Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. he does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isa 40. 27-31)
As you live this new life, we pray that you will be strengthened from God’s boundless resources, so that you will find yourselves able to pass through any experience and endure it with joy. You will even be able to thank God in the midst of pain and distress because you are privileged to share the lot of those who are living in the light. For we must never forget that he rescued us from the power of darkness, and re-established us in the kingdom of his beloved Son. For it is by his Son alone that we have been redeemed and have had our sins forgiven.
(Col 1.11-14; JB Phillips paraphrase)
Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.
As servants of our Lord Jesus, in one sense we are always ‘waiting’ on the Lord, because each day brings new opportunities to meet and serve him – in his people, in the tasks to which we are called, in appreciating all the good things he gives us. In another sense, we have seasons of waiting – perhaps for the arrival of a child, the outcome of a medical procedure, the termination of a time of testing at work, the occasions when decisions have to be taken about employment, retirement, choosing a house or a spouse. There are always things which we would like to have decided NOW, when God asks us to be patient, and to trust him as we wait for clarity, direction and decisions – the latter often lie in other hands and we are thus spared the temptation to fiddle with the process and accelerate it for ourselves! And ultimately, we are all waiting for the return of the Lord and the full inauguration of his kingdom, with the creation of new heavens and earth and his rule of justice, righteousness and peace.
What do we do in our waiting time? How do we deal with uncertainty and the challenges of day-to-day living when big questions seem to shake our foundations and make planning for the future so difficult?
The answer surely lies in the fact that we trust in a sovereign, good and gracious God – in other words, we accept that we cannot control or know the future, but that we are loved by the one who does! So we also accept that uncertainty is a prompt to faith, to cling to God’s word and promises, and to trust that his timing is perfect.
There are many questions to which I would like answers now, quite valid ones! But I must wait on the Lord’s timing, and in the meantime, I have a choice to make about my attitude to what is going on. If I choose trust, then I am proclaiming God’s sovereignty over my life, and my glad submission to his will. If I choose trust, then I can be busy each day with the tasks which are immediately to hand – I can look to serve his kingdom with the freedom and resources I have today. If I choose trust, then each day I am waiting on the Lord to do his will, and I will be strengthened to do so, to be about my Father’s business, and also surely also be in the best place to receive his guidance and direction for the future.
Friends, let us pray for one another, for this wisdom.
Eternal Father, and sovereign Lord of our lives, grant us we pray the wisdom to wait upon you each day in faith and trust. Your plans for us are perfect, and you have work for us to do each day which will build your kingdom. Help us to leave the unanswered questions to your time and answer, to be about your business and not to fret over a future which is not ours to dictate or forsee.
As we wait on you each day, may we find strength for the tasks at hand, and also for the waiting, for the offering up of the questions as often as they arise, for the deliberate choice to trust you in all things. Be glorified in us we pray, through Jesus our Lord who most perfectly waited on you through all his days, Amen.