becomes almost unbearable to us. Relief from the pain of such weight comes only as we learn to wait not merely for something but to wait on the Lord.
Perhaps an old illustration will help:
“An eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks. While it is on its way, the eagle will fly to a high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, the eagle sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it, for he has learned to settle himself on the uplifting winds. The eagle does not escape the storm; it simply uses the storm to lift it higher.
“When the storms of life come upon us, we can rise above them by setting our hearts on God. The storms will rage, but, as with the eagle, if we settle ourselves on the God who lifts us up, we will rise above the storm’s devastating effect on us. We can allow God’s power to lift us above them. We can soar above the storm, for it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down but how we handle them.
— Tom Tripp is the Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa. Pastor Tripp can be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org