“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Psalms 130:5-6
As human beings, most of us aren’t naturally wired to wait. Babies are born impatient; they demand to be fed, changed and entertained -now. Children have no concept of time and no sense of tomorrow or next week. How many parents have been tortured with the repetitive question “are we there yet?” From the back seat of the car?
Waiting comes with maturity. It’s something we work at and develop over time. Yet even when we grow to adulthood, waiting seems to remain a problem for most of us.
Jesus couldn’t get even one of his disciples to wait with him through just one lonely night in the garden of Gethsemane; much as they loved him, they just couldn’t muster up the discipline or staying power.
When I read the above verses in Psalm 130, a mental image of the lonely watchman comes to mind. Picture him, sitting through the night, possibly thinking at the start of his shift, ‘oh this isn’t so bad’. By the time he’s three or four hours in, he must be longing for dawn to break, or at least for some action to break the monotony.
But one thing that watchman knows with absolute surety- dawn will come.
A Time of Expectancy
Waiting is not passivity or inactivity. The watchman couldn’t afford to fall asleep while he waited. It was his job to watch; To be on the lookout. He had to stay alert. When we are inactive or passive in our spiritual lives, we tend to drift in our commitment and then ‘fall asleep’.
When your dream seems to be placed on hold, get busy and help others with their dreams
The life of Joseph always inspires me. He’s a true example of someone who had to wait, for a very long time through very hard circumstances, on the Lord. But while he waited, he kept busy doing whatever his circumstances allowed. He didn’t lie around in jail, feeling sorry for himself, he helped and encouraged others, interpreting their dreams. His good attitude and work ethic, even through adversity resulted in favour and eventual promotion.
God is not inactive when we are waiting.
When you are waiting on God, most often He is working behind the scenes to put together all the pieces in our lives, moulding and shaping us, leading and directing us.
When the Jewish leaders challenged Jesus for healing people on the sabbath he said “My Father is always working, and so am I.” (John 5:17 )
See also: Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
1 Corinthians 12:6 “God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
It’s a Time of Patience
No ‘are we there yet’! Psalms 37:7 “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”
If God has told you to wait, it is a precious time, between just you and God. We don’t need to worry about others seeming to be favoured, promoted or excelled around us. Our expectation and attention is directed towards God and no one else.
What is one of the most quoted Bible verses? Its Isaiah 40:28-31! “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Waiting on the Lord is a matter of obedience.
Sometimes it’s tempting to ‘give God a helping hand’. In 1 Samuel 13, King Saul was commanded to wait for Samuel to arrive to make the necessary sacrifices before encountering the Philistines. Saul waited for a period of time, but when Samuel had not arrived, he made to decision to offer the sacrifices himself. He was just finishing up when Samuel arrived. Samuel rebuked the king: 1 Sam 13-14. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
David’s another example of someone who waited. He was that ‘man after God’s heart’ that Samuel spoke about. He was chosen and anointed as the next king of Israel, and then forced to live as a fugitive in the desert for ten years.
When you think about it, patience is about surrendering our control. This is so difficult for most of us, isn’t it? Its tempting to try manipulate the circumstances or people in our situation, to get what we’re longing for – now. But what if God doesn’t share my perspective,sense of timing, or desires?
A Time of Expectancy, Listening, Hoping in God
Psalm 130:5: “…and in his word I hope;” It’s a time for infusing your heart with God’s Word.
If you’re listening God will speak to your heart through His Word. His leadership will always be consistent with the Bible.
God will speak directly to your heart through His Holy Spirit (and again, this will always be consistent with his written Word)
God will speak to you through people; Mentors in the faith, are a part of God’s voice and direction in our lives.
Sometimes God will speak to your heart through your circumstances. Remember Jacob in the house of Laban? The story is in Genesis 31. The situation had become untenable for Jacob and it was in this very situation that that God spoke to Jacob and told him to go back to Bethel. What a relief that must have been for Jacob, to get out of his in-laws’ house at last.
God opens or closes doors. Sometimes God may allow us to push open a door He has not opened, but once through the door we discover it is not what we thought or desired!
One day, the waiting will be over! Isaiah 25:9 “In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the Lord, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”
Today, if you’re waiting on God, keep close to Him, ‘dwell’ in his presence, and trust Him. As sure as the dawn always follows a long night, so does our Faithful, faithful God always come to those who wait for Him.
Jill McIlreavy 💜