WAITING ON THE LORD
Passage: 1 Samuel 30:6
David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
Living in Aberdeen, Scotland, helped me appreciate the incredible tenacity and determination of the locals. Yes, I did try the haggis, (a “pudding” containing oatmeal, onion, sheep's heart, liver, and lungs) and one bite was sufficient. I thoroughly enjoyed the various accents throughout the country. There is an ongoing debate about the existence of the Loch Ness monster. One gentleman, on a television program, said that he had indeed seen the legendary beast and if he had to spend the rest of his life in the same spot just to get another glimpse of Nessie, he surely would! I really don’t think he was joking. His willingness to wait for Nessie to appear definitely demonstrates commitment. In a unique way, it also makes me think I should be more excited and patient in waiting to catch a glimpse of God’s fingerprints.
Waiting can be actively living out our faith. Waiting shows how we can respond to God when we haven’t yet received the longings of our hearts. With pressure and stress surrounding him, David gave us an example of how to wait. He was anointed king of Israel, but he had to wait for more than 13 years to begin his new role. During that time, the reigning king, Saul, attempted to kill David several times. David was on the run and living just a step away from death for years. At one point, the men with him became frustrated and turned against David. David was all alone. But he did not give up. Instead he turned to the Lord and found strength. As it turned out, David would become the king of Israel just a few days after this test. Even though David had been waiting for over 13 years, and the situation did not look good, he was actually on the verge of his breakthrough!
All of us choose a foundation for our future. Jesus talks about building your house on the rock so that when the rains come, the streams rise, and the winds blow against your house, it will not fall (Matthew 7:24-29). Life can feel like a constant treadmill of demands and responsibilities. The pace can be overwhelming. As we wait, it is important to stop and reflect on a deeper level and examine the motivations that underlie our daily decisions. Trusting God with our future allows us to handle our present “delays” with grace.
Waiting is not something people usually enjoy. It can be difficult sitting in the waiting rooms in the hospital. Have you ever tried to spend the night sitting in one of those chairs? Have you ever had to wait for the doctor to give you the results of a procedure when your loved one has been in the operating room for many hours? In stores, I work hard to find the shortest line (do you ever speed up to get ahead of another customer?).
Honestly, I often don’t even let the microwave finish cooking before I pull out my food (I’ll just open up the microwave door with 3 seconds left because I don’t want to wait any longer). Waiting, however, is a common experience. We wait for a class to end, we wait for the end of the school year, we wait for a best friend, we wait for sex until marriage, we wait to get a car and have our own place to live, we wait for healing from the pain we have experienced in life, we wait for Jesus to return. No matter how much we want to rush through life, there are still many circumstances when we need to wait on God! Have you ever rushed into a bad decision? Waiting can actually reveal God’s wisdom and strengthen our confidence in Him and His grace.
Here are some encouraging principles to help during the waiting times:
1) Waiting is often active. Even though David spent over thirteen years of his life waiting to be king, he did not just sit around. He took care of sheep, he played an instrument, he made friends, he was a leader, he wrote, and he worked hard. Don’t just sit around and feel sorry for yourself; ask God what He wants you to do as you wait. Don’t give up.
2) Waiting usually ends. Even if it lasts longer than you want, most waiting is just for a season. Remember that God is still in control and God is good. He does not always reveal His purposes during the times when we wait, but He wants us to use those times to grow. Don’t be discouraged.
3) Waiting tests where you find your strength. David learned how to find strength in The Lord. It is very important to go to church and to have friends who encourage you in your faith, but we still need to learn how to gain strength from God in our own times alone with Him. Your best tool for getting through waiting will be your connection with the living God. Praising Him alone, opening up your heart, mourning with Him, and absorbing His word and promises are all essential. You may develop a new depth in your relationship with God as you wait.
When Grace Is Missing
Not all soil is the same. The amount of nutrients, acidity, capacity to support life, and climate are significant considerations. It’s the roots in life that produce the fruit. Toxic soils take over when we aren’t rooted in grace, and they turn waiting into frustration:
1) Rooted In Fear: Evidenced by worry, timidity, and sleeplessness.
2) Rooted In Selfishness: Evidenced by a self-centered absorption.
3) Rooted In Bitterness: Evidenced by hostility, rage, revenge, and hatred.
4) Rooted In Despair: Evidenced by giving up and beating yourself up.
God has something much better for us than these unhealthy soils. When you understand future grace, your attitude changes as you are waiting. Jesus not only forgives our sins and gives us eternal life, but He also changes us from the inside out. As we wait on Him, God wants to pull us out of the mire and enable us to walk on the heights (Psalm 40). Future grace invites us to make clear decisions of faith today, knowing that God’s way is ultimately for His glory and our good.
1) What are the most significant things that you are waiting for now?
2) How have you handled your waiting times in the past?
3) How do you prevent becoming too passive when you are waiting?
4) What does it mean to find your strength in God and how do you do it?
1 Samuel 30:1-25. Learn how to find strength in God as you wait.
Psalm 130. God’s unfailing love is your confidence; His timing is good.
Isaiah 30:15-18. The Lord longs to be gracious to you—don’t resist.
Romans 8:22-27. The entire earth is longing for God’s eternal redemption.
Hebrews 9:27-28. A day will come when all of your waiting is over.
Sovereign God, I realize that my timing is not always Your timing. Forgive me when I think I know what is best and try to call all of the shots. I want to grow in my willingness to wait on You. I know waiting can be a good thing. Help me to redeem those times of waiting by trusting You and growing in my faith. Grant me Your patience and perspective I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
For more from Pastor Jesse Bradley and Activate Media Ministries, visit www.activatelife.org