I am not always the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to hints and innuendo. Too many times I have gotten myself into trouble by assuming or speculating, so now I try not to assume anything. Instead, I need things to be made plain and simple in order for me to understand. For many people, especially my family, this can be an annoyance. I constantly ask clarifying questions to make sure that I understand completely before I respond, form an opinion, or offer advice. As I said earlier, I have made a fool of myself and have hurt people by jumping to a conclusion that was not a reality.
Yet sometimes God drops hints my way, and it takes me a while before I catch on. For example, during our Tuesday morning prayer meetings we begin by reading from Our Daily Bread. On April 24th we read a devotion titled The Waiting Place. The Thursday before I read Hurry Not, followed by Monday’s The Secret of Peace. Hmmm, I wonder if God was trying to tell me something.
I am writing this on Tuesday, May 1 after Tom Cody and I met in my office for prayer. This morning’s devotion is called Waiting in Anticipation. I didn’t think about it at the time, but later that morning, after speaking with others about the financial stress of the school, a thought came to me, “Wait on the Lord.” I was immediately reminded of the four devotions mentioned above. I had read them during the past two weeks, but I had not connected them, or noticed a pattern. As I said before, sometimes I am about as sharp as a bowling ball.
The devotion on May 1st was centered on Psalm 130, which reads:
A song of ascents.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins
Please read verses 5 & 6 again. I was struck by the repeating of the phrase “more than watchmen wait for the morning”. Those who kept watch and were on guard on the walls of a city got bored, antsy, sleepy, and sometimes afraid, and they waited impatiently for the first rays of the morning sunlight to appear on the horizon. The Psalmist expresses his distress as he waits for the Lord’s answer to his prayer.
Perhaps there is no other Psalm that so deeply captures both our need for the forgiveness of sins and the anxiousness of waiting for God’s answer to our prayers. Yet the Psalmist claims the he hopes in God’s word, and he waits for the Lord with a greater anticipation than the watchmen wait for the morning. He knows that God is faithful, and in the Lord alone will he wait and put his hope.
What are you anxiously waiting for? Financial relief? Physical healing? Spiritual renewal? The restoration of a relationship? Planning for the future? Your loved-one to receive salvation?
Here is a better question: are you trusting in the Lord as you wait for an answer to your prayers? In the song While I Am Waiting John Waller writes:
I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait
Sometimes the hard truth is that we need to wait upon the Lord. Nobody likes it. We want answers now. But strengthening our faith often requires us to wait upon the Lord. This is why patience is part of the Fruit of the Spirit. Waiting upon the Lord means we trust in Him, and not in our own strength, knowledge, or ability. Waiting on the Lord means we yield to His will.
Hillside Church of God and Hillside Christian Academy have a lot of things that we are anxiously waiting on. Who is going to lead the Youth and Children’s Ministries? How are we going to pay for the building projects at the school and in the church? How can we raise up leaders to continue the ministry of HCOG for the future? How do we effectively bring the presence of Jesus into our communities? These are great needs that require prayer as we seek God’s wisdom and direction. However, sometimes God requires that we wait.
But waiting is not a passive word. As we wait we serve, worship, pray, trust, and move forward. Waiting
involves planning, saving, fasting, organizing, and oftentimes even disagreeing as we seek a direction in which to move. But through it all waiting involves trusting in the Lord and waiting with great anticipation for God’s answer.
My friends, we serve a mighty God. And God is good! Today may be painful, and the darkness may seem overwhelming. But we know that in God we always have hope, and the light He brings is always brighter than the darkness of the world.
May God bless you richly as you wait upon Him.
Your servant in Christ,