Waiting in Hope…Even If

Waiting in Hope

Are you in God’s waiting room? Have you been praying for something, on hold for an answer, hoping for your circumstances to change?

I confess, waiting is not my favorite activity. And right now, I’m waiting for something especially critical…test results of a loved one’s cancer scan.

During this time of uncertainty, I started to wonder…is there a proper way for Christians to wait? Should we be doing something while we wait, or is waiting, well, just waiting?

For the Christian, waiting is not a passive experience. Even though this may sound contradictory, waiting is active.

Here are four things the Bible tells us to do while we wait on the Lord:

Do it with courage

Waiting takes courage. As Christians, we don’t cower in fear over what may happen. The future may be uncertain, but we belong to the One who not only knows the future, He holds it in the palm of His hand! David phrased it this way in Psalm 27:14 (ESV):

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

 

Stay in His Word

During times of waiting, we can be bombarded with advice that may sound good. It may even be what we want to hear. But if we’re not careful, we can be influenced by well-meaning advice that is not consistent with God’s Word. Use this time to soak in what God has said, both to be encouraged and to be prepared for whatever answer the Lord brings. As the psalmist reminds us in Psalm 130:5-6 (ESV):

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.”

 

Wait in Silence

This one can be difficult for me. During our times of waiting, it’s easy for us to make our request the topic of conversation in every conversation! We whine about our pain, complain about the injustice, and throw ourselves pity parties. However, King David reminds us in Psalm 62:5 (ESV):

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t share our concern and ask for prayer. But it does mean that once we do, we should spend our time seeking God’s heart, growing in quiet intimacy with Him.

 

Persevere in Your Waiting

This one can also be difficult if we’re in an extended time of waiting.

During this time of waiting, do what the Lord has called you to do. Are you in ministry? Continue to serve. Are you working? Work heartily (Colossians 3:23). The prophet tells us in Hosea 12:6 (ESV):

“So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”

 

The answer will come. Still, it may not be the answer we want. That’s when we need to remember God is sovereign. Although our short-term circumstances might not appear so, He is always at work for our ultimate good and His eternal glory. As God’s children in Christ (John 1:12), we can rest in this assurance from the prophet Isaiah:

“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4 ESV).

 

Or, in the words of the group, Mercy Me:


Lady in Waiting

Wait. It’s a four-letter word in more ways than one.

I hate waiting.

  • Waiting in lines at the post office.
  • Waiting for a green light at intersections.
  • Waiting for answers to prayer.

That last one is the worst. Waiting for answers to prayer. Especially when I know the prayer request is something that lines up with what the Bible teaches.WaitIf it’s God’s will for someone to know Him, then why doesn’t He answer my prayer for that person’s salvation? Or if I’m praying for Christians to step forward to serve in ministry so others will have an opportunity to learn God’s Word, why doesn’t He immediately grant that request?

Perhaps it goes back to what Oswald Chambers once said:

“If God sees that my spiritual life will be furthered by giving the things for which I ask, then He will give them, but that is not the end of prayer. The end of prayer is that I come to know God Himself.”

The wait for answers is not just about the answers. Instead, it may be more about aligning my heart with God’s heart. My desires with His desires.

The longer I pray about something, if I’m asking with the right spirit, I begin to understand things in a different way.

The salvation of that loved one? I see God working behind the scenes to soften hearts in a way that may touch more than one life. He is also working on me so I won’t see that person’s salvation as another notch on my Christian gun belt.

The need for ministry workers? I see God using the wait to teach me to depend on Him alone. He is also using the time to teach those waiting that the opportunity to study His Word is a privilege not to be taken lightly.

Being a lady in waiting isn’t easy for me. I wonder if it ever will be. But as I wait, my perspective changes. I begin to see beyond my own desires to what God is accomplishing in me and in those around me for His glory.

How well do you wait?


The Wait for Emmanuel

What is the longest you’ve waited for something you wanted? In this age of instant gratification, wait is a four-letter word in more ways than one.

The oven takes too long, so we microwave our food…then stand in front of the microwave, counting off the seconds because it’s taking too long!

Dial-up Internet service wasn’t fast enough, so we converted to DSL, only to replace DSL with high-speed Internet.

Remember the days when we had to wait to see the photographs we took? The film had to be developed and pictures printed from the negatives. Polaroid film provided photos within minutes, but even that took too long. Now we can see our digital photos instantly.

Since we work hard at not having to wait for anything, it can be difficult for us to understand how long ancient Israel had been waiting for her Messiah. While the original prophecy for His coming can be traced all the way back to Genesis 3:15 in the Garden of Eden, the prophet Isaiah spoke of Him by name: Emmanuel.

‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,
and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 NIV).

The ancient Latin hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, translated by John Mason Neale, has its roots in Isaiah’s prophecy. Emmanuel is God with us. Today Christians understand the historical reality of Jesus’ coming and experience the presence of His Holy Spirit.
EmmanuelBut 700 years before the first coming of Jesus Christ, Isaiah spoke an amazing prophecy of the One who would be born of a virgin – God incarnate. Beginning with this prophecy, the hymn writer included other names and characteristics of Emmanuel. He was the Son of God, the Dayspring who brings light, Wisdom personified, and the “Desire of Nations” who would someday bring peace.

The saddest part about this is not that Israel waited 700 years for Isaiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled. No, the saddest part is that when Jesus came, the religious leaders failed to recognize Him as the One for whom they had been waiting.

Have you been waiting for peace and wisdom and light in your own life? Don’t be like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Recognize that the source of all these things is Jesus Christ, and Him alone. Enjoy the planning, preparations, and anticipation while you wait for Christmas to arrive. But as you check off the days, recognize that you no longer have to wait for the answer to your deepest needs. Emmanuel has already come.