The Wait Of God…
“Wait for the LORD.
Be strong, and take heart,
and wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14 NIV).
“If a man dies, will he live again?
All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.
You will call and I will answer You;
You will long for the creature Your hands have made” (Job 14:14-15 NIV).
Endurance: Brief details of the “Endurance” expedition to Antarctica of Ernest Shackleton from 1914-1917: The crew—nearly frostbitten, starved, and insane after living in sub-zero temperatures on glacial ice with minimal sunlight for six months—were in a life and death situation as they sent off an open 22 foot sailboat with 6 men for a last ditch effort at survival: a perilous 800 mile journey in Antarctic waters that would eventually encounter a hurricane that sinks a 500 ton steamer ship. While this “matchstick” boat attempts this perilous journey, the remainder of the crew is forced to wait…for rescue…or for a slow, unraveling death.
Main Scripture Passage: Psalm 27:14
In this Psalm David writes about trusting in God through trials that many 21st century Americans can relate to:
- intense fear,
- the ominous threat of attack by those out to get him (military in David’s case but in our context perhaps character assassination, gossip, belittling words/comments, cutthroat co-workers, etc.),
- being surrounded by trouble,
- feeling as if God has abandoned him,
- being rejected by his own parents (though this is admittedly a theoretical situation proposed by David),
- oppression (whether from an individual or culture).
David runs through such a gauntlet above and offers the Biblical tools/actions needed to survive such trials:
David concludes with the command to
- wait on God (even when everything inside of us wants to run fast in any direction for relief)(not wait for a resolution to the problem, but wait on GOD);
- to be strong (because strength will be needed to endure the present trial);
- to be courageous (because courage will also be needed to endure the present trial).
It is my hope that through this post the LORD will help all of us to see that our waiting on God, our clinging to Jesus by faith through the hurricanes of life, can be
- a holy endeavor for God,
- an authentic act of worship to God,
- a heroic display of genuine faith in God that is more important to Him than the worldly accomplishments of climbing a mountain, painting a masterpiece, or winning a championship.
List of Biblical People Who Waited For God:
- Noah (waited on God for approximately 50 years to bring the flood—while waiting Noah was busy obeying the LORD by building the ark despite the probable ridicule from his neighbors);
- Noah and Family (waited on God for forty days for the rains to stop);
- Noah and Family (waited on God for a little over a year to finally exit the ark and begin their lives again);
- Abraham and Sarah (waited on God for 25 years to provide them with a promised son despite their advanced age);
- Moses’ Parents Amram and Jochebed (waited on God for three agonizing months as other Hebrew baby boys were rounded up and thrown into the Nile; also waited on God for the short but anxious moments as baby Moses floated through the dangers of the Nile River before being scooped to safety by the slave of Pharaoh’s daughter);
- Israelites (waited on God for 400 years to deliver/rescue them from government-sponsored oppression/slavery)
- Joshua and Caleb (waited on God to enter the Promised Land for 40 years as the Hebrews wandered in the desert for their sin of faithlessness toward God even though Joshua and Caleb were faithful to God themselves);
- David (waited on God for approximately 15 years from the time he was chosen to be king by Samuel until the time that he actually ascended the throne);
- David (waited on God for 7 tumultuous nights pleading for the life of his son…who eventually died);
- Hannah (waited on God for many years to provide her a child—while she waited her husband’s other wife ridiculed and irritated her until she wept and stopped eating);
- Israelites (waited on God for nearly 2,000 years for the promised Messiah to be born);
- Simeon and the Prophetess Anna (waited many years for the promised Messiah to be born);
- Unnamed woman who touched Jesus’ cloak for healing (waited on God for 12 years to heal her bleeding illness while unsuccessfully doing what she could to find a medical cure);
- The 3 Marys and John (waited at the foot of the cross for three hours watching Jesus suffer and slowly succumb to His injuries);
- Jesus’ Disciples (waited on God in a locked room for 3 soul-crushing days after Christ was crucified and before He rose again);
- All Followers of Jesus (still waiting on God for Jesus’ return)
What Are Some of the Trials Through Which God Wants Us To Wait On Him?
- Reconciliation with a grieved friend/child/family member
- Physical/emotional healing
- Attempts to have a child
- Desiring to be married
- Clinical depression
- Bankruptcy/home foreclosure
- Job searching
- Strained teacher/student relationship
- Getting out of financial debt
- Career advancement/promotion/raise
- Unhealthy marriages
- The different parenting stages
- Physical disability
- Drug/alcohol addiction
- The sometimes tumultuous teenage years
- Utter exhaustion–needing true rest, refreshment, and a soul-sabbatical.
So What Does “Waiting On God” Look Like?
- Continuing to believe in our minds/hearts all that the Bible teaches us about God’s character (e.g. I trust in the shape of my body even though the carnival mirror [my experiences!] shows that my skull is larger than the rest of my body!). This involves soaking in God’s Word regularly, specifically those passages that reveal His promises and His character–see especially Psalm 136 and Job 38-42 (please click HERE for more of these).
- Continuing to obey God in our daily actions—to show through our actions that we are learning how to love Him and love all others even when we don’t feel like it, even when God feels far.
- Continuing to trust that our current suffering is only temporary—eventually, in HIS timing (not ours), God WILL end our suffering, heal our past and deliver us into our blessed and eternal future with Him.
- NOT hitchhiking with another god/philosophy/belief system in order to more quickly get where we want to go.
- For more specific applications of waiting on God, please click HERE.
Consider These Scripture Passages That Talk About Waiting On God:
- Job 14:1-17
- Psalm 5:3
- Psalm 33:20
- Psalm 37:7
- Psalm 37:34
- Psalm 38:15
- Psalm 40:1
- Psalm 119:95
- Psalm 119:166
- Psalm 130:5-6
- Proverbs 8:34
- Proverbs 20:22
- Isaiah 8:17
- Isaiah 26:8
- Isaiah 30:18
- Isaiah 51:5
- Isaiah 64:4
- Lamentations 3:24, 26
- Hosea 12:6
- Micah 7:7
- Mark 15:43
- Luke 3:15
- Romans 8:19, 23, 25
- 1 Corinthians 1:7
- Titus 2:11-14
- Hebrews 9:28
- James 5:7
- Jude 1:21
Closing: The 22 crew of the ship “Endurance” waited for rescue on Elephant Island for over four months. During that time they endured mind-numbing monotony, bitter cold, various physical ailments, a scarcity of supplies, irritating companionship, and the constant fight to cling to a fleeting hope.
“As the weeks extended well beyond his initial optimistic forecast, [crew leader ] Frank Wild established and maintained routines and activities to relieve the tedium. A permanent lookout was kept for the arrival of the rescue ship, cooking and housekeeping rotations were established, and there were hunting trips for seal and penguin. Concerts were held on Saturdays, and anniversaries celebrated, but there were growing feelings of despondency as time passed with no sign of the ship. The toes on Blackborow’s left foot became gangrenous from frostbite, and on 15 June had to be amputated by the surgeons Macklin and James McIlroy in the candle-lit hut. Using the very last of the chloroform that had survived in the medical supplies, the whole procedure took 55 minutes, and was a complete success.”
Nevertheless, as they waited, the rescue did arrive on August 30th 1916. Every man survived. Their wait for rescue was not in vain, and they were as much heroes for their heroic waiting as the other men were for their heroic rescue. May the same be true of us as we patiently wait for Jesus in every way…