Waiting is such a loaded word. He asks us to come in repentance and daily yield to Him as Lord. He’s waiting, giving us opportunities to change, repent, gain new perspective, cling to Him, and become more Christ-like, regardless of the circumstances He has us in. Jesus set an example for us in suffering and in waiting for God’s perfect timing.
Waiting on God means an opportunity to step out of my immediate situation and try to reframe my desires within His story. Here are a couple of quotes from Ann Voskamp that speak biblical truth to me.
- Sometimes we want greater clarity – when what we need is deeper trust.
- Faith is confidence in the kindness of God no matter the confusion of the circumstances.
- Faith thanks God in the middle of the story.
The middle of the story is a messy place with lots of loose ends and things that don’t make sense to us. Right there in the messy waiting and brokenness, as we pursue and rely on God, that is where I need to sacrifice a thank offering to God. It’s a sacrifice because it isn’t coming from how I feel, but from faith in who God is. Psalm 115:18 says, “… it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore.”
The forever part in heaven reminds me that one day all waiting will be over, everything made new, and I imagine praising Him will be easy. But today, can I extol my God? Extol means to praise enthusiastically or rave over. Some of you have more of a naturally enthusiastic personality (some of us call ourselves steady), but this is just one way that God is calling me to respond to all this waiting. Rave over God!
It is fun to praise God for answers to prayer, and I’m going to give Him some praise. My nephew Nicholas was hiking in Zion National Park a few weeks ago and fell. Here’s one small quote from his mom Beth on the day he came home from the hospital, “Nicholas is home and all I can say is God is so powerfully, amazingly, lovingly good! Barely 16 days ago, we received that dreaded awful phone call informing us that our son was in critical condition after having fallen 100 feet. God was powerfully, amazingly, lovingly, good then, too. We don’t understand it all and it’s been a hard journey to travel. We’ve shed a lot of tears. Hoped a lot of hopes. And seen amazing answers to prayer.”
She held on to the truths about God, even in the middle of the story where there was suffering and waiting, and God decided to get glory from Nicholas’ miraculous protection and healing. But the same God has also chosen to get great glory from Joni Erickson Tada’s testimony from her wheelchair, not giving her the physical healing in the waiting. She is powerful at extolling God!
So take courage in your waiting and “listen with your whole heart to the tick of God’s timing, rather than marching on to the beat of your fears.” (Ann Voskamp)
The more I praise and thank God for where He has me and those I love, in the messy middle of our stories, the more aware I am of His presence with me, which truly is my only need. He is with me and He is my Helper, and we do know how the story ends!
I’ve prayed Colossians 1:9-12 many times for my husband, Andy, myself or my kids; praying to be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might. I only recently really noticed what that power is for: “… so that you may have great endurance and patience …!” That sounds like some waiting and suffering is happening that needs His power and He wants to give it to us! The prayer then follows with “… and giving joyful thanks to the Father …,” right then while we’re being strengthened in our waiting.
I’d like to pray this Scripture for us:
I continually ask God to fill us with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that we may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that we may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.