Waiting is one of the most difficult of all the spiritual disciplines.
In our hurried, driven, fast-paced culture we have lost the art of waiting well. If there’s a long line at Target, we move over to self-checkout. If there’s a long line at the Starbucks drive-through, we sigh and wonder if we should run inside instead. We use microwaves and Instant Pots.
God, however, is in the waiting. He uses delays in our lives to sharpen us and set the stage for what He ultimately desires to do. The Quaker Isaac Penington wrote, “Therefore, we ought to wait diligently for the leadings of the Holy Spirit in everything we do.” He went on to say that in every decision, we should wait for the breathings of the Spirit in us. Wowza! That is a difficult challenge, isn’t it? In our hurried culture, it’s difficult to slow down long enough to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit within us. John 14:16 assures us that as followers of Jesus we have the Spirit of the living Christ residing in us. He is there 24/7 to guide us forward in God’s plan. The rub comes when we don’t slow down enough to listen intently for His voice. Yet, in the life of every believer, God uses the discipline of waiting.
David, the Psalmist was well acquainted with waiting. Many Bible scholars believe he waited at least 17 years before the fulfillment of God’s promise to him that He would be King. We feel the struggle of David in Psalm 13, where he cries out, “How long, Lord, will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” (Psalm 13:1-2). How did David make peace with God and settle His soul? We find the answer at the end of Psalm 13 where David writes, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5-6). I find tucked away in these verses three choices that David made to listen intently to the movement of the Spirit in His life:
He made the decision to trust. Honestly Friend, most of the time I find this has to be a decision of your will. When you’re waiting for God to open a door or to answer a prayer, you have to choose with your mind to trust Him with your heart.
He made the decision to rejoice in His salvation. I believe David knew He wasn’t truly home yet. He lived and wrestled in a fallen world that was dark with the fear and terror of someone (Saul) wanting him dead. But His joy was found in the God of his salvation.
He made the decision to sing the Lord’s praise. While traveling in Finland, our guide told us that when Finland was invaded by enemies the people began to sing. Singing has been proven to increase our courage and confidence. When you choose to sing the Lord’s praises while waiting, your assurance of His goodness will grow.
Friend, waiting is a part of our spiritual journeys, and in a very real sense it reflects God’s heart. He, too, is waiting – waiting for us to come home to Him, waiting to redeem a groaning creation, waiting to reveal Himself fully as the victor over all evil. As you wait, be assured that the One who calls you to wait, is waiting as well. He longs with patience for His beloved children to return home to Him.